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Star Wars: The Old Republic goes free-to-play

Electronics Arts-owned games studio BioWare has moved its massively multiplayer on-line role playing game (MMORPG) Star Wars: The Old Republic to a free-to-play model.

Set thousands of years before the events of the Strar Wars films, the game sees players exploring planets, fighting enemies and siding with either the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire with character choices ranging from Jedi Knight to Imperial Agent, taking in Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor and Bounty Hunter along the way.

The free-to-play mode allows gamers to choose any one of the eight classes and play through to Level 50, after which they will be asked to start paying a subscription - or, alternatively, they can start a new character from scratch, and continue playing for free.

"We want to give our players the freedom to enjoy Star Wars: The Old Republic when and how they want," Matthew Bromberg, BioWare Austin's general manager, said of the announcement. "There has never been a better time to start playing with us."

The free-to-play launch also comes with some new in-game content as part of the HK-51 Activated patch. Designed to extend the game for existing players, the patch adds a mission to retrieve the Assssin Droid HK-51, a new area to the prison world of Belsavis, and a mission to retrieve exclusive gear set and a new mount on the planet of Denova.

Details on the free-to-play mode of the game, including restrictions that apply to non-paying players, can be found on the official website.

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