HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Improving the Quality of Conversation

When the silence gets to you...

When the silence gets to you...

I once wrote that one of The 15 things You Should Know About the Dungeon Finder was

the less said, the more successful the run will be

Little did I know that would turn out to be the norm, not the exception. I hate that people are too afraid or too lazy to speak up and chat during instance runs these days. I hate that people only talk when something has gone wrong, someone has died, or someone is doing something seriously wrong.

When you run the same dungeons over and over again for a year (and counting) the only things that differentiates one run from the next is the group that you’re with. Some kind of chat also alleviates the boredom of healing. Well it does for me, anyway. I could sit here and complain that nobody talks during my dungeon runs and do nothing to change things. Fortunately, I’m not that kind of girl. There’s really only two ways to start a conversation in my experience. Do something so socially embarrassing that people can’t not say something. Or say something yourself. For the last few weeks I’ve been making a more concerted effort to start a conversation in my dungeon runs. Most of the time I’ll just keep talking (and typing) to myself. But sometimes… it works.

In business networking circles I’m sure they’d say that I was using “icebreakers”. But the word gives me bad vibes so I try not to think of it like that. Here are some things you can say in your next PuG to either:

  • (a) Start a conversation
  • (b) Change the topic when the conversation goes south
    Note: Any discussion about how bad someone’s gear is or how cool someone’s main is probably bad.

There’s really only the one way to measure success or failure. If you can get just one other person to respond to you in Party chat it’s a success. An Emoted reply does not count as success. Even one response other than “go go go” or “shut up” counts.

Conversation Starters and Rates of Success

1. What are you listening to on iTunes?

I would have thought this would open up all kinds of friendly chat. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy some music to liven up their daily heroic? I consider it mandatory, and even included it as part of my buffing/readycheck mental check list. Prayer of Fortitude? check. Music? check.

However I’ve yet to receive anything but silence to this question. I’ve tried it out about 5 times. In hindsight, I think it might be a bit broad and people are always hesitant to name their favourite band only to find out that other people have never heard of them. I also think a heck of a lot of people like Britney Spears and are too scared to admit it. I’m sure she didn’t sell millions of albums all to one person, but whatever.

Or, perhaps, nobody but me uses iTunes.

*Update* Ooooh I just remembered running into a Rogue by the name of “Octavarium”. I asked him if he chose his name because he likes the Dream Theatre album, and then asked the party to wait while I switched my iTunes playlist. I guess some people have built in conversation starters :)

2. Poking fun at NPCs or complaining

If you said “Brann is a fuckwit” you might not get a response. But I almost always make some remark about how short Brann is, how he talks too much and how he ought to learn how to run* when I’m in Halls of Stone (ie. every second day). And I always get some kind of reply.

So that one counts as a success. The quality of the reply might be pretty poor and it might not really start an actual conversation. But it’s better than silence, right?

3. Ragging on the 1 DPS that’s outperforming everyone else

See that Warrior in your party pulling 8k DPS? Don’t kiss their feet. Don’t suck up or /bow (that’s plain creepy). Instead try:

“Gee I don’t know. I think we should kick Bladez since they can’t reach 10k. It’s just not good enough for a heroic.”

Even though you might only get a few chuckles and “LOL”s out of your other party members, I like this one because it combines conversation with a compliment cleverly woven right in. So this one counts as a success in my book.

4. Greeting your fellow players with “Morning” or “Afternoon” instead of “hi”

Perhaps this only really works on the Bloodlust battlegroup since we’re a mix of American and Oceanic servers but at any given time chances are someone in your party is actually playing at the complete +12hour opposite time of day to you.

Opening with “Good morning” at 11am in the morning can net you some surprising results. If you’re lucky it can lead into other players disclosing what country they’re playing from. You might even be able to compare latencies (although, as an Aussie I believe you’re generally better off just not knowing).

This one is a bit hit or miss. But it definitely pays off when you come across that rare individual that doesn’t realise the world is round.

5. How much are Dream Shards selling for on your server?

This is my favourite conversation opener. And I’ll ask it the moment someone chooses to “Disenchant” a rare Axe that vendors for 15g. Based on what the 10 or 15 people who have replied so far… nobody has any clue. Most people give reasons like “I use the Shards” or “I give them to my mates” and most common “I dunno”.

Wake up people! Dream Shards on the Barthilas Auction House are 3g 50s. Some of the prices quoted from other servers have put them at 5 to 8 gold. Most blues in dungeons vendor more than 5g and weapons in particular can vendor for over 20g.

Check the vendor price and choose Greed and vendor the valuable drops. Bracers and Gloves are usually the only armor pieces that vendor for 3-5g and should be converted into Dream Shards. If you still want more Dream Shards, just buy them cheap from the Auction House.

This has been my most successful conversation starter because it generally leads to a proper conversation of up to about 6 lines of chat (oh my god!). And its always gotten me some kind of response.

* Apparently, Brann has learned how to run which should speed up the escort part of the Tribunal of Ages in the next patch. Shame that it’s not going to speed up the actual Tribunal of Ages event. When you have to drop totems twice in one instance boss fight – it’s too long.

13 Responses to “Improving the Quality of Conversation”

  1. KattiaraNo Gravatar says

    I’ve discovered the trick to getting conversations out of dungeon finder groups — run them on low level alts. Discussion kicks off easily with people laughing/complaining about how they’re completely lost in Gnomeregan/Maruadon, and tends to go from there.

    Also, your comments about vendoring/sharding weapons made me laugh.. so true! I actually remember back in vanilla (when saving for an epic mount truly WAS epic), my group had a strict ‘OMG-don’t-DE-weapons!’ policy.

  2. VidyalaNo Gravatar says

    Nice one, Cassandri! I’ll keep some of your clever openers in mind, excepting the one about dream shards, at least until I’m 80. :) I agree with Kattiara above, it does seem to be a bit easier to get folks talking at a lower level, has this been your experience as well?

    The thing I like most in lowbie instances is the mutual excitement. Most people will say at least “grats” if you gain a level while in the instance. I had a spate of “silent” runs around SM GY but since then folks have been a bit more willing to talk.
    .-= Vidyala’s last blog … Today’s Pug: Brought To You By The Letter “P” =-.

  3. JahbootieNo Gravatar says

    The Dream Shard question is brilliant, and I will begin to use it immediately. Thanks!

  4. JokeyRhymeNo Gravatar says

    Hey there, I had no idea you played on Barthilas (aka “Barthilag”)until just now. ZOMG! We’re server-twins! … or something. :)

    Whenever there are Druids in my party (at least once a day I heal with my own) I tend to start making dreadful Druid puns. For example, if the tank is a geared Druid, I’ll say something like “Wow, you must be pretty geared, . I bearly have to heal you at all.”

    If I’m on my Tree AND it’s a Bear tank, then I’ll follow this up (regardless of responses) with: “Well, if you don’t like my Druid puns then maybe I’ll just leaf”. Other comments I make are “Sorry about my bad jokes, I’m a bit wooden.” The list goes on. :)
    .-= JokeyRhyme’s last blog … Killing Machine: The Feast Begins =-.

  5. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Vid Yes, the lower level runs that I’ve been part of have tended to be more social. But often I’m in there with Lathere and we’ll happily type nonsense to eachother for 20 minutes. So that kind of skews my results somewhat.

    @Jokey I like your Druid jokes. They’re absolutely terrible! If you play on Barthilas as well, am I allowed to know what character name you go by?

  6. ClickityclopNo Gravatar says

    I’m sure I’ve seen Jokey before, think I was raiding a toc and a saw a whole mass of Druid jokes, there were so many I was wondering how long it took to think them all up. They’re so bad that it’s good!

  7. PapaNastyNo Gravatar says


    I can’t really chat and tank at the same time. At least not in /p etc, can get by on vent of course.

    Well can squeeze out a few words when I’ve got enough aggro on everything, but when I’ve established enough aggro for that, I should be pulling the next group of mobs (unless it’s some annoying pull etc)

    So the way I see it, if I chat in /p or even reply to /w, during a heroic run, I’m holding up 4 other people because I’m chatting.

    As dps, you’re only slowing down the run by maybe 1/3rd while you are chatting away, and as a healer probably not at all (since hots are awesome), but as a tank the run stops when you start typing.

    Which is why I always prefer to do any instances or raids with vent, since even if we can successfully do the raid without it, it just maintains that social element for those of us who can’t afford the time to chat in text.

  8. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Papa I see your point, but there’s more down time for the rest of us. Buffing, drinking, or waiting for bosses to phase change or whatever. You can’t rush events like the HoS Tribunal of Ages. I like to fill that time typing/chatting :)

  9. ZahraahNo Gravatar says

    Getting more and more groups that say nothing.. not even when I poke fun of them being the silent types, but your right about the morning thing.. except it hasn’t gone much further then that and normally its me saying.. ” It’s evening here… where are you?”
    I have been calling people asses more though. Only when they deserve it.. and even that doesnt get a reaction.
    .-= Zahraah’s last blog … Why Resto Druids don’t like Koalas =-.

  10. NazanielNo Gravatar says

    I tried this a bit the other day – some other things that seem to work quite well for me are:
    - asking about titles: “You’ve got Loremaster! Wow!”
    - asking about pets – “Wow, where did you get that giant lobster from?”
    - asking whether the tier-10 set bonuses are any good for their class – 2 piece vs 4 piece – which can actually turn into an interesting discussion!
    - asking if they’ve had any good drops or upgrades lately in ICC or something like that.

    In other words, people like to talk about themselves. (Who’d have thought? :P ) The exception to this, and the place where you get some great conversation, is pre-80 LFG runs, where the conversation is often fantastic! :)

    And thanks for the tip about Dream Shards on Barthilag – I’ve started greeding instead of sharding :)
    .-= Nazaniel’s last blog … The new levelling experience =-.

    • MacedonioNo Gravatar says

      Leah you look so beautiful! We loved lonoikg at your wedding photos John and Leah. Best wishes to you both! Becky and Garry Martin

  11. InquisitorNo Gravatar says

    I managed to liven up a particularly dull VH by rambling on about food for a while (while tanking). It ended up getting into a full on discussion as to the benefits or otherwise of smoked salmon (real-world, not a buff food) – which probably added a good 60 seconds to the run. Easily worth it.

  12. ErclesNo Gravatar says

    I tried using similar “tricks” for a long while, but eventually gave up. Tried various comments, greetings, jokes. Everything. Best I usually got was a “lol”, “wtf?” or “;D”.

    The language barrier might be an issue on the EU servers. I’m in a battlegroup with an all Italian server and another were the majority seems to be eastern european, doesn’t exactly make getting a conversation going any easier.


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