BioWare has just announced a brand new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, its MMORPG that has recently gone free-to-play last month, in the form of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel add-on, which brings a new planet, raises the level cap to 55, and introduces quite a few new things to the online title.Star Wars: The Old Republic came out almost a year ago and was supposed to show that big, subscription-based online titles can still survive in an environment where players are looking for free-to-play experiences.
Sadly, things didn't go as planned and last month the game also went free-to-play, introducing a special tier for those that don't want to pay anything to experience the online title.
Now, after that crucial moment, developer BioWare has confirmed that the first big expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Rise of the Hutt Cartel, will be released in spring 2013.
The new add-on includes a variety of impressive things, from a fresh planet called Makeb, to a new level cap of 55.
"The Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel will send players to Makeb, a dual-faction planet where players will continue their battles with the merciless Hutt Cartel," EA said on the SWTOR website.
"During their journey, players will meet new allies, make new enemies and uncover the cutting-edge technology on this vibrant planet. Experience five new levels of story driven missions to an already expansive; epic online universe that will raise the level cap to 55."
The expansion will be the first time BioWare adds new content in the game that's not included in a free update, as the studio always packed new things like Flashpoints or Operations with its themed patches.
"The planet Makeb is shaping up to be one of our most breathtakingly beautiful settings and the clash with the Hutt Cartel is epic and exciting. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a lot more surprises in store for our fans next year," said Executive Producer Jeff Hickman.
Star Wars: The Old Republic players can already pre-order the expansion and, if they pre-purchase it ahead of January 7, 2013, they'll gain access to five days of early playing time ahead of the add-on's release.
Rise of the Hutt Cartel is priced at $19.99/€19.99 for free players while those who still pay subscriptions need to spend $9.99/€9.99.