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You see it over and over. People complaining over lack of socialization, or how they never seem to make friends in newer MMOs, or that they can't seem to find an MMO that keeps them. However I am of firm opinion that these two elements are linked. We have all watched as WOW launched and showed the gamer community that a MMO could be developed that allowed people a more casual Experiance, a more solo oriented Experiance as well. However even WOW at launch had huge raids that took teamwork and coordination to accomplish. Those experiences that people undertook together is what helped to forge friendships. Those friendships are what kept people playing the game.
Players though applauded that a game company could create a game that allowed more accessibility, and allowed players easier access to gear. The devs listened and slowly started changing the game making it more and more soloable, more accessible and overall not as challenging. Teamwork while still needed at times wasn't as needed as often. Things that took time to complete such as long involved quests which required people to help one another were made obsolete, and instead people only gathered if they got something for themselves.
The developer community listened and now we see the results. The giant of blizzard was copied for their formula of success. Now we have a game cycle that creates games that are easily accessible, soloable, and lacking much of the depth of older games that have a hard time achieving success regardless of all the extras and flashy graphics.
Why is that one may wonder. One word..FRIENDS. You read it all the time on these forums. People talk to their friends on vent or teamspeak (which that in and of itself only inflates the problem) while they play their new games ignoring the people most likely that might actually try to be talking to them, while they Rush thru all the easily accessible content, not having a need or a reason to make new friends. Or they duo with a friend that came to the game with them.
Well we dug our own hole, we asked for easily accessible content which key term easy. We wanted the capability to solo. People seemed to enjoy making levels fast, and didn't want to have to be bothered with "GRIND" or long time consuming gameplay. Now that the developers have listened people try to blame them for putting out crap that can't keep them entertained.
In all honesty there have been a lot of great features to come along in the MMO industry. However speeding everything up such as leveling or taking out massive raids that took teamwork and organization wasn't one of them.