Raiding 101: Performance Management

In our Raiding 101 series, we discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player. Today, we’ll talk about creating, clarifying, and enforcing performance expectations for the raiders on your team.

Performance standards are an important part of a healthy raid environment; raiders should feel that leadership is paying attention to some aspects of the team’s performance, and protecting the interests of the team as a whole by addressing underperformers. In return, raid leadership should ensure their expectations are clearly communicated and equally enforced.

Table of Contents

The Case for Performance Expectations

Most raiding guilds should plan on setting performance expectations for their raiders. Even if you’re not looking to hit Hall of Fame, CE, or Mythic at all, having clear-cut standards encourages your raiders to continue improving and provides you with a protocol to enact if a raider does not meet those standards. Although some guilds are wary of implementing any rules that would leave community members out of raid nights, it’s very important that guild leadership protects the time and interests of the entire raid team. No matter the progression goals of the raid, raiders choose to show up and play for your team every week regardless of other commitments they hold in their daily lives. Guild leadership should respect that time investment by ensuring that every player does the same – if you have a team member who simply isn’t interested in improving, or is stuck in a fixed mindset and feels they cannot improve, their disinterest is obvious and their refusal to pull their weight can create a truly frustrating situation for every other raider who shows up and works hard.

Performance expectations are not meant to be exclusionary or elitist, and each guild should certainly plan to adjust their standards based on their own progression goals and the relative skill of the team, but it’s important to implement some expectations to preserve team morale and encourage continued player and team growth.

Choosing Reasonable Metrics

The first step in setting performance goals is to decide upon evaluation criteria. If you’ve read our article on evaluating applicants, this section may seem familiar, and with good reason! The qualities that make an applicant appealing are also desirable for established raiders.


Many players regard parses as the most important metric in their performance, but this is far from accurate. Parses rely upon the top performers of a spec, making them difficult to evaluate; top raiders often spend the rest of their tier working towards exceptional parses after they’ve finished progression. External factors like Power Infusion, boss strategy, fight length, and specific fight cheese strategies will always make parses an imperfect metric for true performance evaluation.

Far too many guilds require their players to achieve a certain parse average, or even parse color, but this is too simplistic to truly determine whether your raiders are playing well. A player’s base Warcraft Logs page can tell you whether a player understands their class as a whole, since a player who is parsing in the single digits is almost certainly struggling with their spec in some regard. However, the top parses on a player’s page are not, in and of themselves, the most important aspect to consider when looking at logs.

To more accurately evaluate your players’ logs, plan to look at specific boss pages, and consider the median performance and overall average versus their top performance. A player who has one lucky, excellent kill may have a high parse for their best, but if they struggle with the boss or their spec otherwise, the median performance will tell that story clearly. A high top parse but a low median or average means the player generally struggles with some aspect of their class or the fight itself. Take a moment to see whether the player becomes more comfortable with a fight over time, and thus performs better. Their kill history will show you clearly whether the raider is improving with each boss kill – this is important. You should generally see improvement as the player becomes more familiar with the boss on repeat kills.

If you’d like to learn more about utilizing Warcraft Logs, you can review a more detailed discussion in our ideal applicant article, and don’t forget to check out this seminar hosted by Liquid Women in Warcraft (LWiW).


Mechanics are typically easier to evaluate than numerical performance. Naturally, you’ll notice the players who stand out, for better or worse, as you raid with them throughout the tier. Over time, you can easily identify the raiders who are solid and reliable when asked to handle difficult mechanics. It’s imperative to value this quality in raiders! The steady-Eddy mechanical players will always be worth their weight in gold, particularly if they can maintain above-average throughput simultaneously.

Deaths go hand-in-hand with mechanics. Players who struggle with mechanical gameplay will naturally also struggle with staying alive. Whether you use Wipefest and evaluate logs after every pull (the Wipefest Discord bot is incredible for this task!), or take the time at the end of the night to go over your logs, pay close attention to the details of player deaths. Warcraft Logs’ Deaths tab is a mandatory part of the raid leader’s toolkit. You can find the death log in the center of each Warcraft Logs report analysis screen:

A peek at the death log can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your raid. Are raiders bleeding out, indicating a healing issue at some specific point in the fight? Did they use a personal defensive cooldown during heavy damage? Did they die without using a Health Potion and/or Healthstone?

Let’s look at one of my recent deaths; this particular mistake came on the heels of our team’s best Sarkareth pull, and set us back a considerable amount, wasting our time and pulls for the remainder of the evening. Did I use my personals, and my health pot? Did I die for no reason, or was my death unavoidable?

Looking at the death log, we can see that I took repeated ticks of Scorching Bomb. My co-healers tried to save me like the angels they are, but I certainly didn’t do anything to help! This is about the silliest death possible since there are several things I could have done to prevent it.

Additionally, Warcraft Logs has an extremely powerful Replay feature that can give you insight into the details behind a player’s death. You can find it on the top right of each boss report, on the same row as the boss’ name:

Make liberal use of the Replay tool to help you glean context from your team’s death logs, and to assist in evaluating your raiders’ mechanical play. Were they standing in the correct spot when they died? Did they follow the raid leader’s instructions? If we take another peek at my Sarkareth log, for example, we can see why I died so early into the pull…because I was slow to move with my team. I lagged behind, took extra ticks from the bomb, and died without doing anything to help myself stay alive.

The raider who frequently struggles with this sort of disruptive, silly death is probably not an ideal fit for most progression teams, especially if you’re approaching more mechanically difficult bosses at the end of the raid, like Echo of Neltharion and Sarkareth. Almost every player has a difficult night, or a boss that doesn’t quite click for them, and we all make mistakes, so try not to hold your raiders to impossible standards. As a tier goes on, you’ll likely start to notice patterns in your players’ performance; keep tabs on those who consistently struggle with silly deaths and mechanical failures, and make good use of the tools provided by excellent sites like Warcraft Logs and Wipefest to help you identify who might not be the best play style fit for your team.


A player’s ability to pilot their character is extremely important, of course, but attitude also goes a long way. Raiders should be able to remain respectful and polite to the rest of the team, even in moments of high stress or after a difficult raid night. Tensions can be high when you’re progression raiding, but it’s important to recognize that strife between and among raiders will do nothing productive for the morale and motivation of the team. Players who are consistently negative or rude when they are stressed, or even in general, are not productive members of a raid team (or a community). Likewise, those members of the team who constantly go too far in teasing others, or pushing boundaries, are not bringing anything positive to their teams and are likely only contributing to a building sense of resentment and frustration in their peers.

We all struggle with frustration at times, and slip ups are bound to happen. When tensions are high and someone responds poorly, what really matters is how that player handles the aftermath of their outburst. After a cooldown period, the member in question should be able to reach out and offer a sincere apology, or come back the next raid night with a different mindset. However, be aware that neurodivergent or socially-anxious raiders may need some additional support or encouragement to find the best way to address their behavior after a rough night. This should not count against them – some people struggle to read the room and everyone approaches social situations in different ways! Anyone who makes an honest effort to learn, improve, and apologize is a valuable member with the right attitude for raiding in a community-minded guild.

Codifying and Clarifying Expectations

Ensure your raid expectations are clearly conveyed somewhere, or emphasized frequently to your raiders, so that none of the above metrics feel like a surprise in the event that a player must be spoken to regarding underperformance. Most raiders who have been playing at the CE and above level for quite some time likely understand these factors without needing to be consistently reminded, but it’s better to repeat your expectations than not to have them displayed at all!

Many guilds choose to have their raid expectations pinned in their Discord, displayed in a handbook, and/or posted on their application. Whatever method you choose for conveying these performance standards to your team, ensure you’re keeping this documentation up to date and clearly visible.

Managing Performance

After you’ve decided what kind of performance metrics you expect from your raiders, you’ll need to do the difficult work of enforcing these standards.


Underperformance should be addressed somewhere in the guild or raid rules, and mentioned on an application, so players are not caught unawares when they are benched. Additionally, plan to warn players at least once before they are benched – while it’s important that raiders are keeping tabs on their own performance, it can be helpful to avoid later drama by issuing an early warning, which you can point to later in the event a raider pushes back.


Ensure you have a process in place for underperformers. The specifics of this process will vary widely depending on the guild’s general progression goals, its raid environment, etc. Some guilds offer more guidance, or have an officer or strong performer sit down and go over logs with a struggling raider, but this is not typically the norm as you move up the progression ladder. High-end guilds are likely not implementing a mentorship or improvement process for their raiders, but expect players to work independently to improve their performance.

Regardless of the specifics of your process, your leadership team should be familiar enough with it that you can replicate it every time. For example, your guild’s process for addressing underperformers might follow this fairly typical format: the raid leader will send a brief message to the raider in order to ensure that raider is aware of the situation, followed by a more formal sit-down meeting with the raid leader and one other officer if performance does not improve. You may want to encourage raiders to apply to Liquid Women in Warcraft’s Mentorship Program for more specific coaching if they seem to struggle mostly with their spec. If none of these steps result in improvement, you may plan for a final meeting to formally bench the player.


It is absolutely imperative that all members of the raid team are held to the same performance standards. Your raid leader, who is wearing many hats and juggling 100 different things during a raid encounter, should be the only player who is held to less-intense performance standards. Otherwise, all officers should absolutely be expected to meet these same standards, as I discussed in my article on choosing your officer team. Consideration for sitting officers may be slightly more complicated than when benching raiders, but the team should never be worried that officers are not being held to the same standards.

It’s also not advisable to hesitate in benching a player because they bring other good qualities to the guild. While a member of the community who brings fun and positivity is always an incredible gift, if they are preventing consistent progression in raid or are performing well below average, it’s difficult to argue that their benefits outweigh their risks. Any concern about officers playing favorites is only going to destabilize team trust in the leadership, and will degrade morale. Every guild leader or officer understands how difficult it can be to bench a good person who is a subpar raider; this never stops being a difficult task for me! However, always remember that every action you take as guild leadership is for the good of the team as a whole. Prioritizing one person over the entire team is a surefire way to create frustration. Try to realign your thinking and remember that your choices must be made with the entire team in mind. As we mentioned earlier in this article, raiders take time away from their other responsibilities to show up for you every week; as leadership, it’s our job to ensure that we are recognizing and respecting the commitment that each of our raiders is making to the team. Enforcing fair expectations is not a punishment or a condemnation of one raider, but rather a reminder both to them and to your entire raid team that everyone must put in the work equally.

Key Takeaways

Setting performance standards may not feel like the right choice for your guild, but if you are raiding with any sort of progression goals, it is wise to ask raiders to meet some performance metrics. Adjust these expectations to fit your team’s particular progression goals, but don’t allow one or several raiders with poor attitudes or an unwillingness to work towards improvement to affect the morale and motivation of your entire raid team! Guild leadership should always be working to preserve their community’s social environment and team morale, as well as protecting the interests of the reliable raiders who show up to have fun with their friends in raid.

Performance goals are not intended to be a punishment for raiders who are struggling, so try to work past that mindset and recognize just how important it is to create specific guidelines both to help you in meeting your progression goals and to help your team continue growing and improving together.


About the Author

Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.