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Voice communication allows gaming to transcend to the next level. It’s one thing to play a multiplayer game with your friends – it’s something else when you can talk with your friends while playing. The only problem? Voice chat software can be a pain in the butt, hard to set up, and resource intensive. RaidCall may be the solution.
Whether you’re a gamer with an extensive history with voice communication software (Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, Mumble, etc.) or you’re someone who has never used voice chat before, you should really check out RaidCall. It does many things differently from traditional programs and that distinguishes it quite a bit from its competition.
It’s not my cup of tea but I do appreciate it for its innovations and bold decisions. Here’s why.
The first thing to notice about RaidCall is that it isn’t just a voice chat program; it’s a community hub made by gamers for gamers and voice chat happens to be one of the main features. It’s a centralized service that’s more reminiscent of instant messengers than individual voice chat servers.
You’ll need to create a RaidCall account. Once you log in, everything is contained within the RaidCall window and you navigate using the tabs at the top.
- Under the Contacts tab, you can see all of your friend contacts. In this way, it’s similar to Skype or any other messenger.
- Under the Groups tab, you can browse groups and view the groups you’ve favorited. You can think of groups as lobbies or sub-communities within RaidCall where users can chat together.
- When you connect to a group, it’ll appear as an additional tab at the top.
As a user, you can create your own groups. You have total control: group name, messages of the day, channel layouts, channel permissions, etc. The key feature of groups is that they’re hosted on RaidCall servers, which means more reliable uptime and fewer resources used on your own computer. Regions include North America, South America, and Europe.
In the screenshot above, I’m connected to a group called GenesisRC, which I just picked at random from the public group browser.
On the left, you’ll see the channel list. Each group is broken down into multiple channels and sub-channels, which are essentially virtual rooms. Users within a channel can chat with one another (voice and text). To speak to someone in a different channel, you’ll need to switch channels.
On the right, you’ll see the text chat area and an announcement area. These two areas are pretty self-explanatory, but there’s a perk to RaidCall announcements that I haven’t seen in other voice chat programs: video and stream embeds. As a channel admin, you can directly embed a video or stream and everyone in the channel will be able to see it. Great for sharing specific clips or what have you.
And lastly, at the bottom you’ll see a bunch of quick controls for sound volume, microphone volume, microphone mode, sound recording, and music playback. Yes, RaidCall has a jukebox feature that allows users to directly stream music from their computer to the channel so others can hear it. The sound recording feature lets you record everything you hear in the channel, which is useful if you hold an important meeting over RaidCall voice chat or something like that.
RaidCall is really about facilitating communication between users in as many ways as possible. Yes, you can voice chat during gameplay and that’s probably its biggest selling point, but RaidCall really wants you to be able to speak with people no matter the context.
In the screenshot above, you’ll see the group chat window. Remember how users can only voice chat and text chat when they’re in the same channel? That was actually a half-lie. With the group chat window, all users currently connected to the same group can chat together. Think of it as a global chat room.
And then you have the friends feature that I mentioned earlier. Whenever you see someone in a group or channel, you can request friendship with them. If they accept, they’re added to your list. You can contact your friends at any time as long as the both of you are connected to RaidCall – you could be in different groups or channels and it would still work.
RaidCall isn’t the most flexible when it comes to preferences and customization, but it does allow you enough room that it won’t feel rigid. The quality of microphone sound isn’t the best I’ve heard, but it certainly isn’t the worst either.
Other features that you may find useful or enticing:
- Extremely low CPU and RAM requirements. Probably the lowest I’ve ever seen.
- Up to 10,000 users per group.
- Easy file transfers and screenshot sharing between users.
- Skinnable themes and emoticons.
- Synchronize RaidCall with Facebook if you’re into that.
- 100% free!
Granted, if all you need is a simple method of one-on-one voice chat, RaidCall voice chat may be overkill. Similarly, if you aren’t a big gamer, then RaidCall may be a little outside of your expectations. However, if you are a frequent gamer and you want to be part of a sizeable gaming community, then you should definitely check out RaidCall.