Good news everyone! I found something to do with that other Wizard of Oz reference. Lion's Den pieces are typically going to be opinion pieces, and possibly rants.
And you know what I hate? Solo Dungeons. First Age of Conan does them, and now RIFT is jumping on the bandwagon. There have even been rumors of WoW putting something like this in the works, though I'm afraid I've lost that link. It wouldn't surprise me though, given that Blizzard is known for "borrowing" features.
Now, my problem isn't that they are a bad idea, or that I think they won't be fun. And by all means, I fully support there being interesting and fun content for players who want to go solo, because your friends can't be online ALL the time and sometimes you're up until 2 in the morning playing a game just because you can. No, my problem is the designers of this feature breaching a barrier that I personally considered sacred, and now there is a fear of it invading more titles. MMORPG's are social games. Whether you like it or take part in it, the fact is that you are paying your sub (or just logging in, in the case of F2P) for the opportunity to interact with others within the game world.
I recall one awful post on the WoW forums (Just one? Ba dum pish.) that was a plea to make solo versions of raids with no loot just so people who didn't have a raid group or didn't have the time to commit to one could experience the content. And now developers are creating solo dungeons for players who apparently have the time to do a dungeon run but don't want to interact with other people. I have Fallout and Oblivion for when I want to dive into dungeons without other people or when my internet is down. My question is: Why on earth do you want to go onto an online game to not be social?
I read Klep's post today, ""I am not the target audience" is an uncomfortable thought" and suddenly it hit me: Why is the target audience for an MMORPG becoming the person who wants to play solo rather than the person who wants to be social? So many features released in the past year or so have been directed solely at those who don't want to be a part of any social group. This is not news, of course, as it goes back to when the LFD tool was first released, but still a jarring realization. How many MMORPG's can you think of that are working on more features for groups than for solo plays? WoW's last major patch was a single raid dungeon and a set of daily quest areas. LOTRO's next expansion includes more quest content than dungeon content by a landslide. RIFT's solo dungeons, SWTOR's dungeon loot bags and solo questline stories, and I'm sure I could name a few more if I gave it a shot but you get the point.
I'm aware that solo dungeons are merely the symptom of a larger issue at hand here. That doesn't mean I dislike it any less, but it also doesn't mean I'm going to argue with those who say it's merely the companies catering to their playerbase. Here's to hoping we'll get someone to put the Multiplayer back into MMORPG. Maybe GW2. Maybe.