Analyst: The Old Republic highly derivative of WoW has scoured the E3 report from financial analyst firm Cowen and Company, where senior research analyst Doug Creutz describes upcoming BioWare MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic as “highly derivative” of World of Warcraft.

“We got hands-on time with the game, and were largely unimpressed,” he states. “Despite promises from EA/Bioware that the title represents a major step forward in MMO design, what we saw was essentially a World of Warcraft clone with Star Wars character skins and the Bioware RPG nice/nasty dialogue tree mechanism bolted on for non-player character conversations.”

BioWare have themselves been claiming that the two games will offer very different experiences, something that has not quite been backed up by the gameplay shown.

Creutz also wasn’t convinced about the visual side of things, calling it “competent but hardly breathtaking.” Even if he does factor in that the area shown wasn’t the most visually compelling.

Regarding release date, Creutz interprets the EA silence on this point as evidence that the game will be launched no sooner that 2012, and he sees this delay as reason for the latest drop in EA stock.

He did however have nice things to say about EA shooter Battlefield 3, which will be challenging Modern Warfare 3 this fall, and THQ’s Saints Row: The Third.