Sign-ups for Old Republic test open

Star Wars MMO begins "extended" process.

BioWare has opened testing registration for its mammoth Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic.

You'll need to create an active community account before you can can proceed to the testing registration itself. Testers will be seleceted on various criteria, including age (over 18s only), region and system specifications.

"Game testing for Star Wars: The Old Republic will be rolled out in several phases over an extended period of time," BioWare said. So, don't interpret this as meaning the game is nearing release.

Indeed, you'll notice that at no point does BioWare mention the word "beta", meaning it could be selecting participants for alpha or even pre-alpha focus testing. And although fairly brief beta tests have become normal in MMOs recently, some games - stablemate Warhammer Online springs to mind - spend over a year in the public testing phase.

Nonetheless, it's a good indication that development on The Old Republic is progressing smoothly, and that the game could be on track for release next year.

You'll find exhaustive coverage of the game - our pick of this year's gamescom convetion - at the Star Wars: The Old Republic gamepage.

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