The current visuals would certainly look worrisome to someone who's a proponent of the more realistic art style. And, when someone expresses concern about difficulty, it tells me they consider themselves a "hardcore" gamer. Often times, that person is one in the same and the official forum posts expressing these fears were more or less confirming my suspicions. However, I will mention that players who worried about challenge and visuals weren't always the same players who worried about heavily instanced content.
"They'd rather their PvP be based on skill, not on what stats their gear from the 100+ raids on some dungeon supplies them with. You know? That's completely fair."
You know? That's completely fair. But let's not kid ourselves here: these guys -- whether they realize it or not -- want an online shooter/fighter with persistence, like Modern Warfare 2 or Bad Company 2. Sure, they're not exactly MMOs and they're certainly not Star Wars but they fit the above-listed parameters pretty well. Moving on...
There's another camp of community members that have different worries than the first I mentioned. They're the people who I tallied for being concerned about too much group-focused content. (Can you guess who was worried about too much solo content?) Some of them were worried about a potentially childish community and a lack of roleplay servers, too. This second group is less cohesive in their fears and wants than the first, but they're not exactly the people looking for "an immersive, terrifying open sandbox/PvP experience" either.
However, these two groups shared two specific fears. They both tended to worry about class balance and... surprise! They both worried that SWTOR would be too much like World of Warcraft.
Hmm, I wonder why that is? Could it be that for many of them, that was their first MMO? Potentially. Even if World of Warcraft wasn't the game to pop their virtual cherry, it was probably one they spent a whole lot of time with at some interval during their lifetime. Either way, communities are always divided in one way or another. As a whole, they don't really know what they want.
So, back to one of the fears I withheld:
5 Won't live up to personal expectations
Hey! Look at that. Some people are openly admitting they think BioWare can't live up to their expectations. If that isn't setting yourself up for disappointment, then I don't know what is. Imagine if all these people had expected from WoW-at-launch what the game is today, or even a couple years after launch? They'd be terribly unsatisfied, just like they're going to be with just about every MMO until they lower expectations a little and embrace the roughness that is an MMO at launch.
Finally, the last fear and easily the winner of that entire thread:
1 "Bioware is catering to everyone and in doing so they end up making a great game to nobody." - DinesanDK
Exactly. Personally, I'm not entirely positive or negative when it comes to SWTOR or any upcoming game for that matter. Right now, it's just best to reserve our fears or hopes in the back of our minds and focus on other things. BioWare shouldn't listen to any of us right now, because they're the ones making the game. If for some reason you don't like what they make, you don't have to buy it. Spend your hard-earned money elsewhere. Perhaps you should buy an online shooter, perhaps not.
My point is this: We all have fears and we all have opinions. The only fact involved in this matter is that none of that really matters. If a developer makes a game we like then we play it and enjoy ourselves. At that point, the developers could listen to their community of people who're enjoy the game as it was designed. They could also try some ideas of their own because, you know, they're videogame designers by profession. But before launch? None of our opinions on what SWTOR should or shouldn't have really matter. Thinking as much would be like emailing J.K. Rowling and informing her how you'd have liked the Harry Potter series to end.
And guys? I happen to have loved the ending to Harry Potter.