A reader asked me on my opinion what would be the next big MMORPG success. Now predictions like that are always difficult, but my instinctive guess, based on no beta experience whatsoever, is Warhammer Online : Age of Reckoning (WAR). And the reason for that guess is PvP.
Now I don't like PvP very much, and I don't believe that PvP mixes well with a PvE game. But I am aware that this opinion is a minority one, a great many people do like PvP, or at least the idea of it. Making a good PvP-centric game could be possible, and if anyone can pull it of it's Mythic, because their previous game DAoC is widely acknowledged as having been strong in the PvP area. Add in the deep pockets of EA, who desperately need a MMORPG hit, and you get quite a good starting position. As World of Warcraft is more PvE-centric, WAR could easily achieve several hundred thousand players who prefer the realm vs. realm style of PvP. While ultimately the control of zones in WAR resets, at least temporarily your actions can make a difference to who controls what, and that is a very attractive feature.
There are some other interesting games in development, like Age of Conan, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, or Tabula Rasa. And I'm not saying that these won't be financially successful. But I consider them to be more niche, and not so much mass market MMOPRG. If they are good, they will find their players, but most probably in smaller numbers than WAR.
All together these new games might cause at least a visible impact on the World of Warcraft player numbers that WarcraftRealms is famous for publishing. Nevertheless I don't really see any "WoW killers" on the horizon.
So tell me, what is your prediction about what the next big MMORPG is? And why?