I find that I am torn between two contradictory impulses when it comes to casual (well, let’s call it semi-casual to be honest) raiding:
The desire to be essential to every raid and to have my raid spot guaranteed whenever I feel like signing up
Being able to take time off for whatever reason (holidays, family emergencies, hot date, etc) without feeling guilty because the raid can’t go without me
No one enjoys being benched, especially when you had set aside a raid night for gaming, and everyone likes to feel that they are important to the group. However, any functional raid group is probably going to rotate raiders, just to make sure they have enough people to keep going even when a couple fall sick or get caught in traffic on the same day. So if you’re in any kind of regular raid, #1 is an impractical thing to want.
Wanting to feel important is a perfectly normal human impulse when jostling for position in a group. And raid leaders, like management at work, are well placed to channel that desire in ways that are useful to the raid/ project. So you can call #1 the ‘need to be loved’ impulse. People who are ruled by this will literally sacrifice anything for the raid, it can all become quite unhealthy and obsessive.
#2 is not only practical but also necessary for any kind of sensible work/ gaming/ life balance. So it’s absolutely a good thing to not be the only tank, holy priest, raid leader, or whatever it is that you do. As well as being able to go on holiday with a clear conscience, it also gives you more freedom to alt or try a different spec.
This is true at work also, while it’s nice to be secure in your job because the company will fail without you, it also guarantees that you’ll be doing that job and nothing else until the place goes tits up, you retire, or you die of boredom – and doing the same job forever limits your chances to learn new and more transferable skills. Sensible management would make sure they were never that reliant on one employee in any case.
Making sure that there are enough replacements to cover holidays is usually the raid leader’s job. But what if you are the raid leader? Or even guild leader?
Succession planning for guild leaders is a whole other topic (maybe for a different day) but as a raid leader, there’s a lot you can do to encourage other people to lead raids. Firstly you can recruit another raid leader and take turns. You can also encourage raiders to take a more active role in raid leading also. Discuss strategies on forums. Nominate a co-leader to help with tank or healer assignments. Encourage other people to try leading 10 mans. Coach them if it helps.
But at the same time, the more people who feel they have a stake in leading the raids, the higher the chances are for guild drama somewhere down the line when they disagree with each other. So you want to encourage an atmosphere where people are able and willing to lead raids without you, but they can also respect and work with the current raid leader and make any arguments in a constructive way.
It’s a moving target. Like many raid issues, recruiting people who are basically on the same wavelength as you is the easiest way to get to where you want to be.