One of the hardest things I've had to adjust to since leaving behind my more serious raiding guild days, and joining a series of casual guilds that raided, is the loss of being part of a set raid team.
There was the guild that seemed to have a core raiding group, of which I was apart, raiding every night for a year until I was unceremoniously sat for having reminded the tank's brother to turn off his Crusader Aura while we were on Kael. Or the raid group where the raid leader would never tell any of us standby folks if we were needed or not, then get huffy when asked if we were needed or could be released to go do something else.
What I Like About Set Teams
My first, and most serious, raiding guild helped shaped my expectations, and preference, that raid seating be transparent, and communicated in advance. And it also showed me the power of having a set raiding team, with designated backups, rather than having some sort of round robin seating. When we started up our raids each week, there was no need to spend excessive amounts of time re-explaining fight mechanics for farm bosses. Previously killed bosses were summarily handled, leaving us with maximum time to head in and work on our progression boss or bosses of the evening.
Because we had the same base team each raid, and didn't constantly change up strat, folks had a chance to practice their role, learn how to optimize it during the fight, and set goals for exceeding the prior kill's perfection in execution. We knew which raid member would pull out all the stops if there was a mishap, whom was best suited for which special task, etc.
In the last 2 years especially, I've primarily raided in situations wherein the raid had an entirely different make-up week-to-week. Different healing classes, different distributions of DPS, entirely different players week-to-week. While I do understand how for guilds with too many raiders for a 10-man raid and not enough raiders (or desire) for a 25-man raid can see rotating people in and out of one 10-man to be the path of least resistance for raid seating, I also think it is a key contributor to slowed progression through the content.
From my personal perspective, I'm just not as sharp on a boss I am only seeing every few weeks as I am on content I've done on a regular basis. And it takes time to build raid synergy and relationships. If you are spending 30min of your 3-hour raid time explaining fights to people who have never seen them before, you're not left with much time to build camaraderie -- or to work on new content either.
And What I Hate Most About Unschedulers
In the case of the unschedulers, who can't confirm people When I've hurried home from work to make a 6 p.m. raid start, only to find the raid has started in my absence, or to be told I'm being sat for a new person, it's peeved me. I could have gone out for a drink with a colleague, or stopped by the Farmers' Market, or finished up one last task at my desk. If only the raid leader had changed my status to Out for that raid I signed up for 2 weeks ago.
We are all busy people. If you are working 40+ horus per week, it's hard enough to schedule your raid nights around everything else you need to get done. So when you do those scheduling feats, or spend $30 to catch a cab home to be there for your raid team, it truly sucks to be warming the bench for the night. Yes, it takes extra time for the raid leader to confirm people, and yes it requires those who sign up for raids to be committed to actually attending them, but I do believe having a set slate of raiders, confirmed in advance, is the best course of action to progress through raids.
How to Deal With Backups
Now, when I've gotten into heated discussions int he past with folks over this issue, it's often been due to the thought that a set slate of core raiders causes a team experience gap for the inevitably needed backups/fill-ins. But I disagree. My most successful raid team had several slots set aside in each raid to rotate backups in and out to ensure they learned the new fights and could keep up on the farm content. Yes, in a 10-man you have less leeway than in a 25-man, but it's still doable. You can set aside a healing slot and a DPS slot that rotates people each raid night. If you are in the envious position of being a guild with a surplus of tanks, you can also rotate your off tanks from DPS to Off-tank each raid.
In my opinion, having a more disciplined approach to your raid seating can strengthen the camaraderie of your raid team and be a solid base for progression success. What are your thoughts on raid seating?