I'm shocked people still believe this. We've been told about a major content expansion, new PVP warzone, and a revamped Ilum hitting within the next 3 months or so. Just choosing to ignore this because they are supplementing their revenue with the cartel shop seems like a knee jerk reaction.
The reason it's taking significant resources right now is because they had to build the functionality of the cartel shop from the ground up. Now that the frame work is in place adding items is simple. A re-textured speeder, a re-coloring of an existing armor model, that doesn't take much to implement going forward. Anything new created for the store is paid for many times over by the revenue it brings in.
The dev team is active and will remain so as long as they hit their revenue goals. Creating new content to sustain the business is a given.
The deeper fear for you should be this. If this game can't survive with the 2nd largest subscriber base prior to F2P then the whole industry is in trouble. It's been a trend for a while now. Open an MMO, steal players from other games, bleed them out short term, and scatter the MMO players over a larger number of games reducing revenue for any specific one.
We are already saw what happened at Turbine when they lost about half lost their players when SWTOR opened, they haven't recovered from it and the downsizing is happening now. If SWTOR dies, the future of the MMO industry does too because funding for these type of games will dry up. Elder Scrolls will be the last big AAA game before Titan. If they both fail... get used to indie releases in the MMO space.
I hope you're correct. I think this game is great, and really want to see it expand in the future.
Regarding upcoming content, however: most of what you've referred to was already in the making and planned for release. The new WZ, for example, has been finished for some time, and, if SWTOR had been more successful, would have been released with the accompanying operation. Instead, we are receiving it months later, essentially to "save up" content to release. We still don't know what the Ilum revamp really is, a one off event or a systemic change to make it actually possible to functionally participate in open world PvP there.
What I was referring to in my post is what happens when the content that was already in the works earlier in 2012, including Makeb, dries up? What is planned for, what is now in the making, and how much future content is in limbo, based on the financial reality SWTOR finds itself in?
In his recent post to the community, even Jeff Hickman writes that some staff have left the studio because working on a F2P SWTOR wasn't what they wanted to do. What precisely will be so different that folks would abandon a title they previously enjoyed working on?
I don't think even EA knows where exactly they are going with SWTOR yet. It depends on how well F2P goes.