Why is that? Well the biggest reasons for me are:
- Alt friendly.
- Time efficient
- Content efficient
I tend to play multiple characters in a game (generally referred to as having a “main” char and “alt” chars) because I like to see the different skills (implying of course the characters are different classes/professions*) available. I don’t always hit the max level on alts, sometimes they are just there to fiddle around with, but I do like having at least a few, for variety.
To my knowledge, no game allows you to redo a character’s main class/profession, and pour the accumulated experience into another character. Thus if you want to have the skills of a level X main class/profession, you need to play a character of that class to level X. Clearly, if a game puts excessive burdens on the solo player, I’m not going to play many characters, I just don’t have the time to level multiple characters up even as it is now!
To me, playing the same content on different characters (classes) is different enough of an experience that I don’t get bored with quests and dungeons and missions or whatever that I’ve already seen. Obviously there is a limit, but generally MMO classes/professions have different enough skills per class that this is true, for me.
As much as I enjoy MMOs, I prioritize them after real-life activities. Playing solo means I control all my in-game time and schedule of when I play… I generally don’t like to commit to scheduled game activities should something else come up I’d rather do.
Now I’m not a total flake and blowing off every in-game group event, but I’d rather keep my game calendar relatively free.
Every game has content that is realistically only going to be accomplished solo. That’s right, even in an MMO. When was the last time you formed a group or waited to join a group in order to collect materials? In the games I’ve played, gathering materials for trade skills is a solo activity, with few exceptions.
Some games have more solo activities than others. For example, some games let you explore zones towards a title, something groups rarely form for. Others let you kill mobs towards character enhancements, also typically done solo, unless the mobs to kill are particularly tough.
There are many reasons to group as well, and that’s fine. The key is I don’t want to be forced to do it. I am even willing to pass up some content designed for groups – I’ll try it if I have time, but please don’t make the solo experience suffer by locking me out of a large chunk of the game. In-game tools that promote grouping or make it easier to group are welcome, because it cuts down on the dreaded “LFG for X” while standing around.
* I keep writing class/profession because games use different terminology. In most games, the type of adventurer you pick is that character’s class. However, Guild Wars calls that a character’s profession. Even more confusing is profession is sometimes used to refer to crafting skills. And for extra confusion, Guild Wars lets you take a primary and secondary profession, and change a character’s secondary (but not primary) profession. Hence the “main” in “main class/profession” and the hedging against 100% unchangeable characters.