Re: I have you now!..i think not So what happened to SWG in your list
That's some pretty rosy tinted goggles you've got on there my friend :)
SWG was not, and never was, a "good" MMO. It came from an era where all the MMO's suffered from a lack of design and balance. Quite a number of important gameplay areas where simply left untested or not thought through fully.
SWG required grinding to level. An amount of grinding that was amplified by the fact that in order to unlock a jedi/force sensitivity you needed to master 4 professions (from about 30ish), and you could discover what three of these where by using hard to get items. To grind a combat profession, assuming you where starting with a "full" non-jedi combat level character, and you could get a group, took 30+ hours. To level a crafting tree took about 60 hours of crafting and would give you RSI if you didn't use a macro.
Ah, the crafting system. Reagents had stats, better stats = more experiment points = improvement of (typically) one aspect of the produced item. All cool and dandy, except there was no playtesting (or thought testing...) of what happens when you create 98% resist armor, or weapons with almost no stat cost to use. Or buffs that are 2-3000% of the base stats.
Combined with SOE's borderline abusive behavior towards players (which they learnt from EQ) where they would make a broken system, then leave it for a year or two, then change it to another broken one, invalidating most of the "good" equipment previously existing. Plus nerfing items, but allowing existing broken versions of that equipment to be kept. I managed to acquire a melee weapon that had the reach of a ranged weapon (65m instead of 10m) and had many lols with that in pvp.
As for the game dying, that happened in several stages. At each of the combat updates the core mechanics changed and acquired equipment (usually) became worthless. Thus a lot of effort invested in your character befome null, which often results in people quitting. Then making jedi available to everyone managed to persuade a lot of the old guard to quit, since their hard-to-get hero class (less than 5% of players had a jedi) was now just available to anyone. At that point I gave up.
If they had tried to make it a wow clone they might have been OK (I'd have still quit). But they didn't. They copied some ideas from wow, while missing much of the useful stuff. They mainly failed to copy Blizzard's ability to deliver enjoyable experiences.
SWG had some cool ideas (player cities, spaceships, bounty hunting NPC/players, skill point system) but was only any good because the alternatives where pretty shit. Once they stated losing subs, they just managed to kill themselves quicker. It's a great example of "just fucking leave it alone" they would still be raking in the subs.
Oh, and permadeath for your hero class. Just no...