GameZenith put out a list of reasons they think justify the label "revolutionary" for Star Wars: The Old Republic, at least in the MMO genre, and this is likely not the last editorial of this ilk we'll see before (and likely after too) the release of BioWare's MMO. Agree or disagree, here are two of the reasons they list:
1) People forget, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the Xbox and PC was essentially Neverwinter Nights with a Star Wars skin and yet KOTOR is considered to be one of the last decade's greatest RPG games and is on many people's list of top 10 RPGs of all time. KOTOR had a fully voiced cast except for the main character, just like Neverwinter Nights. However what sets KOTOR apart from NWN is that KOTOR was more of a cinematic experience. With this in mind, players were able to immerse themselves easier into the world of KOTOR in a way that was never possible with NWN. So when fully voiced characters in MMOs including the player character becomes a go to feature, we will all have Star Wars: The Old Republic to thank. KOTOR did not change the way people played RPG games, but it was a significant entry point in regards to the progression of the genre. I see SWTOR having similar relevance.
2) Because of the extreme emphasis on story, unlike WoW, SWTOR would be a prominent MMO that draws the likes of RPG gamers who never were really interested in MMOs previously. This would only give more exposure to the genre which opens many doors. By increasing the fanbase of MMOs, this would now make the genre more attractive to developers and publishers to develop MMOs in the future that has a strong reliance on story the same way SWTOR did. I do not see SWTOR as a one and done scenario in terms of story because I believe SWTOR is just the start to what will eventually become an industry standard for MMOs. Ten years from now, there would be MMOs with Mass Effect 2 style cinematics and storytelling and we will all be able to say it began with Star Wars: The Old Republic.