If an NPC fellow was suddenly a truly important (realistically unavoidable) part of the game, and was something everyone had to do if you were serious about your performance... I would question the decision. If solo play is the issue, I feel players should be able to solo with some level of success well, solo.. If you need more bodies to make something "solo" work, maybe the structure of the game needs to be re-evaluated.
Well, that's not what I took from what Morsmorde said. She or he made it sound as if it would become engrained throughout XIV, and getting "NPC gear" would be part of endgame.
I pee standing.
And I agree, I don't think that NPC Fellows should be necessary to solo; I'm just saying that if you wanted to make a valuable NPC Fellow, you could spend a lot of time doing it (acquiring gear, etc.), and maybe in particularly difficult solo battles the work you spent growing your Fellow could put you over the edge. By and large, though, yes, players should be solo-capable on their own.
As far as being part of endgame, I think you understand what I meant, but I'm just going to clarify for anyone else that you wouldn't need the Fellow for endgame events (unless you wanted to solo something that, sans Fellows, is barely un-soloable). I just meant that a lot of players get bored at endgame, and acquiring gear for your NPC Fellow could take a lot of time. It would give people a good set of goals if they were determined to do it.