Kikizo has a preview of Age of Conan. Following a relatively familiar path, it is still worth reading for a discussion of the development cycle:
Because of the amount of work that goes into a modern MMO, any publisher brave enough to attempt one will want to ensure, as much as is possible, that the game will ultimately succeed. The streets littered with the corpses of failed challengers serve as a warning to those coming afterwards. But there's another problem.
Combat, the part of the game that swallows up most of the time people spend in the game world, can sometimes be mind-numbing. Funcom saw overcoming this deficiency as its greatest challenge.
Thanks to MMO Watch for the heads up.