The Bench Warmers

Bench WarmerI want people to want to raid with us. I want us to have a pool of raiders that is greater than our need. I want people to be able to “take a night off” and not have it prevent us from raiding.

This means that we’ll end up with a situation where we need 25 people and have 30 people available.

How do you choose who goes? How do you keep it fair so that the 5 people who aren’t chosen stay in the guild and have a fair chance at going “next time”?

Right now we’re very bad at this. I want to get better.

I dislike the idea of telling the raid that 5 people need to volunteer to not go. The 30 people showed up for the raid because they want to raid. Asking 5 of them to opt out just seems like it’s heading for frustration and unhappiness.

Fiancee (guild leader) suggested that it should be the responsibility of the Raid Leader to pick the 5 people to sit out. I agree with him that in the end is should be the Raid Leader’s decision.. but I want to establish some kind of rules so that the raiders don’t feel that the Raid Leader is just picking their favorite people to go.

– Give preference to players who signed up for the raid and showed up on time and prepared.
– Fill roles and required classes first (If we must have 2 warlocks for this raid.. and only 2 warlocks showed up, those two are guaranteed spots).
– If roles/classes can’t be filled with the “mains” that showed up start looking among the alts.
– Give preference to people who didn’t go last time. (I guess this means we’ll need to track who was asked to sit out previous raids). (Caveat here.. I really want to raid on my main.. but because we lack healers I’m often asked to change to my alt.. I want to raid on my main so saying “Nibuca needs to sit out this week because she raided with us last week” when I raided last week on my Pally at your request.. doesn’t seem terribly fair.)
– Penalize people who sign up for raids but don’t show up.

The question is.. how do you implement this? Really, I’m looking for ideas.. I don’t want to re-invent existing wheels.

10 thoughts on “The Bench Warmers

  1. Your proposed guidelines sound really good. My experience is that if you encourage people, strongly, to sign up ahead of time then eventually you can get to a point where your entire raid force is signing up ahead of time and you can announce benching ahead of time. (Make sure there’s a caveat that people on the bench may still get a raid spot if there are no-shows.) That takes a lot of the sting out of it, if people know in advance that they’re not likely to actually be in the raid.

    I just used a spreadsheet to track attendance, so I could see who’d signed up but failed to show regularly, who was meeting our 75% attendance criterion, who’d had their fair share of raid spots, and so on.

  2. I agree that raid scheduling is a nightmare, but I’ve also been a benchwarmer… and I don’t like it and its contributed to me not wanting to raid at the moment because of the other things I can’t plan in real life.. and in Game, because I’m waiting to see if I get a raid or not. I don’t mind sitting out, I just need notice so I can plan otherwise.

    on the other other hand, you can’t account for everything including , ISP’s, weather, computer issues, personal emergencies, Work ect ect.. so you need reserves.
    In an ideal world a preapproved sign up list of the people who are approved should be available a couple of hours before raid and an incentive to be available if I wasn’t on the approved sign up, if I got selected to come. ( this is assuming that everyone is appropriatley geared for the said run. – no nana runs.. ) I don’t agree with being made to feel ‘grateful’ that I got a run at all.
    The incentive would only work if the benchwarmer was needed for the run. because an approved raider pulled out after cut off time for the roster. It could be something as basic as repair costs cover for the run, or depending on the financial soundness of guild funds, a Stipend, pick of the Guild bank ( within reason) Eg Double DKP points for that run only.. This would all need to be agreed on, and while not discounting the contribution of the approved people, its acknowlegding the time, and preparedness that the Sub put in to be there,

  3. We use a browser based tool called Raid Ninja. Everyone needs to sign up by Tuesday night for the weekly raid (we only do 25 man raiding once a week). We have 25 regulars and then subs. If a regular space becomes available the officers select who should be a regular based on individual performance, needs to the raid and etc and then they are told.

    jezraels last blog post..Standing up for Druidic rights

  4. In my previous guild, we used to run with a raid planner, have people sign up way in advance and then 1-2 hours before the raid, see them cancel because something came up, or they mixed up dates, etc and you’d get a cancelled raid on a regular basis. Not because our member base was too small due to underrecruiting, but because some classes simply don’t fill up as easily as others. We’d penalize people for not showing up without notice and people would come up with the wildest excuses (someone’s grandmother died 2 times), we’d have a list of backups who every raid would bug every officer asking “so am I in tonight” every 15 seconds, …

    Now in my current guild, you’re requested to be online every raid night 15 minutes prior to raid start. The raid leader picks 25 people, depending on where we’re going (the 25 best if it’s a progression night, a mixed crowd if it’s a farm run so that the “lesser gods” can gear up as well), and then asks for backups. People on backup are required to be able to log on in 2 minutes so usually they stick around playing alts, or log off but stay on Vent so that we can simply shout out for them to log on. Everybody gets the same amount of dkp whether you’re on backup or in the raid, so really the only thing you are missing in progression raids is the actual fighting (and wiping). It works a lot better and we have almost no cancelled raids (unless suddenly all farm content has been done already and you’re missing a few vital people for progress raids like that feral tank with 70% dodge).

    It requires a different mindset from your raiders, but it does work quite well. It also opens the door for you to easily swap people in to maximize your chances of beating an encounter. You simply gotta remember (or ask prior to the fight) who wouldn’t mind being swapped out this week so that everyone has a fair shot at the fight & rewards.

    Ithiliens last blog post..Wailing Caverns, reloaded

  5. In my guild main/alt are not a problem: in the long term you should be able to do progress raid only with main (mainly because of equip level). In the meanwhile each player should choose a main character, alts should be logged only if absolutely needed (raid cannot start without) and alts are the last to receive loot (give loot for secondary spec of main before to give to alts). We often organize raids-for-alts with some mains to boost them, to satisfy also the need to equip alts or play a different char. In any case, it is important to keep main and alts on a very different level, to avoid problems.

    Once filled roles and classes, if there are more than 25 players available, we change them during the raid. If everyone is allowed to play, there always be a lot of players online with a similar level of equip. 🙂

    We didn’t estabilished complex and strict rules on attendance and “logging-on-time”, we simply ask it and people log as often as possible, and possibly on time. Since loots are assigned by the raid leader, he usually takes into account if a player is always present and logs on time. There are some players that need an higher degree of freedom about attendance and time, they are given this freedom and they accept that other players have precedence on best loots.

  6. The items you listed above are great and you’re on the right track. We’re currently in ZA and trying to get a few more geared for the 25man raids. We’re a casual guild and because of that we’ve attracted “casual” players. It’s great, but a lot of them have no idea what they’re doing with their toons. We get requests from 70s still in blues and greens asking if they can go to ZA.

    The way we’ve opted to handle it is on a rank system. Aside from the Co-GMs, Officers, and Veterans (who comprise mostly of Raid and Class Leaders or others that don’t have full Officer privileges) we have Raiders, Members, and Applicants. We send mass invites out for all who are interested in raiding and then take attendance. The Raid Leader then determines who is needed and begins maneuvering those players accordingly.

    The key is organizing raids by need (tanks, healers, cc, etc.) utilizing both rank (which is ultimately determined by attendance whether ultimately invited to raid or not) and by gear (ZA vs Kara). Since Kara is one of those raids where we the most geared need very little if anything at all, we generally ask one of those to sit out if we still have a raid make-up that will allow for moving through with minimal problems.

    Rank solves the problem of who to invite first. Gear solves the problem of who to invite based on if it’s a progression raid. And Need trumps them all.

    Whatever you do, just make sure everyone is aware of the procedure in advance and stick to it as close as possible so you can’t be accused of playing favorites.

    kyrileans last blog post..Gruul’s Lair; What Not To Do In A Raid!; and Forgive & Forget

  7. I am facing the exact same dilemmas in a guild that is in Kara and working toward ZA.

    Taking the hippie way out I tried posting on the guild website asking the raiders themselves to come up with fair guidelines. No takers of course, go figure.

    I ended up finding an in-game add on called Group Calendar. It allows you to set up the parameters of the raid, eg how many healers, tanks, off tanks, ranged, melee, etc. Everyone downloads the add-on and sets it to use the same global chat channel and it synch’s everyone’s calendar up with who is attending etc.

    Once you have established who needs to be in the raid, and when it’s going to take place, signing up turns into a first come first serve phenomenon.

    As an added bonus, it lets you post guild-mates birthdays, it keeps track of cool down timers for alchemists and jewel crafters, and if you have a co-op going with another guild, you can just tell them what global channel you use and have them join in. Events can be slated as guild-only or not.

    This tool showed a small 3-man guild that I really wanted to include them as much as possible. As a result, they ended up folding their mains into the guild after running with us a few times.

  8. I really like your guidelines! It’s definitely very easy for people to feel singled out or like the sitting is arbitrary when they don’t know what to expect or how those decisions are made. One of the largest things a good leader can do is set expectations which your guidelines do a nice job of doing.

    Another thing that helps is talking to each of your players. I let each player know why they are sitting that night and ask them if it fits into their plans. I sometimes have them remind me they are next in line for an item that drops or that they’ll be out of town the next night which allows me to re-evaluate my decision.

    Auzaras last blog post..Shop Chick and Poll Results

  9. What is amazing is that though your guild and my guild is very much different its amazing just how much similiar the problems can be in both our guilds all the same. What I’m confident of is that whatever change your guild implements to fix the problem you have at hand we all will be sure to read about it in some fashion here at some point.

    The thing is my Guild has the same problem, yes it varies in different ways for different reasons but as a whole we are dealing with the same problems when you get right down to it. Honestly I would like to wrap my ever thinking mind around just why that problem exists. However it does.

    Since my Guild is casual well……. no one really wants to fix anything. I’m at odds sometimes with my own guild perspective because i’m not casual at heart but I’ve adapted to a casual style though my thinking is not the same. Our guild as well is at the Progression level of the 3rd boss in ZA. On most weeks we can get a ZA run done. I havent really being in much lately due to leveling my Alt and just avoided tanking during that time. But its still a struggle to make a full 10 man for ZA or even better get the good guild members on to make a progression boss kill.

    The thing is we have enough people, some just not the right kind. We have people wanting to show up in ZA in green gear and crying because they can’t go. I can’t tell you just how much that Irritates me as a Tank, because as a Tank that is not something I can do or even feel good about doing. Yet some have been seen in ZA and raids end up not going well due to people undergeared due to not enough people. This frustrate the older vets in the guild. Yet the Vets are unsure what to do. As for me well I’m just in the background observing this. Sometime its just good to sit back and check the pulse of your own guild to see what goes on and stuff like this I see.

    We haven’t attempted a 25 man in eons since last HKM smacked us around for not acting like a real team with coordination. Why because half the guild is missing more than half the time and only ever show up for chance of Big Loot on a Raid such as HKM or Gruul. Since then its just been ZA and several Kara runs. But even with Kara their are problems. Not usually with the Officers but more so the members and the newer ones. Many members want a free ride through Kara. The often want to show up in greens and thinking its ok because the people leading the raids have paid the price to get geared the old fashion way. Yet members new to the guild and Kara seem to want to be just as impatient as well.

    People want to go to Kara but they refuse to sign up on the Group Calender. Everyone knows the guild uses Group Calender its even on the Guild Forum that we use Group Calender. Its on the Guild MotD when they log in for the various Kara team weekly. But Duhh people don’t sign up and at last minute when they hear its Kara the go Pick Me, Pick Me. This at times leaves other members at odd who wanted to go and on standby or who didn’t sign up and wanted to go for gear. The guild dosen’t have a standard policy on this issue or who to pick when time is short. I’ve been fed up with Kara runs for quite a while that I don’t run Kara at all. I don’t do Kara runs as it messes up my schedule that I now have to commit my time to the run as the Tank and around my work schedule and when I show up people not on or even ready. So I stopped doing Kara runs all together. I’m just in as a raid Tank for ZA or anything progression oriented for the guild or bosses.

    What I recently proposed to my own GM as a possible solution since we directly talk is to create a “Raider” rank for the Members. With such a rank considered a special status rank of members from the regular ranks that have proven themselves to be good raiders in various ways. Members who show up on time, are reliable, gem and enchant their gear and have the guilds best effort im mind. As such whenever a raid is short they get first consideration to fill in for a raid before any other lower member of guild. Afterall they put forth the effort in various ways thus some consideration for those of the rank. If people want the Rank they can earn it.

    Its amazing how many people in my Guild wear epics and don’t gem their gear or enchant their gear, alot more so the regular members. But week after week want to show up for raids or want to that way. They are not contributing their best effort with the hard earned guild gear they earned on raid out rolling someone else as deserving of the same gear. But all this is a result of our guild not having any real rules which many have being against some time ago, because its “Casual” Guild. Yet its these same problems that are plaguing our guild as well. Its not always clear what all the real solutions are either.

    Galohearts last blog post..Hunter New Mount: A War Talbuk

  10. I’m a freshly minted 25-person raid leader, so I cannot share too much from experience.

    However, my limited history, plus my intuition says you’ve nailed it pretty well on the head.

    Personally, I use raid invites as reward for the behaviors that make my life as RL easiest.

    1) While its not a first-come-first-served basis, people that signup 2 or 3 days in advance make my life easier and I like to reward them.

    2) Invites from within the guild start at 30 minutes prior to raid. 10 minutes after that, I open the door to any other options, such as friends lists or a partner guild we work with. People who are online and ready to be raid invited (not in BG, etc) early make my life easier and I like to reward them.

    3) Sometimes I’ll have to look at gear. Not how shiny purple they are, but rather, how well they take care of it. If I have to pick between two hunters, one has the fanciest bow in the game with no scope, and the other has a nice solid blue bow with a +28 crit scope, I’ll give you one guess who gets the invite. People who take good care of their gear show that they invest their personal time to be prepared for the team, and I like to reward them.

    Then we’re down the the part I like the very least about WoW. Role-based invites. Our strategy for Gruul’s Lair involves 4 tanks, 7 healers, and 14 DPS. We have not found a way to beat HKM fight without 4 tanks, so naturally, I’m forced to bend my ideal invitation list to suit what is required. I hate decisions that come down to this, but seems that people accept role-based decisions more than the others. Must be that its more tangible.

    As you experiment and try different things, please keep writing about them, and what works/doesn’t work for you. I find it very helpful to learn from other Raid Leaders facing similar challenges.

    Amavas last blog post..‘Spitey Sense

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