Star Wars: The Old Republic set the new bar for EA's pre-order sales according the to the notes for the Q1 Fiscal Earnings Release. The previous bar was set by Battlefield 3, but according to President Frank Gibeau during the investor's conference call today, SWTOR far exceed BF3's pre-order sales. In fact, according to Gibeau the sales exceeded the company's expected sales curve, therefore breaking records no one at the game developing company could have expected.
As for the release date that everyone seems to be waiting for, CEO John Riccitiello explained during the call that although they have set a wide margin for the release date, they are confident in the projected release of holiday 2011. It is not uncommon according to Riccitiello for an MMO to withhold an exact release date until four to six weeks prior to launch. That said, EA CFO Eric Brown did say, "In September, we will be in a position to call the ball and give you a hard ship date" following the major beta testing push.
[Update: Originally, we quoted Frank Gibeau with the "hard ship date" quote, but the official transcript credits Eric Brown with the statement.]