I think with WoW being the biggest group we've ever had we can be let off slightly for not thinking about our long term direction and endgame before we got into that game. I don't know about the other guys who founded the group but never in a million years did I expect us to be running 40 man raids, clearing and farming many of them. Never entered my head.
Now we've had that experience, both good and bad, we can hopefully prepare better.
The type of community we are can make life difficult in games like that. Trying to keep things fair and include everyone in the guild but when you look back on it wasn't exactly fair on the people running those when there were so many who either couldn't be bothered or didn't have the time to put some effort in yet expected to join in. It became our focus as a guild and regardless of whether we tried to avoid it when recruiting that was all some people cared about when it came down to it. Expected it given on a plate, all past instances run for them so they could catch up to everyone else etc.
I remember Ava making a comment on IRC at the time of our last chat on this and he was bang on. All that time & effort people like him put into doing that for those individuals and where are they now?
Honestly, I had no idea about how we should tackle the subject of raiding & things like that but I do like the ideas put forward. I don't think the guild as a whole should be labled as having a particular "focus" but the idea of having set pvp/pve groups within the guild seems like a good idea. Thankfully there won't be any crazy 40 man but 4/8/16 which should make life a lot easier. I also believe a companion can be a substitute for a player too if the party isn't full. Though probably not as affective as a RL player, well some anyway lol
None of us will be raiding any time soon with the 200 reported hours of gameplay for each class but if when we get to endgame a number of us are interested in progressing further as a group this seems like a good option. Group 1 is formed & starts running those together and then if in some weeks or months later some other members cap and are interested in doing the same there's no reason why those individuals couldn't take the initiative and set a group 2 up for themselves. Or the same if some people want to start a pvp group within the guild together.
Tbh we've already done this in the past to a degree. In Neocron whilst we all participated in OP wars, caving, RP and hunting WBs together but there was only ever a small selection of us who farmed AreaMC5 together. On occasion Biggie and a few others may have joined us but 9 times out of 10 it was myself and/or QD PPUing (healing for those who didn't play) Rah and/or BD. Later on I believe Gryph and a few others attempted the place in their own little group but it wasn't an activity which everyone in the guild took part in and not one they expected to either. You needed to be properly prepared for that place so we didn't take just anybody. Yet there was never any problem with this and it worked very well.
In a way I'd see the group1/2/3 etc running similar. Give the people who are running & arranging those complete freedom of who tags along for the ride without worrying about what is and isn't "SSX" like. If there's no space left or if they aren't properly geared for it or whatever they'll just have to get off their bums and try put something together themselves with some of our other members. No difference to calling out over guild chat to see if anyone wants to run Gnomeregan with you is it?. Or arranging to run a set instance together some other day?. - Hopefully with a system like this new people who join us won't be expecting from the get go that they can leech off any raiding groups already established and is possibly a better way to try and cater to everyone.
Be interesting to hear others thoughts on this subject too. We've made some mistakes in the past, myself included, which I wouldn't wanna see happen again so I'm open to suggestions. - I do think we should take each day as it comes when we get ingame but it's probably for the best that we have an idea of what systems we'd put in place should the need arise. Until I get to this point myself I don't know whether I'd want to be doing endgame pve, pvp, both or whether there will be anything else that players can invest their time in like there was tradeskilling in NC. I do know I'll be wanting to do something like that though rather than just rolling alt after alt.