Thanks for the post!
OK, I essentially mean an enhanced version of KOTOR:
I think that the need to keep the story part of an MMO meant that BW couldn't script the stories or change their direction, significantly. In that respect, there are so many moments where you say or do something not very nice/good and it's pretty much forgotten by the next sentence.
Having a single player game would've allowed for jaw-dropping plot changing experiences i.e. kill/save someone, choose an action etc. which would then completely change the direction of the game.
It would've enabled highly scripted set-pieces too i.e. what we know as Flash Points now could've been made crucial to your class story.
Companion classes could've been bigger and interwoven with the class (and stories from each planet). Again, what you did to your companions could have had significant consequences in the game (i.e. like KOTOR).
I take your point re. Mass Effect. Well a game has got to be fun. I was never a fan of the paused combat in KOTOR - perhaps what we have now in the game i.e. real time combat (but probably simpler classes and skill trees i.e. it's not an MMO in this alternate reality).
So I guess in the end I mean KOTOR style story mixed with real time MMO style combat.
Agree with a lot of the things you talk about in your post however you could for example kill off you companions in the beta, however ofc all the kiddos killed off all their companions and then complained and QQed that they had no companions left so Bioware changed it.
But yes I agree with that in esp some story lines there is a continuity problem with your actions not having enough impact of what happens next.
Personally I like that TOR is a mmorpg because having other ppl running around that I can interact with makes the game feel more alive to me, that was my problem with KOTOR; when you were done you were done and since u were the only living being around the areas became very static.
Same problem in Mass Effect, I think that Bethesda is on a good way of fixing it with Skyrim but tavernas still need random drunks and more dancing, stuf going on for it to feel alive. Everyone just kinda sits around not hitting on each other or anything.
There was a awesome tavern mod for Morrowind were ppl were dancing, playing instruments, ppl were rumbling around with a custom "drunk walk". It was awesome and it really felt like a real fantasy taverna. Chaotic