This book is exactly what I've been looking (and wishing) for!! I feel terrible that I found it FIVE years after it's been out!
I'm a hobbyist game programmer, a senior in high school, and I've been wanting to make my own MMOG since late middle school. Of course, back then my vision was more... general, unrealistic, overenthusiastic. But over these past few years, as I have matured and gained experience in programming, I've been building up to the time when I had a clear view of what I wanted and exactly how to get there, and especially how much work would be involved. I've taught myself all about general game programming using several other books, but the whole time my goal has been a MMO, and while the books taught general game development, none of them really mentioned how to develop on a 'massive' scale - even the books concerning online games. Finally, I've found one that's not only focused on MMOGs, but has exactly the information I want.
I have researched plenty books and websites, but this is a HUGE source of information that I couldn't find anywhere else! Tips on how to organize server farms, complete UML code explaining a full MMORPG framework, tips on server and client development, etc. - just read the table of contents. This book is out of print, but if you are looking to make a Massively Multiplayer game, get your hands on it immediately!!
Another great aspect of the book is that at the end of each separate article, there is a list of resources. It's like a bibliography of the articles that the editor used to compile the article, including the original article itself and any additional sources used. This referred me to several other great game design books that I never would have considered.
If you have questions, like I had, about how to synchronize objects between client and server, how to handle movement and collision detection, how to design and implement the back-end database, how to protect from 'rogue' players (commonly called 'hackers') and so on, this book will answer all those questions and more.
I am writing this review from the perspective of both programmer and designer (well, whole-game-maker, but I've got a couple friends so I consider those my primary roles) - and the programmer will get a whole lot out of this book. A designer will also get some great ideas, and I have not yet read a lot of this book (especially the section meant for designers), so I'm sure I'm underestimating.
A single warning though: You should already have a pretty clear vision of what kind of game you want to make, and in the case of a programmer, have a thorough understanding of the programming language, and all the systems of a game - especially graphics and networking. The book describes thoroughly all the processes but does not go into details about how to form and transmit packets, so you'll have to look into that elsewhere (read up on sockets, possibly the library RakNet, for more info).
Overall, this is a great book, and I would rate it higher if I could! I may even consider getting MMGD 2 now that I've seen the high quality of this one!