THIS is the MMO I've been waiting for. A real story and heroic experience in a large MMO setting.
Ask me the one thing that makes this one stand out over all the others and I will say that you get to experience real and meaningful story before you get to high end raids unlike other MMOs such as WoW. In other words, you already are a hero by the time you start raiding which goes a long way to satisfy casual, solo and small group minded players.
Not to bash WoW (which I did like) but this game doesn't require that you grind dozens if not hundreds of hours trying to get enough gear so that you can get into the significant raids where the meaningful story takes place. That endless grind and obscene demand of my time was what previously burned me out of other MMOs including WoW. Instead, you can jump into the raids right away.
Other great aspects of this game are:
* Fully voiced dialogue with quest givers, companions, and others.
* Morality choices giving light or dark side points. These choices do have some impact on your game experience with quests opening up while others close based on your prior choices.
* Companions to talk to that give you quests, craft, and grow closer (or farther) to/from you depending on how you interact with them.
* Stable launch. Have experienced very few bugs.
* Fun and dynamic PvP system. Reminds me of WoW in this way and this is not a bad thing.
* Smaller raid (8 or 16 man) sizes than most other MMOs which I like.
* Difficulty slider for Flashpoints (Dungeons) and Operations (Raids) for the casual and hard core player alike.
* A solid crafting system that allows one to not only create new items but to upgrade existing items so that one can keep weapons and armor for the duration of their game play experience if they so choose. In other words, the crafting system is deceptively deep.
* Fantastic music that gives me a real sense of Star Wars immersion.
There are some cons and I would be remiss if I didn't mention them. Some of these are:
* Coruscant is too big. Lots of running around that planet. They should've made the ground vehicle available to us allot sooner.
* Space combat amounts to a rail shooter. The graphics are pretty, but you can't play with your friends, can't board another ship, or have freedom to move around space like you would want to. The game forces you to move where it wants you to move to. This needs to be upgraded. Making it like Eve Online would be amazing.
* There are too many repeatable side quests for all classes (per faction). In other words, your second character will have to repeat most of the same quests that your previous character had to undertake if he/she is in the same faction. The only quests that are unique to each class are those of the main storyline. In the future, Bioware will (hopefully) expand on these main storyline quests so that one can feel a more unique sense of progression. The repeatable quests started to feel like a grind.
SW:TOR is an excellent MMO. Class stories give you the heroic experience that most MMO's don't offer. You don't have to play for hours on end in high level raids if you don't want to, but its nice to know there are a few available that don't take more than a couple of hours to complete. The fully voiced over conversations (including when your character talks) is very cool and represent a step forward in this genre.
The game is not perfect and is still lacking in content, but we should remember that it's been out for only 8 months as of this edit. I have every reason to believe the Devs when they say that they will greatly expand Space Combat and other elements of the game in the future. Hence, I recommend this game for anyone who really cares about story in an MMO.