Voice Commands and Warcraft

I have been using Dragon Naturally Speaking software with WoW for quite some time now with reasonable success. Having recently upgraded to the latest version and struggling more than usual with unstable wrists, it seemed like the right time to expand from dictation and include some commands in WoW as well. In setting up and starting out, I  hit a few interesting points:

  • It’s a kind of lag issue created by talking vs typing, i.e. saying ‘eleven’ takes longer than pressing eleven. Dragon is a little slower on implementation than my game pad, but it’s a learning curve not problem and after a few hours it becomes easier to adjust spell casting times correctly.
  • ‘For’ and ‘Four’ and two very different words. When not used within context but as a single command, it took a while to realize that the reason why I’m casting entangling roots rather than swipe is because the first is bound to the f key and the second to the 4 key. The simplest solution has been to switch to number mode in combat and back to normal mode out of combat. I have to do that verbally every time, wish there was a way to automate that, but it’s not really a big deal.
  • Key binding. I have my quest log bound to Shift + Q for example because it’s easy to press. Dragon doesn’t like commands like those and it leaves me with the issue of either rebinding to single keys that aren’t accessible manually or trying to train Dragon better to understand two letter commands reliably. For now, I’m going with the training as it leaves a big hole in dictation when I can’t capitalize a word because it doesn’t understand shift+h for example and I’m dubious but hopeful that one day it’ll understand me better.
  • Jumping. Dictation automatically places spaces after letters and words. I lacked the common sense to think of that when my character started jumping after each cast. It’s potentially a novel way to avoid the issues I have been having on fights like Hodir and Keristrasza achievement runs, but it’s not very dignified. It’s less of an issue when stacking HoTs on number mode as it’s generally continuous casting which means continuous talking at a rhythmic pace which is fast enough to count as one number and hence no space inserted, but it’s still an issue that requires fixing. Haven’t fixed it yet.

It’s taken quite a bit of strain off my wrists to talk rather than mash keys and it’s made playing possible a lot sooner than it otherwise would have been. However, movement is still, as always, a big problem. Trying to move with voice commands are very inaccurate and I don’t think any amount of practice will change that for me. And so play time is still determined by how much movement my wrists will tolerate. I love playing WoW. It’s frustrating when issues translate into the game. I dislike the loss of control and the sense of powerlessness I feel when I can see my character doing something stupid or know exactly what I’m suppose to be doing, but can’t manage it, but it’s not as frustrating as it used to be. Playing Warcraft has made me feel less scared of that feeling and more confident in general. There’s plenty of people who run into walls, still miss the Thadius jump routinely even though they’re now in Naxx gearing their third alt, everybody still hates phase three on Maly and I’m rarely the only one to get caught out on Hodir. There’s always more to be done to make it easier and less painful to play, but every step in the process has been fun and I don’t mind being where I am now, except maybe, want to raid more.


2 thoughts on “Voice Commands and Warcraft

  1. A few years ago, there was a program called Voice Command that ran outside of wow and allowed you to bind keys to certain words. For instance, you could say “root” and it would do the key sequence for entangling roots. I’m not sure if it’s still supported, and for me, it was an extra brain step that took too much time, but it might be worth looking into.

  2. I’ve considered this as an option, but language takes too long to formulate in my head. Saying 8 or pressing 8 is one thing, remembering that button 8 holds a spell named “entangling roots” and saying “root” to cast it takes about five times longer. I’ll keep experimenting and if you have any more suggestions they’d be appreciated, but I think voice commands have a ceiling that’s just too easily hit to make it anything more than an adjunct to my existing setup.

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