A lot of your concerns are mine too, but I have MMO experience, so I can guess how certain aspects will play out, But they are mainly just the parts involving other people. From the look of the UI the NPC interaction and Biowares claims of a soloable story, It's already quite different to other MMO's (A fact which they have played on since the start) in fact it looks like Mass effect in the Old Republic... and apart from talk I have seen no Multilayer footage that couldn't be just a console 2 player mode.
Regarding groups, Guilds etc, it's purely optional and based upon finding people you wanna play with or friends you already know, whether you need to group to do a quest or not, it's far from forced... as I wouldn't expect to Solo a Leviathan haha. You can organize to do quests within your playing time, you arent stuck to a schedule... you could go and visit another city or duel someone etc while your friends come online, and of course they could do the same while your offline, it wont be a continuous linear story... I'm sure you could just mess around and socialize for a week then continue where you left off on your quest lines
I'm still on the fence about going back and experiencing two versions of a story... In KotOR your basically loading a save game and getting 2 for the price of one, whereas an MMO is as you say "Live", there is no Pause button, and your actions effect your character, progression, and items, so your actions actually have consequences hehe. The only problem with no Pausing is when you hit a Dungeon or Instance with a group make sure you have your phone handy and you have been to the bathroom lol.
I think this game will be a completely new experience with aspects of many genres... So hopefully it will lose some of the floors of those genres too
It’s sounding to me that my personal saga online could end tragically several times before succeeding.
You will die, you will get your A88 handed to you by other players, you will fail to get items and have to repeat quests, that's the other aspect of the "No save game, No Pause Button" It's real time, so you cant just load up and still be undefeated. Failure teaches you the game, makes you a better player