PvP Space Battles are Coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic

Lock S-foils in attack position… because player-versus-player dogfighting is coming to The Old Republic!

A big, missing piece of the Star Wars: The Old Republic puzzle has been dazzling dogfights in space. That gaping hole, which frankly resembles the maw of a Sarlacc Pit, is about to be fixed!

Galactic Starfighter, the next free digital expansion for TOR, lets players jump into 12 versus 12 factional battles. You’ll also be able to compete and advance to earn rewards for your ground game character (i.e., additional XP), new weapons, powers and abilities to customize your own starfighter.

Watching the trailer brings back fond memories of playing the old LucasArts X-Wing and TIE Fighter games into the wee hours of the morning. Epic space battles have long been missing from the Star Wars gaming pantheon, and would be space jockey’s have been clamoring for new versions of the above games for years. Many wondered why the enjoyable-yet-pedestrian space battle portion of The Old Republic wasn’t fleshed out more at launch. Well, for those who have stuck with the game… it looks like your patience is about to be rewarded.

Galactic Starfighter will include multiple battle zone maps and gameplay modes. It looks like at least three different ships will be available at launch: a nimble “Scout”, an offense-heavy “Gunship”, and the best-of-both-worlds “Strike Fighter”.

Since BioWare intends to work continuously on this expansion, players can expect regular updates… which we’re assuming means more ships, maps and modes will be coming down the pipeline soon.

Bioware will roll out availability based on your status in the game. Subscriber Early Access folks (as of November 1) get a litany of goodies including super early access beginning on December 3, 2013. Rewards include:

  • Exclusive Gunship “Daring” paint jobs with early gunship role unlock
  • Strike Fighter “Valiant” paint jobs
  • Scout “Valiant” paint jobs
  • Imperial Battle Ace and Republic Squadron Commander pilot suits
  • In-Game Titles: “First Galactic Starfighter” and “Test Pilot”
  • Maximum leveling and progression

Preferred Early Access is for anyone who has been a subscriber in the past or purchased something from the cash shop. They’ll get to enter the fray on January 14, 2014 and receive:

  • Imperial Battle Ace pilot suit
  • Republic Squadron Commander pilot suit
  • In-Game Title: “Test Pilot”
  • Subscribers get all of the above

Free-to-play folks don’t get access until February 4, 2014 and will receive:

  • Imperial Battle Ace pilot suit
  • Republic Squadron Commander pilot suit
  • Available to all players with a SWTOR account during this period

How excited are you to see a fully realized Star Wars space battle mode in TOR? If you quit the game in the past, will this be enough to bring you back?