To Bench, or Not to Bench?

THAT be the question, me hearties. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to fight on a whim, to suffer the slings and arrows unpromoted...oh, forget it! (Paraphrased: Hamlet's Soliloquy, Hamlet (Act III Scene I) by William Shakespeare) 

With the Pirate101 Test Realm going up soon, it's been announced that there have been over 800 modifications to the game, including a few shiny ones like healing on Bonnie's part, El Toro's blinders (cue), and something that I have taken interest in - companion benching. The question is simple, Hamlet, to bench, or not to bench?

There will always be that one companion that you do NOT want to fight alongside. Perhaps you've neglected it, and it's around level 20 when you're in Mooshu. (*cough* Monkeys *cough) Maybe you just couldn't stand it, how the attacks sounded like it was dying.  Either way, you don't want to fight with that companion. You just can't. However, you don't yet have enough room on your companion list to bump them to the end, or perhaps there are worse companions at the end by default level. What do you do now?

Luckily, the test realm will be up any hour, now! Hopefully, a shiny new feature will be added to the game called Companion Benching. At level 15, you'll be awarded one companion benching, er, marker? You'll be able to bench a companion of your choice and change it around as you please. Benched companions will have a 0% chance of appearing in battle without affecting the other companions' percentages. First of all, how cool would that be!? I'd love to have a benched companion or two to put aside. However, one must take into mind the pros and cons of this change to game.

The Pros of Companion Benching

Shoo, Garrido! Back to the galley, Hoss! Stand back, Nurse Quinn! The addition of companion benching is a great idea with the fact that it's a lot easier to win with the companions you like battling with. You could narrow the odds down  a little by taking out the companions you don't want at all. This is extremely helpful for certain battles (Stormzilla/Stupendor-X) that require or suggest that you do certain actions in X turns or in order to survive. Plus, you don't have to take certain variables into account, depending on your benched companions. If you had a calculator or paper handy, you could find the range of every companion's attacks, then average them out to estimate how many attacks it would take for a certain enemy to die. If you had a wider range of attacks altogether, then the average would be skewed enough for the estimates to be sketchy.

The Cons of Companion Benching

While the averaging and estimating is pretty cool, part of the pirate strategy is taken away using the benching strategy. Part of what makes battles interesting and plenty challenging is the fact that you'll have a weak link on your team. Also, what happens when you have too many lower leveled companions and too few benching markers? That could be a problem! Being a traditionalist, I'm going to see how long I can go without chipping into benching markers, personally. So with that plan in mind, I'm going to try to keep as many companions as possible at a decent level so I can use them without worrying about said weak link.

What do you guys think? To bench, or not to bench?

Keep Traveling!

P.S. To read the complete update notes, go HERE.


  1. To bench the bad ones like Nurse Quinn, that Crab Hermit, Crazy Monquistador, and the horse guy that Swashbucklers get in Santa Pollo (not Mustang Sally) after his promo for gold.


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