By December 2012, I do not believe SWTOR will have received significant growth (if any growth at all). The game will survive, if anything, but not flourish. EA is notorious for creating MMO's that are acclaimed for their failures, but for good reason. Other than Ultima Online, the other EA MMO's were not even close enough to compare with top MMO's such as WoW. Skeptics claim GW2 (guild wars 2) will dethrone SWTOR, which is possible, but highly unlikely. With that being said, SWTOR is not/will not become "WoW in space with lightsabers" etc etc. SWTOR = SWTOR, plain and simple.
By December 2012, I do not believe anything will significantly change in-game to sway opinions or convince players that the MMO is in fact better than top MMO's.
SWTOR will reach equilibrium much faster (reach the height of its growth), only because SWG was the same way. It has established (or will finish establishing soon) its player base, and upon its lifespan average around that amount. It's doubtful any future content will sway the opinion of a significant amount of prospective players (players interested in checking out the game). This doesn't mean that the game will "die out" or any of that riff raff, this simply means that SWTOR simply will not grow progressively, but instead maintain where it's at and keep it's player base (such as rift; Many claimed it would die out, no… It simply retained its player base). Proof of this is the hordes of gamers that on a daily basis criticize and slander Bioware for it's "failures", both on Mass Effect 3's ending, and on SWTOR's launch (remember now, "failures" being relevant to those making said claims.)
Recently, Bioware asked on the SWTOR facebook page for its fans to vote for it against Valve in a developer voting tournament. Bioware was bashed by over a thousand people, saying things ranging from "SWTOR was a disappointment" to "I'd definitely vote for Valve, and I don't even play their games." Once bioware fans simply weren't convinced Bioware deserved the votes. Bioware started off on the wrong foot for reputation, that's for sure...
Certain aspects of the game people dislike or see as "problems" will likely not be fixed (as they're not seen as problems from developers perspective, but what critic player think is wrong with the game) .
of these include the "engine." I've heard this one a lot and I kind of have to agree. The UI can be slow and not as reactive, and running around doesn't feel as extremely smooth as some other games. Move left right forward left, cast a heal, left right left. It seems very sticky, meaning that it's not 100% responsive. I believe this is how it's always going to be though.
Another "problem" is the nerfs. A lot of people have been saying they're rerolling sage or scoundrel / sorc or agent due to Commando/Merc heals being useless as of patch 1.2. This is normal and will happen time to time, and rerolling every time there is a nerf probably won't do you any justice if you intend to play this game long term.
The lag in some areas or warzones even on a high end gaming computer is also quite problematic. And to those who say "its ur computer bro." No, just no. If I can play Starcraft 2 4v4 on ultra quality including shadows, with 8x antialias, I should be able to run this game on normal (yes, I play on normal, shadows off.) Bioware has no explanation for me, or other players that experience symptoms such as these. Problems like these are likely to be left unsolved in the long run.
This concludes my projections for SWTOR, and in December, many players will be reminded of them and realize that they were highly accurate, if not spot on.