I’m pasting here a message I wrote on Q23 about the future of this genre.
Have fun till it lasts because after World of Warcraft’s earthquake of these days nothing much will happen for some time.
There’s simply NOTHING on the horizon. At least of this scope.
Imho there’s a lot of vaporware on the smaller titles and the bigger ones like MEO and D&D are Turbine-fluff. Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa is again something on which I don’t bet a cent.
What’s left? Guild Wars. But it’s not a mmorpg and it will head into a whole different direction. It will have a very good success but without the impact of WoW right now.
Then? Brad McQuaid’s Vanguard. But it’s just a very steamy idea into the future and all I read about the game is just blurred hype. It could be a worthy major player but also just a new stack of steam with nothing consistent inside.
Nothing else, really. I do not expect interesting innovation from smaller companies nor something changing at the higher levels. The current companies like Mythic are those going to suffer more from the situation because they lived for too long in a completely quiet and calm situation where they settled down at ease. Now WoW directly appeals their target, delivering more on too many levels. It’s all but a comfortable cohabitation.
For these mid-high level companies there’s now an evolutionary need to overcome or their long term survival will be compromised. But these years of relative quietness seems to have made them quite “lazy” when it comes to passion, dreams and expectations. The impression I got is about a motionless, lazy hippopotamus living into a shrinking puddle and no intention to move somewhere else than that.
But the more they are menaced the more they go blindly defensive, losing one by one every occasion of improvement. Exactly the main reason why I don’t think that the direct competition really rises the bar.
This while SOE will start to *suffer* and have its dominion slowly collapsing.
Have fun :)