As a confirmed soloer, I get subjected to a certain amount of bs from the grouping contingent. One of the most frequent quips these people fling at me is “If you’re going to solo, go play a single player game.”
Now no amount to logical explanation has been able to push these folks off-message. As far as their concerned, people who solo are a) stupid for paying a monthly fee if we’re not going to group, and b) ruining the games.
So instead of logic, I’m going to tell a quick little story before I put the weekend to bed and start another long work week.
I was exploring the western shore of Lake Evendim tonight. It’s a place I’ve never been before. I wasn’t hunting for anything more dangerous than the boat back to the eastern shore, which I’d been told existed somewhere. I was staying along the water’s edge, dodging anything mean looking up on the slopes above. Then I saw a large white boulder behind some bushes. An outcropping of platinum! As a jeweler, I need platinum, so without thinking I charged straight through the bush and tried right-clicking on the platinum to harvest it.
Only it wasn’t an outcropping of platinum at all, it was a huge bear. It hit me a few times as I parsed what was going on (the bush was still obstructing my view). By the time I got my wits about me and starting fighting back I was at 50% health, and the bear was yellow to me. I hadn’t eaten anything, had no consumable buffs up; as I said, I wasn’t looking to fight. I knew this was going to be mighty close.
Then a shaft of light came flying over my shoulder. Another attacker! I shuffled around the bear so I could see and… no, not another attacker! A dwarf named Grain, and he was hitting the bear with some kind of magic. Next thing I know, my morale was surging upwards, and the bear lay dead at my feet. I turned to Grain, bowed low. He bowed back, then opened a book, read from it…and vanished.
This kind of totally random and unexpected encounter is why I played MMOs even though I mostly solo (it should be noted, Grain was soloing too). A few moments later he sent me a tell, and we chatted a bit about our adventures in Evendim — it was his first time there too, as best I could tell.
Anyway, so that’s my answer to a) and why I’m happy to pay $15/month to play in a living, breathing, ever-changing world, instead of some static single-player RPG. As to us ruining the games…I can’t help you there. If you want to group a lot, make some friends and group with them. Best way to make friends? Stop trying to shove your world-view down other peoples’ throats.