The raiding vs. casual thing really gets people talking. And boy are there lots of opinions out there. I read a pretty interesting post at The Common Sense Gamer. Villainelle expressed a lot of my own viewpoints regarding the matter. While I would definitely flock to a game that had absolutely no raiding, I'm not certain that the two can't co-exist happily.
I am more casual than what most define as casual. I have a handicapped son, and I play/work with him until he goes to bed at 8pm. By 9:00 or 9:30 I'm tired because we all have to be up at 5:30am. Some nights I'd rather watch tv or read a book so don't game at all. Weekends I have more time to play, but my body's clock has gotten in the habit of waking up at 5:30 so there is no way I'm staying up late to play games.
But I do like having nice stuff that makes my game play easier. I always thought one of the best ideas I'd seen in any game to address this was the LDON expansion in EQ. You take a group mission for one of several dungeons and when you complete your mission, you are awarded points. These missions generally took about a half hour to forty-five minutes. Accumulate enough points and you can buy a stat gem that can be added to a slot in your armor. It took me several weeks to obtain one item, and a couple months to fill the three slots on my chest piece. The resulting chest piece was not quite as good as a raid item but miles better than regular random drops.
I didn't have to have THE BEST and didn't care that raiders did. But what I got was pretty darn good and made a noticeable difference in fights. Given today's more solo-oriented gaming, I guess you could expand on this and provide solo or two-person missions that would give only a fraction of the points. It would take you much longer going this route but at least you're not completely closed off to it. Or have a system that adjusts the dungeon to the number of group members so you don't have to sit around trying to fill that group.
I always wondered why I never saw that concept in another game. It was one of my favorite aspects of EQ and everyone benefited. And it didn't matter if you'd done one particular one already, you always got the points, so grouping up was easier than today's current trend in mmo's which involves being on the same step of the same quest before you find someone to group.
Let the raiders continue raiding, just give me something more than scraps, even though it might take me months.