We've all been waiting for Guild Banks, but the news of a Ventrilo-like voice chat system for World of Warcraft is kind of surprising. Let's hope it's a bit better than some other games' in-game voice chats, as Ventrilo has proven to be the premier chat program to-date for most gamers, even taking into consideration any services provided by each specific game.
That said, Games for Windows magazine is reportedly doing a story in their June 2007 issue in which they interview Shane Dabiri - Lead Producer of World of Warcraft - and he gives them some tidbits on things coming after 2.1.
Shane confirms that Guild Banks are indeed on the way, as one of the next major features for the game, and so is in-game voice chat.
Some of the key features of guild banks will be the ability to allow some of your members to use the money put in the bank for repairs (from NPC's and bots, which will have a new option) and reportedly will have hundreds of slots for items and such. The potential is ripe for abuse but Blizzard will have it set up so that transactions are documented on their website and abusers can be reported and Customer Service would then get involved.
Good-bye Ventrilo and Teamspeak! Blizzard is gearing up to add VoIP straight into the game for players that will help the problem of players not knowing or recognizing someone's voice and missing a critical heal or other critical game play needs. A players name will be highlighted when they are talking and you are able to click on their name then to select them and give them their buff/heal/etc.
There will also be the option to separate the voice chat from the game music sound to different sound channels. So you could (in theory) have the music and sound effects going through your regular speakers and the voice chat going through just your headset. To begin with, the VoIP will only be available to Parties and Raids but there may be room for expanding on that with custom channels (presumably for guilds).