The problem with those approaches (which are otherwise very reasonable) is that they would require that both me and my friends had enough time (and on the same schedule) to be able to grind raids and >33 PoE together.
Random loot and matchmaking is all there can be for me right now to rationalize playing this game any longer. At least as of now.
That I can agree with, I've not had a solid group of 6 for Raids since the game started. People come and go every so often, thankfully we've typically managed to replace them, and we have always stuck to Tuesdays as a Raid night to keep it simple however I think Matchmaking is only available on 28 PoE, 32 and above where the good stuff is does not matchmake to my knowledge.