Trickyb [TOG] clued me in to an article that might interest a bunch of TOG, Gamasutra - News - MMO devs will lose the fight against content churn, says SOE's Smedley
Ok I know we all don't want to read the whole thing so let me give you one of the biggest hits...
Players will have to wait a bit longer to try it themselves, but maybe not as long as you'd expect. "Players will get their hands on an actual release version of what we're doing late [this] year - and I don't mean a beta," says Smedley.
To me that reads EQ Next has a strong chance of releasing this calendar year. SOE was pretty tight lipped on PS2 and within a year of them truely going to the media they had playable betas and it came out quickly. They seem to be holding things close to their chest and then dropping it quickly after announcing to maintain momentum.
Here is another article that basically covers some of the same ground SOE Live 2012: John Smedley on EQ Next and SOE's future | Massively
. What has me interested is they are coming at this as a sandbox game. Now sandbox does not need to equal PvP (look at minecraft) but hopefully they go back to the crafting roots they made in previous titles that worked (SWG or housing in EQ2).
Personally I am more excited about this than even the confirmed beta's that have started or are accepting apps. EQ and EQ2 are both in my "Top 5 MMO's of All Time" list. Many people don't like SOE but I still look at many of their games fondly (EQ, EQ2, SWG, PS, PS2) and their model for free 2 play is better than most.