WoW Classic AI Add-On Gives Old-School MMO Full Voice Acting For The First Time
A free add-on makes the days of reading walls of quest text a thing of the past.
World of Warcraft Classic now has something that still isn't present in the modern version of Blizzard's MMORPG: full NPC voice acting.
Those who play WoW or have in the past are likely all too familiar with reading massive walls of quest text, with voice acting typically being reserved for faction leaders, raid bosses, or single lines of dialogue when interacting with minor NPCs. Though more recent expansions, like Dragonflight, do feature more cutscenes and dialogue than in WoW's early days, the vast majority of the game's NPCs and quests are not voiced.
That's where the fan made add-on called VoiceOver comes in. Created by Evan Pierce (who goes by MrThinger), the free VoiceOver addon for WoW Classic adds "high quality AI generated voices for NPCs," and it's a bit of a game changer. The add-on takes into account the race and gender of the NPC giving quests when generating voices and overall makes for a more immersive, less text-heavy version of Blizzard's old-school MMO. Players can even replay NPC dialogue via the quest log, allowing users to listen for their next objective while on the move without the need to scan paragraphs of text for where they need to go or what they need to collect.
The add-on is currently only available for the vanilla version of WoW Classic, but on Pierce's Ko-fi page, it seems like a version for the game's The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions could be a possibility in the future. Pierce is seeking a fundraising goal of $2,000 (which is currently 35% funded) in order to expand the project. Pierce writes that the add-on could also be ported over to the current, retail version of the game, though the retail port would only support voice lines from the original version of WoW, The Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King.
AI voice over has been a hot-button issue in the game industry in recent months, with concern that the technology could replace voice actors who make a living breathing life into iconic video game characters. In the case of the VoiceOver add-on, it seems extremely unlikely that Blizzard would go back and add full voice acting to a nearly 20-year-old game, making the fan project a fun novelty that doesn't step on the toes of actual voice actors looking for work.
WoW Classic is currently seeing a boom in popularity thanks to the rise of a fan-made "Hardcore" game mode that features permadeath. The popularity of the Hardcore playstyle has led to speculation that Blizzard might soon debut official Hardcore WoW Classic servers, an idea that is supported by evidence from a recent WoW public test realm build.
When it comes to the modern version of WoW, Blizzard has kept the new content flowing for Dragonflight as part of their 2023 content roadmap. Dragonflight's next major update, Embers of Neltharion, will introduce a brand-new underground zone, raid, and include the long-awaited arrival of cross-faction guilds when it arrives on May 2.
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