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Ok ok, excluding the irony of playing solo in a game that wouldn't exist except for the premise of sharing the world with countless others...
It occured to me that optional grouping, where solo play is either as rewarding, or as NET rewarding (minus hassle of putting together a group, etc), doesn't work because people who choose to slow thier own progression or go to great lengths to group up are usually immature, incompentant, or ill-mannered.
Not saying those self-interested enough to play solo when it is most profitable are perfect, but this is the irony I see when I play mmos today. For the philosophically minded, consider ethical egoism. People who care about themselves are probably more polite to others that they may depend on later than those who care about nothing at all, or perhaps just about having some immediate kicks.
I guess the point of this revelation is that it's not so simple to say 'just group up anyways', when what you'll get is a very unfun grouping experience in a game that doesn't promote or pressure team efforts.