I stumbled upon a fairly bland article on Arstechnica entitled, "Blizzard producer attributes drop in WoW subscriptions to Star Wars: Old Republic." Your first reaction to that article was probably quite a bit like mine; that being, "Duh?". It's not quite as simplistic as that, but as another member put it "In other news, water is wet."
The real story is not, however, the overly obvious headline. It's what you'll find in the reader commentary.
Now I'll readily admit bias when it comes to the topic of Old Republic, namely filed under the header of "300 million dollars and this is the best they can do?". Because let's be honest, it doesn't look particularly impressive and the gameplay is pretty one-dimentional. Its only real selling point is the hours upon hours of voice acted dialogue and the name "Star Wars!" behind it.
Or let's put it another way:
If this game were named some generic name like, say, 'Blue Cloud Odyssey' featuring everything but the lightsabers, I doubt so many would be so willing to play it, let alone rush to its defense because Old Republic is truely mediocre in execution. Sure, that's my opinion, but it's also apparently a truth that's starting to set in.
The reader commentary for this article is particularly enlightening as to why people are even playing Old Republic and potentially its future as a franchise. In fact, if one went by this cross section of independent opinion, you'd almost think people were playing Rift all over again; that is to say they were playing it because they were tired of World of Warcraft and little more. Frankly, it doesn't say anything good about your game when the only attributes to its popularity are "people tired of warcraft" and starwars fanboys. When you can't sell a game on its own merits, there's a problem and that seems to be a truth bearing out in the arstechnica commentary.
Even more telling is the focus of those comment. The story is about Warcraft losing ground to Old Republic and that is certainly reflected in the conversation as Blizzard's MMO management sins are brought to light. But in almost every other posting you see a general disatisfaction with Old Republic commented upon in the same breath. "We're tired of Warcraft dumbing down its gameplay/pets/pandas... And Starwars isn't that exciting either."
That's the last direction you would expect a warcraft fail piece to go, but there it is and it 's perhaps a snapshot into the future of Old Republic if Bioware can't get its act together.