When all is said and done, how many hours will it take to complete my Sith Inquisitor's storyline? Are we talking 20, 40 or maybe 60 hours until completion? Even 60 hours seems unlikely. I'm willing to bet that BioWare is shooting for about 100 hours of playtime before people hit maximum level. That'd put the 8-10 hour a day people at about two weeks of solid playing before "finishing" a character. For the average player that sinks somewhere around two or four hours a day, that'd be something like three months before endgame.
That's 100 hours of multiple choices, objectives and sprinkles of exposition for eight separate classes. Assuming BioWare actually pulls off creating all that content, how the hell are they going to keep it fresh and interesting along the way? I often imagine batteries of desks and people all humming away at quest content that could only be described as legion. Do these developers sometimes wonder what the outdoors looks like? Do their fingertips ache from the constant clacking of keyboard strokes? There's likely some evil incantation involved in getting all these downtrodden writers, programmers and designers to created eight separate stories and remain interesting for around 100 hours of play.
Do we even want to wonder if SWTOR will ever have new classes? Something tells me that the work behind adding two more classes would suck up most all resources available for expansion development. Then again, we're probably dealing with a whole different beast when discussing expansions for a game like this. Assuming it's as successful as all parties involved would like it to become, a full-on expansion pack would probably dwarf any counterpart past or present in terms of development scale. This is especially true if BioWare goes for the addition of space flight and combat, which is exactly the kind of thing I know many Star Wars fans would like to see.
Truthfully, I look forward to seeing BioWare's attempt at this behemoth goal. As a fan, I've got every reason to want them to succeed. On the other hand, I've also had enough experience with this genre of game to know just how much could go wrong. While it's too early to actually call it, much of what I've seen and heard about the title has given me a positive feeling. There's a certain vibe I usually feel about an impending MMO, and it's not often I find myself expecting a rolling success this soon before launch. I haven't really felt like this about an MMO since pre-launch World of Warcraft days, come to think of it.
Whether or not people will come to speak of SWTOR in the same breath as WoW remains to be seen. If they can pull of everything I've been rambling about here, then I think there's a very strong chance it will happen. If not, well, I guess we'll have to see how everything else turns out. I guess that's the reality of being a fan of these games; it's something of a crap shoot as to whether or not you'll ever come across one that'll keep you playing for more than a few weeks.