The biggest problem for me is that the story is ALWAYS my number one concern in games. I will tolerate attrocious combat for a good story. I rarely play games with amazing combat if the story doesn't interst me.
But as of Cataclysm, I'm just not loving it. The whole story line became too separated from the essence of what WoW was originally about--the daily life of people. Which is ironic, considering it revamped the old world. Which was great, but the endgame story was completely disconnected from the average person in the WoW universe. Just about everything in the story came down to Immortals, and the people were along for the ride.
I feel like MoP could be better, by not having a big bad. I was originally turned off by Pandaria, just because it felt too much like fan service, but I've HEARD it was well done. I know I don't like where they've brought character customization; I definitely prefer talent trees. I like making decisions while I level and absolutely hated the Cataclysm system. I didn't like making a decision only every 3 (or whatever) levels. I'm guessing every 15 isn't going to be fun.
As for TOR, I just don't understand their decisions. At all. All of them make the worst aspects of the game even worse (traveling, for one), and make the good aspects of the game harder to access (story).
And the thing is, they have a lot of competition in the market. TSW and GW2 are both flat-cost games that use microtransactions primarily for aesthetic things that don't have a meaningful impact on the game. EQ2 and LOTRO are both more oldschool F2P models, with unlocks for races and such, but you can actually play the game without them, and most unlocks seem to only matter for endgame, or their aesthetic (like a larger, shared wardrobe).
There's also AION, but I haven't really looked at their system, so I don't know how it is.
Then you have RIFT and WoW, both of which are subs, but have free-to-20 systems and ship out content at an incredible rate (it's worth noting that GW2 has put out just about as much content since its launch as TOR has, despite TOR being out almost a year when it launched).
It boggles my mind why they would make such poor decisions. Ditto goes for making FFXIV sub-based. At this point, what they need to do is attract players. I have no doubts the game will be vastly better when it launches again, but they've already failed once. Not going F2P is just worrisome.
I'm hoping Wildstar will be as fun as it seems. I'm not sold on what I've seen of the combat, but I'll grant that it is at least new enough and unique enough it could work.
It'll be close, but Romney has the momentum.