I picked "Partying should be the primary focus of the game, with solo only available as a last resort."
But in reality I would have preferred a choice along the lines of "Partying should be the primary focus of the game, with solo available as a viable alternative. Reflects better how I'd like the game to be. Last resort makes it sound harsh and hardly worthwhile.
I too picked this option but felt that it should be reworded. Solo should be a viable option, for things such as questing, farming, crafting etc.
However, I want to look at this whole "debate" from a different angle. A lot of people, i think, are mixing up the issue of party vs solo with the amount of time required. While it is generally true that partying requires the players to commit more time, it does not have to be as bad as what it's like in FF11. ***Disclamer: I am not a fan of WOW although i played it for 2 years or so. My favourite mmo is the original EQ and i love party grind, but i also enjoy clearing instances.***
Although in WOW you can solo your way to cap with ease, that is not what's keeping the core players in the game for years. The easy accessibility may attract more people to start the game, but without grouping people would have left long ago. The players that have played for a long time play for the never-ending endgame item grind, PvP, and other activities that require interaction with other players, pretty much like every other successful mmo.
Therefore, aside from the solo vs party angle, i think ff14 should focus on making content that can be consumed in different length of time. There should be content that can be done in short play sessions (say 1-2 hours or even 30 min), and content that takes many hours at a time. I think when people say they prefer solo content, they really want content that can be consumed in short chunks of time. It can be quests, instances, pvp battleground, or even party grind etc. For example, in WOW there are instances that can be cleared in an hour, and with party matching tool (assuming that it works, I haven't played WOW since burning crusade), it is possible that a person can log on for an hour and enjoy party play.
To illustrate how overland party grind can be done this way, in FF14 prior to the sp change, we used to run party of 10-15 people grinding on efts, raptors, drakes.. Since it doesnt take the full 15 people to kill these mobs, we can afford to have players come and go (it really only takes 4-6 people to kill these, more people just make the sp better.) Some LS members that don't have a lot of time can teleport to the area, join the party for any length of time and leave when they have to (although often they had too much fun and stayed longer than they intended).
If time isn't a concern, I think many people would prefer to party instead of solo (except those times when you just want to be alone.) So instead of focusing on party vs solo, i think the key to improve the game and make most people happy (can never make everyone happy) is to make contents that can be enjoyed in different length of time and party play more fun and ACCESSIBLE to the players. Edited, Jan 27th 2011 12:25am by tyrionfigaro