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Star Wars: The Old Republic 2.3 update comes bearing Tauntaun mounts and new activities for the over-55s

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Star Wars: The Old Republic 2.3 update comes bearing Tauntaun mounts and new activities for the over-55s

Somewhere in Austin, the shadow of a stern-looking exec falls over a lowly coder.

“I need a sit rep on 2.3."

“The Pocket Sarlacc has acquired a taste for male characters with Body Type 1, sir. And heads have been restored to Weequay NPCs throughout the galaxy, who requested better protection for their vulnerable floating eyeballs."

“Keep up the good work."

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Star Wars: The Old Republic to get a tauntaun mount

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Star Wars: The Old Republic to get a tauntaun mount

Everyone’s favourite sleeping bag, the tauntaun, is coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic as the first animal mount in the MMO. There's still no word on whether you’ll be able to slice open their gullet and survive a cold night on Hoth by snuggling all up in their guts.

We’ve only images to go on, currently, so we can’t say whether it’s due out in the 2.3 or 2.4 update but it’s likely to fall into the 2.4 camp. The beast looks mighty stately.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic update 2.0 redesigns PvP bolster system

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Star Wars: The Old Republic update 2.0 redesigns PvP bolster system

Star Wars: The Old Republic’s bolster system is receiving a complete overhaul as part of the 2.0 update. It should fix issues of fairness which are encountered when players turn from level 49 to 50. Now, rather than a universal buff to their abilities, players will receive a boost determined by the equipment they have attiring their character.

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The fall and rise of The Old Republic: “It's good times right now”

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The fall and rise of The Old Republic: “It's good times right now”

There’d be few who would deny that Star Wars: The Old Republic has had a rough, rough time,and when the game’s creative director, James Ohlen, spoke at GDC, he was frank about many of the problems that the game ran into. Still, he insists that the switch to free-to-play has completely turned the game around and, if the game’s player base keeps rising, “Next year, at GDC, we'll be able to claim six, seven or even eight million players, if we continue at the rate we're going right now."

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Star Wars: The Old Republic gaining 10,000 new players every day since going free-to-play

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Star Wars: The Old Republic gaining 10,000 new players every day since going free-to-play

Speaking at GDC James Ohlen, creative director on Star Wars: The Old Republic, revealed that since going free-to-play the number of players has risen to 4.5 million, a boost of 2 million players, at a rate of 10,000 new players a day.

The shift away from subscription has marked a turnaround for the game, revitalising its playerbase. Though Ohlen explains there were more problems with The Old Republic at launch besides its subscription model.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic double XP events kick off today

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Star Wars: The Old Republic double XP events kick off today

In this busy world of new popes and cable cars there’s scarce enough time to keep abreast of current events let alone sinking hundreds of hours into an MMO, seeking to top out your character’s level. Recognising this, Bioware have announced a set of double XP weekends, hoping to halve your time in getting to level 55.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic 1.6.2 patch lets players buy new character slots

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Star Wars: The Old Republic 1.6.2 patch lets players buy new character slots

Bioware have begun selling extra character slots to free-to-play players. Previously those players without a subscription were limited to two characters per server but not, for 600 cartel points, they can buy many many more.

This change came in today's patch, which also brought a couple of bug fixes you might want to check out in the notes below.

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The future of Star Wars: The Old Republic: end game improvements, more PvP and same-sex romance to come in 2013

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The future of Star Wars: The Old Republic: end game improvements, more PvP and same-sex romance to come in 2013In a high-spirited new blog update, BioWare’s Jeff Hickman has said that SWTOR’s outlook is anything but bleak post-free-to-play. The game is reportedly “incredibly healthy with an ever increasing number of players who are actively playing (the servers are rocking!)". Nonetheless, the exec producer knows BioWare “haven’t gotten everything perfect".

It’s not the put-upon free-to-players he’s addressing today, though. Rather, Hickman has detailed how the dev team plans to get to work on new end game content, PvP options and same-sex romances in the coming months.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion announced for Spring; pre-orders bring early access

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion announced for Spring; pre-orders bring early accessRise of the Hutt Cartel is a full-blown digital expansion for SWTOR. It will increase the level cap up to 55 and introduce five levels-worth of story-driven missions on a new planet, courtesy of the titular slimy gangsters.

It’ll cost $19.99 for free players and $9.99 for subscribers. Both will get five days of early access for pre-ordering before January 7th. It’s worth noting, too, that pre-ordering will automatically bring free player Preferred status, with all the convenience benefits that brings.

You can pre-order here. If you’d like to find out what you’re buying first, though, read on.

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SWTOR 1.6 Ancient Hypergate update gets launch trailer

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SWTOR 1.6 Ancient Hypergate update gets launch trailerI think I might form an electropop band called Ancient Hypergate over Christmas. We’ll release two EPs and pack it in before New Year, bar a 2042 sell-out tour of northern England’s Labour clubs. There in the future we’ll sip tepid cokes and recount, with no small amusement, the fact that we were named after a series of Heroic Space Missions and a new PvP Warzone in SWTOR 1.6.

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SWTOR Preferred players to get two more quickbars in next week’s patch

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SWTOR Preferred players to get two more quickbars in next week’s patchTime was a quickbar wasn’t a commodity but a tactical necessity. BioWare’s own Neverwinter Nights had 36 slots available for items and abilities via the various nooks and crannies in its UI. But since Star Wars: The Old Republic went free-to-play the humble rectangle has been used, in absentia, as a carrot to tempt new players toward subscription. Fortunately BioWare have relented somewhat, and are now planning to grant ‘Preferred’ players another two bars to lord over their free-playing kin with.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic 1.5 update will bring with it gorgeous foliage shaders

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Star Wars: The Old Republic 1.5 update will bring with it gorgeous foliage shadersPlants are sexy, don't try and deny it. I've seen the way you look at geraniums. What's that? The basil plant you keep in the kitchen is just for cooking? Yeah, I've seen your tears when I've plucked a leaf from it. Look, accept it and then I can get to the good news. The plants in Star Wars: The Old Republic are about to get a wee bit lovelier.

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Bioware address criticism of Star Wars: The Old Republic's free-to-play restrictions

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Bioware address criticism of Star Wars: The Old Republic's free-to-play restrictionsStar Wars: The Old Republic is headlong rushing towards a free-to-play release with a trial version already in testing on its public beta server. Early last week Bioware announced the restrictions on free-to-play players, included limited PvP warzone bouts and the number of quickbars they're allowed. Yup, quick bars are seen as an optional extra. Well, some of these choices have come under flack and Bioware have announced some changes.

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