Ok right ahead: I am very serious with this, and I dont intend to provoke you, but this is the result of weeks and months of thinking and following news and info, and I would really be interested in your (thoughtful) critique.
Here comes the thesis first: Bioware is either deceiting themselves about what a success SWTOR can be, OR they are deceiving us about the nature of the game.
Now to the analysis. I will try to keep it a brief as possible. I hope I dont create loopholes by shortage, but I may add to it, if some parts are unclear.
I.) Bioware, EA and LucasArts always emphasize "story". In fact we have not heard of a single gameplay sphere any detail other than that. There is that suspicious fact we hear NO other "usually expected" detail whatsoever, now for a long time. Which is no argument in itself, yes, just a hint. The central point here is: they always emphasized, that ALL of SWTOR is story driven. ALL is heroic and there is NO usual grind, no "un-heroic" battle like "kill 20 rats". Point 1.
II.) They have hinted every class has its planet. With the map circling around we have 16 planets, that makes 8 class bound planet. So 50% granted solo game. Or at best intra-class co-op. Tho why should you when its "your class story". Not waterproof, but a measure of balance.
III.) We know we have combat companions, and we know Bioware said, the game can be entirely soloed. Fact! Now what is crystal clear to me: the easier quests are, the more soloable, the less grouping happens. Grouping is what happens when people need to group. Now sure the rise of soloing can be seen. But the fact is, most people who can solo will solo. With NPC companion. Now the life-force of any MMO is it's community. Communites form through grouping for a large part. By shared experiences. But from my POV, when everything CAN be soloed, most WILL solo it. Now if you are busy, busy with your story, why share it, when a NPC does it? Communities are formed by and large through the "hunting party experience", when a team overcomes an obstacle a single person could not. The rise of solo-friendlyness has so far seriously damaged the community spirit in MMOs.
IV.) Now no matter how good your stories are, I just dont see it that a decend number of players stays in a MMO for more than 3-4 months. I just do not see it. Taking the not small playtime per day of the average MMO gamer, I am sure most will be through the story 2 times by then at LEAST. I am sorry if I have to burst your bubble, but a game merely driven by story wont hold people alone a long time. 6 months is the max. time.
V.) The ONLY thing proven to keep gamers a longer time, is repetitive tasks, like it or not. Just going out hunting stuff. (Not to speak of the fact that many feel "mindless grinding" as something relaxing, actually!) You just would have to create 100+ planets with story to equal the play-time amount a MMO like WOW or EQ2 or GW can muster by grind. Grind, meaning "not heroic, simple, repetitive task", which is not fitting into the category of "heroic story". You know, the usual type of MMO quests.
Now the bottom line and conclusion is: when EA paid a hefty sum for Bioware, they sure expected a MMO with a monthly fee keeping gamers a LONG time, for in no other realistic way Bioware would be worth so much money. That would suggest SWTOR DOES HAVE some long lasting game qualities, which would clearly say, that story is just "one part among many others", which also would mean we have been deceived about SWTOR being "all heroic". There WOULD be the proverbial "20 rats" to kill. The trash mobs, the fedex quests, the faction grind - you name it - everything any normal MMO has. Truth be told, I personally am HOPING this is so. The other way would be, Bioware deceives itself, when they think a game with story alone has the weight to keep gamers for a longer period of time, no matter how interesting you can make a story. it would NEVER ever work. MMO gamers are used to some things, and only some things are known to create communities. And only MMOs with communities can survive a longer time.
So my worst fear ironically is Bioware would be honest. What I fear is, that everything is heroic story, people play it with one or two classes through and then be done. What that LucasArts guy hinted, that there would be a vast untapped potential of single player gamers who never played a MMO so far, hints this may indeed be their hope, and I just implore them to NOT believe that! The MMO market is not expanded into single player gamers anymore! Period. I have no proof for this last assumption, but my strongest feeling of truth. A MMo gamer is a kind of person, a lifestyle, and the WOW model tapped what was left by mechanics we dont need to discuss, but which worked, apparently.
I am sorry for the long text and complex thought. I know, it may be difficult to follow, and I hope you answer civil and fair. It is a theory, nothing more, but I fear when they are serious with their idea that EVERYTHING is heroic, and can be soloed, it would no bode well. I mean it could still be a very good game. Thats not the point. But in no way in hell it will bring back that sort of money EA paid nor would that form a years lasting community in the game.
So, challange my analysis.
Some of his points are challenged (strenuously) by others in the thread, while some are also challenged by one of the stickies in the forum. Among them is:
* PvP is in TOR - Multiple Interviews
* Confirmed that you do NOT have to PvP in TOR, its an option if you want too - IGN Q & A
* Richard Vogal during an interview said that Battlegrounds were available - Games Reactor
* Loot sets also seem to be in game, possible mutliple PvP sets mentioned - Gamespot Smuggler
* There will be raiding but no details have been released - Multiple Reviews
* End Game Content like Raiding is available if players do not want to re roll- MMOGamer
It's been my view that Bioware has not done itself best by creating the community and strangling the information available. They would be wise to recognize the angst and to make information officially available on the SWTOR website. Tap into the evident desire for the game and mold it.