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  1. #1

    Getting benched in raids - why it's a problem for half-casual guilds

    This topic comes up again and again and again in terms of class balancing. I'll try to summarize my thoughts and opinions on some usual arguments about it. It is focussed mostly on dps classes, but can also be applied (to a lesser extend, and a bit re-furmulated) to other roles.

    The difference between classes can make the difference between a kill and a wipe. The classes have different strengths, and that variance is good for the game. But the problem arises: When class x is awesome for dealing with situation y, and some others are bad for this situation, why not try to stack as many characters of class x for the boss? That is been done, mostly by hardcore guilds during progression. Those guilds are only a small amount of the raiding population, and an even smaller amount of the total WoW population. To erase that problem, an almost perfect class balancing in all situations has to be done, which is impossible. Thus, I don't see it as such a big problem compared to the benching in half casual guilds.


    But, when it should be easily possible to kill the bosses, with the gear the average guild has when it gets there, why are still people getting benched?


    1) They look to more hardcore guilds and imitate them.
    Obviously that is one of the reasons, and in my opinion it's a very important one. How to change or solve that (without completely homogenizing classes)? I have absolutely no idea.


    2) Differences in dps coming from the class are within a guild usually bigger than differences coming from the player.
    This is one argument I hear over and over again: You're in a bad guild, you have to get better than the others there. Obviously you won't get benched because you're better than everyone else.
    This is, in my opinion, completely wrong. The biggest difference between players is usually not if they can play their rotation. Sure, one plays it a bit better, another one plays it a bit worse. But that does, for most classes, not make a big difference. I'd say the margin within a guild is about 5% (with equal gear). The biggest difference is usually: How fast can they adapt to new mechanics / new combinations of already known mechanics? How fast can they master them, and while doing that play the damage rotation as good as possible? If on average your raid needs 30 tries for this to happen, there is no big difference if you are able to manage it in 10, 20 or 30 tries. The boss will not die until most of the raid has mastered this. And when most of the raids have mastered it, you probably do your 5% more, compared to what's possible with your class, than someone else, compared to what's possible with his/her class. But, only looking at single bosses, the differences between classes are usually a lot bigger than 5%.
    Now the question arises: Are those differences really what stops you from killing the boss?
    The answer: Depends. On an add-fight, 5% more DPS overall can mean a shitload more DPS on the boss. 5% can make the difference between the adds overwhelming the raid or being kept in check. Sha of Fear, the second phase, is probably the best example where a little higher DPS can make a phase much easier. Also on fights with tight enrage timers it makes a difference.

    The next argument that is brought up often: You all should get better, with your gear there is no reason to bench anyone, the fight is trivial. Guild Z has done it with less gear some months ago.
    In part, this is correct. If the whole guild would get better, everyone prepares for the boss, watches different videos, copies the char to the ptr to test the bosses there, ..., then the bosses would fall faster.
    But: For many half-casual guilds, that is considered too much investment. The easier way: Sit out class x, doesn't make such a big difference, but the boss will die 5 tries earlier.



    3) They lack other means to support the raid.
    According to GC, not all classes need a raid-CD. I agree. But all classes need a way to support their raid, in addition to their main role. I'm not talking about respeccing in between the fights, I'm talking about support for the raid during a fight. Let's imagine the scenario: Class x and class y are comparably strong in terms of their roles. Class x has a strong defensive CD for the raid, and class y has a strong defensive CD for himself. Usually class y will get benched.
    Note that also here not too much homogenization should come. But the differences in what classes bring to the raid, other than their standard role, are right now huge - there is almost no balancing in that regard. And thats mostly a result of the last patches / addons: Class A had something, then class B got something, then class C too, ... . And now, there are very few who bring almost nothing, or only very situational spells (e.g. 1 in every 15 bosses), and others have 2 or 3 things which are useful on every single boss.
    An example how much that can do: The guild I was in when I played actively had 4 shadows in their roster (25). A guild where "bring the player, not the class - although the progress suffers from it" is used (which I personally like). At a time they were not able to kill Horridon, or Ji'kun, or Tortos, ... . But, because they had 4 shadows, Iron Qon was really easy because of Divine Star. If those would've been 4 (insert class y), they would also not have been able to kill that boss, most likely.


    There are other points in my mind, but it's late and I can't write them in a conclusive and hopefully understandable way down now.

  2. #2
    On my guild we bench people that makes stupid mistakes until someone else makes another one, and keep rotating that way.

    Some examples are:
    You blow the raid up with ionization? Benched.
    You get killed by standing on [insert voidzone name here]? Benched.
    Some kind of adds wiped us and you didn't even target them? Benched.

    etc etc etc.

    Sometimes we rotate the whole raid a couple times on a night, sometimes we get the same raid the entire night.

    Something important is this: people is not benched for UNDERSTANDABLE mistakes, as we are a casual-ish guild and therefore don't expect perfect execution. Also everyone gets 5 trys on any given boss to see for himself what mechanics do.

  3. #3
    My guild has 11 raiders, the 11th guy is a bencher who isn't always on but generally can be when asked to..... anything beyond that and I think you're asking for problems. The 11th guy *has* to be someone that is ok with being benched, someone the guild has to know well already too. In my experience, anything past that number and you're asking for trouble. But generally if someone isn't pulling their weight, and you need them for one right, just bench em after if someone else is waiting, it's harsh, but it works.

  4. #4
    Casual guilds are not benching people because warlocks to 10k more dps than boomkins, they bench people because they stood in fire, played poorly and they have some player that are significantly better than them.

    I think the major problem is that most casual guilds have a huge difference in play skill between the players. Casual guilds often include some very good players that are just raiding with friends, dont have time for hardcore raiding or whatever the reason may be, aswell as the "friends" that are very bad.

    I hardcore guild got execeptional and extraordinary players, that matches better than having bad, average and good raiders in a casual guild.
    So I think this is the core problem, the difference in skill of players that often exist in a casual guild.

    Also, there is much easier to replace the "weak link" in a casual group than a hardcore group, since well, your casual raiders are worse, naturally there are more options of players to replace that person with. Easier to replace joe average than johny awesome.
    Volun-told - A supposedly optional event, award, assignment, or activity in which a person (or persons) are required to attend either by persons-in-charge nominating them or their peers expecting them to be there. The individual often has no say in the matter, and non-attendance in frowned upon.

    I am so tired of seeing terrible people, being admired, for being terrible people.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Inthislzon View Post
    Something important is this: people is not benched for UNDERSTANDABLE mistakes, as we are a casual-ish guild and therefore don't expect perfect execution. Also everyone gets 5 trys on any given boss to see for himself what mechanics do.
    The word "casual" does not apply to a raid group that benches people (perhaps) multiple times -a night- and has enough alternate people online and raid-ready to take their place.

  6. #6
    If you don't have a bench and someone warming it, then you're probably going to run into issues when people take breaks/vacations. 10-man groups should always have 11+ raiders (preferably just 11) and 25-man groups should have, I don't know, 30? Everyone should be prepared to be cycled through on a regular basis and you SHOULD cycle people through as often as possible.

    I say this as someone who was in a 10-man raid group with 10 people. We regularly had to pug and it cost us significantly in progression. I'd have been fine sitting out on single-tank fights as long as it meant that we were progressing. I'd expect the other people in the guild to feel the same way and, if they didn't, they should find another guild.


    If you're in a half-casual guild (whatever THAT is supposed to mean), then you don't necessarily need a bench, but you'll need to be prepared to deal with the issues I listed above.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsta View Post
    I'd say the margin within a guild is about 5% (with equal gear).
    Hahaha. Oh boy. You haven't been around much have you? I don't remember any guild I've seen/been in, where the difference between top and bottom performers was 5% or less. And I pug a lot (mostly 8 or 9 out of 10 guildies) so I've seen my fair share of groups.

    Not sure what exactly you mean by half-casual guilds, but if it's not hardcore progress, and you're being sat out, either you suck or the managment sucks. Anyone with half a brain can immediatly see why 10m guilds with just 10 people won't work; in general, yeah there are exceptions. 95% attendance still means pugging or canceling for 40% of raids if you roll with just 10, amazing! So there needs to be an overlay, 11-13 or whatever you feel is nice. For some reason some raidleaders want a core 10 and then 1 person to just fill in when it's really needed, which again, probably won't work as it will unlikely satisfy mister/miss #11. Obvious choice being just swap in/out for bosses. On progress you can make best set-up, on farm you can check loot table. I don't think anyone is really sad to miss out on 1 or 2 out of 12 bosses if that is what makes them have a guaranteed raid every time as planned. If you get sat out entire nights, I'd say look for another guild really; you may not be good enough or they just use you as the filler spot for when things don't go as planned.

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Inthislzon View Post
    On my guild we bench people that makes stupid mistakes until someone else makes another one, and keep rotating that way.

    Some examples are:
    You blow the raid up with ionization? Benched.
    You get killed by standing on [insert voidzone name here]? Benched.
    Some kind of adds wiped us and you didn't even target them? Benched.

    etc etc etc.

    Sometimes we rotate the whole raid a couple times on a night, sometimes we get the same raid the entire night.

    Something important is this: people is not benched for UNDERSTANDABLE mistakes, as we are a casual-ish guild and therefore don't expect perfect execution. Also everyone gets 5 trys on any given boss to see for himself what mechanics do.
    I don't like the sound of that, honestly. People make mistakes. But, I'm in a guild where we clear up to normal and that's good enough. We also have 10 reliable raiders and that's about it. If people can't make it, we get replacements for the week, but overall, we'd never rotate raiders and bench others as it would cause a lot of useless drama and garbage like that. But, as I said, we aren't exactly into crazy heroic raiding, so I can see why your way would be useful for harder progression.

  9. #9
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    We do our rotation on farm bosses to let everyone get their loot and kills, and we use a loot/boss list to help make it smooth.
    For progression we use whatever people, classes and spec that will make the fight easiest.
    Personally i raid on 3 classes lol.
    Our aim is to have a ~14 man rooster, rather rotate than not raid at all...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Derpette View Post
    Hahaha. Oh boy. You haven't been around much have you? I don't remember any guild I've seen/been in, where the difference between top and bottom performers was 5% or less. And I pug a lot (mostly 8 or 9 out of 10 guildies) so I've seen my fair share of groups.
    Since US beta (though I didn't level to 60 there). And I raided from classic MC till T14 ( with some breaks of 2-3 months), been a guild leader for 3 years and a raid leader for 5. I never played "hardcore" in terms of raiding, except probably the beginning of classic. So yes, I have been around for quite some time. And usually, we didn't sit players because of the class. We asked who wanted to pass, and of those who wanted we picked someone who isn't needed that much. But benching players is a common phenomenon, though to the reasons stated in the OP.
    Within a guild, nowadays, the difference within a class with equal gear is usually not over 5%. If you PUG, and take random guys with you which you don't know, anything can happen. Usually the big differences come from either gear, or from the class (which is my point). Not because one of two players, where none of them is really bad, is better.
    Though you have a point that the difference can be much higher. We had players who did ~50% of the damage than the others, with comparable gear. Those did not manage to get through the trial.
    The next point is: I'm speaking about the average, not about some lucky / unlucky streaks. E.g. for firemages or WW monks the difference in single tries can be much higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derpette View Post
    Not sure what exactly you mean by half-casual guilds, but if it's not hardcore progress, and you're being sat out, either you suck or the managment sucks.
    Poor wording there by me. I mean that which is called "semi-hardcore" usually. That is quite a wide array of guilds.
    And the second argument: Because it's brought over and over and over again, I made this thread (it's one of the reasons). It was about trying to show that this argument simply does not work in reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derpette View Post
    Anyone with half a brain can immediatly see why 10m guilds with just 10 people won't work; in general, yeah there are exceptions. 95% attendance still means pugging or canceling for 40% of raids if you roll with just 10, amazing! So there needs to be an overlay, 11-13 or whatever you feel is nice.
    Obviously. That leads to benching, but is not seen as a problem, because as you said, else you woldn't be able to raid at all (or would have to search the trade chan).

    Quote Originally Posted by Derpette View Post
    I don't think anyone is really sad to miss out on 1 or 2 out of 12 bosses if that is what makes them have a guaranteed raid every time as planned. If you get sat out entire nights, I'd say look for another guild really; you may not be good enough or they just use you as the filler spot for when things don't go as planned.
    The problem arises when class balancing is so bad, or bosses are designed so similarly, that on most of the bosses you only preferrably sit out classes x and z. Sure there are always single bosses where some classes shine. But generally some classes are just better for most things than others. As an example (since I played WW in the end): Rogue vs WW. There aren't that many bosses in T15, if you're trying to optimize your raid setup, where you want to take the WW. Especially in times of progress, when the WW most likely has no RoRo.


    On a sidenote: This thread is not here to defend, promote or judge the use of benching. It's to start a discussion anf fishing for opinions about it and the reasons it is done.
    And class balancing has greatly been improved over the last years, I simply don't understand why they don't want to do the last steps (probably because it would screw up PvP balancing even more, I don't know).
    Last edited by Forsta; 2013-07-30 at 07:15 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forsta View Post
    The problem arises when class balancing is so bad, or bosses are designed so similarly, that on most of the bosses you only preferrably sit out classes x and z. Sure there are always single bosses where some classes shine. But generally some classes are just better for most things than others. As an example (since I played WW in the end): Rogue vs WW. There aren't that many bosses in T15, if you're trying to optimize your raid setup, where you want to take the WW. Especially in times of progress, when the WW most likely has no RoRo.
    first time i actually struggle with class comp this tier is for magaera heroic, where its portals+cookies with low dps or much higher dps but no utility.
    And in the end, im leaning towards taking the high dps players as it will result in heads dyin faster, adds dyin faster, beams handled better.

    I think you're reading to much into class balancing tbh, i woulda loved a paladin this tier, but in the end, it only slowed us down 2-3 resets and we aint going for world firsts

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Inthislzon View Post
    Some kind of adds wiped us and you didn't even target them? Benched.
    That one is situational...if the adds are miles from the boss and have low hp for example, it's no use having melee run over there unless you're in a 10-man with only 1 ranged or something. (plus there's some classes/specs that have terrible aoe and wouldn't be able to do any kind of effective dps on the adds even if they were near the boss).
    Last edited by Staticus; 2013-07-30 at 09:40 AM.

  13. #13
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    I run a determindy social raid guild - I will only remove someone from the raid if they are making it impossible to complete the fight due to exceptionally low dps or something else uncarryable.

    I always apologise when I remove them, and give them enough chances to get stuff right that it's almost always accepted with good grace.

    I'll do everything possible to get people who want to raid into a raid - if they turn up for me, they are owed a shot. If we have too many people show up, it's rotation by week or possibly by night.

    The biggest problems I face with benching are these

    1) You bench someone too soon, they become disheartened and might quit earlier than they really should. Some of the best players I have seen started shite and learned.

    2) You don't bench someone soon enough, the rest of the raid gets irritated.

    3) Bringing a benched player back in means a period of relearning on a lot of fights, slowing the whole thing down.

    4) Benched players are more likely to leave for somewhere else. This is especially a problem when progress is slow.

    The real reason for benching players is that the normal raids are overtuned, which coupled with the fact that there is nowhere else to learn the skills needed to raid can mean frustration all round. Example - we had a guy this week, i'd seen him in a HC scenario, had good dps. Brought him to the raid, he did fine on jinrokh/horridon. Got to council and "captain sandtrap" is now how I think of him. His dps dropped like a stone because it was taking all his mental effort to avoid shit on the floor*. There is nowhere to find that out except in the raid itself.

    From the guys perspective, he was offered the chance to raid and then he's had it cruely taken away again. his issue with benching will be that the game (or his raid leader) seems arbitary and learning to play right is insurmountably difficult because theres nowhere else for him to go practice. To improve, he'll just have to wait for another chance to embarass himself in front of 9 other people. Not good.


    *yeah, yeah he's bad. You are a horrible person if this was your first thought, go fuck yourself.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Inthislzon View Post
    On my guild we bench people that makes stupid mistakes until someone else makes another one, and keep rotating that way.

    Some examples are:
    You blow the raid up with ionization? Benched.
    You get killed by standing on [insert voidzone name here]? Benched.
    Some kind of adds wiped us and you didn't even target them? Benched.

    etc etc etc.

    Sometimes we rotate the whole raid a couple times on a night, sometimes we get the same raid the entire night.

    Something important is this: people is not benched for UNDERSTANDABLE mistakes, as we are a casual-ish guild and therefore don't expect perfect execution. Also everyone gets 5 trys on any given boss to see for himself what mechanics do.
    Sounds pretty hardcore to me. I can't imagine what a pita that is, and how much time it adds to pulls, but I guess to each their own. Just pray for no lag, or else you're screwed.

    My guild is pretty fair about rotations. We don't push content super hard, and we have a fairly light roster (~30 people for 25m guild), so we pretty much limit rotations to a)who needs loot from what boss and b)who keeps screwing up mechanics and/or has lowest dps, but that typically only applies if we're wiping repeatedly to a farm boss, or maybe after the first hour or two of pulls on a new boss.

    My last guild, despite being more casual than my current guild, felt the need to emulate hardcore guilds on heroic spine, and attempted stacking burst classes (despite 25% nerf at the time). It was annoying to say the least, because thousands of guilds had killed it before us without having to class stack.

  15. #15
    So running with the best players/setup available to you in your roster is now considered hardcore?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by KClovesGaming View Post
    I don't like the sound of that, honestly. People make mistakes. But, I'm in a guild where we clear up to normal and that's good enough. We also have 10 reliable raiders and that's about it. If people can't make it, we get replacements for the week, but overall, we'd never rotate raiders and bench others as it would cause a lot of useless drama and garbage like that. But, as I said, we aren't exactly into crazy heroic raiding, so I can see why your way would be useful for harder progression.
    10/13 H atm. Yesterday animus was at 30% with just a bit over 80 anima and the add tank died, wiping us at ~20%. We started being just 10 for the "let's raid all together" but real life happens. Today your mage got sick, next week your tank goes on vacation, 2 days later a healer gets extra work and can't make it to raid. We have 13 raiders atm, and that's considering it's summer, so usually 10-11 every night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Staticus View Post
    That one is situational...if the adds are miles from the boss and have low hp for example, it's no use having melee run over there unless you're in a 10-man with only 1 ranged or something. (plus there's some classes/specs that have terrible aoe and wouldn't be able to do any kind of effective dps on the adds even if they were near the boss).
    It's a given that when i speak about "not focusing adds" i'm assuming you are supossed to be hitting them. Our melee generally don't switch to adds (we have 1-2 melee, so plenty of rangeds to target swap)

  17. #17
    Players being benched because of their class should only happen if every player is playing their class to it's maximum potential and it's still not enough.

    Below 'top 500' guild kind-of level you probably shouldn't see class-based benching.

    We recently downed Lei Shen for the 1st time (normal mode) and we're quite chuffed with ourselves but we did have to say goodbye to a trialist during our attempts. He simply didn't cut the mustard as a healer or in our 3-man corner team. He also died frequently to lightning lash and a few other mechanics and eventually we had to replace him (timely log-in from our resto druid). Three pulls later we had the kill.

    This was very much a case of bad player, not bad class but it is a good reason to bench someone.

    In raiding, each player has a job to do. Raiding is fun but it gets less fun doing the same boss over & over, especially when it's someone else's fault it's not happening. Raiding is much more fun when people are doing their jobs well and you're killing bosses. It is in 9/10 (or 10/11) people's interest to bench a bad player for the benefit of the rest.

    Injin is very-much right though in that some raid leaders are far too happy to bench people very soon when actually leaving them in will probably improve them as a player.

    An old raid leader of mine (a tank) used to threaten to bench people frequently if they screwed up which got very frustrating. When we finally got to a fight where tanks had somewhat complex mechanics to deal with he screwed up the fight for us over & over & over again. We had another tank online on the bench and I was a part-time raid leader for us & happy to take over but he wouldn't bench himself. One our more outspoken raiders told him "Bench yourself or I'll go find something better to do". We did one more pull, he screwed it up again, refused to bench himself and half the raid /gquit, myself included. We started up a new guild that night.

    Benching is fine to do so long as it is done graciously, calmly and without favouritism.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by aere1985 View Post
    Below 'top 500' guild kind-of level you probably shouldn't see class-based benching.
    I kind of agree with this sentiment, only partially. I raid in a casual guild that runs a semi-deep roster. 2 tanks, 7 DPS and 2 healers. Obviously the healers and tanks have a guaranteed spot in this situation so it makes 6 spots for 7 people.

    Typically we just see who needs loot from the boss and then usually one person doesn't need anything or it's side-grade. If everyone needs it then we look at the fight mechanics (if it isn't 4 weeks on farm). If a fight, like Council and Iron Q, that requires a set amount of melee to make it work, then we are going to bring the extra melee in-favor of the ranged. If it's a fight where there are many punishing melee mechanics, then we take the extra ranged. If all things are equal and everyone still needs loot then we are bringing the smarter player who learns from their mistakes, that has higher DPS, and more than likely is vocal in raid about problems that are arising.

    We view benching sometimes as a need-to-do thing, and every raider in our group gets that but sometimes, we will have to make the swap if you are just playing, as we call it at Veritas, "a floor puppet".

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by RickJamesLich View Post
    My guild has 11 raiders, the 11th guy is a bencher who isn't always on but generally can be when asked to..... anything beyond that and I think you're asking for problems. The 11th guy *has* to be someone that is ok with being benched, someone the guild has to know well already too. In my experience, anything past that number and you're asking for trouble. But generally if someone isn't pulling their weight, and you need them for one right, just bench em after if someone else is waiting, it's harsh, but it works.
    I love my Raid leader because he's like: "wanna know why you are benched? because you are bad compared to our standards and you're slowing our progression/farm and people is annoyed by you. You will get your spot back when we are confident enough to carry you. If this is not good for you, feel free to leave".
    Wanna know why he is a good raid leader? Because he is the first who steps back while underperforming. Everyone in the raid is now well aware on how he is doing, and ready to give his spot to someone else for the sake of better progression and faster farm. We all know our time will come eventually.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by noskillz View Post
    I love my Raid leader because he's like: "wanna know why you are benched? because you are bad compared to our standards and you're slowing our progression/farm and people is annoyed by you. You will get your spot back when we are confident enough to carry you. If this is not good for you, feel free to leave".
    Wanna know why he is a good raid leader? Because he is the first who steps back while underperforming. Everyone in the raid is now well aware on how he is doing, and ready to give his spot to someone else for the sake of better progression and faster farm. We all know our time will come eventually.
    Yah IMO the best raiders are the ones that are honest when they make a mistake but willing to improve upon it.

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