Random Question – Is There Room for Solo Progression in an MMO?

This is a question that is near and dear to my heart because well, I’m just a tad bit anti social when it comes to logging into games. OK there was that stint in Aftermath and really that whole gild had some awesome folks in it. Other than that I usually run solo or in small groups with either family or close friends.

For the most part as soon as games start to pretty much require grouping to get things done, that’s about when I totally turn off from a game. I mean sure I could go mercenary and just group up to get the job done, but for some reason grouping just exhausts me. Not to mention the fact that it usually tears the 4th wall to the ground then starts working on my last nerve.

I’ve been reading over at Cedarstreet and lately some of Scopique’s posts have got me thinking (link). MMO’s have the group thing down. All of the games have incentives for grouping up with others to get stuff done here or there. I realize that this is important when all things are said and done because most people don’t see the point of playing by yourself when there’s a bunch of other virtual kids on the playground.

Evidently these kids weren’t the ones that asked to get put out in left field during game day so that they could ignore the world and stare at the bugs. But I digress.

So what if MMO’s were able to offer solo play progression. So say some form of character progression either as a class or a function within the game that didn’t require a player to group much if at all while in that class or function?

Now I’m not saying that an entire MMO like this would work. There’s been more than enough debate on that and I can see the point.

Thing is though, what if games could add an anti-hero role? What if there was room for the lone wolf or even wolves, that just sort of do their own thing? What if in that role however, other players in the game were able to contract with that person to get specific little roles in game accomplished?

I mean think about it? Hiring mercenaries to take out a rival clan or guild. Hiring someone or a group of someones for the purposes of espinage, sabatage, theft, that sort of thing.

The problem that I see with most games is that they create worlds in black and white. You’re bad or you’re good, no questions, no deviations. Thing is though, would it add depth, interest and perhaps even playability if there could be a bit of gray added into the mix? What if there were still good and bad, but also those who didn’t fit into either good or bad, order or chaos, lawful or unlawful, etc, but were able to make things interesting by playing the one off the other?

In this role it would make sense to have single or small group gameplay available for the purposes of mobility and secrecy.

Really not sure if anyone could actually pull this off in a game or if folks would even enjoy having a third option. However I’m still curious, what do you think about adding a solo progression path or paths to a game?

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