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The Old Republic early access detailed

Pre-orders get first dibs.

Star Wars: The Old Republic developer BioWare has clarified exactly how the MMO's Early Game Access will work.

While the title has an official release date of 20th December, anyone who has a pre-order will get a head start. However, you won't all be let in at once.

"Everyone who pre-orders Star Wars: The Old Republic and redeems their pre-order code will get Early Game Access. Those who do this will be able to download the game client and play the game ahead of the release date," explained senior community manager Stephen Reid on the game's official forum today.

"While we aren't ready to talk about the exact timing of when Early Game Access starts (that depends on a number of factors including Game Testing and pre-order numbers), we'll announce that before the start date. Our planning accounts for allowing people to download the client before the Early Game Access start date, too."

Admittance will be on a first come, first served basis, depending on when you redeemed your pre-order code.

"While we understand all of you want to be in Early Game Access on Day One, part of the point of a head start program like this one is to allow us to gradually ramp up the population of our servers so that on launch day, the general play experience is as pleasant as possible.

"While we're going to be allowing a lot of people into Early Game Access at regular intervals, we cannot allow everyone who pre-orders in at once. That would defeat the point of a gradual head start."

Reid wouldn't confirm exactly how access will be staggered, but suggested users who committed to a pre-order late in the game shouldn't have to wait too long once proceedings kick off.

"The next obvious question is 'I pre-ordered on Day X, when do I get access?' While we cannot answer that for everyone, I will say (as I did in July) that those who pre-ordered early will be getting Early Game Access, well, earliest.

"At this point we still have pre-orders available and therefore, anyone who pre-orders will still gain Early Game Access, but as they're redeeming their code later, they'll get Early Game Access later. As I've said before the difference between 'early' and 'later' should be a matter of days, not weeks."

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