Alex I gave IVAO a go earlier in the week.EGMH-EGTO, used an EGTT controller, who incidently was French, and was living close to a French airport, sorry, do not recall the name at the moment. Did a lot of chat via text, as his voice sounded a bit woolly for me,(my hearing tests show me bottom lining, in both ears, in fact I find using headphones for online and watching tv to be a requisit).
Seemed to be a friendly chap, gave me the time, I was his only contact. As far as Vatsim goes, I too find it a bit daunting, too much red tape. I prefer to plug in and go, with a bit of chat on the way.Frank F