Bioware. As RPG makers go, the reputations don't get much more spotless than Bioware. Perhaps recently best known for Neverwinter Nights 2, Bioware has thrown its massive hat into the MMO arena. This is a good thing, I think.
Of somewhat more concern is the franchise Bioware attempting to MMO-ify. We've seen Star Wars in an online RPG format before. And it hasn't gone well. Granted, in the world of quality games, Sony Online Entertainment is to Bioware what a raw, greasy hamburger is to a 32oz top sirloin. So the general lack of consistent, high quality goodness from Star Wars Galaxies shouldn't in any way be taken to mean that The Old Republic will be a weak title.
But now there is no need to speculate. Beta sign ups are here. No matter how you slice it, this should be one of the most anticipated and closely watched game betas of the year. In the next few months we should be getting a fairly good feel for just how well Bioware has put this game together. Personally, I have extremely high expectations from these developers and cannot wait to see this game in action.