I’m still firmly on the mind that no one character should be able to do absolutely everything - no matter how much time is invested. Given this …
… I can’t see anyone taking option 2 - why would they? Having option 1 then leads to the inevitable outcome of everyone being the same. Everyone being able to do all the same things … fighting, healing, crafting… the need to interact with (and yes, in some cases, to be reliant upon) others is diminished to a certain degree. This is after all, a community-centric game.
Imagine a case where a group of players in maxed out on most, if not all skills… they’re attacking a titan, and the player that prefers to play the part of a healer is killed - the tactical challenge of that fight is decreased because someone else just steps in and is able to do the exact same thing as the healer. The tank dies… another player just steps in because he’s able to do the same thing… every single one of the remaining players has the ability to revive the downed players… where’s the challenge and fun in that?!?
One of the many things I like with alts is that, yes you can inevitably do everything yourself using multiple characters, but you just can’t do it all at the same time. You have to make choices and those choices need to have repercussions, whether good or bad.
Another thing I like about alts, and was certainly the case during my time playing WoW, was the fact that no one knew me. I could escape the guild/friend chatter for a while and still enjoy playing the game - I could start in a completely different location, and form new friendships with people I may not have otherwise played with.
Whilst this sounds like a really fun and novel mechanic. I don’t agree that it should be that easy to just simply switch characters, especially not when you’re in combat. This comes back to the reason why there is a 10 second delay when returning to the sanctum… so that you can’t just really easily get out of any tight spot you might find yourself in. Your choices should matter. Errors in judgement should not be without penalty.
Yes, I think you should be able to try it … and maybe get part way (and maybe even gain a little reward for your effort), but personally, I don’t think a solo player should be able to completely down a titan single-handed. This to me would end up striking a very uneven balance between solo and team play - and again, a lot of the challenge would be lost for team play, because you had to accommodate the solo player, ultimately leaving the experience quite flat and unchallenging for a group.
There is already an uneven balance with mass-hunting parties and all players being able to gain the same amount of loot from one creature - something I am currently grateful for to help fuel my portals, but ultimately something I hope is balanced again later on… “100 players should not be able to gain 100 meat from a level 1 Wildstock”.
And sorry for such a long post!