Next update: July/August 2013.
Assumption: same formats and schedule as for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Going the 2014 schedule, the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw will take place around 1 August 2015 and the FIFA ranking used to seed the teams from AFC, CAF and UEFA will be the July 2015 edition, while for the CONCACAF teams the March 2015 ranking will be used.
This means we already have 10% of the final formula (even more for CONCACAF teams), as the 0.2 time frame will close in a couple of days.
Pot 1: Rwanda, Uganda, Congo DR, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, South Africa, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Gambia, Niger
Pot 2: Lesotho, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Seychelles, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Mauritius, Somalia, Swaziland, Djibouti, South Sudan, Comoros, Mauritania
Second round (group stage)
Pot 1: Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Libya, Zambia, Algeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Gabon, Congo
Pot 2: Central African Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Morocco, Cameroon, Sao Tome e Principe, Guinea
Pot 3: Chad, Togo, Senegal, Namibia, Nigeria, Ethiopia
Pot 3 and Pot 4 will be completed with the 14 winners of the first round.
For the 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminaries, AFC used the performance based seeding for the first two rounds, then the July 2011 ranking for the group stage draw. This means that if the rules don't change, we already know the seeding for the first two rounds.
First round (performance based)
Pot 1: Bangladesh, Yemen, India, Philippines, Maldives, Myanmar, Syria, Kyrgystan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Laos
Pot 2: Chinese Taipei, Mongolia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Macau, Guam, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam
Second round (performance based)
Pot 1: Worst 5 teams from the 2014 final group stage + Bahrain, China PR, Kuwait, Korea DPR, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Singapore, Indonesia
Pot 2: Turkmenistan, Palestine, Malaysia, Vietnam + 11 winners from the first round
Third round (seeded using the FIFA ranking)
Assuming the seeded teams advance, this is how the pots would look like:
Pot 1: Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Iran, Uzbekistan
Pot 2: Iraq, Korea DPR, China PR, Jordan, Oman
Pot 3: Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia
Pot 4: United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Tajikistan, Singapore, Indonesia
Pot 1: Grenada, St. Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Cayman Islands
Pot 2: Barbados, Anguilla, Dominica, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands
Second round (group stage)
Pot 1: Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda
Pot 2: Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Aruba
Pot 3: Guyana, Nicaragua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Suriname, Curacao
Pot 4: US Virgin Islands + 5 winners from the first round
Third round (group stage)
Pot 1: Mexico, Panama, USA
Pot 2: Jamaica, Costa Rica, El Salvador
Pot 3: 6 group winners from the second round
Pot 1: Germany, Spain, England, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Czech Republic, Wales
Pot 2: Greece, France, Sweden, Hungary, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Estonia, Scotland, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Pot 3: Turkey, Armenia, Poland, Romania, Norway, Ukraine, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia
Pot 4: Austria, Serbia, Finland, Belgium, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Malta
Pot 5: Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Belarus, Iceland, Montenegro, Georgia, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan
Pot 6: Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Israel, Andorra, Faroe Islands, San Marino