The MMOSide Chat - Should MMOs Be Mostly Soloable?

With so many MMOs nowadays hitting the market propping up the fact you can play through the majority – if not all of – the content solo, it makes me wonder whether that should really be the case. The term MMO literally has the words “Massively Multiplayer” in the name – so it begs the question: Should MMOs heavily feature soloable content?

Now there is a difference here I think between having content that can be completed on your own, albeit with a bit of challenge, versus creating content with solo in mind. MMOs are one of the few genres left in game that really bring a sense of community and grouping was, at one point, an essential part of the experience.

Nowadays, though, that feels secondary. In most MMOs I’m checking out regularly, I don’t feel the urge or even a push by the game itself to group with friends. Instead I find myself going from quest to quest, knocking out the mobs and challenges with ease by myself.

In fact, as I finish up my Bless Unleashed review, I can practically count the times I grouped on one hand aside from a few moments where I had to queue for matchmaking to run a story-mandated dungeon. The Elder Scrolls Online is one of my favorite MMORPGs on the market right now, yet one of the mantras of that game is that you can solo the vast majority of the content it if you want.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think there should be solo content in an MMO, or those who prefer to play by themselves should be penalized for this. My favorite MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online has had content that is "soloable." But it feels like more and more we’re moving away from the “Massively Multiplayer” part of the genre that made it great and moving towards experiences that are single player games we all see each other playing at the same time. What do you think? How would you like to see solo content handled in current, and even an upcoming MMO you’re looking forward to? Are you a solo player who likes the current state in many of these games – if so, what appeals to you and why would you like to see this trend continue?