What is Ventrilo?
Ventrilo is software that allows you to listen and talk to other people over the Internet - much like you would talk over the phone. People usually shorten the word and just call it "Vent."
The difference between Vent and a phone call is when you sign on to Vent, it places you in a virtual "room" and when anyone in that room talks, everyone in that room can hear them (much like a conference call). There are several rooms that you can switch to and only the people in the room you are in can hear you. So, if you are in a room with other people and two of you want to talk privately, the two of you can go to a different room together.
Another difference between Vent and a phone call is that you can literally have people from around the world all together in one virtual room without paying a phone bill. The guild leaders pay a subscription to run a Vent server and you may use that server for free if you are an active member of the Moon Walkers Guild. The client software that accesses the Ventrilo server is also free.
Why do I need it?
When participating in group quests (especially dungeons and raids), it allows you to actually talk with and listen to your team mates so you can better coordinate your efforts. This is much faster, easier, and more practical than having to type everything out - especially for a complex encounter. As you make friends in World of Warcraft, it also allows you to chat with them and hear the voice of the person behind the character. Another bonus is that if your game crashes, as long as your computer is still running and you have an active Internet connection, you can still talk to your party or raid members and let them know what is happening (since Vent is entirely separate from the game).
What do I need to use it?
You need speakers of some kind to hear; and, if you want to talk you will need some kind of microphone. It is recommended (but not necessary) that you get a headset with a built-in microphone. This will allow you to both hear and speak without a lot of external sounds coming through to the other people in Vent with you while you also enjoy all the rich game sounds WOW has to offer.
You can also use a desk microphone to talk and your computer's speakers to hear. This is less desirable because your game sounds will be transmitted over the microphone (unless you have them muted). If you have no microphone at all, you can at least still hear instructions from the party or raid leader as long as you have speakers or headphones.
How do I get it?
Go to http://www.ventrilo.com/ and click on the downloads link. You will then probably see something like the following screen shot:
How do I set it up once I install it?
When you run the installation software the first time, you will get a screen like this. You can click "No" here because this tutorial you are reading will tell you everything you need to know.
If you really want to go read that one at a later time, you can find it at http://www.ventrilo.com/tutorial.php.
The first thing you want to do is set up your user name:
After you click on "OK" to finalize your name, you will see the following screen. The next thing you want to do is set up the server information.
Type in an identifying name for the server. You can actually call this anything; but, it should be descriptive since you can set up multiple servers. For example, if you have friends in another guild and want to use their Vent to talk to them; or if you participate in Pick-Up-Groups that require you to use their Vent (mostly for high-level raiding) you can set up another server for that. In this case, I named it "Moon Walkers" since it is the Moon Walkers guild server we are setting this up for. After naming the server, click "OK."
After you finish naming the server, you will see the following screen. You will need to fill out the "Hostname or IP" and "Port number" fields as shown (unless we change Vent server providers in which case you can go in-game to Social, click on the Guild tab, then click on the Guild Information button to get the most current values). This is also where you will need to go to get the most current password to access the Vent server. You can Copy / Paste from the Guild Information box in the game into the Vent Connection Editor field names to save some typing. After filling out these three boxes of information, click on "OK."
Your Vent session should now look something like this (except it should have your character's name as the User Name). You can now click on the "Connect" button to access the guild's Vent server.
If everything was set up correctly, you should see a screen similar to the following.
If another player's volume isn't good for you (too loud or too soft), you can adjust how it is coming in for you by doing the following. (Note, this ONLY affects how you hear them, so don't worry about messing something up for someone else.) Right-click on the player that you want to adjust the volume for. In this example I right-clicked on the name "Kurius." Hover your mouse over "Miscellaneous" then click on "Special effects...."
The next screen you see will look like this. Click on the word "Volume" on the right, then click on the "<-Add" button.
After you do this the following screen will appear with a slider control sitting at "100%." If the other player is too loud, slide the slider to the left to decrease their volume. If they are too soft, slide it to the right to increase their volume. Note, while you are sliding the slider, you will not hear any difference immediately. You have to "guess" about how much to raise or lower it, then click OK on both this box and then the box behind it to make the changes take effect.
After pressing "OK" twice, you will see something like the following. Note, now Kurius has an "S" in front of his name indicating that I have set special volume levels for him.
If you need to further change the volume up or down, right click on the player's name again and choose Miscellaneous and Special effects once more. Volume will now be in the Current box on the left, make sure it is highlighted and then click on the Properties button underneath it to get back to the slider controls. Adjust them to where you think they would be best then Click OK twice again.