WoW Rookie: Communication Part 1

WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

The joy of MMORPGS is being able to interact with other players.At some point we all group up for quests, instances, raids, battlegrounds, arenas, guilds, just for company.This column is dedicated to the basics of how we communicate in game.Next week we'll discuss the third party programs that are frequently used in games.

Most in-game chat is text-based, and makes use of the chat pain. To send a message, you can first hit enter to bring up a bar that you can enter in. In most cases, the chat function is limited to players of the same faction. The default is to "say" something so that only nearby players can year you. There are several other basic chat options:

  • /Say or /s – Can be read (heard) by all players in the immediate vicinity. Say commands appear as white text. Players of the opposing faction will see this as scrambled.

  • /Yell or /y – This command is similar to /say, but sends a red message to a larger area. Yelled messages are not accessible to enemy players.

  • /Party or /p – Sends a message that can be read by only players that are in your current party. This appears as blue text to recipients.

  • /Guild or /g – This command sends a green text message to your guild. As a new member you may have to be authorized before you have the ability to chat with your guild.

  • /Tell <character name> or /t <character name> - Sends a private message to a single player. This message appears in purple and cannot be sent to the opposing faction.

  • /Reply or /r – This command allows the player to respond to "a tell" they have received. With a default key configuration, you can access this function by just hitting the "r" key.

You can also send directed messages based on the zone you're in. Typically /1 is reserved for local general chat. You might use this channel to look for others to complete quests with or for general discussion. Trade chat (/2) is only used in cities and is usually used to buy and sell goods and services. Local defense defaults to channel /3. It is used to alert players who might be interested in PvP combat (or want to avoid it) as to where enemy players might be.


  • /t Amandadean Hi, I read your WoW Rookie Column

  • /g Hi Guild!

  • /1 LF2M SM, have heals and tank

  • /3 Level 52 Rogue near Nessingwary's

You can also express yourself using emotes. Emotes can be seen by players of both factions, so they are very handy when trying to communicate with the other side. You can send a general emote by typing any of the ones listed in the following table. Some can be directed by targeting a player or non-player character and then typing the emote.






































You can make your own emotes by typing "/e" and then your desired message. Adding %t in the line will add your target to the line. For example if Amandadean had Adamholisky targeted and typed /e offers %t a red balloon. The result would appear as "Amandadean offers Adamholisky a red ballon" in orange text in the chat pane.

Blizzard has also been kind enough to add a voice chat feature to the existing user interface. The controls for this tool can be accessed by hitting escape then clicking on sound and voice options. Next, click on the voice tab at the bottom of the screen window.

Once you have voice chat enabled you can use this pane to adjust your setting or to disable them. It's usually polite to use the "push-to-talk" option. When using push-to-talk, your teammates can only hear you when you press an assigned key. Believe me, I've heard way too much information from players who did not make use of this feature.

To enable this feature, click on the drop down list below voice chat mode. Make sure push-to-talk is checked rather than voice activated. Click on the red bar below "Key Binding" and then touch the key you want to use as your speech key. I use "`" above the tab key. The push to talk sound is a matter of preference. I find it annoying, so I don't use it.

It is, of course, necessary to have a working microphone to speak over voice chat. If you do not have a microphone, you can still listen in to chat, but you have to type your response. Microphones are relatively inexpensive, and as you progress toward the endgame it will become increasingly imperative that you have a mic for voice chat.

Listen to feedback (literally and figuratively) from your team. You may need to adjust your setting in the user interface or your computer's master volume control.

It is very important to use appropriate etiquette when chatting in game. Keep in mind that all players must abide by the Terms of Use. Do no spam chat channels or harass other players. If you feel that you have been violated by another player, you are within your rights to report them. If you do violate Blizzard's policy, remember that you may be reported and penalized as well. The rules regarding chat are:

  1. Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above;

  2. Carry out any action with a disruptive effect, such as intentionally causing the Chat screen to scroll faster than other users are able to read, or setting up macros with large amounts of text that, when used, can have a disruptive effect on the normal flow of Chat;

  3. Disrupt the normal flow of dialogue in Chat or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users including without limitation posting commercial solicitations and/or advertisements for goods and services available outside of the World of Warcraft universe;

  4. Sending repeated unsolicited or unwelcome messages to a single user or repeatedly posting similar messages in a Chat area, including but not limited to continuous advertisements to sell goods or services;

  5. Communicate or post any user's personal information in the Program, or on websites or forums related to the Program, except that a user may communicate his or her own personal information in a private message directed to a single user;

  6. Use bots or other automated techniques to collect information from the Program or any forum or website owned or administered by Blizzard;

  7. Harass, threaten, stalk, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to any user of the Program;

  8. Cheat or utilize "exploits" while playing the Program in any way, including without limitation modification of the Program's files;

  9. Participate in any action that, in the sole and absolute opinion of Blizzard, results or may result in an authorized user of the Program being "scammed" or defrauded out of gold, weapons, armor, or any other items that user has earned through authorized game play in the Program;

  10. Communicate directly with players who are playing characters aligned with the opposite faction (e.g. Horde communicating with Alliance or vice versa); or

  11. Impersonate any real person, including without limitation any "game master" or any other Blizzard agent or employee, nor may you communicate in the Game in any way designed to make others believe that your message constitutes a server message or was otherwise posted by any Blizzard agent or employee.

I have had many problems with the Blizzard voice-chat interface. I have found that when you can not hear or be heard, if you recreate the party, you can sometimes get voice chat to function. I have maintained my Ventrilo subscription out of annoyance with the in-game chat tool.