Bioware seems to have made end-game a minor priority.
They have heavily emphasised story and one of the developers (admittedly a storyline developer) suggested in one of the hype videos that what you should do after playing through a storyline on one character is play through a different storyline on a new alt.
One of the recent developer video interviews suggests that the end game isn't really ready yet.
"What's the end-game going to be like?
Jake Neri: Hmm We've heard actually the last couple of days a lot of people have been asking about end-game. We haven't talked too much about that yet. We understand people want - and we need to have - an end-game. I think as time rolls on at swtor.com we'll be bringing a lot of information about what that end-game will look like. I think the main thing that people can go away and rest assured is that we understand the need to have a compelling end-game."
That doesn't sound very ready. Look at his body language and the number of times he says "um" at that point of the interview. He doesn't seem comfortable with the question.
Now if it's not ready yet (about a year from release) then it won't be a substantial part of gameplay.
This is actually pretty similar to WoW's development. WoW at release just had Onyxia and Molten Core as raids which is just a dragon in a big room in one case and a genuine raid instance with some relatively basic boss encounters in the other. Not anything modern WoW players would really accept as an end game.
The problem is since 2004 the audience's tastes have changed.
In 2004 people expected a slow levelling game with raiding being a niche activity for a self-selecting hardcore.
In 2011 people will be expecting to power through the levelling up game then farm accessible raids.
I think they are using the 2004 WoW model as a guide to putting a game out and I think it may not suit the modern market.
Then again Blizzard are also using the 2004 WoW model for their planned re-invention of WoW (oh look, you can level up in revamped Stranglethorn Vale!). (Very much in the WoW expansion tradition of spoiling the competion: 2007 a hardcore raiding expansion released against Vanguard, 2008 a goth rvr expansion released against Warhammer, 2010 a level-up storyline expansion released against TOR). So 2011 may be a very interesting year for MMOs. Especially if large numbers of players reject both Cataclysm and TOR after burning though the level up content in a month.
Will we see subbing to a MMO for a month or two then abandoning it until the next expansion become the norm?