if you emailed the msg as opposed to using a form reckon you can give us a copy, as (no offence) the numbers do seem to suggest solo people NOW, back in alpha i also recall the pty search showing number of parties not people but lots has changed since alpha, prime example being battle mechanacis which could encompass party recognition (i recall an SE statement saying battles were aimed to be party vs party instead of solo vs solo or party vs solo)
Let me give you some evidence as to why I believe my theory is plausible (I'll try grab more evidence next time I play)
(Proved) A video I made back around 30th sep (Video Saved on PC reads 30 September 2010, 16:28:26 UK date made prob recored hour earlier as made vid during maint) just as the game was brand new netted a world value of "2010" 2010 parties of 2 ppl each would mean a minimum of 4020 people on just THAT server at that time.
If i'm reading ffxiv-status right there are 18 servers,
(ESTIMATION) Since each server had different pops I'll round the number down to 3500, using that 3500 and multiplying it by 18 I get 63,000 people
(Proved) Using Sale charts the first week (where my picture comes from) 247,112 units of FFXIV were sold
(ANALYSIS) doing 247,112 divided by 63,000 i get an average of 4% of buyers being in a party at that point in time. thereby This doesn't prove or disprove anything.
(PROVED)Numbers have been dropping on both numbers since release
(SOURCE)More or less whole of zam will grab pic next time I'm online
(ESTIMATION) Personally I would think towards the start of a game people would solo and as game progress join more parties, but it's impossible to deny that either way the population is shrinking. Plus with how the party system works currently finding and joining parties isn't easy on first week how many people would know how to do it.
(PROVED) The number of parties inside a town are high, during source 1 10% of parties were inside Limsa city. Using the party system recently while in towns I've noticed approx 800 World value and 200 Local while inside Limsa thats about 25% of all parties inside one of the cities will make source 2 next time I log on.
(SOURCE 1) http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l52/98cloudheart/partyNumber.png
(MEMORY ESTIMATION) in FFXI in WG /sea number was about 20-30% of /sea all unforutnatly i haven't played XI in long time so if anyone could get a source I'd appreciate it.
(ANALYSIS) Both numbers seem to be around the 200 mark which would mean 400 people at lest in city yet I never feel like theres more than 150 people in the city of course citys are large areas but an approx 200 parties in citys seems excessive, also now the server has settled down (not first day hype of run out and get killed by everything in site) the percent in city seems to match approx % of major town in XI (would like source to confirm)
(ESTIMATION + QUESTION) one last thing I wish to add is that how can you count what zone a party is in say half the memembers are en route to camp spread around eorza my bet is that it would claim the party leader's location is where the party is, and what does a leader do invite people to join their party. Does a Soloist not also have this power until they're recruited into another leader's party?
I'm not saying your wrong, but as said above me
I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times a rep has given out patently false information
you have one source for your argument sure SE itself is a strong source but then again haven't there been occasions in SE where one person said one thing and something else happened instead?
Sorry for wall of text, prob full of spelling errors and poorly linked togetherness but thats what i get doing this tired.
but as i asked first OP is it possible to get a copy of the message you sent to SE?