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Officers' Quarters: Trouble with a demoted raid leader

Scott Andrews
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

The only thing worse than being asked by your guild to lead raids is being asked to lead raids in which the previous raid leader still participates. This week, that's exactly what one unfortunate player is facing.

Hi Scott,

I've been reading your blog for a little while because I'm a Cata baby and I want to make sure I'm able to navigate the sticky culture of guilds. I've gone through several guilds on my hunter main, trying to find a consistent raid group with real progression. After leaving a couple of guilds because progression just wasn't happening, I was recruited as a DPS for my current guild's Group Two.

The first few weeks of raiding were rocky, because the raid leader is not very articulate and is bad at explaining fights. He also takes criticism very personally and for the first couple weeks his DPS was (no other way to put it) terribad. One of the group's healers basically overrode him in voice chat and effectively took over management of the raid group, although the original raid lead was still party leader and loot master. However, several of the group members had a problem with the way the healer ran the group and the way he spoke to other party members. Despite the fact that Group 2 was now getting real progression and players were earning great gear, tension still mounted.

The guild leadership began sitting in our voice channel during raids and taking notes of how everyone was behaving. Eventually they approached me and asked if I would be willing to take over as leader of Group 2, since I was better at explaining and had a very professional attitude about conflict. They said that since the original leader was unseated so easily, he obviously didn't display leadership qualities. I didn't want to cause any drama, so I told them I was willing to take over as long as guild leadership were the ones to talk to the original raid lead and the healer about it.

The healer didn't take the change in authority well and was rude to our guild leader about it, so he was subsequently kicked from the guild. Now I'm the leader of Group 2 and we're getting ready to start heroic progression. However, the original raid leader has been asking for some favors like subbing his current character out for an undergeared alt. He also continues to talk over me during explanations because he feels like he would be better at explaining even when he's not. Overall, I don't think he's really accepted the fact that he's no longer the leader of the raid.

My problem is this: I don't want to lose him from the raid group, but I don't want to put up with him talking over me or insisting he brings a different character than the one we've already integrated into our raid. I'm not sure how to talk to him about this in a way he would listen, since as I mentioned he doesn't take criticism very well. I don't want to get guild leadership involved because then it seems like I can't take care of the problems in my own raid group. I have the support of the other party members and they've all said they prefer me as a raid leader over him, but I really don't want to cause an open confrontation that may lead to his leaving the raid group.

I really need some advice here!

Thanks for reading,

Reluctant Usurper
Hi, RU. Great pseudonym!

Raid leadership is a highly stressful role to play within a guild, one in which level-headedness and patience are paramount. Kudos to you for taking on this challenging assignment -- even if you did so reluctantly!

I like the fact that your leadership took the initiative to listen in and decide what to do about this raid team. Too often a guild's officers are content to ignore secondary teams and let them sort themselves out (or not). It sounds to me like they made the right choice for a new raid leader.

Two options

The way I see it, you have two options here:

Talk to this player yourself and face the consequences. The pro here is that you're handling your own business, which you say you prefer. The con is if it blows up in your face, which you seem to think it will. In that event, the blame will likely be placed on you for "creating" the problem -- even though you're just trying to do your job well.

This issue doesn't have to become a huge confrontation, however, if you approach it in an indirect way. Just make a general request to the raid that any strategy information or suggestions be whispered to you rather than spoken over Vent. Say you don't want people to get confused about the strategy, so you'd like to be the one to present it for each boss. Hopefully, he'll take the hint. Since you aren't singling him out, he'll be less likely to feel persecuted.

Since the issue is between the two of you, you could take it to the officers. That's part of the reason officers exist, after all -- to mediate disputes between members who need a higher authority to resolve the issue. In your case, I would try A first, and then B if A fails. At that point, you've got a raid member who's repeatedly violating a direct request from you as the raid leader. Therefore, you have a legitimate reason to bring the problem to them.

B is certainly more likely to result in this player flying off the handle if you manage A without a direct confrontation. However, if he's impeding your ability to lead, then you don't have much choice in the matter.

Compromise over characters

The decision to switch raiding characters is always a difficult one for raid leaders. On the one hand, you want your players to be happy with their toon choice so that they'll continue to have fun raiding.

On the other hand, switching toons can have dire consequences for raid teams in terms of DPS, healing and survivability, as well as which buffs, debuffs and utility you have access to. Sometimes it can mean other people have to perform a role in a specific encounter that they've never done before, such as flying during Alysrazor, steering Rhyolith, or triggering magma traps versus Ragnaros. You never want to see progression suffer as a result of a character switch.

In this case, I'd ask him if he could stick with his original character through the rest of this patch cycle and your heroic Firelands attempts. Certainly he can wait a couple of weeks to avoid stalling progression. Tell him he can switch it up for patch 4.3 once he gets that other toon geared up. Between the Raid Finder and the new dungeons, getting an alt up to speed won't be a huge chore. It's a compromise I think you can both live with.


Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to

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