I realize and expect that most people who actively raid do so as part of their guild. Raid strategy is discussed in officer chat, raiding activities are funded through guild banks and consumables created and handed out by guild alchemists. Occasionally a raid has to sub in someone, perhaps from another guild to address an attendance shortfall. Sometimes that person does well and sticks around. This post is about those people
I'm in that situation, it gnaws at me, and I'm writing for advice and perspective. I am a member and officer of one of the largest guilds on a RP server. We aren't a casual raiding guild because that would imply that we raid. We don't. We have had a couple of groups kill Attumen once or twice. We have one group going that's killed the Bear boss in Zul'Aman. That's about it, despite having at least one hundred active level 70 characters in the roster, plus hundreds more lower level ones. I love the guild, it's a fun place, I'm utterly loyal and devoted to them and would never want to leave. Those of us who enjoy raiding end up attaching to other guilds' raids but there never will be enough of us to do anything more than perhaps a 10-person run ourselves.
I liked the idea of raiding so many moons ago I decided to search for and get into a raid. I did, I subbed in, worked hard, spent many a long night learning bosses and wiping and sharing the laughs and tears with a raiding guild that needed an extra person or two to fill their BWL and AQ40 rosters. I became a regular fixture. We were just short of C'Thun's doorstep when the expansion hit. After the expansion, I was pulled into their 25-person raids, and SSC and TK are now part of my weekly activities. I've always been an outsider, though not the only one, and I've come to see that many raids are guild raids that tend to bring in a couple of people, even regulars, from other guilds due to tenure or contribution or to fill attendance. For the most part, this has worked fine for me--I'll post on their forums (I do all the WWS), be as active a contributor as I know how to be, and just let it pass when it's announced that the guild--not the raid--has conquered another boss.
The guild bank feature changes things a bit though. Until now there haven't been specific game mechanics that enforced the notion that the members of a raid should be members of a guild. But with the ability to subsidize repair costs through a guild bank, I suddenly feel just the slightest bit awkward--for the first time I feel a little pressure to make a choice between my guild family and my raid family. And I wonder whether this is a long term direction--will we see more in-game mechanisms that encourage raids to be guild raids? How would this affect alliances of smaller guilds who try to band together to take on a 25-person instance, or large guilds such as ours that do not raid but tend to supply people to many other raids?
I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer to any of this. Certainly, I feel sort of stuck having to maintain a status quo--and it's not a bad one, being able to have my guild and my raid and not give up one for the other. But, I'd love the notion of a raid bank that isn't necessarily a guild bank, and raid leader channels that aren't necessary guild officer channels. I'd also be interested to know how rare a situation like mine is, and how raid leaders for a guild-sponsored raid typically handle long-term commitments from raiders who are not part of their guild? Is it just more convenient to have everyone in the guild, enough so that you would or actively do require it? Or is it typically "no big deal" and pretty common to have a smattering of people from all corners of the world fighting Hydross and Al'ar at the side of you and your guildmates?
My apologies if this has been covered though I did look; there is plenty of discussion about hardcore-vs-casual and the like but most discussions seem to take it as an assumption that raids are first and foremost guild events which first and foremost must cater to the needs and goals of the sponsoring guild. I didn't see much discussion about those of us on the other side of the fence.
I'm in a similar situation in that I play on an RP server and I've raided effectively out of guild (albeit typically in groups with plenty of people from my guild in them) since moving to the server about a year and a half ago. My position in my current raid group, which we started around when BC hit and is now in early T6, is as primary tactician, in-raid leader & barker of orders and not so much primary administrator, however as I've been on our raid council since the beginning I definitely have insight into that part. We differ quite a bit from your setup in that while our raid group isn't tied to any guild - although admittedly we did create one for our bank alts now in 2.3 - and happily rejects applicants that come from the same guilds as the group founders if the applicants aren't up to snuff for raiding, your group seems more centered on a guild who aren't averse to bringing friends to raids in order to get somewhere.
This makes me somewhat unsure what to tell you. Obviously, in your situation there are significant benefits to being a member of that core guild. I don't quite understand why they've chosen to organise the raid group around a certain guild like that if they're not making it guild-exclusive, it seems destined to cause friction and leave some players needlessly out of the loop, but obviously they have and you just have to make the best of it.
I think as a bare minimum you should get them to invite an alt of yours, to get access to the bank if they're using it for raid purposes. If they're using bank funds to pay for repairs you can just withdraw it manually, however far as I know that's fairly rare. Beyond that I guess it's a matter of just how much that central guild matters for raids and what's important to you. You could of course try to convince them that structuring raids around a guild while not actually raiding as a guild is a Bad Idea™ and try to get the group structured around chat channels - believe me, it works just as well - but that's probably difficult if the leadership is single-guild in the first place.
I suppose my main concern is that you're in a system that doesn't sound very fair to you. There's basically an arbitrarily chosen cast of non-officer members of the raid group that have much less influence on group policy than others. It's likely to either restructure as wholly single-guild raiding or simply dissolve for much the same reasons most raids structured as guild alliances do the same: raid membership requirements become tied to guild membership requirements that only some raid members can influence. Structuring a raid group requires making sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally, in my opinion, which means that either the guild tags under the raiders' names are completely irrelevant or everyone has the same one. No other options seem to work very well.
This is bollocks, pure and simple. Speak to anyone on a server where the culture is to have cross-guild raid groups (RP realms are often set up this way). There is zero need to be in a raid guild (as compared to a raid alliance / cross-guild raid group).
Need somewhere to talk? That's what custom chat channels are for.
Need to sign for raids? That's what web forums are for.
Need a guild bank? Doesn't require you to put your raiding toon in the guild. Put a banker alt in the guild, and you have whatever access to the guild bank is appropriate.
Life is WAY too short to spend it pissing about wondering which group of friends you should be "in a guild with" and which you should be "not in a guild with". If it actually matters, then they aren't real friends.
There's no need to choose, because being in a guild is merely an artificial barrier, and guild chat is simply a large channel. I personally don't see leaving one guild for another as abandoning them, abandoning means giving up all contact entirely. If you can't find other ways than guild-chat to stay in touch with those people; then maybe your relationships with them have been nothing more than coincidence. With all due respect, if you can't find custom channels, be on ventrilo or contact people in real life that you believe mean -that- much to you, maybe they don't mean much to you at all.
I know that there are alot of times where leaving a guild has that backstabber/guild-hopper notion; but it puts things into perspective. My personal experience has been, in various raiding guilds where a group of players quit or transfer and things become nasty between them and the guild, you have to ask yourself what in the hell happened to 5-8 months of ventrilo and raiding together as a team. That sort of artificial separation will really show you who your friends are, and who you mean nothing to.