As a quick side note before I began, I watched the new SWTOR trailer. The only thing that got me excited was the fact that they used Bastilla Shan's voice actor. Otherwise...well, they've bored me with those. I'd like to see the actual game.
So I've been toying around with Steampunk ideas lately, and I thought for a moment, what if a system was created where all items that were dropped could be created? Think of a theme park MMO for a moment. You receive an epic level gun from some end-game boss. Nobody can use it, so you hand it over to your crafter. He disassembles the gun and learns a recipe from it. Now, given high level materials, he can create a BoE version of that gun.
The system would be a bit like disenchanting. You destroy the item, but instead of gaining parts you gain a recipe. Possibly one or two parts from its construction too, if that is deemed necessary, but mostly the item is destroyed in figuring out how to create it. In a Steampunk setting it would make sense, given that items would be mechanical in nature.
Now, there would most likely be a certain set of items that could not be disassembled. For example, Gorehowl in WoW is a weapon that is known for being great not for its properties, but because it was once owned by Grom Hellscream. That's not a thing you can create.
Let's say then, that the first tier of raiding all the equipment dropped can be disassembled. Then, for tiers after that, the amount of gear dropped is significantly less. Maybe a 1/4th of what it was. Instead you receive BoP raiding materials. These can be combined with your current gear to "level it up" so to speak, bringing it up to par with an item of that raid tier level and allowing you to customize it a bit, somewhat like the legendary item system in LOTRO. Depending on what you want to customize about the stats (more stamina, more intellect, more cowbell) you would need different kinds of materials.
Let's say your trinket, ring and some other slots like belt and wrist still drop. But tanks can create a legendary breastplate or shield that bears their name or insignia, or engineers can make a signature gun. Even allow them to pick the model, being able to choose from some special item models only for this system.
They would also be given the option to customize an item and make it an heirloom item as well to send to their lower level characters.
This could allow for an interesting progression in raids, and give players who might not be able to get into raid groups right away to save up money to buy some first tier raiding pieces to start up.