I agree with you in theory, but you have to remember that when WoW launched the hardcore MMO player-base wasn't as broad as it is now. The MMO-scene was basically an open canvas (Yes, yes, I know -- EQ. But WoW reached a broader audience), whereas now SWTOR is facing the challenge of keeping WoW veterans entertained (who are as good as professionally trained in consuming content). WoW also had the added bonus of making the top-tier virtually unreachable for the casual player, creating the illusion of endless content -- a design strategy most game companies seem to have moved away from.
This only applies to the WoW players who have picked up SW:ToR, obviously, and as someone stated they probably aren't the core of the target audience.
There were 'hardcore' MMOs long, long before WoW.