Leaderboard: If you solo in MMORPGs, why?


Solo players in MMORPGs are a strange case, chiefly because they are treated like an outlier when they aren’t. The fact is that almost everyone solos at one time or another — yes, even in classic MMORPGs — and the vast majority of people apparently prefer to solo more than not solo, even if they also want to group. Or at least one might draw that conclusion from the last dozen years of MMOs!

I thought for today’s Leaderboard, we could drill down some of the reasons people solo. Pick as many as apply!

If you solo in MMORPGs, why?

  • I find grouping stressful (10%, 404 Votes)
  • I find grouping time-wastey (5%, 198 Votes)
  • I don't like sharing experience or loot (1%, 41 Votes)
  • I prefer immersion to gogogo (12%, 499 Votes)
  • I want to figure out the game on my own (8%, 346 Votes)
  • I have unusual playtimes or an off-peak timezone (6%, 267 Votes)
  • I game while doing other things that might interrupt me, like caring for kids (8%, 352 Votes)
  • I don't enjoy socializing online (3%, 128 Votes)
  • I prefer to socialize only with my guildies or close friends, not strangers (7%, 291 Votes)
  • I prefer other forms of socializing than grouping (3%, 105 Votes)
  • I prefer content that is traditionally not group-centric, like crafting (4%, 155 Votes)
  • I play better on my own - say, in PvP (1%, 46 Votes)
  • I play MMOs where grouping is hindered - say, because of story mode or phased instancing (2%, 97 Votes)
  • I don't speak the common language of my MMO (0%, 11 Votes)
  • I play MMOs that don't properly support grouping - say, with poor LFG tools (1%, 36 Votes)
  • I've been burned by past grouping experiences (6%, 244 Votes)
  • I prefer not to solo but wind up doing it anyway (3%, 105 Votes)
  • I never solo or never play MMOs where I can solo (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Something else -- let us know in the comments! (1%, 27 Votes)
  • I prefer the challenge and thrill of solo accomplishments. (4%, 155 Votes)
  • I like to play entirely at my own pace. (13%, 556 Votes)
  • I can't ever find anyone to group with! (2%, 85 Votes)

Total Voters: 980

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My play style is a social loner. Or a casual grouper. WoW was really revolutionary with grouping. It was the first mmo where there were far less restrictions on what you could do if your group wasn’t the ideal. Groups without healers, with only 2 players could be successful.
I don’t mind grouping at all and I have a lot of fun with it. But when it becomes routine and/or the commitment and preparation involves too much investment, I swiftly walk the other direction.


I always get a good kick out of the idiots who denounce soloers telling them to go “play single player”. I always find it funny that most mmos can’t be bothered to solve the solo progression problem for people limited by their circumstance that get shut out of doing stuff like raiding, which isn’t particularly difficult from a skill standpoint individually. It’s always been more of a skill test of A.) Gear levels and B.) Ability for the raid leader to herd their cats and make them follow usually simple directions like don’t stand in the damn fire, and do X, Y , or Z when I say so.

Wow’s LFR shit is, mediocre but a step forward, still though, having participated in quite a bit of successful raiding in my former mmo years before no longer having the time or inclination for it, the fascination and cult mentality of elitism around it has always been pretty hilarious to watch.


My main limitation regarding doing content as a part of a group is that I’m very unlikely to be part of any organized group. I don’t like giving orders, and others trying to order me around is often enough for me to put the offending player on my ignore list.

Chestnut Bowl
Chestnut Bowl

It’s largely because I don’t enjoy socializing online. The reason I play MMOs instead of singleplayer RPGs, though, is for the activity and evolving story and lore. Even if I don’t enjoy socializing or grouping, I enjoying playing in a world that’s buzzing with activity. I also enjoy playing at my own pace.


I play solo mostly for either of these two reasons:

1) I’m almost 40, I’m married, and even though kids aren’t in the picture, I just can’t commit 4-5 hours a night to gaming like I could when I was mid-20’s & single. Hell, I can’t even guarantee that I can log on from one day to the next, so when I do get to play, I like having the freedom of deciding whether I’m going to do quests, try my hand at crafting, or maybe just explore the map and see what happens, all at the pace of my choosing.

2) I’m not the worst player out there, but I know my limitations. Usually by the time I am comfortable trying my hand at certain group-centric content, I am so far behind the curve that there are a few number of people still doing the content, & the ones who still are have no patience for the likes of a guy like me. So unless it’s something like a world quest where a large group of people are taking down a boss and my missing a global cooldown or two doesn’t mean instant failure to all, I don’t seek out group content unless I absolutely have to.


When I solo it’s mostly because I’m putzing around waiting for my friends to get on so we can do some fungeons.

Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor

I stopped grouping when my first child was born almost 10 years ago, but now he (and his brother) are old enough that I can get in-game after they go to bed and group up again. In recent years, though, I’ve found that most of the games I play have guilds especially formed of parents and older gamers who are totally understanding about the need to suddenly AFK for various family-related reasons.

Marvin Marshall
Marvin Marshall

Mainly it’s because I “not suffer fools gladly”. Also I play at odd times & like to work at my own pace. I am not opposed to teaming up occasionally with friends & guildies when quests & play times align.


Honestly, I’d love to have a close friend that was into the same genres of games that I am, but most of my friends prefer single player games or FPS. I wish I was able to experience the world of an MMO with a good friend at my side seeing it all for the first time, and just being able to chat casually with them, which is something I don’t do so well with strangers. I think, for the most part, I just want to play with a close friend that I already have over making a friend that I only share a common interest in a game with, especially since if I could play with a close friend, we would be able to discuss the game face to face, or just outside of the game in general.

I know I’m probably being a bit too picky/selective, and I do have friends that I’ve made in-game that I talk with via TS, but for the most part, we’re all off doing our own things instead of playing together. I just feel like I would be taking time away from what they want to do if I asked them to do something with me.

Melissa McDonald

From perspective I think I’d have to say that, ultimately, the trinity in MMOs is a good thing and what fosters group play.
EverQuest was always very good at creating synergies between classes so that one could (metaphorically) field a knight, pawn, rook, and bishop on the battlefield to great effect. I miss that actually. Necros were needed. Druids would hear the request for “SoW” (spirit of wolf – footspeed) from people and might treat them or ask for a few coins for that blessing (which lasted a fair long while). Other, grander buffs awaited those at higher levels, and part of the economy was bartering for those services. You didn’t just get a potion anywhere/everywhere that could buff you like that… you needed a player. You needed people.