if you want to explore sith tombs make a inquisitor and do their story line. frankly i am all tombed out because of it.
i do agree there is a lot that can be done to make the group content more interesting.
the first solution is to leave the wow regular, hard and harder mold behind. just make a raid zone with three seperate difficulty tiered sections or even zones with different bosses and mechanics to learn. the learning curve will be much higher instead of doing the same zone and bosses with just one new mechanic.
Sort of hard for bioware to change the way the game works halfway through the race so to speak, but I personally agree with you.
Asto the OP's ideas I agree. I'd love to see more rare drops but make them truly rare (cough black purple crystals im looking at you) Drops like Karragga's hat (but much less dorky looking) would go along way to motivating people beyond the raid till BiS.
One of the best things I liked about TOR was coming across the named equipment and while 80% of them was vendor fodder it was sort of cool to have carth running around with Bendaks blaster and Calo nords pistol. More "insert famous lore figures name here" robes or Sateel's crystal would be very cool.
But make them rare, make them look neat and for the love of god don't make them generic off the vendor crap.