Well, I started playing.
Word of warning to anyone reading who hasn't started playing yet: the Express Install is an enormous download. Thankfully, I have a fibre connection but my best guess is that it was well over 20GB (I went away, came back 20 minutes later and it was still d/l'ing multiple massive chunks of data!). I assume the Custom Install lets you d/l less stuff right at the start of the game and then it downloads what you need as you go along, whereas Express downloads everthing at the start.
Anyway, as for the game itself, this is the first MMORPG I've ever played so I don't know how much of the following is specific to SWTOR or particular to the genre, but there were things I loved and things I hated.
: the cinematics, the voice-acting, the characters, the general look & feel of being in the SW universe. I chose a female Sith Inquisitor. Funnily enough, I subconsciously customised her to look like an ex-girlfriend, something I only realised once I started playing (insert "well, she was
a manipulative witch" joke here...). The sassy backchat, double-dealing and general amorality made playing Sith a lot of fun.
: I only played about 5 hours, up to level 8 and still on the starting planet so admittedly these comments are based on very limited content. But... the actual gameplay feels very repetitive (FedEx type missions, and combat that's more of a math problem - what order do I click the number keys for most effective damage - than a fluid fighting style).
Plus, right-click to move with the mouse is very annoying. I understand why this mechanic is there (to free up the mouse cursor itself for clicking stuff & selecting skills when you can't remember the number), but it's easy to forget to right-click in combat and find yourself rotating the camera but not the character. Is there a sensible alternative keybinding that avoids this problem without creating other key combination problems?
Anyway, I'll certainly keep playing until about lvl 12-15, just to see if the format advances enough to be enjoyable. But frankly, at this stage I'd love to just do the very entertaining story/roleplaying bit (watching the storyline, selecting replies) without the repetitive gameplay in between.
Maybe it's just endemic to this type of game, and they're not for me. But I'll give it a bit more of a chance, and if I don't figure things out, I'll just see if I can find the full cinematics on YouTube and watch instead of play.
I do see why these games are popular though; I didn't really enjoy the combat, but the gradual story progression is addictive enough to make me want to hop back in and play more anyway.