Why so? We weren't on comms.
It was someone else's gang, they invited us in. Fair does, I'm always up for a run with good pilots. Mynxee was successfully baited - it was a very good bait trap set by a group of what I'm guessing to be either Dead Parrot Shoppe alts or isk farmers (not all farmers are clueless about pvp, after being preyed upon so much by players) - and lost her ship. So we went hunting. The rest of the gang was on their comms; Mynx and I weren't. She was alright, she just had to follow their lead. But I was in the recon, and from past experience, staying with the fleet leads quickly to a popped t2 cloaker - I've lost a keres and nemesis from sitting among Tygris fleets and getting trapped in bubbles.
So I held a bit apart, trying for range. As a result, I was left feeling rather like the last gooseberry on the branch and not really having much of a clue as to what was going on. At one point, I was all alone in a system with the gang we were hunting, the rest of the gang having gone into the next system and the gate was nowhere near a warpable object. Then the gang came back, and I watched them return to our base system. Not being in warp range, I had to hit the closest planet and come back at 0. I jump in and find myself in the middle of I firefight I didn't know was occurring.
[ 2008.09.12 16:07:58 ] Shae Tiann > oh holy fuck
[ 2008.09.12 16:08:15 ] Shae Tiann > what dio you want me on?
[ 2008.09.12 16:08:46 ] Shae Tiann > O\m at bad range
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:29 ] Mynxee > /emote grins
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:41 ] Shae Tiann > talk about a heart attack
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:42 ] Shae Tiann > christ
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:50 ] Shae Tiann > we need vent or something
Yeah, I was a little panicked, having materialised less than 9km from an enemy domi. I don't usually have such bad typos :p Finding myself in the middle of a fight I didn't know about really did scare the crap out of me.
Again, I don't like being in a ranged ship in the middle of a fight; I warped to the nearest marker and came back at 50 in time to snaffle in on the last raven kill as the rest of the targets ran.
Voice comms are essential in group combat situations. It's nice to know what's going on, where to go, who to primary... and a recon that isn't being used as a recon might just as well be another flimsy (albeit bloody expensive) cruiser. And I remember how fast my first celestis went down: I hadn't even had that thing in space for half an hour. I could easily have been sitting in that one system for the next hour if our gang hadn't come back through, because I had no idea where it was... or even how many people were in it by that point!
Not only that: it's not possible to type instructions - certainly not clear, concise instructions - when you're in the middle of a fight. I know a few people who are good at this, but that's due to having spent too many months playing without a microphone, and even then we've given them a hard time about it (right, Matth? -_^). Taking attention from the controls long enough to tap out orders, much less read the responses, is a fast way to die, and slows down communication within a fleet critically. In order to be effective as a fighting force, players need the speed and immediacy of verbal communication from FC to members - and from members to FC. Having been on the intel side and ordered to shut the fuck up by the FC when I'm trying to relay info they're not apparently reading in the channel is neither the best way to keep your scout in the fleet nor the best way to keep the fleet alive (yes, I did tell the Huzzah FC that I hoped they got their arses shot off before I left). There's a vast difference between 'Comms Silence' (i.e. no unnecessary chatter) and 'Nobody talks but the FC'. One works. One doesn't. Personally, I could do with a little nonessential chatter in my gang comms - it boosts cameraderie and makes everyone feel like a valued part of the team, rather than just tools to absorb dps. The best fleets are where everyone is relaxed having a good time, and feel free to broadcast laughter and comments over the channel.
But that may just be me - I didn't last long in nullsec because it was too serious and miliant for my lackadaisical piratical sensibilities. We're in it to have fun; where's the fun in being told to be a good little fleet drone and stfu? It's nice to hear the voices of the people you fly with; it's nice to get the feeling that you can trust them to watch your back as you're watching theirs.