Thursday, December 13, 2012

Being Talkative: The Unspoken Skill

You could call it communication but it is not that.  Communication is saying I will get the first interrupt, you get the second and bob will get the third and we will rotate.  Everyone knows communication is a key to success in the game and that good communication is a skill.  Being talkative is something people rarely mention.  People that are talkative and personable in the way they talk will always advance faster.

It is a case that we all have seen and you can usually peg the talkative person in a pug pretty quickly.  They will talk in raid, or speak in the voice chat you are using it, but not necessarily about what you are doing, just talk.  Not overly much, but idle chit chat.  They are a personable person and usually appear to be in a good mood and chatty.

When it comes to skills in game this is the one I am lacking the most.  I do not like to chit chat.  If there is a task at hand, deal with it, talk about it, I do not give a crap if you just saw this funny cat video.  I am there to do a job and that is what we should be doing and talking about.  Call it business like, call it focused, call it bland, it can be called many things, but it most certainly can not be called being talkative. 

Even if I am the only one talking and explaining a fight, it is not talkative, that is different.  Talkative is being friendly.  That is not me.  I don't play the game to make friends and it shows.  As I said, this is the skill I am lacking the most, I just need to learn how to fake it.

What brought this to mind?  A combination of two things from yesterday.  One I saw myself while doing the looking for raid and the other was something a friend was talking about when challenged by someone else on their server.

In the LFR there was a healer that started speaking the second we zoned in.  Idle chit chat, the stuff friendly people talk about with each other except this was not a group of friends.  I guess the skill of being talkative has no off switch.  Either way he made it clear he was the alpha male healer by putting himself front line and being talkative, basically letting people know he is there, he is a nice person, and he is going to do the best he can.  Coming across quite personable if you will.

Two fights into the run one of the other healers asked how they managed to get all that gear.  The talkative healer was in half heroic gear and half normal gear.  He clearly has raided and been successful, or lucky, enough to get a fair deal of gear.  He said that his guild is decent and can get down at least 4 heroic bosses a week.  Okay, that is fair, at least he was not being a braggart about it, but then again a person that is a master of the skill of being talkative will never call anyone else out.  They will be confident in their ability while never putting down another person in the process.  Hence the reason they end up liked so much.

The healer posted the healing meters and the heroic geared healer was 3rd, well behind two much lesser geared healers and the tank said, how do you heal heroic with those numbers.  The healer, being the master of being talkative, did not get defensive and said that while they did not seem exceptional he has the achievements to prove they are all that is needed to down at least some of the bosses on heroic.  How can anyone argue with that.  He did down bosses and while his numbers were less than my 470 geared priest alt can do, he did not make some excuse like he was not trying here or that this was trivial content so why pump the numbers.  He was a master of the being talkative skills for sure.  The conversation ended, we moved on, and this heroic geared healer basically got carried on the next two fights in terrace as he finished 5th in both.

The second event was when a rogue on my friends server was stating they were the best rogue on the server, a little arrogant but said in good humor no doubt, and someone else said that they were not even in the top 20 on the server they responded, then how come I have the best gear.

My friend asked me my opinion of that and I said gear means nothing.  While gear makes you capable of doing more if you are not skilled enough you will never get the potential out of that gear.  People can have fantastic gear and subpar ability.  It happens more than you would think.  I might even go as far as saying that half the people with heroic raid gear are less skilled than the average LFRer.  They just invest more time in raiding and eventually they get it down.  Repetition pays off.

The friend in question had pugged a HoF 25 man on his server over the weekend with the self proclaimed best rogue on the server and beat him on every fight.  He not only beat him but beat him by at least 25K on every single fight there.

He started to feel down on himself that he can beat this rogue so easily, had that day and in previous pugs this expansion, but he can never get gear.  After we talked a little and he answered a few questions I asked about the rogue, he asked me if I knew who he was talking about.  I said no, I do not know him, but I know his type.  He is the talkative type.  The one that is personable and friendly and everyone likes them so they take him along.  It is not about skill, it is because people like to have him around.  That is why he has all that gear.

My friends response was quite humorous if you ask me with what he said once he got the grasp of what I was saying.  You mean he is like the girl that always gets an invite to the raid just because she is a girl and has a cute voice on vent.  I said, exactly.  It has nothing to do with skill, people just like having him around just like all those horny teenagers like to have the girls around because they are girls.

Being talkative is the unspoken skill, no one talks about it oddly enough.  The skill to get people to like you and invite you to things just from what you say is powerful in game.  It is of course more than just being talkative, you have to be good in a group setting and personable but it is the act of talking and getting yourself noticed that sets the whole thing in motion.

It is why that rogue on my friends server is the best geared rogue on the server even if his skills are lacking.  It is why that paladin healer was decked out in heroics even if his healing skills were questionable at best.  Both of those people got their gear because they were in groups that could down the content.  Both those people could have easily been replaced with people that were better, much better, but they were talkative, friendly, and likable, so their guild keeps them around and in turn they get the gear eventually.

It is the talkative personally thing that leads these people to success well past where their ability alone would take them.

It was not his skill as a player that made the rogue the best geared on his server, it was his skill at being the talkative type that did.

One might ask, how do I master that?  I would be glad to give you some tips, but remember, they are coming from the type of person that is not the talkative type.  I would rather not raid at all and have zero progression before I would play the role of the talkative person and become friends with someone just to get a spot on a raid team.

Five tips to mastering the skill of being talkative:

1) Make Yourself Known:
Joining in on the conversation is a good way to get your name out there.  If you stay silent, you stay unknown.
2) Be Friendly:
A true master of the talkative arts is a friendly person.  They do not talk down on people and always have nice words to offer.  That is why people like having them around.
3) Be Upbeat:
No one wants to hear people all happy they wiped a few times but they don't want to hear someone whining about it either.  A talkative person will break the tension after a hard wipe with a small joke, but not one at the expense of another.
4) Be Available:
Talkative is not just about talking when you want to get somewhere but being talkative when others might need someone to talk to.  Listening is just as important for the master of the talkative.
5) Don't Be Me:
Grumpy does not work for the talkative type.  People do not want to hear someone complain all the time, even more so in a pug, don't be grumpy.

In the end, being talkative opens doors.  Being talkative and personable when doing so will get you remembered more for the fact people like having you around then for your skills.  Every time you see someone doing poorly in great gear you can be almost sure they are probably a pretty cool person to have around, or at least some crew thinks they are, and that is why they have that gear.

When it comes to most middle of the road guilds, no matter what anyone might tell you, how you interact with others is what will win you the raiding spot over skill most of the time as long as you are not a complete disaster of a player.  Remember, all middle of the road guilds are more about enjoying the time they raid than they are about progression and a talkative person with a good personality and at least decent in game skills will always get a raid spot in the end.

This old dog can never learn that new trick, but maybe it will work for one of you.  Go out and work on being talkative.  If it is gear you are looking for, it will pay off, trust me.


  1. Oh Grumpy, cat got your tongue? (O.>)

    Anyway, you know about this, yeah, you do - in wow terms those at higher gear levels can reach those levels by being talkative, and need very little actual class ability to perform in a raid or instance - in a nut shell it is called"The Dolson Principle" from "Rule Zero" by D. Dolson Dolson (yes, a double Dolson there). And I do apologize to him for changing his quote. :)

    I like your insight today Grump.

    Back when I did do some small raiding and instances, I would have vent (or teamspeak) installed but I did not speak - I did not have a mike to use. So, I learned to listen and follow directions.

    -roo "and I thought I didnt need to to think today. dang"

    1. Not saying skill is not required, it is. You can only get so far with little or none of it. What I am saying is that you will be more likely to play above your ability or be invited to play with others above your ability if you come off as a likeable person that people want around.

      I am going to have to read up about that one, have not heard it before.

    2. I know what you are saying, my friend. Just giving you some more food for thought. But really? you are interested in something I said? :D you can download the book, for free in pdf. Just go here -

      Now you won't find the quote I made, but it is "the higher the management level, the easier the job." Those in the middle and lower levels of organizations really need to know what they are doing, and are highly accountable, while those at higher levels can reach those levels politically and/or by luck, and need very little actual ability or knowledge to perform their jobs.

      Info on WOW and corporations :D

      -roo "is it live or is it Memorex?" - "Don't know, don't care, just kill it"

    3. That is how business works. The higher up you get the less work you need to do and the less ability is required to do it.

  2. Just a quick comment on the healer - I have noticed that mnay healers overcompensate. They have tremendous overheals, and will stand there pumping out heals when there is no incoming damage. Many healers have learned to compete for a top place on the meters, much like DPS, and this is one of the biggest detriments to raiding with non-guild members. Healing is not, and should not be looked at as a competitive endeavor. Healers are there to support, and that's all they should be doing.

    That heroic-geared healer was likely healing as-needed, which is the way it should be. What's the point is wasting cooldowns and mana that might actaully be needed later in the fight?

    1. People were dying left and right, it was not as if their heals were not needed, they just were not there. You can not judge a healer just by numbers but you can judge a healer by numbers when people are dying and their numbers are low. If their numbers were higher those people would not die.

      It is kind of like a connection. The better the DPS the lower the heals need to be. Hence the reason I often preach here that DPS is the most important role in the game. It makes everyone life easier.

    2. Even the best healer can't save an idiot.

    3. And the LFR is just full of them.

      Not sure if it is just my luck or if it is every group, but I have never been in a LFR where both tanks didn't die at least once on the third boss in terrace. Not sure who to blame there, could be bad healers, could be bad tanks, but either way, the tanks always die.

  3. I have ninety million alts and I spend a fair amount in LFD. I talk a LOT. Talking always seems like a skill that requires positive feedback, though.

    I like to find something small that might be amusing and start with that. Even emotes can work. I have been doing a lot of /flirts with blood elf men to see what they'll do, because I play Goblins and Forsaken. Sometimes people just emote back, which is ok. Sometimes, though, you encounter somebody who jokes back, like this dude:

    ... and that day had a bit more humor injected into it. I actually wound up hanging around and questing with him while waiting for the DPS queue to pop again.

    Sometimes, though, you just get in a group where no one will say ANYTHING EVER. I imagine this type of group as a failed game of Pong. You are successful in Pong when you can keep the ball (the conversation, as it were) bouncing back and forth. But if one side misses it, it goes off into the void ... oops. If that keeps happening, the momentum is lost and people want to stop playing Pong (or having a conversation, to keep my silly metaphor).

    So yes, trying is good. But let it come naturally too, because forcing the conversation when the other people don't want to bother is just going to depress the bejeesus outta you.

    1. The positive returns are part of the skill of being talkative. As you said, you need positive feedback, or you need to adjust how you talk to fit your crowd, you are dead right there.

      I am not a talkative person myself. I will say hello, and thanks for the run and usually, unless asked, that is all I will say. If someone asks everyone how their day was, I will answer, if anyone asks for what the fight is about I will explain. I am just horrible in every sense of the word at making small talk with people I do not know. I do it at work all day long, not sure why it is so hard for me in a game.

    2. I'm not a very talkative person either. I think I have some sort of word quota per day that I can't exceed... LOL.

      For example, if I have lots of meetings at work, I don't want to talk anymore when I get home. But I don't chit-chat very much anyways; never have.

      I'll be talkative sometimes in guild chat but I've been in the guild for 2 years so everybody knows me and I feel comfortable. I don't really talk in random groups unless I'm giving strategies or just saying 'hi', 'tks', etc.

      I don't care about being talkative to get carried in raids... I'd rather sit out than be carried...

    3. I am like that too. I can talk with guild people but I have been with them for many years, most of the core at least, so it feels different. I can get that.

  4. When LFR-ing, half my guildies try to die so they can slack. The other half tries to just afk during the fight. it's rare they actually want to dps, to top the meters and be 50-70k over the rest of the LFR people. I get pissed off and tell them I can't slack since I can't afk as tank. They tell me to just join as dps in my prot spec and lose myself in the crowd. So ye, heroic geared people may or (most of the time) not care to put in effort for LFR. LFR is not a place to compare skill and gear.

    Repetition is the mother of learning, as they say. You learn reactions. You learn awareness. You learn your class, not just the encounter.

    Numbers... Take Tsulong. Our priest was top heals there but had half the heals theother two did on Tsulong himself. Was taking ages to throw in mass dispell and so on. Logs is where I look at stuff.

    An amazing player will always get noticed even if they don't open their mouth. But true, most people like playing with a group of people, not just pixels.

    1. No offense to your guild mates but I would never play with people like that. They are the problem with the game. I do a guild LFR and if someone does that in my guild run I do not invite them back.

      You do not need to be great, I do not care if someone is even a bad player, but I will have absolutely nothing to do with anyone that does not even try.

      There is one person in my guild that is kick happy and always slacks in LFR because they think everyone else does it so why can't I. I will not run anything with them.

      When I see someone in good gear doing poorly I think one of two things. They are either a bad player that got carried or they are a bad person that thinks they are too good to even need to try. I can't see why anyone would want to project that image of themselves. I can not and will not ever be able to understand why people act like that.

      Yes, an amazing player will get noticed and it will never be just about the numbers. An amazing player will stand out with everything they do. "IF" someone looks for them. Speaking up and at least being known will get people to know you are there to be looked at. 99.9% of the time in a pug, unless the guild is looking to recruit your class, being amazing alone is not enough.

    2. @James: I'd find another guild if I were you.

  5. "People that are talkative and personable in the way they talk will always advance faster."
    Likely, but not necessarily.
    People who are just personable will. People who are just talkative will not.
    Pointless chat can be an irritation, particularly in situations demanding concentration.
    Knowing when NOT to contribute is as much a skill as knowing when to!
    Talking might not be your thing. Cool. Don't worry!
    Forcing someone to chat is like forcing him / her into too-small clothes. Everyone knows and everything tears.
    Far better a knowledgeable & fun person (with a few wisecracks) than a blabbermouth, with nothing constructive to offer!

    1. I agree, someone that talks too much, at the wrong time, or about inappropriate topics will never help their case, but they are also not the talkative type of person I mean. I mean the talkative personable type.

  6. I'd have to disagree about that part on heroics, especially in progression guilds. In progression guilds, raid leaders do examine logs and other information very closely.

    If your dps for example is abnormally low, they RL will want an explanation. If your class is doing poorly for example, they will look it up. Depending on the raid comp, you may be benched, asked to play an alt, or to simply do your best (usually they'll want a plan though for how you'll want to improve).

    No amount of social "likability" will get you a raid spot in such an environment. I'd have to disagree that half the people in heroic progression are there because they are "liked". In heroic progression, especially the fights where first kills are often seconds away from the enrage timer or pushing the limits of the gear they are currently wearing, there's no room for anybody that does not perform.

    That is how it should be. Players should be judged based on their skill and attitude, not whether they are extroverted or introverted. In fact, during raids, being social in such settings is discouraged - it's all about getting the boss down in as short a time as possible. Anything that distracts people can and should be discussed outside of raids. Only boss strategies and perhaps class optimization.

    I have as other players have mentioned, noticed that many progression raiders do not put in the amount of effort in LFR as they do in a progression run. As a tank, I do not have that luxury, but I can understand why they do it. They do it because they do not wish to feel taken advantage of. Often even without trying, a progression raider will find themselves at the top of the meters and in their eyes, "carrying" the rest. That's probably something you will not be able to understand but that is the truth. Is it hypocritical? Probably.

    Does it matter? Not really from a progression guild standpoint, the only thing that matters is how they do in guild progression runs. So long as people put 110% there, that's the only thing that matters. You undoubtedly disagree, but it's the reality.

    1. When I was doing heroic progression for DS, I agree that I did not put as much effort into LFR. But that meant I was giving 110% to progression but still giving 90% to LFR. If I dps well in LFR, it will make my life easier because the boss dies faster, less chance of a wipe, etc. I'm not going to min-max LFR but I'm not going to be the asshat at the bottom of the dps charts auto-attacking in heroic raid gear. I don't care if they're from a world ranked progression guild, if they're taking advantage of the group, they don't deserve to be there. Of course, this ties in with Grumpy's post about accountability.

    2. I was not talking a progression guild, I am talking a casual guild.

      However, even in a progression guild, as long as you are capable even if not exceptional, being likable can be the deciding factors between two near similarly skilled players. It means a lot.

      I understand what you are saying about the progression raiders not giving 100%. I don't either. I do not flask, I do not eat, I do not pre pot, I do not do anything extra, and like you said, I am still leaps and bound over anyone else. As it should be.

      I am not saying the good players should go in there like it were a real raid, I am saying they should go in there and do what they do to get in and out ASAP and not slack off and act horrible because "everyone else sucks".

      I will never understand why someone would want to do badly on purpose. If anyone does, it says something about their character and that is not anything good.

      In the end I would rather be 50K over every DPS and think I carried them than dilly dally and have the fights take longer and be harder on them which in turn would make it harder on me. I want it over with as fast as possible.

      As Jaeger said, making the fight faster is better for everyone. Like him I do not care if they are the #1 player in their class in the world, if they are taking advantage of the group they do not deserve to be there, progression raider or not.