Since moving back to my old server with what is now known as The Orphans, I've had a drastic change of play style.
On Bloodscale I was expected to have close to 100% attendance to 3-4 days of raiding per week, and performance during raids was very closely watched by raid admins and class leaders. There were social aspects there as well, but much more "clique" than what I'm used to. The members there were also mostly quite young of age, with the typical "excitement" (read: rage and drama) that often comes with it.
Back on Defias, I'm pretty much a casual now. In a sense.. I play more than most casuals probably, and when I do join a raid, I try to take that seriously and pull my weight. It has been a couple rocky months for our guild to stabilize a bit after the original Orphans Grim was destroyed where it was difficult to host raids, but that's coming to a change.
For the last month or so now, we've actually had roughly 3 raids per week scheduled, but there's a catch. Due to peoples playtimes varying greatly since we're mostly older people with varying RL commitments, the raids are quite short. So one raid can be as short as 1 1/2 hours, letting us just get the weekly raid quest done, take a wing in Naxxramas, or some of the smaller raids like Onyxia and Obsidian Sanctum.
Initially I was not a big fan of the short short raid times set, but its admittedly growing on me. As I told our raidleader one evening, it feels like I barely have time to get my "raid groove" on before we're done for the night. However I've discovered it can be pretty nice to not have to dedicate the whole evening to a raid, and as a bonus the guild is laid back enough that there is no required attendance percentages required. If people don't feel like doing a raid one night they're free to say so and if we find out we're too few to go somewhere, we usually find some extras out of guild or cancel it to try another night. No biggie, no drama. And I'm pretty much loving that. :)
I'm also blessed with "working with" others in our raids that don't freak out if a mistake is made which is in my book pretty awesome. There's a lot of players out there who don't raid at all, for fear of getting cussed out something fierce if they make a tiny mistake, and this is a total non-issue on our runs. I think we got a few this might sound familiar to among our members and I'm happy they can come raid and see a lot of cool fights which they normally wouldn't dare to go to otherwise.
My only gripe right now is how we effective we spend our 1-2 hours of raid time. Something that is unavoidable with barely having the raider base to host runs is that we're forced to spend some time often to get something going. Its not that uncommon we have to spend close to an our past invite time still poking people to join. I don't really see what we can do about that without destroying the laid back style we do these runs, which I at least would like to keep that way.
Another thing is that we're typically with one or more who have never been to the raid we're doing before, so a lot of time is spent before each boss explaining things. Thats also hard to avoid, I hope its something that will fix itself as we hopefully get more returning raiders, I'd love if everyone would have spent 10 mins on wowwiki reading up on the encounters, but it seems bit too harsh considering sometimes more than half the raid hadn't even signed up to join in advance and join spontaneously when we're forming it.
We're also spending more time than necessary from killing a boss, to moving on with next trash groups or boss. Loot distribution can typically take a while as our raiders are too darn polite and very hesitant to call out on drops that can be used as upgrades. We're currently using Master Looter, and I'm thinking it might save us a lot of time if we just go with Group Loot. A simple need for mainspecs, greed for offspecs, pass otherwise and an enchanter grabs and shards the loot might save us 10-15 minutes of mucking around before we move on after a kill.
Ok, that was actually a lot of typing over whats just a minor gripe. I'm just thinking of ways to let our bite sized raids get as much as possible done in our sessions.
If you have other ideas for how one might optimize our efficiency without turning the whole thing too hardcore, feel free to let it out in the comments section. :)