Final Fantasy XIV opinions and playstyles
First, you need to understand that this site represents a very small, and very vocal, minority of players. It's essentially a petri dish, where quite often unpopular or incorrect opinions can fester. The game as a whole, has a much wider and broad spectrum of players, opinions and playstyles
To your questions, no flexibility is not bad. There are certainly people who have a very narrow definition of what their class should do, what other classes should do, what's optimum and what's bad. This does not mean that the whole player population holds the same views. You want to push that Moggle out with a Ruin III, go to town. I doubt 99% of the players that you meet in game will even notice.
Most people view kicking players as a last resort. Despite the horror stories that you might hear here, this does not happen in the majority of dungeon runs. You will encounter all kinds of players, helpful, funny, slightly-crazy, or (the most common) completely silent. You will find people that help you out and offer suggestions, far more often then the ragers. Just as there are all kinds of people & personalities in the world, there are all kinds of players in the world. Most of the time, you will get the player's who say "hi" at the start, "GG" at the end and just kill the mobs in between that. 99% of people will not care about gear, or play - unless it's something really off the wall. Even then, they will probably offer a suggestion politely than raging. Or they will just stay silent and keep on keeping on with their play.
In terms of getting up your friends up to and into raiding, try giving some of the EX primals a shot. Bismark & Ravana have mechanics that can't be ignored, but since we overgear them so much, it's essentially like playing in the shallow end of the pool. Even Alexander Midas would be a good introduction, since it's a 8 man duty that you shouldn't be able to AFK in (compared to the 24 man raids). Additionally, they are fun fights with cool mechanics. Also know that raiding isn't for everyone, and quite frankly, isn't the be-all & end-all of the game. It's there for those that want that content and who like it, but if you enjoy doing other things, then awesome. Fun is the superior stat in the game, so whatever you are doing, it's got to be fun. Fun can come from all content, lowly guildheists, achievement chasing, crafting, gathering, leveling, dungeons, you name it. Raiding also doesn't have to be something that you get into right as you hit 60. If this is their first MMO, or if they are still building up their skills, comfort level and awareness, then it can be something for the future.
Outside of your questions and care and concern for your friends, I also get the sense of a lot of anxiety from you. You obviously care about your friends and want them to have a good time. But you have the desire to do more challenging content, but are nervous. You are not alone. Even people who are exceptional players, who have some impressive accomplishments under your belt feel this way from time to time. And in moderation, it can be a good feeling, because it makes you always bring your A-game, and look for ways to improve yourself. That's a great skill to have. However, if you let it get the best of you, then it will. And that kind of fear and anxiety can hold you back. This is just a video game. The worst thing that can happen is that you wipe. And they you have the ability to start over again and improve. There's an old, cliche saying that goes: Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right. Meaning that if you think you aren't good enough to do that content, then you're sabotaging yourself. If you think you can, and try it out, then what do you really have to loose? Some random person on the internet might develop an opinion of you for a second and then move onto other content and forget all about you in a minute?
The limitation is that a full party can only be 8 people. And if seems that you have a good group of friends who have their solid 8 party on. And it's hard to be in the 9th spot, looking in. From their gameplay, they need that team of 8 to be strong, but sure, it sucks for you. Getting new friends into the game is great, and maybe they don't have the same drive. But that doesn't mean that you can't do the things you want to do. There's a server and data center full of people out there that can (and do!) want to play with you. Ask a trusted raiding friend what you can do to improve, watch guides and study your rotation, practice on the striking dummy, and put yourself out there. I know it's super scary to do that, but this community is legitimately great, let it surprise you, let it help you. There are lots of other players in the same boat as you. They want to clear content and try new things out. The nature of raiding makes it feel exclusive, and it's a hard scene to break into at times. But there are so many other people who want to and want to try. Meet people on your server outside your FC. Trust me, there's lots of players who want to and do help and will take hours out of their time to teach someone fights or help them improve.
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