Gone are the days of Microsoft’s generosity, when you’d get a chintzy little headset with your Xbox 360 purchase so you could rage against Halo 3 players without having to shell out any extra cash. Nowadays, you’ll need to buy a headset if you want 3D spatial audio and the freedom to shout instructions at your teammates like a virtual drill sergeant—and the quality of those headsets range dramatically from a chic set of cups you’d see on the heads of esports squads to a piece of plastic that evokes the same flimsy, echo-y cheapness you once got for free.
Though games like Apex Legends revolutionized mic-less communication with its ping system, there are still many players who prefer to use a microphone to communicate. That usually means, however, that you’ll end up with at least one or two squadmates a sesh who have what I like to call “dooky mics.”
I’m talking the kind of mic that picks up the background noises of their home (barking dogs, crying kids, the deep, thumping bumps of Pop Smoke), and they’re probably blasting the game’s sound through their fucking TV, which we can hear with more clarity than their voice. If they ping something and their character says something about it, you can bet your ass you’ll hear their character say it again as it emanates from their television.
This mic, though it struggles to pick up anything said below a shout. Actually, it seems only capable of greedily snagging their S, T, and P words, loves to pick up the sound of their breath rattling in their chest cavity as they try and take down an enemy player. Their mic is so bad, so distractingly dismal, that you have to apologize profusely before muting them.