Over the course of the past 5 years, I have played many different MMOs, and as such I consider myself well-versed in the ways of online gaming. My online experience does not end at MMORPGs however but at many different types of games that can be played online.
After those five years I find that we are at the very end of the "Age of Bland" in that 2009 is the beginning of the rush of "new and innovative" MMOs. Though some of the new ones have been less than spectacular (Warrior Epic, Jade Dynasty, Crimcraft and even Aion), there are many that may usher in the new era of MMO gaming. Incase you needed it laid out for you we've got games like Champions Online, Earthrise, All Points Bulletin, Black Prophecy, Global Agenda, Star Wars: The Old Republic and many others.
2009 I believe will come to be known as the Herald of Awesome for MMO games, the harbinger of the true "golden" age of online games. Do not confuse the beginning with the prime-time, though. Throughout the years 2010 to 2020 I see great things for the industry, not only in innovation but in consumer-friendliness. I think those stuffy, stuck up developers are finally going to sit down and say, "Holy shit, guys, we need to start listening to the players!" and that will be that.
Besides the various innovations in other types of games, we're going to see many things from single-player games that captured our hearts and minds IN our MMOs. SW:TOR might be the very beginning of a truly amazing style of MMOG and with it we will start seeing MMOs with the same kind of quality and craftsmanship as The Elder Scrolls series, Fallout, Mass Effect and KOTOR/2.
This isn't to say we'll see the end of bad cash-shop Asian grinders, but we should see a lot less of them in the coming years. Good riddance, I say, and I believe many others will say the same.