BioWare and LucasArts have officially announced Star Wars: The Old Republic, the second massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe. While technically not a replacement for Sony Online Entertainment's Star Wars Galaxies, BioWare brands the ambitious MMO, set in the time period of previous Knights of the Old Republic games as a sequel of sorts to those games — events occur some three centuries after KOTOR II — calling the MMO "Knights of the Old Republic 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12-plus."
I’ll give Bioware the benefit of the doubt since they have not disappointed me yet. They strive to continue developing quality-story driven games. My only concern with SW:TOR is the art direction they decided to go with. It kind of reminds me of Star Wars: The Clone War which is leaning towards a CGI-cartoony look. The developers have stated that the screenshots are taken from the pre-alpha stages of production and many things can change since then. I believe the graphics will definitely improve throughout the course of the development cycle but it won’t get any more realistic than what you see today simply because of the Hero engine.
Bioware is using the hero engine for developing SW:TOR and more information about the engine can be found here: http://www.heroengine.com/
I don't think EA will implement DRM into the MMO because the business process is different. When EA published Warhammer Online there were no install limits or limited activations.
For those of you who are concerned about how the story won't work in an MMO setting you can refer to these great articles written by ign. There will also be information avaliable soon about the art direction and why they decided to use it.
3rd Article: (will be avaliable on IGN Thursday October 23, 2008) Looks at the game's art style and share art director Jeff Dobson's commentary on the screenshots and concept art. http://pc.ign.com/articles/923/923056p1.html
Even with all the thought that's gone into the art direction, it's important to realize that the visuals are still being revised and debated even within BioWare. They're tweaking things here and there, and even pulling entire assets when they don't seem to fit the right mood. This shot of the Jedi Temple on Tython is a great example. The team just doesn't feel that it suits the mood they're trying to create, so they're planning to cut it and start again from scratch. They're hoping to find a suitable place to use the old version of the Temple, but they're dedicated to making sure that each element feels like it belongs in its setting in terms of story and mood.