CivRealms is designed to encourage player cooperation, to build their own civilizations from the ground up. Players form their own nations, enforce their own rules, and are responsible for protecting what they've made.
Playing as a hermit is an extra challenge compared to other Survival servers:
Punch a tree? No, you need to get sticks from leaves, and make planks from sticks.
Make wood/stone tools? You need to get flint or bone to make primitive tools instead.
OK I've got a primitive tool, why isn't this stone breaking? Primitive tools are bad, you need to hit it 1-10 times until it randomly breaks.
Finally found some iron, why can't I smelt it? Uhh I could explain how to make Factories, but you'd probably better join a nation at this point.
OK fine, let's make a boat and sail to a nation! No, you can't afford a boat, but you can use /ott for a one-time teleport to join a group
Benefits of a nation:
Factories can make things quicker and cheaper than normal, and the basic ones aren't very expensive. A small group of players can afford the intermediate ones too.
The guy who logged on to quickly gear up and go raiding can't do that; your new friends with an iron sword and leather armor can take him out.
Easier to build and protect a secure vault, where PrisonPearl can store captured prisoners. Or if you get captured, being in a nation can help negotiate your release or free you in a war.
Probably at least one guy knows how to make nice flags and propaganda videos, i.e.
Established nations know the hidden entrances to the mining dimension, and try to keep them for themselves