First lets put some thing into perspective, Everquest 1....20 years ago. 5000 players... 2000 are dead, 1000 had Heart Surgery, strokes or cancer. For the healthy ones 1500 simply don't care about video games anymore. That leaves 500 and 12 of them are here saying this niche will be for the 500 !
Pantheon will be gaining mojo. MOST WILL NOT HAVE THE NICHE ! Most would spontaneous buy because it looks like fun to them. First generation mmorpg's were designed with no thought involved and they turned out well for it's time.
Others besides the 1999 group will want to play. VR even talks about attracting new players... Well, most will be walking into this game alone..... This will be 10 to 1...... I can't stress this enough, for every EverQuest player their will be ten first timers.
Adapt quickly to 1999 standards or your out.... A waist of money for them !
Ten new players to the one that are pre-set up should be allowed to like group dynamics too, without the niche of pre-made friends. Visionary Realms has a responsibility to give haven to them.
Before you call me a butterfly think about the 10 to 1, and not about you having your group in place already.
A premium match making system will have to be in place for 6 group players "all the time". Log in and get six players together is OK, but it better be backed up with a way to accomplish this. This is a challenge for the most hardcore.
6 players "all the time" goes beyond, niche old school friendship, or being social..... It could be a logistics mess. Dungeons and Dragons Online pulled this off, but it had to be a lobby game.