Relatively bad party SP should still be better than relatively good solo SP...
No, no it shouldn't. You should be earning whatever reward you get, not having it handed to you because you accepted a group invite and tagged along on a rolling band of dumb. And there are enough people who agree with me that XIV would suffer even more losses if SE were to change their approach regarding solo play. You need to think things through and stop to consider what you're really asking for. Either you're asking for solo progression to be so slow as to be considered non-viable, or you're asking for progression in a "decent" group so fast that people run out of things to do and get bored and leave the game.
I'm siding with Aurelius on this one. IMO a good party's XP should be better than good solo XP, but bad party XP should not be better than good solo XP. There is a certain point at which a bad party is worth leaving and soloing instead. While I prefer partying, SE realized in FFXI that making soloing completely unviable is a bad idea if you want happy players.
And decent party SP should make good solo sp look like standing around afk. Like in FFXI. Some parties got bad sp, but people would still try to make it work, because solo sp for most classes was garbage. Make solo play viable, and the community turns into crap that will bail and play solo the instant things don't go great for them. I personally think the game should be built against that type of player. Work together or fail horribly, that should be the mantra for any good mmo.
If good to you is the same as "business failure" in the eyes of a contemporary MMO developer, you might be on to something.
There is a way to make solo play viable while still making party play preferable. You don't need to make solo play completely infeasible. Give players a reason to want to group and they usually will. "Soloing is terrible" is not an acceptable reason to group.
While I will disagree with Aurelius in the notion that I don't think it should be possible to solo to cap (and he and I have gone back and forth on this), he is right when he says that inability to solo at all will result in the game being a failure in terms of financial success. You'll be left with a niche game that only appeals to certain people, and SE has said that they want FFXIV to appeal to casual players. I think that in many regards they don't fully understand the concept of casual players, but I don't think you're going to see SE revamping the game to intentionally make it unfriendly towards their target audience.
Might as well make a game that's focused on PvP and then four months later remove the ability to attack other players. It's called bait and switch and it does not earn you a happy playerbase.
If you like group play, then fine. I love group play too. I'd definitely prefer a group over solo any day and would like a game that emphasizes soloing. FFXIV is not that game though.
The people who want to actually play through the whole game solo should go find another game to play. They would be happier, and the game designers could stop worrying about breaking the game trying to cater to them. We just don't need those types of people to have a great game, SE needs to focus on putting out the content that will draw it's real player-base in, rather than the features that will keep a few stray mmo-newbs around until the next latest greatest thing pulls them away, leaving us with a game that's built for people who quit.
"Real" player base? Really? If that "real" player base consists of @#%^s like you, SE can have their game and their 30k players.
Restating the previous point: SE has announced from the start that FFXIV would be a decidedly different game than XI. While it's possible they could redo the game from scratch, it's extremely unlikely that it will involve changing the game to be heavily party based from start to finish like XI was. It's also a bit patronizing to refer to only the group of players who play the way you like as the "real player-base". Again, I'm not a fan of the idea that someone should be able to solo to cap, but that's the type of game this is and I either need to accept that and deal with it or I need to move on. As do you.
For further reading pleasure, Aurelius and I hashed this very same argument out a while back in this thread
Read it over and note the points that either of us make and you'll understand why even though I agree with where you're coming from, I still say you're not likely to get what you're looking for.