Running heroics since I’ve turned 80 has been fun. There’ve been a few kooky characters, like the paladin who used his rocket boots to pull the whole first corridor of Drak’Tharon Keep…wait, that was someone in my guild.

Well, we like to keep it interesting. I waded into a few heroics with tanks I trusted before I actually started to pug them. I’ve never had a character before who hit 80 with semi-decent gear (yes, blues!) Dungeon blues are still ilevel 187 or so, they aren’t bad. A full set of them is fine. I still picked up a few other pieces before I felt confident enough to strike out on my own. Of course it would be Gundrak, which is still fixed in my mind as Hard To Heal even though apparently it isn’t anymore.

I was freaking out a little bit – on the verge of asking the melee to make sure and run out of the poison nova, since nobody bothers these days. I didn’t have time before the tank had pulled though, and of course none of the melee ran out of it. And… it was fine. Many tanks now have something ridiculous like 50 K hp or more. This was a DK tank, and he ran through the instance. My guild laughed because I was getting a constant stream of achievements, starting at [Snakes, Why’d It Have to be Snakes?] through [Less-Rabi]. Yes, I got [Less-Rabi] with a pugged group only a day or so after hitting 80. It’s a bit ridiculous. Why, my other characters had to work for that achievement,  uphill in the instance both ways, etc. Nonetheless, I have it. That tank even went to go and kill Eck, and I think he did it to be nice to me because I’d asked the group at the beginning to be gentle, since I was still a pretty fresh 80. Every emblem counts! It was kind.

I kept running heroics on my own with little happening that was noteworthy. I can squeeze one in on my lunch break usually. But one day, an unexpected load screen arrived… Heroic Forge of Souls. I wasn’t sure . Was I ready for it? The Dungeon Finder tool thought that I was. I took a deep breath and dove in. It was fine. Silent, but fine. Practically no one said anything until just at the end, I piped up and said, “So apparently LFD thinks that I can heal this as long as it puts me with uber tank.” The tank laughed and said he wasn’t uber, had just run these many times. He was a paladin with a ridiculous amount of health and I told him that just having run these many times made him uber as far as I was concerned. I just about had to get a new pair of pants when I saw the load screen. It was a short exchange, but it made the instance memorable for me. (That was the same run I got Seethe, hit or no hit, and it was the tank that urged me to roll on it. TAKE it, TAKE it!)

Since then, I’ve been tormenting all and sundry with heroic ICC runs. Even my husband was a bit skeptical. The heroic ICC 5-mans are no joke to heal, after all. But even in pugs, I’ve been tremendously lucky with groups and haven’t really had much to complain about. My only complaint, if I’m allowed to have one, would have to be this.

The silence. Unremitting silence. People who join without a word and drop group at the end the same way that they came in. It makes me feel a little dirty. I mean, I get that people are running these for their two emblems a day. Most people want as few bosses as possible. I had a tank in DTK skip the raptor boss and I was a bit peeved. (Every emblem counts, remember?). I understand that most people see it as a chore rather than actual fun at this point. But it’s still fun for me. I’ve been quietly gathering retribution and protection gear with the aim to try them out at some point. Even though I’ve seen these instances umpteen billion times, I still have fun running them. But I miss the camaraderie, the bizarre people from pugs of old. I wish I could get these people talking. The closest thing to conversation I tend to see is when a moonkin and a DK get into an argument because The Black Heart dropped in Trial of the Champion.

“Tanking is my main-spec,” they both swear up and down (this because I asked if anyone minded if I took it for off-spec.) “I’ve only been running this place for that and I’ve lost the roll twice,” etc. I passed on it, politely, although I honestly don’t think either of them had more right to it than I did. I told the DK that if he wanted it that badly – maybe he ought to be tanking to get it. I know that if my tank were trying to get something like that I’d be more inclined to back him up and try to get any off-spec rollers to pass for him, but I don’t feel as charitable towards any of the DPS who just happen to “need” that because tanking is their “main” spec.

So that’s what passes for conversation in heroic instances these days. As a paladin, I’m not in a great position to do the chipper “Hey folks!” beginning of instance chatter. I’m too busy making sure I have the right aura, the right seal, buffing everyone (Is there a warrior? Has anyone yet bitched at me to GIEF KINGS PLOX? so I can deliberately skip them?) and so I miss that golden opportunity many times apart from saying hello. I tried to see if anyone else had written about how to get people to talk in heroics (I feel like HoTs&DoTs did but I can’t seem to find the post, unless I’m mistaken). I did, however, find an article on ehow.com, “How To Get Someone To Talk Without Asking Them A Bunch of Questions.” I’ve edited it to apply to a pug, here for your convenience in three easy steps.

Step 1: When you know a pug is bothering someone, don’t start by asking them a bunch of questions. Instead try this, but only after you have memorized it (why not macro?)

Step 2: You say: I love you, pugger, and I know something is really hurting you, and I care enough about emblems to know what is really bothering you. Do you realize that if you won’t make chit-chat with me, and share with me when you plan to pull and what drugs you’ve made use of today, then I’m going to have to guess, and then write about you on my blog. And if you make me guess, I’m going to be a real human and guess negatively because, see, we humans never guess positively. We always assume the worst. And if I guess negatively it’s going to hurt our relationship, pugger, and I don’t want that. It’s going to make people on the internet laugh at you. We’re going to be spending the next twenty minutes together, depending on how much HP the tank has and how quickly he can pull. But I love you, pugger. The only question you have to ask me is, “Do you?”

Step 3: Once you ask  ‘do you’? turn and walk away to the other end of the pug, or drop group! You DO NOT WAIT FOR THE ANSWER (not my caps). You’ve already told the pugger that you love them and care for them and you don’t want to guess why they won’t talk to you, but by walking away you’re giving them the space they need. They can look at the symbol beside your party portrait and think about what it means, that little life-giving plus sign or that stabbey knife or stalwart shield. They may burst into tears or call you a lunatic, after they’ve had space and time to think about what they are going to say. You can say this to adult or children puggers, but children shouldn’t be pugging. But they do.

Tips and Warnings: Don’t get into any pugger’s character’s face. Don’t act like a know-it-all, don’t flaunt your gearscore. Let puggers have their space. The pugger may burst into tears, let them. If they want a hug, they’ll let you know.

Alternatively, you could try to start a conversation about something else, but doing the above is guaranteed to get pugs talking! Probably not to you, possibly about you, but at least it’s something.

So how about you? Do you have any way to get pugs to talk? Do you just not bother, or maybe just not care? I’m going to be making more of a concerted effort to get folks to talk a little, but paladin healing doesn’t favour this, at least it didn’t at my initial gear levels when I had to actually, you know, heal people. I’m used to being a druid – hot, hot, hot – chat, hot hot… But heroic running has gotten smooth enough that I can generally afford to swap out my healing sword for my one-handed axe and level the skill on the trash mobs, so I can probably strike up a conversation while I’m at it.

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20 responses to “

  1. Right after the dungeon finder was introduced, this bothered me a lot too, but I have to admit I’ve simply gone quiet myself since then. If someone starts a little fun conversation, great! I’ll be happy to go along. But if everyone just quietly does their job I’ll do the same. When you’ve done the instance a thousand times and your character can’t use any of the drops anymore, there isn’t much you can really comment on. :/

  2. The silence really, really gets to me. I always try to say hello at the beginning, but rarely does it lead to anything. Although, I will say this: If someone responds with something more sophisticated than “hey gaiz sup” there is a pretty good chance they will be willing to talk more. I guess we have to take what we can get.

    My most successful conversational gambit so far has been to say, “Gosh, I love this place!” Or, if you prefer, “Gosh, I hate this place!” Either one seems to be a trigger for at least one other person to agree or disagree, and that’s the conversational camel’s nose under the tent of sociability. “Not me,” says the hunter, “I can’t stand it.” “Really? How come?” And, you’re off to the races.

    Still, it can be kind of tiresome playing hostess to a party full of reluctant strangers (“lol dunno”, says the hunter, and clams up). If you’re a cook, you can drop a feast and use the time while everyone is eating to bridge the gap — the ones who say “thank you for the food” are probably worth prodding for a few more words. Just as in the outside world, food seems to bring out the sociability of people in game too. Maybe they should make it take longer to get the food buff, or make it a stronger buff the longer you eat. :)

    (Feasts also give you a little more time to get your buffs deployed. Every little bit helps!)

    In the end, though, we’re all strangers; when we get together in LFD, I don’t see how it’s that much different from standing next to each other on a city bus. We might make some abortive chit-chat about weather (that one doesn’t work in WoW so much) or some news of the day (“has anyone seen the new screenshots from Cataclysm?”), but in the end, we don’t have much in common except that we’re all on the LFD-92 with connecting service to A-N, Gun’drak, The Oculus, and ToC. In a way, LFD is even worse: at least on the bus, you get regulars.

    So far, the only solution I’ve found is to go with at least one or two people you already know. These days, if I can’t find a friend to join me, I often won’t even bother to queue for a group. Sure, I could use more badges, but without some good clean social fun, I might as well just be working for real money. :)

  3. Well, I was going to ask if you’ve done Pit of Saron or Halls of Reflection yet, but I figured it was smarter of me to check the armory first. ;-)

    I’m seriously impressed by you being able to heal HoR; from what I’ve seen that place is brutal to us Pallys. Just this morning LFD spewed out HoR, and we went through three tanks -one dropping mid-pull- before we got one that could handle it without overstraining the healer.

    Ever since I started reading your blog, I’ve made more of an effort to be more social than the “hello” and “goodbye” you get from the pug heroics. Doing something goofy like pulling out a pet before a boss fight or saying something like “Trollgore, buddy! You really need to go on a diet!” helps to lighten things up.

  4. Fill the silence by explaining you’re playing wow bingo. Gets a group Chatting more often than not. For perhaps a minute. A fun minute though.

  5. Yes, I got [Less-Rabi] with a pugged group only a day or so after hitting 80. It’s a bit ridiculous.

    I hate you.

    No I don’t.

    Not really.

    You know, I’ve been doing Gundrak for months now and I’ve still not had any luck with Less-Rabi. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve died enough times in my early runs that I still move out of the poison nova even though I could probably cut it. (Falls under my “don’t stress the healer” credo.)

  6. Actually, perhaps people are concentrating on making sure the run goes well/high dps/propped tanking? After all it is a hc and no one likes to die… Hmm

  7. Less-Rabi…I also faux-hate you. I just got that on my hunter (yay NO silences or interrupts!) after resorting to using engineering bombs for the incapacitate effect. Does it actually work on him? No idea. I was desperate.

    DTK is interesting with the skippable bosses – I have actually skipped ALL the bosses except the last guy once on a run where we only had 8 minutes to get the random done before reset. You can just run past Trollgore into the spider room to reset him, and hug the wall to avoid starting the Novos fight. Makes it fast, that’s for sure.

    Regarding chatting in pugs, I am always as chatty as anyone else is. I don’t really start conversations but if others want to talk I’m game! The only downside is I actually had to STOP chatting in a hVH run because the tank was busy excitedly telling us about his new tanking spec rather than running across the room to get the newly-spawning adds. ><

  8. I want you to macro this, link it in pugs, and SS the result for us. Please?

  9. This is the sad thing about level 80 dungeons. Everybody is just there to get through it quickly, either so they can do something they want to do, or so they can run another because they need tons of badges. It is like working on an assembly line.

    • This is so true.

      It took me forever to finish some quest lines in Northrend because the pugs I got from the LFD queue were only interested in the emblems. “Quests? Who does quests?” was one reaction.

      Now that I think about it, I still don’t have the quests in Halls of Stone done; someone else always goes and gets Bran first.

  10. I always make it a point to say some variation of “Hello” upon entering a PuG. Beyond that, it depends on the group. I usually try to keep things light and humerous, making silly jokes here and there, but I don’t try and force conversation. At the end, I try and get out a quick “ty!” since people often drop group fast after the boss goes down.

    Some groups are super chatty and pleasant, others are silent and a chore to finish. Others you *wish* were silent. But ooh no, they just have to berate the hunter for being epic fail or the tank for not holding aggro well or what have you.

  11. Most of my pugs are quiet.

    Every once in a while, I get an absolutely crazily noisy person in there. They’re not talking to try to spark some conversation, but as far as I can tell are talking just to hear themselves talk. Perhaps to demonstrate to the world that they are so leet that they can do 3500 dps or whatever it is and still have time to type out a hundred words a minute. All it takes is the slightest bit of acknowledgment to keep this person happy. In truth, these are often very entertaining runs.

    I used to have a mod that would say things upon certain events. One of the things that seemed to spark conversation was when it would have me say “I like pancakes!” whenever someone looted something. That’s usually a good conversation starter.

    I remember a fun conversation I had as a result of that addon. When I cast a pyroblast, my addon would chime in with “This one’s for you, Jeremiah!” Someone in the party asked what that was about, so I had the opportunity to explain that Jeremiah was an ex-boyfriend who I wanted to pyroblast. I’m not sure if the person realized I was roleplaying my character rather than talking about a real boyfriend, but that was what made some of it fun.

    So I think the best way to spark some conversation in a pug is to get an addon like that (RPHelper 2 is the name of the one I used), program some personalized events into it, and see what happens. Usually it doesn’t get far beyond everyone agreeing that they like pancakes, but sometimes you can strike gold.

  12. *bursts into tears* I think I need a hug…

  13. My pugs can be a bit hit-or-miss in terms of conversation. I’ll always try to say hello at the start, as I throw up a prayer of fortitude, politely ask any paladins for kings *just* after they give me greater wisdom (ouch) and heal up any puggers who clearly joined the group mid-combat. Some groups will be completely silent until the quick “kai-thx-bye” after the final boss. Whereas others have had me in hysterical first of laughter. I remember one Mage who begged us to let him summon that orb thing in Utgarde Pinnacle in the statue room, telling us that it brings him unspeakable joy. His excitement made me giggle, especially when he told me he might be needing a new pair of pants! Pugs like this renew my faith in the Horde. My humble priest hit 80 only yesterday, so wish her luck as she ventures into the wonderful world of heroics!

  14. I usually say something along the lines of: “Thank you for saving me from trade chat!” as I enter the heroic. This usually gets a chuckle or two, and if people are feeling chatty they may start up a conversation about stupid chat they’ve seen.

  15. This post is spot in! I try to break the ice with a “hello” in the beginning, and during the instance I’ll try to make funny comments (making fun of Arthas blabbing on and on in CoS for example). Sometimes it makes the other players open up a little. Other times I get no reaction, but it never hurts to try.

    It is a little disappointing that players in PUGs don’t communicate with each other more often. However, it’s just the nature of fellow players sometimes, so I just roll with the group’s flow.

  16. One that I’ve found that works in starting a little chat is saying,”I swear I should just move my furniture here.” after you say hello. Everyone has one dungeon they seem to get more than others.hHoL seems to be the most common offender in that dept..

  17. Honestly, I almost prefer the quiet now. All too often the groups that I get that talk are all jerk offs. I remember tank wearing resilience enchants, ap enchants and 3 stam enchant
    screaming non-stop at the Druid healer because they couldn’t keep him alive in h.hor. Him and his 71/0/0 balance Druid friend /spitting on her non-stop.
    Or the priest who is non-stop for 20mins telling me on my kingslayer prot pally that I didn’t know how to tank because I wasn’t cleansing in h pos, cos he couldn’t be bothered.
    Unfortunately these aren’t even the exceptions anymore. I would say that of the groups that actually do converse, this is the majority of the conversation; bagging other players. Quiet, quick and efficient is my happy place now.

  18. I’m afraid I’m a fail tank/healer. I can’t type and tank or heal at the same time. I always say hello at the beginning, and occasionally I can spit out a comment or two if I’m ahead on the threat when tanking but I won’t try when healing!
    If we wipe or we have a moment I do enjoy a conversation. The one that really gets me that I’ve had a few times is when I’ve started to type/ask something and the impatient, silent dps go and pull for me (particularly when they’re hunters that misdirect to me). Perhaps you need some little icon that says you are currently typing – for slow people like me :)

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