1) Obsidian is not making the MMO, Bioware is in conjunction of with LucasArts
2) Having played SWG, I can say that while it had a good crafting system, the basic gameplay about how to earn money and such was lacking. Rather than actually play the game the way to get money was to set up harvesters on a planet, and log out. Log back in a few days layer and craft whatever you needed, then sell it on the market, wash rinse repeat.
3) most games have a gameworld where you can get most anywhere, WoW's original continents didn't because the creators took various short cuts and visual tricks to get things looking just right (which is why they don't allow Flying mounts in the old world).
4) instancing a section of the game is probably going to happen. City of Heroes did it for most of the player content (the missions), Guild wars had EVERYTHING be instanced, and WoW used the instance so that more than one group of people could experience a dungeon at the same time. If you don't do instances you are either going to have to create a MASSIVE number of areas that the player can get fairly good gear, Or you are going to find that the entrance to most dungeons are PVP killing grounds that drive off most of the PVE crowd.
5) while you may think that WoW is terrible, you don't have a majority opinion. My guess is that Bioware is going to make TOR partly in WoW's image because WoW is so wildly successful. Part of the reason WoW is successful is that you can actually get somewhere in 2 hours time. When I played SWG, it took me forever to hit the max level in any particular profession. If we were to make SWG how you seem to want it, I think you'd end up with an MMO looking more like EvE online rather than something that a casual market can get into. And while EvE seems to have a pretty good time for those who are REALLY into it, it seems more a second job than a game (and the politics in that game are serious, a guild spent 1 1/2 freaking years planning and executing the downfall of one of the most successful guilds in the game!).
Obviously I still have ignorance in the subject.
However, if in two hours time you couldn't become productive in your experience gain then I don't know what to say. Dathomir was great for xp and credits if you were buffed.
Also. Star Wars doesn't need instances for equipment. That's why crafting is important. Who gives a rip about the monotony. It's essential and needed. Instances, as I stated should only be used for the story line; not for actually getting some (if your lucky to get that) equipment. But in all honestly, instances take more than two hours in WoW so how can you say you can get somewhere in two hours on WoW but not SWG?
What do you need to worry about PVP and PVE for? You can't get attacked unless you are an overt Rebel or Imperial; kind of an irrelevant discussion. There's always parties going out for krayt hunts or to slaughter camps of force sensitives or the Imperial Prison, Rebel hideouts, player owned bases (which btw is also one of the best PvP to be part of).
From getting anywhere on the map, most do not. WoW (even in the burning crusade expansion; sure you can fly but not all terrain that should be climable was). Lineage II, Archlord, Fiesta, Grenada Espada, SWG Kashyyk Expansion (just to name a few) do not have an all traversible terrain.
What's wrong with the economy that you mentioned? I'm not supposed to find credits on a bantha or a tusken. They don't even use them nor would it be something they would carry for keep sake being it has no value to them. So set up the harvesters, sell the resources and get rich. With the economy based on 3 credits per unit on low-average minerals and about 10 for 800+, the economy didn't have major inflation problems. I doubt even the Chinese credit bots could have impacted it to be anything different. Mission terminals pumped out 3k-9k a mission which is done in a fraction of the time it took to do resource harvesting; so what is the problem?
I was the casual market when SWG came out; and I still am. Being like that chick from France who leveled from 60 - 70 in what, two hours or day or something? No thank you.
I don't see how I could be wanting something that the casual market doesn't get into. Social atmosphere outweighed the grinders and allowed for a new type of game for those who aren't in a hurry to become the best on their server. Not to mention house decor, space ship decor if you got a yacht. What part of the game you want is actually role play and not combat orientated?