Sometimes you just have to bench players.

We reached Imperator that night. The phases were explained and introduced gradually. That is, I explained the first phase and the four abilities and how we would react before cueing the tanks to pull. I didn’t want to go into detail on the later parts of the encounter until we had sufficiently mastered each early phase. After every attempt, we continued to iterate and refine our approach.

As we progressed throughout the night, one of the areas of struggle were the mines. Ultimately, enough was enough. We had been in there for at least an hour and the graphic for the mine was recognizable enough. I wanted to sit players who were having obvious difficulty. Not only would it ease the encounter up some, but they’d have a few minutes to shake it off and find out if there was something else they could do to help resolve it. On the other hand, I didn’t want to sit someone out the whole night because I wanted to give them every opportunity to come back in and demonstrate progress in learning. If they were distracted, then this offered a way out for them to resolve that distraction.

In the end, I settled on sitting players for one attempt. It gave them the time to either walk it off or try to find a solution on their end that would make them see and react to mines quicker. If we wiped, I’d pull them back in and then sit the next set of players that tripped mines. Players were asked to simply log out but remain in raid instead of burning their hearthstone back to their garrison. Either way, they’d be set to return quickly just by logging in.

During previous tiers, a frequent point of concern voiced by many players is the seeming lack of action we were taking whenever players hit a rough patch and weren’t executing at the level that was demanded by the encounter. After the night was over, I asked some of the same players how they felt about the compromise. While a few of them expected that slow learners be benched for the whole night, they also realized that it was a little unrealistic and that sitting players for 1-2 attempts was a fair solution. It seemed to work out well with a few (not all) as there was some definitive improvement in not standing in mines.

These dynamic scaling raids are a godsend. In previous tiers, sitting a player would have entailed having another available to come in. Not all guilds had that luxury of players eager to come in.