Actually upon thinking on it further, I had to respond to this more thoughtfully.
The sites you are talking about are, I think except for DarthHater (which is Curse, Inc. which is a multi-national dotcom, 19mil hits a month) all at best semi-pro and mostly all fan sites. Fan sites are ephemeral in many games.
SWTOR is in the news every day by the professional games press, for good or ill.
If the games press were an old-style journalism sort of thing, without comment streams, SWTOR's coverage would probably look much better than it does. However, comment streams make every AAA game out there look like crap, particularly the ones that don't have very crafty and clever social media folks who are both very adept and close to the fans. EA/Bioware seem to just have money at the corporate level, and do neither of those other things all that well.
But the current fashion in MMORPGs is that a vocal minority of gamers who love to guild up and raid -- let's call them the Piranhas -- dominate the social media metagame of the online world of MMOs. They spend all their free time that they are not gaming on Twitter, in comment streams, filing scathing reviews on Metacritic, you name it. Their hobby is to be gaming hipsters, essentially -- to see how snarkily and cuttingly they can shred a game to show off how sophisticated a gamer they are among their leet peers.
These are the armchair generals of MMOs.
So as a game emerges from pre-beta, these guys (and they are by vast majority male IRL) are scoping it like Fantasy Football dudes evaluating draft picks. They start talking about how it is or isn't like WOW, how it's prospects are to be F2P or why it will suck before the company publishes any terms at all. A cinematic trailer at E3 will erupt a crapstorm of vitriol. A change of devs will start doomsaying avalanches. A choice of distribution channels. From a bunch of idiots who really at root know zip about running a business. They mostly just like to listen to each other mouth off wise.
So when head start comes or beta or pre-beta, these guys descend like the school of piranha. They will get in as soon as possible. They will insist on top of the art graphics, performance, story, content, support -- but they will SKIP all of the two years of content that the devs put into the game.
Within two days, they have raced each other to level cap, where they will be ************ to the universe about how:
- It's too easy to get to level cap
- there weren't enough side quests even though they didn't stop to smell the npcs along the way
- the story (which they didn't read) sucked
- the end game is grindy and too much *and* not enough like WOW
And at this point, with all the variations on the theme (I'm sure you can come up with all the rest) they will call on the producers and the devs to have a summit with all the guild leaders to fix the doomed game, because only they can save the game. They will travel to Iceland or Austin or something, drink themselves silly, insult the female gender in any way they can in the majority, further confuse and ruin the game for crafters, roleplayers, people who like story, people who *do* spend time on content and so on, and then upon returning to the game and the forums, say no one listened to them....
And leave to destroy the next game.
I am tired of it. SWTOR did not fail the players. EA and a segment of players failed SWTOR. And that segment of players is failing the industry and will be making it impossible for a AAA game to get VC money within two years, I suspect. It's not a pretty picture in the industry right now.
/* retired game CEO and VP Marketing/Bizdev */