If you're going to make an MMO that focuses on the freedom of combat, trade and exploration in space well that's just peachy! However what you still have to remember is that a lot of us sci-fi nuts (and there are a lot of us) want more than just warp, mine, trade, dog-fight and repeat. Now I'm not knocking the types of players in EVE Online or the stick-jockeys playing Jumpgate and looking forward to its upcoming sequel. You see it's also not enough for many of us (or perhaps this is just me) to just focus on a sci-fi version of what we basically have with any standard fantasy MMO game. You have to include both space and land at launch to entice and possibly please me. Am I asking a lot of developers? I don't think I'm asking very much by current industry standards. So where do we start to get to this nirvana of sci-fi MMOs? Well, there are some good lessons to learn from the past and one game comes to mind specifically.
Earth and Beyond launched on September 24, 2002 to average reviews. One of Earth and Beyond's largest issues became content and its eventual updates. This was likely due to Westwood Studios being half the studio it was before the (first of many) Electronic Arts acquisition. Unfortunately for the die hard fans of E&B, the game servers were shutdown due to an ever-declining subscriber base. This was far before the time when WoW roamed the land and MMOs were major-ultra cash cows in the eyes of industry moguls. This was the time of EverQuest and industry moguls who only desired to create a standard cash cow.