Well, it's a new year, and time for new MMOs. Unfortunately, I haven't had too much time to play the ones I subscribe too already. :) And that will likely drive my decision making processes as I look for a new MMO lands to venture into. I'm not likely to quit EverQuest II any time soon -- it's been my home for over five years now -- but I do find myself in need of something that I can jump in and play solo when necessary, but still has a satisfying group-based game for when I do have more time to commit. And the solo game in EverQuest-like games (especially WoW) just is not that appealing. So I've been looking for a more accessible casual friendly (but still social) MMO to play on the side.
One game I'm looking forward to is Star Trek Online. The missions (story-driven quest arcs?) sound appealing, and I hear rumors of instant action like scenarios. Give me something like Warhammer's Public Quests and instant access PvP Scenarios and I will be a very happy man. Those features allowed my to play WITH OTHER PEOPLE but on my own terms and with very short time commitments required. It was beautiful. Too bad the rest of Warhammer wasn't. If Star Trek Online could just steal that feature, plus the awesome ship combat a la Pirates of the Burning Sea, I think I'll be happy with it.
I'm also looking forward to Final Fantasy XIV. Final Fantasy XI was one of my favorite games in terms of mechanics and itemization. The monsters were beautifully detailed and the game was a lot of fun - when I got to play it. Unfortunately, the time commitment it required was prohibitive, and I eventually had to quit as the responsibilities in my life ramped up. But if Final Fantasy XIV can create a game system that is as good PLUS be casual friendly, well, SOE watch out, I may have a new home.
The main feature in Final Fantasy XIV that attracts my attention is that the guildleves system they describe seems like it would scale up depending on my ability to socialize. If I have to quickly get in game and out on my own, I can solo - otherwise, I can group, and the game's equivalents of quests will accomodate. Unless I'm misinterpreting that.
So it looks like the next year might be a good year for casual MMO gaming. But we'll see. :)