Star Wars: The Old Republic launches friend trial program
by Andrew Whipple III at 8:33 pm on Monday, 5 March 2012
Antsy to get your buddies Force gripping those lowly NPCs around you? You don't have to wait much longer. Starting tomorrow, March 6th, Star Wars: The Old Republic will implement a friend trial program fit for wrenching them away from their insipid lives.

A little over two months ago, BioWare and EA launched the highly anticipated MMO, The Old Republic. Since that day, BioWare has sold over two million copies of the game and shown significant support by providing standard patches as well as the major, 'Rise of the Rakghouls' game update. Slated to debut in April, The Old Republic's appropriately named and second major update, Legacy, brings in the usual new environments, fixes and items, but also throws in the highly-sought after Legacy system. However, as a precursor to the update is the brand new friend trial program. Working exactly as it sounds, subscribers to the game can invite up to three of their friends to give the game a shot.

If you've ever played any kind of MMO though, you're aware that these types of programs have many caveats and addendums. For instance, each account can only invite up to a maximum of three people to join for a seven-day trial - nothing more. The person receiving the trial must have never played the game before (ie doesn't have an account) and, obviously, cannot be used to try and bring someone back who had previously quit. Of course this is easily resolved by just creating a different user name. Anyway, trial-goers are also limited to a maximum of level 15 and can only explore the four origin worlds. Also worth noting is that the subscriber who offers these invites gets nothing out of the deal if the trial-goer actually purchases the game and subscribes.

He didn't get an invite.

While it's unclear what else could possibly be limited (guilds, etc), hopefully BioWare has enough sense to avoid the rather poor trial of a game like World of Warcraft. For those who don't know, that game used to not allow whispers, trading or even grouping of any kind. Being an MMO, if you deny the experience of being able to group or even chat with certain individuals, it can be pretty difficult to rope someone in who has no idea what the core experience even feels like.

On the brighter side of things, BioWare did disclose that those receiving trials will gain a special promotional price on The Old Republic if purchased through EA's digital distribution service, Origin. So what are you waiting for? Find someone who's been enjoying the game and get them to send you a trial. Not only will you get a better price on the deal, but who knows? You might end up liking it!

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- Andrew Whipple III

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