New Blizzard MMO in the works.
This is rather old news for anyone who keeps up with the industry, but I figured that there might be a few folks here who have or are still playing WoW and who might want to discuss the new as-yet-unrevealed title.
I've done some poking and found a few rumors have already surfaced, one of those being a Starcraft based MMO. This makes quite a bit of sense, as it would be released on the heels of Starcraft 2. Most of you who were Blizzard fans prior to World of Warcraft know that WoW came out around two years after Warcraft III, and being this next-gen MMO has likely just started the pre-production phase, that would put its release somewhere in the same time frame, following Starcraft 2 by about 18 to 24 months (if the speculated release window for SC2 can be believed).
Another rumor suggest a new Diablo game, focusing heavily on the multi-player aspect seen in previous titles. We know Diablo 3 had been in development as Titan Quest hit the market, and that the development team decided to scrap the current D3 project and go back to the drawing board, so this rumor definitely has some weight. However, Flagship Studios, which is made up of former Blizzard employees, namely those folks who worked closely on Mythos and the Diablo titles, was formed mainly because said employees weren't happy with the direction of the company and wanted to make a spiritual sequel to the Diablo franchise. It's likely that if the new MMO in question was a Diablo title these individuals may never have left the company to begin with, seeing as the decision of changing D3 from a single-player game into an MMO would've probably happened well prior to the announcement and their resignations.
The other problem I have with the Diablo MMO idea is that it's thematically very similar to WoW and would essentially become a competing platform. Historically we've never seen two similarly themed MMO's share the spotlight, as MMO players usually follow the herd and will leave their current games for other MMOs that become popular and therefore garner a larger player base. Meaning that if Diablo was to gain a following that its possible Blizzard may split their user base, a terrible mistake (the same one that SOE made with EQ2 and Vanguard).
I'm leaning toward either a Starcraft MMO, as it would present an entirely new style of play and would probably grab the very niche sci-fi MMO audience - the EVE, City of Heroes/Villains and Tabula Rasa players - and would effectively draw the core SC fans. Much in the same way WoW pulled players from other fantasy based MMOs and former WC players. This belief is also fueled by the previously anticipated Ghost title, which may have given Blizzard a couple of starting points for building a SC MMO built around an individual experience.
Of course one of the other ideas is that of a totally new IP. While the idea is compelling, I think Blizzard already has too much on its plate and creating entirely new assets would probably be far too difficult given what they're currently working on.