This kinda relates to my previous thread about forced grouping/soloing. But a slightly. different subject (though the beginning of this post overlaps with my previous thread).
So I'll talk about Asheron's Call. The community in that game (on Morningthaw, on Darktide it was crap so I avoided that server) was very good except for the PvP server (which is NOT part of the discussion). Every PVE/optional PvP servers had great communities in AC. While people could solo EVERYTHING, and in some ways that was more optimal...however people often randomly joined groups, chatted with each other, helped each other and were very friendly. In fact, Asheron's Call had a more, friendlier and helpful community than Everquest 1 which pretty much forced grouping. In AC people grouped to help others, to socialize and have a lot of fun together.
So where am I going with that?...Well...
Go to todays community. Its 4chan style trolling, rude people, leeroy jenkin wannabees, loot stealers and people using each other to get ahead of the game. The main reason people group these days is for selfish reasons, and would otherwise not group if they could. Which in Asheron's Call people ALWAYS grouped even though soloing was very viable, because people wanted to actually group and were overall friendly. Even friendlier MMOs like LOTRO are nowhere near as good as MMOs of old. Then there are the more niche MMOs like Ryzom and Istaria/Horizons (the dragon MMO) which are closed off communities that with the little players they have act very elitist and rude.
But that actually goes to society of today (at least in the US). Today people is only I, I and I, and very rarely do people help others unless they get something out of it. And if they do help, they get sued. Why would people want to play with others that are so rude and selfish like that? That goes back to MMOs.
The MMO community overall has become VERY toxic, very rude, trolls and memes galore and really selfish. Most people won't even group unless they are forced to do so, making it a selfish reason. I grouped all the time in Asheron's Call even though I could do everything on my own.
A good example of this is in EVE. There was a story on PCgamer (recently) of a guy who spent 1+ year becoming great "friends" with a corp (it was a pirate corp), but it turns out he only wanted to steal all their stuff and sabotage them from within. I'd never want to group with someone like that or even associate myself with such a sociopath. He didn't even care about the friendships he made. And that is true for a lot of MMO gamers these days, they are more than glad to move on from an MMO than stay where their long time friends are.
In Asheron's Call, friendships lasted for decades and many would stay because of those friendships and even keep in contact years later. These days, if a group of friends quit an MMO that you've had for years, people just say "find new friends". Communities of old never acted like that, but that is how things are in real life these days in society.
I believe that is why so many people prefer to just solo these days and not group. That is a big reason I don't group, because why would I want to associate or even socialize with such rude people that don't even care about others and if I unsubbed they wouldn't care at all even if they'd been friends for years? That isn't how old MMO communities were (at least for Asheron's Call).
To end it off...there ARE good groups and guilds out there. But they are far harder to find than how MMOs communities used to be. And one of the huge reasons people (my theory anyway) don't like grouping nearly as much as they used to and only do it if they are forced to do so. Because most people don't actually want to associate or socialize with such rude and immature people that are actually using them to get ahead or some endgame item.