Raiding 101: Team Morale

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 look at some of the most common contributors to struggling raid team morale, and discuss both proactive steps and solutions your leadership team can take to reduce or even eliminate morale issues.

Whenever we approach the end of a raid tier, many guilds face their difficult progression bosses or call off raid for the remainder of the season. Often, rosters shift and players may become bored or tired of the game. All of these factors can converge to become a major hit to your team’s morale. Although these issues can crop up at any time, they become especially pronounced when guilds are looking to move into a new tier.

Read on to learn what guild leaders can do to heal and sustain a positive team morale!

Table of Contents

Difficult Boss Fights

No guild performs perfectly on every boss – not even the RWF teams. Every team has its weaknesses, and some bosses are perfectly tuned or mechanically inclined to prey on those weaknesses. Although meeting your match in a raid boss is to be expected, constantly wiping to that fight while other teams around your level seem to pull it off with ease can be extremely frustrating and even demoralizing. Frequently, players may grow bored of one section of a fight and stop paying close attention, which can result in one night, or even several nights, of regression.

Is there a way to fight the “difficult boss burnout” and its resulting hit to team morale? We think so!


If your team has been spending an unusual amount of time on the same boss fight, and you’re far surpassing the average pulls of other guilds around your progression level, it may be time to poll the team and see how they’re all feeling about continuing to work on the fight. Sometimes, either the majority or the whole team need a break from raiding entirely – especially after a grueling tier. While breaking without earning the boss kill CAN feel like a failure, it may also be a relief. You could even consider taking a week break before returning to progression, which may reset your raiders’ tolerance for working on the fight and refresh everyone’s mindset.

No matter what you choose, involve your entire raid team in the discussion. Let your raiders know that their opinions matter to you, and hear them out! Don’t punish your raiders for offering their thoughts, and don’t allow other raiders to do so either. If you are concerned about backlash or want to ensure that you receive truly honest thoughts from your raid members, consider offering them an anonymous survey rather than encouraging them to all speak up in a public setting.


In the event that you feel truly stuck on a boss fight, it may be time to seek out additional suggestions or guidance from other raid leaders. Raid leaders who have already progressed on the boss you’re stressed about will generally have some exceptional tips and tricks to get you through the pain points, so try to put any pride or anxiety aside and reach out for a second set of eyes on your strategy. Remember that even RWF guilds have a team of analysts who examine every aspect of a boss fight and make strategy and raid composition recommendations. There is no shame in asking for help!

One of my absolute favorite resources is the Raid Leader Exchange Discord. Here you will find useful links and resources, role-specific channels, PTR and raid testing discussion, and, the crowning glory: individual sections for each raid boss with both FAQs and general discussion channels. Raid leaders of all levels congregate in this Discord and you’ll certainly find tips, tricks and detailed answers for any issue you may be encountering. Whether you’re hoping for log review, VOD review, or general discussion, it will absolutely be available to you here. I also use this Discord for all of my raid prep needs and read the appropriate boss channels consistently as my team is progressing.

If you’re struggling specifically with healer cooldowns or unhealable damage moments, consider visiting Viserio’s Discord. Viserio is an ex-Pieces raider himself, and now produces and maintains an incredible healer resource, the healing CD spreadsheet. You’ll also find general chat channels for raid leaders and healers, as well as strategy discussion channels for each boss in the raid. This Discord is a MUST for your raid leader, healing officer, or healing lead, and can also be a truly valuable resource when you’re encountering a healing-specific issue.

Finally, I recommend Liquid Women in Warcraft’s Mentorship Program. LWiW’s mentors generously donate their time to helping members achieve their goals; once you’ve filled out the Mentee Application, LWiW staff will pair you with a raid leader mentor appropriate for your level of experience and progression as well as your learning style. The mentors’ experience ranges from early CE all the way up to RWF levels, and they will work one-on-one with you or your raid leader to ensure you have the resources and knowledge you need for your progression goals. To get started, join the LWiW Discord, find the Programs channel, and fill out the Mentee Application.


No matter what, try to remain positive! This is a difficult ask, and I have struggled with my own frustration and low morale many times, but it’s imperative that raid leadership continues to be the backbone of the raid team. If you find that you are struggling to find something positive to say, lean on your other officers! The leadership team always needs to work together, but especially in times of particular difficulty. Rotate between officers if you must, but always have at least one person in a leadership role who can be the voice of encouragement and positivity.

Positivity doesn’t always sound exactly like you may be imagining. Sometimes the best way to encourage your team is to be realistic with them about why you’re working on this boss, or where the difficulty lies for you all, or what they need to focus on to ensure success. Help them visualize the pain points before each new pull. Ask for questions frequently, and ask if the team needs a different call, or different timing. As we will discuss in more detail below, do not single out underperformers in an aggressive or accusatory manner; ideally, avoid issuing serious warnings to underperformers in the middle of raid. Most of all, avoid the sort of yelling, desk-slamming, headset-breaking rage that has become the source of so many WoW memes. This style may work (rarely) for some seriously hardcore teams, but it also generates a lot of friction, negativity, and incredible burnout. If you feel the need to yell at your raiders, call for a break and step away from your desk for a few minutes. Nothing will tank your team’s morale faster during a raid night than hearing a member of leadership scream at them. Treat your raiders like you believe in them.

Underperformers & Bad Attitudes

One of the biggest problems on a raid team is the issue of raiders who don’t fit in on the team for one of several reasons. Sometimes these players are underperformers who are unable to play at the level required for your guild’s progression goals, or they are simply not preparing ahead of time for fights. Sometimes instead, they come to raid with consistently poor attitudes, or allow their frustrations to easily get the best of them. Either way, this type of raider is extremely damaging to your team’s morale. There’s nothing more discouraging and disrespectful to a raider than watching someone show up consistently unprepared or in a cloud of negativity while everyone else has put in the time and effort to prepare themselves for the upcoming fights and arrive at raid feeling excited for the evening.

Addressing a bad-fit raider is never a particularly enjoyable part of guild leadership, but the longer you allow these players to persist on your team, the more your other raiders will grow frustrated and disappointed, both with the player and with the leadership who allow that player to continue raiding.


Whether the concern is a terrible attitude or a disappointing performance, your leadership team should expect to give a warning to the player when the issue becomes a chronic problem instead of a one-off night. Do not allow the player to keep generating frustration amongst their peers on the raid team. You do not need to make your first warning particularly formal, as a simple, “Hey, I’ve noticed you’re really struggling here,” might make all the difference. The best way to head off these problems before they become a real concern is to catch them early and make the player aware. Even if your player can’t or doesn’t adjust their behavior after the first warning, you’ll at least be able to note that you alerted them to an issue. What you offer in terms of support will depend heavily on the type of guild you run; some guilds will offer some one-on-one log review or an opportunity for the player to sit down and talk about their raid frustrations. Others will just ask that the player adjust their behavior or play. No matter how you choose to finish out the initial warning, ensure that you have done your due diligence in alerting the player to a problem in the first place and give them a chance to improve!


Keep detailed notes about any particular problem fights or instances of problematic behavior. This should be a practice you always maintain anyway in order to protect yourself and your leadership team as much as possible. Whenever you may need to remove a player from the guild or raid team, you should have clear documentation to present to them. Many people can be shockingly unaware of how their gameplay or behavior can be perceived by their peers, so presenting them with specific examples is a great way to bring them back to reality and show them what the problem actually is. Not all players will actually listen to these examples, but providing documentation is the best way to address problem players with transparency.


Don’t ever try to make an example of a raider in the middle of a raid night. Singling people out for corrections can often just tip the raid vibe into negativity, especially when it’s been a rough night already. DO plan to handle the issue, but don’t ever berate your raiders in public. Whispers may be the right choice for a quick correction or initial reminder, but plan to have meetings with your players if you need to address an issue more seriously.


Removing a raider from the team is always a difficult choice, but your leadership team should be prepared to discuss this in the event that your problem raider’s attitude or performance does not improve. No matter how long I run a guild, I find this to be one of the most distressing choices to make.

Sometimes, raiders are wonderful assets to the social aspect of the guild, and removing them from the raid team would almost certainly mean they leave the guild entirely, which feels like a net loss to the guild. Unfortunately, this is something you’ll need to discuss with your officer team. As much as it feels terrible to have to bench a bad fit raider if they’re otherwise a wonderful person and guild mate, it’s important to realize how detrimental those types of raiders can be to your raid team’s morale. Often, you will end up losing other raiders if you choose to keep a poor performer or a grumpy player. Weigh your choices carefully here: will your overall guild morale suffer more if you lose this player than your raid team morale will if you keep them? I don’t envy any leadership team forced to make this decision!

Unexpected Roster & Officer Changes


Anytime there’s a roster change, whether you’ve had to remove an officer or a raider, always plan to announce those changes to your team. I’ve struggled with this myself for many years, but my raiders began to request more transparency, and they were right to ask! When a team becomes accustomed to raiding together, any change in the roster can feel like a huge disruption. If the raiders themselves haven’t noticed any issues with a particular member, they may react negatively to seeing that person removed. Provide a brief, polite statement to keep your team updated when a change has occurred, and of course, introduce any new raiders as well!


While you may want to publicly address the reasons that a member of your team has departed, particularly if they behaved in a manner that violated your guild’s code of conduct, it’s not always necessary to provide particular details to everyone. Instead, make a brief announcement about any departures and offer an open-door policy to anyone who wishes to express their concerns or ask more questions. It’s always important to establish trust with your team by offering them a chance to have their thoughts heard.


No matter what, it’s imperative that your leadership team remains neutral and polite about any roster changes. Most guild leaders have to learn this one the hard way (including myself), but nothing good ever comes of encouraging the rumor mill or speaking poorly about members who aren’t present to defend themselves. I would caution any member of an officer team to think carefully about the information they share or the comments they make of ex-members or even current members who aren’t around at the time. As a wise ex-guildie of mine says, “Mean comments made towards people you don’t like are still mean comments.”

Content Drought

In many ways, content droughts pose the most complex and difficult challenge for guild leadership. There’s nothing that we as players can do to avoid or prevent content droughts, and as a season drags on, many guild members start to expect the boredom to set in, while guild leaders all collectively begin to dread the same. Some players will begin to log in just for raids, while others will look to take a break from the game altogether. You’ll likely notice that many of your casual or social members will step away entirely for several months. Often, other members of the guild will express concerns or ask questions about why the guild seems particularly empty or inactive, which only contributes to the general dread and anxiety that most of us feel when guild activity has slowed down at the end of a season.

So how do we fight the content drought?


The first thing we all need to recognize is that content droughts are going to happen, and players will begin to suffer from boredom and lack of motivation. This is to be expected, and we need to do our best not to take it personally. Even the best guilds with the most impressive progression and/or the most fun guild environments will notice some dropoff in attendance and engagement. Content droughts and the resulting boredom from players is just a natural cycle in World of Warcraft at this point. Do not let yourself or your leadership team take this personally, but instead recognize that this is a game-wide problem, and all guilds will face it. Never punish players for feeling bored or disengaged at the end of a season, because you will only position yourself as a leader who doesn’t recognize how the state of the game affects your players.


Most guilds make ample use of their Discord servers for most communication needs, but ensure that yours has the channels your team would most like to see. Position your Discord as THE space for people to continue to connect, communicate, and especially chat about other games and interests during a content drought. Even if members have stepped away from WoW, they will still gravitate towards your Discord as a place for chatter and casual conversation, which leads to an enhanced person-to-person connection despite members feeling disconnected from the game itself.


When a new patch drops in WoW, we’re all busy preparing for the new raid and tend to spend a lot of time together chatting in guild chat, running Mythic+ together, and of course, spending a lot of progression time in raid. Often, the high of seeing new content and clearing new bosses does a lot for the team’s cohesion and morale. However, when we’re all in the midst of a content drought, there are a lot less fresh opportunities for in-game bonding time. Recognize that this is happening, and make use of this extra time to schedule a few fun bonding activities outside of the game.

This bonding time can really be whatever you’d like! While people are taking advantage of some additional time off of raiding to level alts, you may consider offering a fun and casual normal or heroic raid night. Bonus points if you run regular social raid nights that everyone is welcome to attend, which not only allows your raiders to bond, but also allows your otherwise casual or social members to come along and experience the content. Recently, my team ran a fun and easy Glory of the Aberrus Raider run and then took a few silly screenshots of our mounts together.

Halloween is approaching, so it’d be a great time to plan a transmog contest with appropriately Halloweeny Blizzard store prizes or even gift cards for snacks from a favorite on my team’s list. If you have a lot of players who don’t have active subs, maybe it’s time for a Phasmophobia night instead, or have a guild streamer play a solo horror game while the rest of you startle them with scary noises. Plan one (or several) move nights - my guild has a Halloween horror night every year!

Cooperative multiplayer games are always an excellent, evergreen way to encourage team bonding without requiring a WoW sub. Games like Pico Park, Deep Rock Galactic, Raft, and Don’t Starve Together are all excellent options for collaborative gameplay. You could even consider starting up one (or several) Baldur’s Gate 3 or Divinity: Original Sin 3 campaigns, or a virtual Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Just the other evening, I scheduled a Party Animals game night, which brought about a ton of laughs, including this moment that had us all laughing until we cried:


If you have raiders who truly need to take a break from WoW altogether, don’t ever try to guilt them into continuing to play. Recognize and prioritize how important breaks are for the mental and even physical health of your guild members. If you find that you cannot raid without them, you can certainly plan to recruit, but don’t hold this over their heads. You may actually find that most if not all of your raiders would prefer to take a break rather than continue farming or progressing the current raid. While halting progression may feel particularly disappointing for leadership, you may also really need some time away from the stress of leading a team through the raid every week. Additionally, your officers may all make use of a raid break to plan, prepare, and strategize for the upcoming raid tier.

Key Takeaways

Running a guild is hard enough without the constant threats to your raid team’s morale. A comfortable, inclusive, and well-run guild can avoid a lot of the initial causes of poor morale, but some threats may creep up anyway. When your team is up against a uniquely difficult boss, remember to take their opinions into account, seek some extra guidance on your strat if necessary, and remain positive when addressing your team. If you’re having to handle consistent underperformers or players with a bad attitude in raid, ensure you are giving early warnings about undesirable behaviors, plan to document everything in regards to their continued struggles, handle the issue privately instead of publicly berating them, and eventually, prepare to make some hard choices about these players if they cannot improve. If you do encounter some roster changes, be sure you’re communicating them, however briefly and neutrally, with your raiders; offer them a chance to meet with you privately if they wish to share additional concerns or ask more detailed questions. Finally, if you’re simply facing a morale dip due to content drought, remember not to take that too personally, but do utilize your Discord as a place for ongoing communication, and plan some fun bonding nights to encourage team cohesion even if you’re no longer raiding weekly.

Whether you’re facing down a difficult boss, having to address roster changes, dealing with a raider who is a poor fit in either attitude or performance, or simply staring down some serious content drought, know that this is totally normal, and you can and will overcome morale challenges!


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.