FFXIV Guide on How to Land a Static Position
Here we wanted to give out some pointers on how to get yourself into a static position and hopefully get others who are more experienced than I am to also contribute to a pseudo-guide for helping people who are new to the raiding scene prepare themselves for it.
Before you even think about getting yourself into a static, or even into a practice run for the content you want a static for, you need to prepare yourself as best as humanely possible without even setting foot in it. This consists of three key factors.
Firstly, gearing up would be a great start - meeting the basic item level of what is expected from recruiting statics is a simple tick to check off the box. Right now most groups recruiting for AS1 expect ilvl 190 with either Ravana EX weapon or Esoteric weapon, which means of course, that you need to spend about a month getting your loot from Alexander Normal as well as having Ravana EX in farm mode before you apply.
Secondly, read and watch as many resources as you can about the encounter before stepping into it. If you're the type of person who says "nope, sorry, I don't want to 'spoil' the fight for myself so I want to go in blind lolol, please teach me on the fly?" it will be much harder to find a raid/static group that are willing to accommodate this attitude. I've personally never seen a static that has its objective being "don't read guides, don't spoil fights" for hardcore, non-story-related content (like I said previously, Castrum Meridianum and Praetorium are noteworthy exceptions) but I am assured that these statics do exist on some possibly larger worlds. All the best of luck to you in finding one, because I am quite sure that you will need it.
Thirdly, perfect your own rotation to the best of your ability (thanks Fei for pointing this out). If you are a DPS watch guides and read/discuss openers and smaller but important details such as when to pop pots/buffs during an encounter. This also usually means getting a parser (or if you're playing on a console, getting someone else to parse for you) to see where you might need improvement. Healers need to sort out their healing rotation and mana management. Tanks need to be mindful and theorycraft which cooldowns should be popped where, when and why. The less time you need to look down at your buttons or think about which skill to press next on your rotation, the better your own raid awareness will be.
So what can you do then? There are plenty, plenty of guides and PoV youtube videos for nearly every class in the game now for AS1/2 at the very least. Read them and watch them as much as possible. Luck always favors the prepared.
So now that you have done the three steps above, what's next?
Joining as many learning parties as you can would be the most optimal thing to do next. Get yourself some experience in AS1 so you can pad your resume with what mechanics you can say with confidence that you can do. Get to first jump, second jump, third jump or enrage for AS1. The more exposure you get, the more prepared you will be for the trial that a static will put you through to see whether you are capable.
However, I know that it isn't always the case that learning parties will be put up on PF, especially in smaller servers. My own world was pretty much the same, with a dearth of learning parties not being made readily available. You can do two things about this - set up your own PF (there is no need to 'lead' it per se, unlike what the poster of the thread I linked was adamantly stating, but you will need access to a voice program or someone else's voice program) or wait for a learning static that is doing a run/recruiting and hopefully apply to see if they will take you in.
Personally, I also found that there were hardly any new statics recruiting (or conversely, old statics recruiting people with no experience) and learning PFs took so long to fill, with people having to leave after we clear Faust (which sometimes took several tries for learning parties to get down) and making it difficult to actually get exposure to the bulk of Oppressor's mechanics (although I made sure to log on at peak hours to get enough exposure and eventually made it to enrage in AS1 with a learning party - but sometimes such a scenario would be impossible for people in smaller servers).
So what do you do if both of the above options fail?
Now we're kinda progressing to the realm of where finding a job in real life crosses with finding a job in game as a permanent static member. Networking, essentially making connections with as many people as possible, has a HUGE impact on your chances of finding and landing a static role. I cannot stress this point enough. This was how I personally got recruited. I was just doing Rav EX runs for fun and the recruiter happened to be in the same party. They were impressed with the way I managed mechanics and remembered me later when they wanted me to fill a role in their static (as a DPS). This was not a static that I stayed in, but I got referred by the static leader to several other statics who needed fills for that week due to their members not making it and eventually got a permanent position in one of them. I did also have experience up until enrage in AS1 when I played as DPS so that, of course, helped, but they were willing to teach me if I didn't because they had confidence in my skill and ability from observing me in previous runs.
So what can you do to network? Do content that people put up in PF. The best ones would be "help getting a clear for an FC mate for Bis EX/Rav EX/Coil." The mechanics of those fights are still somewhat relevant in assessing your performance, attitude and skill as a player. There is also a saying which is also very relevant here: "I may not remember exactly what you did, but I will never forget how you made me feel." The people you play with won't remember exactly how well you did or precisely how you handled certain mechanics, but leaving an impression is what matters most.
On top of this, making friends with people will help land you unadvertised static positions (for which there is a LOT of, but most people are unaware of this). Most static positions get filled before they even reach the PF, which is usually the last port of call for recruiters. They will rather take someone who has been refereed by someone else they trust, or someone that they have played with previously, over holding a trial for a random who applied through PF. So even if there are no AS1 learning parties or statics recruiting inexperienced players, there are other avenues to get into a static.
Therefore, even playing well in the "mid-core" content on PF will get you recognised, commended and remembered, increasing your chances of getting a static.
How you approach fights and encounters, and how well you can mesh with the static, is a significant factor in the static recruitment process. Personally, I prize attitude leagues above experience and gear. Experience and gear can always be attained, given enough time. Attitude, in my experience playing through 10 years worth of MMOs, usually does not change.
Progression raiding will be unlike anything you've experienced before. You think it was bad wiping once in a Titan HM DF run? Try wiping 50 plus times (or in the case of world firsts 600+ times) before getting a clear on an Alexander Savage floor. How you react to other people making mistakes, how you react to your own mistakes, how you react and adapt to criticism and how you give criticism - all of these can be traced back to your attitude. The endless wipes will bring out the worst in people. I've said this before in other threads, but I'll say it again here - it is very cheap to be happy when everything is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. It costs you nothing. How you react when shit hits the fan defines whether or not you are static material (and there will be elephant-sized shits hitting industrial-grade fans throughout the course of your progression raiding career, pardon the imagery). If you have a crap attitude, and try to pass blame to others without first re-evaluating your own performance to see whether your own play can be improved, you will not land a static position.
A static is kept healthy by its morale. If morale is down, people get tired, people get angry, people make more mistakes, people will leave. Don't be that person that makes the morale dip in a static, or in any other form of content either. You will not get invited to any static, and you will more likely get a spot on someone's blacklist rather than a spot on a static. To reiterate: experience and gear will be attained with time. However, it is much harder to change your attitude and if you do happen to have an attitude problem, you'd better work on it now.
You need dedication to be part of a static, and you need to prepare yourself to sacrifice some of your own free time to meet the schedule of the raid static you want to be in. Don't get this mixed up with how much time you have to sink into a static/how much a static asks from you - they may sound interrelated, but dedication comes mostly from being able to consistently make it in time for the raid without fail (barring any legitimate excuse for non-attendance).
There are statics that run from 7-10 PM every single day of the week and there are statics that ask for only 4 hours of your time every week. Regardless of how much free time you are committing, you must still be 100% dedicated to whatever those fixed times happen to be, because if you cancel without giving sufficient prior notice (standard is 3-4 days before the actual raid day) you waste 7 other people's free time who may not be able to find a suitable replacement for you (even after giving them notice). This will leave a very sour impression, and if this happens more often than not, you will not only get kicked from your static, but will also take a hit to your own reputation.
Trust me, you do not want to get known as the person who can't commit to raiding schedules. You will most likely never get offered a static position again and will resort to PUGs or being a substitute for other raid statics (if that), a position you definitely do not want to find yourself in.
We know that some servers just do not have a large community, much less a large raiding community. Being on smaller servers may make it a lot more difficult than it needs to be to find a good raiding group. Doing research on which servers to transfer to and which ones have thriving raiding scenes and moving there will naturally increase your chances of getting yourself into learning parties/statics. This should be considered as a valid option if you are serious about raiding. Just don't forget to say goodbye to your friends in your old server.
Also, on the other hand, Cetonis raises a good point regarding the fact that in smaller servers it is easier to establish a reputation than it is in a larger server. Word spreads quick in smaller servers. This can be both a blessing or a curse. If you're awesome, everyone's going to know your name by the end of the week and chances are you'll be headhunted for a role in a static. Conversely, if you're bad, everyone's also going to know your name by the end of the week, and not exactly for the reasons you might want to be known.
This one I would treat with the utmost caution. Yes it is an option, but if you are forced to play a job that is in high demand just to get into a static (Bard/Machinist for example), and you don't particularly like playing the job, I strongly advise against doing so. Why? Because you will be placed in high pressure situations and you frankly do not need the extra stress of playing a job that you hate on top of that. Only consider this option if you do like the jobs that are in high demand would be my own personal advice.
Get a Mentor/Raiding FC/LS (thanks Introvertial)
Introvertial raises a good point in that, in preparing yourself for hardcore raiding, a helping hand or two never goes amiss. There are some finer points which are not covered in general how-to guides, such as popping optimal defensive CD rotations for tanks in AS2, that you have to either a) experiment and find out by yourself or b) get a mentor to help you go through the paces.
Getting yourself a mentor or being in a dedicated raiding Free Company or Linkshell will not only help you improve with getting down the mechanics of the encounter, but also help with networking and exposure. Why? In most cases, the mentor that you are assigned to would be a member in some form of progression static and would also naturally be competent at the class that they are playing. Do you know who gets asked if someone else's static needs a replacement or a substitute? Your mentor. And their word, frankly, carries a lot of weight when they recommend someone from the same class as themselves that they have been mentoring.
Asking for a mentor also shows dedication, initiative as well as a commendable attitude in wanting to improve one's own performance. This step can really never go amiss and I strongly recommend getting a mentor at the earliest available opportunity.
Prepare yourself by gearing appropriately and by reading/watching guides. Practice and network with people as much as possible. Check that attitude. Have dedication. Transfer servers if required. Changing jobs is an option but must be treated with caution. Getting a mentor, or being in a good raiding FC or LS will also help.