I'm reminded of Jack Emmert's (Cryptic) GDC comment that "you are what you are at launch" in MMOs. I think he basically meant the "fans' perception" of your mmorpg will always be based on what the game was at launch. No amount of glomming on updates and new features and hype will ever really change it. Me thinks too many MMOs launch with the idea "we'll add the stuff people really want after launch," and often by that time people have already had their free month and made up their minds.
So if your game has no soloing at all at launch (DDO), adding it in belatedly will never really change the perception enough to win back most of the people who were turned off by the absence. Or in COH's case, no PVP at launch meant no matter how much time they spent adding it in later they never really won people over to that (you only have to see how deserted and unused the majority of the PVP arenas and zones are to recognize that there). NCSoft is still (imho) spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get people excited about PvP in it, and Emmert made the point it would never reach the pvp popularity of MMOs that had a robust PVP to begin with (say WoW, or even the Lineage games).
I can't really explain it, but I enjoyed the combat in LOTORO but not at all in the trial version of DDO (supposedly LOTORO is an enhanced version of DDO's engine, but I'm not sure
) I tried earlier on. While I really do enjoy teams and pickup teams, forcing it as the game initially did just isn't reasonable unless they provide some AI-controlled options for when servers are quiet. That's one reason I had high hopes for Gods & Heroes -- it seemed like the AI squads would help provide a group feel even when you couldn't find any.