Sounds like Star Wars: The old Republic. Is this going to be a new trend, using the MMO aspect to act as DRM for essentially single-player games?
the problem is being stuck in RPG troupes, you can not be the hero saving the world if your friend is the hero saving the world. .. or your other friend is the hero saving the world... or one of the 10 million other players are the hero saving the world. WoW manages to get around this by having a very heavy focus on lore, not on quest and story. A story driven MMO is very difficult to do.
I always felt in EverQuest and later in WoW that I was just one of many heroes in the world. That we, the entire player population were out against a monster filled dangerous world, etc. Although the more "light hearted" and dumbed down these games have become, I'm thinking of WoW and EverQuest 2 in particular, the less serious or dangerous the world feels.
I haven't played SWTOR but it must be kind of odd to be the focus of the story as you level (I am guessing you are where it is SP-oriented) and then get dumped out into the end game where you are suddenly just one of many. In older games there is no jarring transition, you were always just one of the many.
I've never bothered with any beta before but I might be tempted by this one, just to preview it.