So.... this is hard to quantify but since I'm putting on my speculation hat here.. What will WAR's impact be? I can tell you right now I am pretty sure of a few things:
1. Most MMO players will waste/spend 50 bucks (or more... see CE)
and buy it and try it. Their friends will coerce them to do so.
2. Some people will love it. Absolutely love it. Those who missed what DAoC used to be before Trials of Atlantis will have a new DAoC with shinier graphics and smoother game play and maybe some other fun things like Public quests and stuff. These people will stay in WAR for a long time.
3. Some people will try it as their first MMO ever. These people will adore it cuz they aren't comparing it to anything else. Bully for them.
4. Some people will jump from WoW being their first game to WAR, lets break these people into at least 4 camps, shall we?
4.1: Explorers&Socializers (i.e. me and Anton) These people will play WAR until they explore it to their satisfaction and then if they find a guild they like they'll stay, otherwise their guild may pull them back to wow or whatever.
4.2: Stealth Gankers (0.5 of the rogue/burglar audience) These people as I understand it may or may not have a niche in WAR as its stealth ambush abilities in classes are non-existent for the most part, though they will still happen via mob ganking.
4.3: PVP action lovers (my brothers) These people might just get bored with war's "stand there and hit each other. Push buttons, rinse and repeat" method of pvp. They might want more visceral combat and go back to TF2 and Halo and whatever. Admitedly, WoW tried to be exciting but usually it was just .. oops I didnt hit the button faster than the other guy so now I'm dead. Oh well. Time to res.
4.4: Solo Players (every other hunter you ever met (jk)) Will roll through the levels of the game, whining that they have to be around other players in Public Quests who hamper their leet skillz. And then Bounce from the game when they get tired of repeatable quests or whatever the grind is at the end. May participate in zerg and harassment pvp. (rvr)
5.Old Hands from games that have some things better, some things worse, like EVE, Lotro, Wizards 101 whatever. These people will incessantly compare WAR to their old game. The WoW people will also do this a little but WAR will be WoW with RVR added so the cant complain too much. The Lotro and EVE people will complain they are taking a hit to graphics cuz WAR doesn't support directx10 or whatnot. (yet) The Wizards 101 people who are smart like Tipa will complain that WAR has level restrictions and wont let you play with your friends easily. The COH people will have a similar complaint with its lack of side kicking.
6. Some people will churn through the content so fast it make your eyes bleed and will be tired of the city sieges before they even get good (balanced sides and balanced programming from Mythic). These people will only stay a bit longer whining for more content and then only if they have a good group of friends around. Eventually they will get tired of the same old thing in RVR and leave.
7. Some people will take forever to get anywhere but will savor every bit of it. They will leave no stone unturned and will play every part of the game their very limited gaming schedule allows. This may or may not be a large percentage of the game depending on how it is designed and if it is really aimed at a mass market. 1 and a half hours for a dungeon will seem a bit steep to these people but they may still be able to to do it on Saturdays or whatever.
8. Some people will not use their imaginations and will see nothing more than pixels and a money trap especially with no lifetime subs. Many wives and gf's and also parents (my dad) will fall into this category. They will not like WAR.. not at all.
9. WAR will become the next big thing since people are burned out on WoW and EQ2 and Lotro and everything else. But it will only be the next big thing for just a couple years then taper off as something else walks into the limelight. And when I say next big thing I mean it wont flop like Conan or whatnot. I can alreayd guage from the hype and expectations of all my old friends in wow that they are gonna leave wow cold turkey for a while and play WAR until they are sick of it. And just about everyone I talked to in WoW 2 years ago felt this way so I'm pretty sure their feelign have only increased by now. WoW is gonna take a real hit and WAR is gonna take a net gain. Whoop-dee-doo. :P How long they stay will depend on how exciting and fun WAR really is.
10. Let me know if you think of more.