Star Wars: The Old Republic launches free-to-play option and game update 1.5 today

BioWare's massively multiplayer online game based on the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: The Old Republic, launched its latest game update as well as a free-to-play version today that allows users to play for free until they reach level 50.

The previously subscription-only game will go free-to-play across all territories from today. Players will be able to access all storylines of the eight character classes but will be capped at level 50. To proceed beyond level 50, players will have to buy a subscription to the MMO.

The subscription service will continue running and all subscribers will receive complimentary Cartel Coins for use in the game's Cartel Market (the amount paid depends on the length of the subscription, which is detailed here). The Rewards Program has also been extended, so former subscribers who renew their subscriptions by 12:59 a.m. ET on Dec. 21 will also receive the complimentary Cartel Coins for prior paid subscription months.

Game update 1.5 is also being implemented today, which adds the HK-51 Companion, an area called Section-X in Belsavis and the return of the planet Denova. Access to the companion and sections are free to subscribers. Non-subscribers can purchase access from the Cartel Market.

Star Wars: The Old Republic launched as a subscription-based MMO in December 2011. The game is playable for free here.

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