Except for private servers, of course - for that matter the Japanese game will probably still be going, and the Korean game. And that MGAME test server (which is likely the best to play on, even if you can't read anything, yeah yeah, its something like knightonline.mgame.com) of course.
But I'm speaking of USKO, the K2 servers in particular, and why I think decisions by the management are going to result in a crash of the in game population over the next several months.
First, a couple of facts. On all the older servers, certainly on Diez where I play, the majority of players are not from North America, and most do not speak English. I'm told this is true on the new servers, though not as bad, but I'm not going to create an account just to run around asking people if they speakie the Ainglish. So I assume this to be true.
Second, this game has and always has had a very active group of farmers, most of whom are not from North America. By farmers, I mean people who kill bosses and so forth and sell the results for US dollars. This is hardly news to anyone who has played the game long enough to hear the term "babashop".
Farmers can NOT successfully farm by themselves in this game. This is an absolute fact. A farmer must have backup or he can't come in and rule the bowl long enough to take bosses with a reasonable chance of success. (In case anyone hasn't figured it out, a lot of the heavy hitters in Ardream are farmers.) Farmers often give items away to fellow clan members or other useful people, just to keep them fighting to help the farmer get better items. (Of course, NOBODY here has ever been offered items to join a group, then told that this group requires a boss run every few hours without exception - LOL. Can't be that the guy on top is a FARMER for CASH, could it?)
Now, lets put this together and see what results. There are farmers, they sell for USD, they are all over the servers, they pass out items to keep people helping them farm, and they have to have backup or they can't farm items. And they and their gifts keep a lot of powerful people playing this game who would otherwise quit. And note that K2 has never tried to take any real action against farmers - most game companies ban farmers as quickly as they are found. K2 doesn't even look.
This being true, what happens when the new patch comes out? The answer to that is simple, the farmers will dupe until the new dupe bugs are fixed, and then they'll leave for better waters elsewhere. The trade in of NP for uniques is going to inevitably drop the price of uniques to the point where nobody will be willing to pay USD for them. So the farmers will dupe coins or scrolls and sell to the merchants so they can sell IGC, and when that's over, they leave.
When the farmers leave, their hangers on will leave also, some quickly, some will take a while, but with no free items forthcoming, they'll quit too.
What about the US player community? Can that pick up the slack?
I really doubt that happening. The US community is broken beyond repair, IMHO, due to pitiful support and a generally beat down attitude. Go to the KO download page on CNET and read the hundreds of comments about this game. New players now are pretty green in terms of MMORPG's, and the old players are quitting or planning to quit for WarHammer when that comes out.
So if the farming community leaves, and their support crews leave, and the US community is broken, that leaves mostly the cafe crowd. IMHO, the cafe crowd does not buy enough of anything to support K2 and it's boss in the manner in which they've become accustomed. So I'm expecting the server populations to start dwindling shortly after the patch is out, and drop faster as they get smaller in a positive feedback reaction.
About support and the beat down US player community, consider this. Tez pulled some fast ones, admitted, but what he got banned for was actually funny in a horrible sort of way. In other games I've played, say DAOC for example, if I logged a character that was seven levels below what it was the day before, with items missing, what would I do? I'd type "/say GM", explain the matter to him, that my account was obviously compromised and someone had dlvled it while I was offline. What do you think would happen? The GM would spend about ten minutes checking the server logs, restore my levels and items, and apologize for this happening in their game. And he'd ban the guy who dlved me!
The US player community is so beat down on this game, that normal support levels for other games are considered cheating. That's how beat down we are, that's how bad the support is.
So I'll keep playing on my alternate (told everyone they better have one ready, because random bans simply happen to us all) till WarHammer comes out. And then it's goodbye. And I don't expect I'll be back after that, because I don't think there will be anything to come back to.