Are there any MMORPG (Paid or Free) out there or coming out that's like Final Fantasy XI (FFXI)? What I mean like FFXI in reference to group play being more of a requirement and not just for dungeons. Games like WoW and Guild Wars 2 don't really require you to be in a group unless your going after some boss or going into a dungeon.
Rift has a LOT of grouping now in Storm Legion. Majority of my time leveling from 50 to 60 so far has been spent in a group... whether just to do a quest, close a rift, do carnage, do instant adventures, do zone events/invasions, etc.
I've not even run a single dungeon yet.... lol. But I've been in full 20 man packed raids running around the zones doing what I wrote above.
Closest game is Everquest if you want to pretty much be forced to group to accomplish anything. There is no way anyone can solo stuff that is group required for zone progression or even for most cases, just grinding mobs for experience, you'd need a minimum of a tank, healer, and a dps. Even though Everquest is now free to play, you will not get very far with just a free account. The limitations are too much and you'd pretty much be dead weight in any group.
Everquest 2, Raiderz and Star Wars: The Old Republic come to mind. All can be played for free. But there is a pretty strong emphasis on grouping outside of as well as within instances. You'll just run into areas or monsters too strong for you alone.
All 3 are excellent too. EQ2 is.. well, it's Everquest. Raiderz is a bit more of an action MMO sorta GW2 combat but less cheesy. The Old Republic is WoW in space with a great narrative drive from level 1 through 50.
In terms of Pay-2-Play MMOs there is currently only one MMO worth it's subscription fee: Rift.
That isn't to say Secret World or Tera are bad games. Each have their merits. I enjoyed them a lot personally.
Though truly, there is only Rift as a serious PVE focused MMO in the traditional style of Everquest/Warcraft. Content updates for Rift are very robust and quick. Roughly a major update ever 1 1/2 month. With no bullshit on the major qualifier in that as Rift adds huge updates that could easily be expansion features routinely.
Raiding endgame is excellent. And there is a lot of it. And it is sufficiently challenging.
The class system in Rift is also like FF11's job system, at least far close than any other MMO on the market right now. In Rift each archetype can equip and combine up to 8 sub-classes in any combination a player sees fit. You can freely swap between all these sub-classes as well as have up to 6 saved templates [for even quicker role/job swapping].
There is also relatively equal gearing options outside of raiding in Rift. So if instanced raiding itself isn't one's cup of tea, they can play a variety of content which leads to relatively equal progression as instanced raiding.
I would take a look at EQ2 first if I were you. It may look dated and the class design in singular. Yet EQ2 is a very challenging game with a higher degree of teamwork needed than most MMOs released after Everquest 2. It's sort of a relic of original MMO gameplay- the 'stand together or die alone' school of design.
I do have a warning if you're looking at EQ1. Depending on what server you're on, you're going to notice that pretty much everyone runs multiple accounts and usually two-five box everything that is done group wise. You can get groupable gear, spells, and augments, but these do take group effort to complete the missions. When you unlock the top tier zone of the expansion, you're going to need to group up to even grind mobs for experience. Yes, the game is very dated and the graphics are very bad by today's standards, but I still believe some of the raid encounters are really well designed and the community (or what's left of it) is very helpful.
Yeah I've played Everquest. Used to bounce between Ultima Online, Everquest, & Final Fantasy XI. Only problem with EQ is its like FFXI. It's dying. Most people have quit and moved on. I head-started rift and played it for an additional month afterwards.. And I've played Star Wars; The Old Republic & Everquest 2 as well.
The problem I've found with most of the games listed is I'm more of an old school MMO'er. I'm looking for something along the lines of Final Fantasy XI and Everquest (The Original). Only problem is these game have pretty much died out I'm afraid to say. They either mostly just end game content like FFXI and to few people to team with like EQ. I'm looking for something where group play is pretty much the only way to go. Well until they added solo-able class's. Believe it or not miss the waiting around for a group (Usually Just Crafted, Explored, or practice dodging and running from mobs, & dieing while waiting for a group). Haven't tried Raiders though. Might give it a look and see what its like.
What I listed is the closest to old school UO/EQ/FF11. There is Vanguard and a few perimeter games like Mortal and Fallen Earth. But again, those last 3 are sorta not that popular. And likely fall into that "dying" state you mention.
That's just not the style MMOs went in after 2005/6 or so.
Also do note that The Old Republic and Rift have changed alot over the last few months. The latter, changed almost completely month to month due to Trion's ridiculously fast [&massive] updates. The Rift expansion just came out too.
"I played X many months ago" is one of the poorest and inappropriate things to say w/r/t Rift. The game moves far too fast.
Just jumped back into TOR since the F2P transition and I was quite impressed with the underlying tweaks since I last played months ago.