The Old Republic's Galactic Starfighter expansion is now free to play

Star Wars: The Old Republic's latest expansion, the space combat mode Galactic Starfighter, has joined the MMO's free-to-play content. The dogfighting game-within-a-game had until today been playable for subscribers and "preferred status players" only, but now throws open its cockpit doors to anyone ready and willing.

The release of the Starfighter content into the game's free-to-play ecosystem also includes some new updates to the 12v12 gameplay. New pilot suits are available, team deathmatch has been added, and players can now choose a bomber-class ship outfitted with proximity mines and combat drones. 2014 should also see the release of additional expansions, according to a new development roadmap published yesterday by senior producer Bruce Maclean.

"Expect to see two digital expansions in 2014 just like you did last year, with one similar to Galactic Starfighter in scope and one more closely resembling Rise of the Hutt Cartel," says Maclean.

Space combat in the original movie trilogy was for me, with the possible exception of the iconic Jedi and their lightsabers, the defining aspect of Star Wars. Even a Jedi could die in space and it was one of the few places where black-as-night characters such as Darth Vader seemed at all vulnerable . Any Star Wars game with the scope and ambition of SWTOR deserves to have a role for dogfighters. I look forward to dusting off my long-idle character and giving it a go now that it's free-to-play.