Pros and Cons of Recruiting the Raid Leader

Pros and Cons of Recruiting the Raid Leader


This is the most important position you’ll ever fill throughout the entirety of your guild’s existence. In fact, it is so important, guilds will often disband if there isn’t a competent nor capable one. If working on farm content, raids can typically get by with zero to minimal guidance. Everyone runs by the same playbook and routine strategies are done without any problems (usually).

But once you hit progression content, you’re going to be stuck. If your raid is leaderless, it’s going to be painful and you need a plan.

So, do people really recruit raid leaders? In many cases, the guild leader and raid leader are one and the same. There are some exceptions (such as in Conquest where the positions are separated). But back to the original question: Do people recruit raid leaders?

Typically, most raiding guilds do not. Raid leaders are usually promoted from within. There are two basic things I look for when deciding on a raid leader. Without these two qualities, I skip and move on entirely.

  • Competency: Now this encompasses a wide range of leadership skills. I just lump them all together in here for the sake of simplicity. These are things including but not necessarily limited to skills, charisma, vision, tactics, and so forth. Basically, does this player have what it takes to lead and deliver the necessary results?
  • Desire: Do they actually want to do it?

And that second point is a super important question. That raid leading wannabe you want to quarterback your raids might be the perfect person to do it. But if she has no interest or desire, it’s not going to work.

Where do I go to get raid leaders from?

In a nutshell, either you have a sleeper raid leader within the guild who emerges to take the flag when things look grim or you look outward and see if you can fish up one.

Option 1: Promoting from within the guild

These are usually the players that have stood by you for a long time. The existing raid leader left a void to fill. There could be people from inside who are looking for a chance to step up and take a larger role within the guild. Or it could be that they sense the guild is on the road to failure unless someone takes over and that person wants to be the one to do it.

Again, your group may run into the problem of not having the right person who can do the job. A skilled player who is familiar with the game and their class might not have the appropriate leadership qualities. Or maybe they work in a management type job and doesn’t want to deal with that level of responsibility on their off time. If your search for a raid leader comes up short, you’ll need to come up with options. Try to figure out why that person isn’t a good candidate. You can’t change their desire. However, you might be able to help improve their competency.

Ultimately though, hope for the best. Be prepared for the worst.


Familiarity with guild culture

Players used to the leader’s personality

Intimately familiar with players and capabilities


Might not be anyone qualified from within to take the job

Potential prejudice or favoritism to specific players

Option 2: Recruiting outward

This isn’t exactly the most common approach. You don’t see many guilds advertising for a powerful position like this one either. I suspect the main reason would be on trust. Everyone in the guild has had time to get familiar with each other. Not only would you be introducing an outside player, your guild is being asked to follow their commands. That bond between raid and raid leader just isn’t there yet.

It’s like a new manager being brought in. No one really knows who she is. Is she lenient? A hard ass? Accommodating? By the book? No idea!

Don’t forget that having a new player calling the shots from outside the guild means they’re largely unaffected by any guild politics and will have a fresh perspective on raids. Of course, you never know what you’re getting. If you truly plan on going this route, raid leading applicants need to be screened a lot more carefully.


Fresh perspective and new ideas

Unaffected by any guild influences


Players have no idea how to react

Lack of initial guild chemistry

When my raid leader hung up his claymore months ago, I was in a tight spot. The short list in my mind for replacement raid leaders had no desire to do so simply due to other responsibilities. There were other players I had considered asking, but I didn’t know if they had the skills to pull it off. The only way to know for certain is to assemble a raid, pass them lead and say “Here ya go!” and one of the senior raiding guys who had been with us for a long time wanted to give it a shot.

It was a leap of faith. Either he would sink or swim. To my delight, he did a pretty darn good job after he shook off a few raid leading jitters during the first few days at the helm. But it was to be expected.

Had he not spoken to me beforehand, I would have had no choice but to turn outwards and look off guild for someone to help coach the raid. I can’t honestly think of any moment in my experience in the game where I’ve read about guilds specifically recruiting raid leaders that were outside their organization. What commonly happens is a player either gets the nod up from management to take over or the guild implodes due to lack of interest and focus. The latter is not an option for me. I’ll admit, it would have been a remarkably interesting process (and experiment) to start off raid leaderless and end up with a fully situated quarterback acquired outside the guild.

It’s like hiring a new coach for a team. Players are so used to certain plays and systems. The new coach comes in and throws things out the window.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Interesting topic. My guild has tend to found that the best raid leader is someone well known within the guild and someone players feel able and willing to talk to. As you have stated there is a lack of chemistry if people dont know their raid leader, similarly if the raid leader doesnt know their players it can cause problems.

    While I dont think it it a good idea to look for Raid Leaders to lead, I have to say that we have recently recruited several players who were raid leaders in their previous guilds and it has strengthened our guild. It has all the Pro points stated above with none of the Cons, and who knows perhaps in time they will be raid leading again. Having players who know the problems and issues which revolve around raid leading and who themselves have and are able to lead if required is always a good thing.
    .-= Panzee´s last blog ..Lich King is DEAD!!! =-.

  2. The worst aspec of bringing a raid leader in from the outside is that he/she will have no idea what they are working with.

    It’s tough to lead any group effectively if you don’t get to know their strengths, weaknesses and motivations. Raid leading always seems to find me. Every pug im in, every guild I go to, no matter which toon. At some point in the raid I blink shake my head and realise that at somepoint the raid became mine.

    Leaders emerge, and I think GM’s need to always be looking out for that spark among there team, thinking ahead to who might deserve the next promotion.

  3. Its like recruiting a manager in the real world, both internal and external have benefits and flaws. However unlike the real world a raid leader can get a gauge on the 9-24 other people a lot faster because the maximum encounter length is 15 minutes.

    Having led random pugs and raid lead in guilds way too often it becomes apparent very fast who the “I can ignore and they will do it right”, “I need to actually give hints”, “Can I have AVRE please” and “durr, fire gives haste right?” folks are. Those falling into the top category are also generally those most capable (but perhaps not interested) in becoming raid leaders, they simply do it right, if something happens they know how to respond and whether it is worth doing. The ones you give hints to are the reason you are there as raid leader, to guide the group. AVRE please folks are generally the ones you facepalm and hope don’t get hit by bad luck (Teron Gorefiend says hi!), and fire people… well fires are warm.

    Getting up to speed is easy, fitting in is a lot harder especially based on previous experience. Raids and guilds go from having 24 people under one raid leader, to having 25 raid leaders. The latter is of course more fun (by the time you can give the ‘res the dps please we are going to need it, but let the healer stay dead’ the resses are up and the people doing their business), but the former is more common.

  4. Good raid leaders ARE hard to find. I’m the Guild/Raid Leader for our guild, and though I’d like to see someone else shoulder the burden now and then, it rarely occurs on non-farm content. I even have one good player who I’d LOVE to be an additional raid leader, but he can rarely talk on Vent. Wife and kids and all that; can’t wake a sleeping baby.

    That being said, I think if your raiding guild is without someone to lead raids then it’s time to either recruit one from the outside or get absorbed by another guild. Recruiting from within is great, but only if the right person is there.


  5. My guild’s Raid Leader was always our Guild Leader, Ak. Sometime in… gosh, I think January or February, they accepted the application of a priest named Aeryth. She’s really sharp, and she’d transferred over from a guild that was, amazingly, FURTHER ALONG in the progression than we were. (To this day, I have no idea why she left her guild and joined OURS. But she’s nice and a good raider, so whatever, right?)

    When she first started raiding (and keep in mind, I get this all from listening in on Vent, as I was only in the 60s at the time), she’d ask every so often if she could offer a suggestion based on how well she knew the fights that the others were just learning, and what her old guild would do that worked. And they were good suggestions! She offered them respectfully and with Ak’s permission, and never with an air of “this is the right way to do it, dumbasses”, which kept people who’d been around longer from feeling resentful, I’ve no doubt.

    By March, she was leading the alt runs and the off-night raids, and covering if Ak couldn’t make it, and as of last month, I believe, she is our official 25-man Raid Leader, which frees Ak up to enjoy the raids and run his 10-man group (since he seems to enjoy those better).

    So, at first glance, it’s a solid case of promoting from within the guild, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Aeryth had been approached either before or during her application process and asked if she’d be interested in being eased into the Raid Leader slot for 25-mans, depending on how well things went with the rest of the guild.

    I guess this whole story is to say that maybe, if you have the ability, quietly approaching someone who you’re pretty sure will be competent and want the role (either through connections to other guilds, or a promising applicant/new recruit) and easing them into it through advice and alt-runs might make things go a little smoother with the rest of the guild, if you don’t have anyone within the guild already who can do it.
    .-= Apple´s last blog ..To Troll or Not To Troll? (or, what I did last night) =-.

  6. I think my biggest problem with some raid leaders is ego. Extreme confidence and knowledge is a must but without the ego that may slight others. A great raid leader stays positive and works with his people instead of trashing them when there is an issue.

    You will know from one night of raiding with a leader whether you would want him/her to lead again. I think someone within the guild is a great idea if there is such a person that has good rapport with his guildies as well as knows the fights.

    If you go outside your guild, have a guild discussion after the first raid to see how everyone felt that person lead the raid.
    .-= Cathy´s last blog ..BlizzCan 2010 =-.

  7. It’s really awesome and completely necessary to have one “main” raid leader within a guild. Someone who knows which toon is on what 10 man team, what specs this toon has, strong points and weak points of this character, etc…

    However, I’ve found in my guild that while we have the “figure head” of a raid leader, we have a lot of officers and general members who step up to the plate and deliever when needed.

    For example, I raid lead our 10 icc team. I considar myself responsible for getting toons to accept/decline invitation, getting the right mix of toons, grabbing flasks from the gbank, awarding loot and dkp and coming up with some whitty banter during the grind. <—-Very good at the latter 🙂

    Anyway, I rely heavily on our tanks and a few dps to explain the fights and get everyone in position. I do read up and watch video's on progression fights, but I must have a memory lapse when it comes to explaining fights. I just can't do it. Unless I”ve killed said boss about 10 times, I can’t tell you jack crap about what to do. It’s a personal flaw. However, my fellow teammates always step up to the plate and are armed with a damn good explaination of whatever fight I ask for. I considar myself very lucky to have these people on my team. And the best part? I never asked them to do this. They just stepped up from day 1 and came prepared to explain what’s going on.

  8. Lots of good food for thought here. I think too often a guild goes looking for the person with the most experience in killing the bosses you are working on next, versus looking for the player whose personality is the best fit for leading your raids. A good raid leader inspires others to voluntarily follow them, through being communicative, problem solving on the fly, and being good all around at communicating with others in a civil, thoughtful manner. A bad raid leader may do OK for a while, through bullying players or lording their experience over them, but in such cases they don’t gain loyal followers, and thus don’t become an effective leader (and they frequently can drive away your best players.)

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