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How to Lead a Raid in World of Warcraft

Updated on May 10, 2013
Sartharion, from a wrath raid.
Sartharion, from a wrath raid. | Source

So, you’ve recently decided that you want to lead a raid group, and you would like some information on how to do it successfully? Well I am here to give as much advice as I can on doing so. I’ve been raiding for years now, and I have led a raiding group myself for at least 1 year.

If you have recently made a guild and are going to raid, or you’ve just decided that you’re going to lead a raid, then this is the hub for you!

This guide is meant for those that at least have a basic understanding of the terminology and basic gameplay of World of Warcraft.

What is raiding?

Raiding is when a group of people, normally a guild, form together a group to go into a raid instance and kill bosses that require 10 or 25 people. Some raids include, but are not limited to: Dragon Soul, Firelands, Blackwing Descent, and Bastion of Twilight.

A 10 man raiding group is typically consisted of 2 tanks, 3 healers, and 5 DPS. Some raiding groups can vary greatly after they acquire a decent amount of gear. For example, after my guild got a decent amount of gear, I was able to solo heal some fights in Dragon Soul, we two healed the rest and we solo tanked most fights. So, for most of the raid, we were able to use more dps than a normal raiding group. So, it really depends on how good your group is. But for starting out, I recommend taking it safe with 2 tanks, 3 healers and 5 dps.

Raid leader doing a ready check in LFR
Raid leader doing a ready check in LFR | Source

Remember to be patient…

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be patient with your raiders. People will mess up, wipes will happen, and you can NOT get angry and start yelling at your raiders over this. Of course, if you are a hard-core raiding guild, you might think of ‘tough love’ as a requirement to be successful, but all of my opinions in this hub are based from a casual/soft-core raiding guilds perspective.

If you get stressed out over wipes, then perhaps you should rethink if you should be a raid leader. Also, just because you are the guild leader does not mean that you should feel obligated to be raid leader too! There are so many responsibilities to being a guild leader, that no one would blame you for wanting to put raiding in charge of someone else. Just remember that when you pick someone to be raid leader, that they should possess all of the qualities mentioned in this article and be able to pull it off well.

If you are patient with your guild, they will respect you more. If you wipe on a boss, don’t stress out. If you stress out, you get your raiders stressed out, then they feel like they are doing a bad job and then they start behaving even worse. After a wipe, figure out what it was that went wrong and come up with a solution and explain it to your guild.

Showing a mechanic of Morchok where you have to hide behind rocks. As you can see, some people are standing in the black stuff and dying. Since they are out of line of sight, I can't heal them through it. :(
Showing a mechanic of Morchok where you have to hide behind rocks. As you can see, some people are standing in the black stuff and dying. Since they are out of line of sight, I can't heal them through it. :(

Know the boss fights before you take your guild raiding…

This is extremely important. As stated before about mechanics of boss fights, it is extremely important that you, as a raid leader, understand every important mechanic of all boss fights that you plan on fighting.

As the raid leader you are there to guide your raiders to success, and you can’t do that if you don’t even know the boss fights. There are so many resources available for you to use to find out the mechanics, such as youtube. They even added the Dungeon Journal in-game, which is a lot of help.

I would suggest explaining the fight once, as a general overview of what to expect. Then go over it again and point out everyones role, such as what specific people need to do at certain times.

I wanted to show a screenshot of a wipe, but I wasn't going to let this LFR group die for the sake of a photo. Maybe in MoP when we are learning new bosses in my 10man :)
I wanted to show a screenshot of a wipe, but I wasn't going to let this LFR group die for the sake of a photo. Maybe in MoP when we are learning new bosses in my 10man :) | Source

What is your favorite role to perform when raiding?

See results

A boss fight didn’t go as planned…

Was a mechanic of the fight not executed correctly? Pretty much every single raid boss has mechanics to them that cause your raid to actually be aware and watch what they are doing. Example: Stop attacking the boss during a specific phase, run to a certain side of the room at a certain phase, stay out of the fire, don’t get hit by purple stuff falling from the sky, etc.

Go over the mechanic again and explain what the raid did wrong and to fix it. Explain it in a different way that you originally did, maybe it wasn’t clear the way you explained it before.

Perhaps was the wipe caused because the healers weren’t doing a good enough job? This could be for many reasons: Lag, lack of gear, or something similar. If needed, go over healing assignments and anything that a healer needs to know for the particular fight.

For example: In Dragon Soul, the boss Yor’Sahj has a mechanic where he summons slimes, and if a purple slime merges with him, it puts a debuff on the raid that if they take more than 5 heals, they explode and deal a lot of damage to the raid. So, healers need to be extremely aware of how they heal during this phase. Mechanics like this can make or break the raid if the healers aren’t paying attention. Make sure your healers understand any mechanics like this before pulling a boss.

See my hub on Healing here: (coming soon)

Was the wipe caused because the damage done was too low? If the DPS aren’t pulling enough damage to get the boss down quick enough, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the raid group. Take a look at their gear, is their gear good enough? If not, maybe you should help them get better gear from heroics. If their gear is good enough, but they are still not performing up to par, you should direct them to a site such as or to figure out their dps rotation, spec, and glyphs. If they have everything right, but still pull subpar dps, maybe you should consider replacing them with someone that can pull the right amount of DPS.

Well what about tanks?: If you have a bad tank in your raid, you aren’t likely to get very far. Unlike with DPS, if you have just one bad DPS, you can still manage to get the job done. However, if you have a bad tank, it could mess everything up.

Make sure that your tanks understand what they are taunting, and when. Sometimes bosses require 2 tanks to taunt off of one another at specific times. Go over this with your tank before a boss so he/she knows their role. If they mess up, just remind them of their duties and hopefully they catch on. If they continue to mess up on simple mechanics, then you may have to replace them.

THis is how Need before Greed loot roles look like. This will change for LFR in MoP, however.
THis is how Need before Greed loot roles look like. This will change for LFR in MoP, however. | Source

Boss Loot…

There are many different ways to handle boss loot. Some guilds use a DKP system, some use need before greed, some use Master looter.

I’ve never used a DKP system, so I can’t explain in detail how it works. However, from what I’ve heard, it’s not something I’d be interested in using in my raids.

If you are raiding with a group of people you know and trust, I suggest using Need before greed. It has pop up loot windows, like in dungeons, where raiders can click need, greed, Disenchant or pass. It makes it extremely fast to distribute loot, and as long as the raiders can be trusted, there should never be loot disputes.

Master looter takes a little longer, but it ensures that loot is distributed the way you want it to. ML requires the raid leader to distribute loot individually and wait for every member that wants it to /roll. And then you proceed by right clicking on the item and then clicking on the raid member.

me and a guildee 'fighting' :P
me and a guildee 'fighting' :P | Source

Dealing with Loot Disputes…

This one is a difficult one. It may seem like fighting over loot is silly, but you’d be surprised at how many people actually fight over it. So, what do you do when it happens?

First, try talking it out: Take a look at the situation; is the person that received the loot in need of the loot? Is it an upgrade for the spec they are raiding as?

Example: Loot is on Need Before Greed, and a caster trinket drops with an item level of 397. A mage in the group has a 384, a boomkin has a 378 and they both roll for it, but the mage wins. If the boomkin were to start complaining and fighting because he ‘deserves’ the loot more, I would NOT give him the loot, and instead would talk to him and try to calmly explain that it was an upgrade for the both of you.

If the person that won the trinket was a healer or melee dps and was going to use it for their offspec but a boomkin needed it, I would let the boomkin have it.

Considering changing your loot distribution: If talking it out with your members doesn’t seem to work, maybe you should consider changing your loot distribution preferences. If you have loot set on Need before Greed, try changing it to Master Loot for a week or more.

If all else fails, if one particular person still complains about loot or other raiding stuff, you should probably replace them, because having members in your raiding group that constantly complain, is going to make it an un-enjoyable experience for the rest of your raid.

Let’s say for example that a trinket drops for a caster DPS, and someone rolls on it and wins it. It’s an upgrade for them, but it’s a bigger upgrade for someone else, and that other person starts fighting about it. In this situation I would NOT let the person complaining have it.

I hope this guide was a little helpful for those that wanted some insight to raid leading! What would you like to see in the next part? Comment below! I plan to make another hub on raid leading and tips to make it better, if you have any questions that I left unanswered in this one, comment below and I’ll include it in my next hub!


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