Do you need tens of millions of dollars in assets and hire a ton of people to make a MMORPG? No..
Every time somebody says they want to make an MMORPG, it always gets assumed that they are trying to create something bigger and better than World of Warcraft, or whatever happens to be the most popular MMO at the time.
Even if that was the goal, how do you solicit funding without some sort of proof of concept or technology demo?
It's entirely possible for one person to create a framework that would allow for the basic operation of a MMO type game.