One word: Ryzom
Ryzom is a MMO with pretty much a dead population. Its heavily group focused. It does not work, because most of the people are in the higher end of the game...and the game has such a low pop, even the trial isle is hard to find groups in.
See the problem? In a heavy group focused MMO, its great at release when everyone can easily find groups...in the long run, it does not work. The people either move on to the higher end content, so newbies have a hard time grouping and therefor a very hard time doing anything in-game. Or the population dies out so much, no one can find a group...and that does not work either.
I don't like easy mode solo either, like in WoW its IQ dropping easy. But a forced/heavy group focused MMO doesn't work either.