It seems like 2012 is the year the MMORPG dry spell ends - there are a lot of MMOs getting hype, but some of the deserving ones are left out! These games are the picks that I think will be good this year and also happen to be games that haven't really started the hype engine, despite a planned US release of 2012.
Based on the Langrisser SRPG series, Langrisser Schwarz utilizes certain mechanics to be somewhat of an action mmorpg with some strategy involved. In addition to controlling yourself, you have soldiers which you assign and command to attack monsters. The soldiers are there to dish out damage and take it; while you level up in each map or arena and you can choose from a multitude of soldier classes to aide you. There are 3 factions in the game, each with their own unique style and look, as well as multitudes of classes to achieve. Unfortunately, the only Langrisser game that came out in the US was "Warsong". This game seems like it may have a pretty deep storyline since it is based on a story heavy series and each faction supposedly has unique scenario quests. I think this video makes a good point of that.
Core blaze is another Monster Hunter-like online game to be added to the F2P market. This one seems to be more instance based, though it seems like the most actiony of the Monster Hunter themed games. Maybe more so than the original. Core Blaze is not as big of a blatant copy like Hunter's Blade, as it has a more dark and gloomy atmosphere along with an Asian theme to it. The classes in Core blaze are limited to dual swords, great sword, sword and shield, and the long bow. There are unique additions to the combat, such as throwing and a blaze berserk mode.
Really, this game reminds me of Eternal Sonata for the PS3. Much of this game is based around "Tuning" or song magic and the game has a steam punk feel to it. Like the first two games mentioned, this game is by Gamania/Beanfun, and you can see the similarity in the engine to Langrisser. Tiara Concerto is set to go into beta in May for Hong Kong.
Yes, this is by the person who made Terraria, though he did join Chucklefish games to develop it. Much like Terraria or Minecraft, this game really isn't an MMO unless you set the server that way and advertise it. Fortunately, there is supposedly no player cap. This is really Terraria in space with many upgrades, but what's wrong with that? In addition to being Terraria, there is a storyline, pet system, spacecraft, and multiple planets to colonize. Starbound is aiming to come out this Summer!
Dragon Quest X
Really, I'm not sure if this one should be in here since it's probably going to take the magic one year to come out in the US and EU after the Japanese release. Currently in closed beta testing in Japan, the game is set to come out for the Wii and Wii U on August 2nd this year. For Japan of course. It seems like a turn based whacker, but that's apparently what the Dragon Quest fans in Japan like, though that's exactly what Final Fantasy XIV was and you know how that turned out. I'm sort of hyped for this one because it's a MMO and Dragon Quest. Could it have a good story? Who knows. But there does seem to be some story in it, as I got a spoiler which I won't share with you. The jobs you can be in Dragon Quest X are warrior, thief, martial artist, minstral, priest and mage. Really, the combat seems to be a deal breaker for me. A monthly subscription is confirmed for Japan.
Core blaze, Langrisser Schwarz, and Tiara Concerto are part of Gamania's games of 2012. Not sure why they planned to release all these games and Divina this year. Really, I think they should have dropped Divina in favour of those games being released first, but cutsey games are really popular in the Asian market. Gamania gets major brownie points though, they actually have English websites and trailers for all of their games, even if they're not out in other territories yet. Honorable mentions are Planetside 2, but that game's getting hype and it's published by Sony.
EIN: Epicus Incognitus
I will give you one bonus, but it doesn't really belong since the release date is unknown. But hey, it's the first Korean MMO ever to have a real story! (Kidding? Maybe...)