BioWare is greatly expanding the starship combat in Star Wars: The Old Republic with a new expansion pack. Galactic Starfighter will introduce PvP space battles to the MMORPG.
Currently, space battles are single-player, on-rails experiences. Players shoot up a bunch of A.I. enemies and receive some experience and money for their trouble. It's an interesting, alternate path for progression but the missions get a bit tedious after you beat them once or twice.
When Starfighter launches, though, players will be able to fight each other in 12v12 ship battles. BioWare is promising multiple maps and gameplay modes for this PvP. Players will be able to make their ship feel a bit less generic through upgrades and other customization options. The ships are split into different roles like Scout and Gunship to accommodate a wide range of playstyles.
"Our goal with Star Wars: The Old Republic has always been to immerse players into their own Star Wars adventure and huge space battles are a vital part of fulfilling that fantasy," said Jeff Hickman, General Manager of BioWare Austin, in the official announcement. "Galactic Starfighter will be a deep experience that will continue to grow over time. We can’t wait for both our current and new players to get their hands on it soon."
Galactic Starfighter will be released for free on February 4th. Preferred Status players - anyone who has purchased something from the in-game store or previously subscribed to SW:TOR - will get access on January 14th. They'll also get two pilot suits and a "Test Pilot" title. Current subscribers will get exclusive paint jobs, a Gunship unlock, a "First Galactic Starfighter" title and faster progression, in addition to the Preferred Status perks. Subscribers' access to the new content will start on December 3rd.
These PvP battles sound like a fun addition to the game and I hope players get a lot of mileage out of it. That being said: whose rancor do I have to suck around here to get a TIE Fighter remake? Seriously. Why is LucasArts - or what's left of it, anyway - allergic to nostalgic gamers that want to give them money? It's baffling that this expansion for SWTOR is the only option for Star Wars fans who want to hop in a TIE Fighter and shoot up some Republic scum.