Reading over the numerous blogs covering Warhammer Online, it seems the game has managed to pull some solo-minded players out of their old habits and shown them the light with grouping. People are going so far as to say running solo in WAR is boring compared to when they are in a group, which begs the question: is WAR boring solo, or just MORE fun in a group?
WoW is clearly more efficient, if not entirely more fun solo. Then you hit the level cap, the game does a 180, and poof, raiding or afk-pvp you go. But it’s a great game to play solo 1-70, with lots to see and experience. Now is WAR less fun than WoW solo, or is it just that we compare the fun of PQs, scenarios, and RvR to the solo nature of the quests in WAR? If someone is dead-set on playing solo, no matter what, is WAR a bad game for them?
And if we say ‘yes’ to the last question, does it matter? Should being a great solo game EVER matter in an MMO? It should always be an option of course, but does it need to be a focus? Blizzard expanded the MMO market into the millions by making it easy to solo, yet even WoW 1.0 was not the ‘solo or die’ world it is now. What if instead of making the solo experience easier and easier, Blizzard had instead used the last four years to enhance grouping, like WAR currently does. Where would the MMO space be today? Instead of the massive re-education happening on WAR servers right now, with solo players learning to play together, would all MMO gamers be far more receptive to the ‘multiplayer’ portion of an MMO? Would we demand better multiplayer gameplay instead of worrying if we can make it to the cap solo?
We will never know of course, because Blizzard followed the path they did, and continue to push the solo and e-sport aspects of WoW. And it’s too early to say whether WAR will change the mind frame of MMO gamers with its brilliant grouping tools and setting; it could be a huge wave going forward, but it could also be a small ripple in the solo-MMO pond.