Enjoy the silence.
There are basic features that will be built in to the Integrated Voice feature such as being able to ignore individual players' voices. But the most important thing to remember is that the feature is optional. Just as the quality of online play varies with the people with whom you are playing, so does the quality of online voice vary with the people to whom you choose to listen. We all hope for pleasant voices from informed minds, but what we usually get ranges from the comedic to the downright scary, as illustrated here.
Another forum thread (unfortunately, now deleted) suggested that no one was going to use integrated voice and that it was a waste of development resources. A different player asked "What do you think Blizzard is made up of? One guy named Bill Izzard who has to do everything?" Drysc responded with
Bill's a nice guy, but you're right, we also have Bly Zizzard. So, yeah, two people who do everything. But really I don't think it's important to justify our development pipelines, or explain that a programmer is different from an artist, or UI designer, or web designer. If you don't want to use the voice chat feature you'll be able to disable it.
Yes, voice chat is optional, but will disabling it pose a different problem? Will it become mandatory for grouping? Drysc made some recommendations (in the same deleted thread) for dealing with this situation:
"I don't have a mic"
"I don't want to talk, I can listen if you need"
"I prefer to chat through text"
Now sure, you're going to run into someone that will not allow you in their PUG if you aren't communicating through voice chat but I seriously doubt that will be anywhere near the norm. It's easy now to assume that as a worse case scenario will somehow become common place. Those same people are the ones that have to micro-manage some of easier 5-man runs, and are going to kick you out if you spent one talent point wrong. No real loss there anyway. If it's a real problem, start your own group.
There are many games, particularly on consoles, where VOIP is already included, such as Eve Online. So while this is a change for us now, integrated voice will probably be the norm for all future MMOs. Personally, I am looking forward to not having to deal with a separate program for voice-coordinated groups.
Do you think you'll use the integrated voice feature? Do you think it will become mandatory for PUGs? Are you amused by weirdos like the one pictured above or do they give you nightmares?
[Illustration from Unique Fauna by Penny Arcade]