Although official announcement of the Star Wars the Old Republic™'s first expansion was made just before the new year, with the 5 days early entry for purchasers prior to January 7th 2013; as of yesterday they released an article further promoting this expansion with exclusive in-game items for buyers.
The three early purchase items are as follows:
- The Dr. Oggurobb Hutt Holostatue; from the description provided for this item, it is akin to the holostatues already available in-game from the Cartel Market packs, an item you carry in your inventory that you can then summon a holo-projection of Dr. Oggurobb the Hutt to train your skills from. Definitely a handy addition since this expansion will also include 5 new levels for players to advance in.
- The title "Scourge of the Hutts"; although for subscribers this would be an instant grant, if you are a free-to-player, you will likely have to still make the purchase of the 'Display titles' unlock either from the in-game auctions or from the Cartel Market directly.
- A Makrin Seedling mini-pet; This is likely the spidery plant looking creature visible in the promo image, another non-combat pet to follow players while summoned in-game.
Partner these items with the level cap increase, a new planet, and more cinematic driven quests; and you have the key enticements for the players to further invest money, time, and efforts within the game. The cost for this pre-ordered upgrade is $19.99 USD for free-to-play members, while $9.99 USD for subscribers. Needless to say the expansion will likely include new items, gear, among other incentives for players, but no official date has been set for the release as of yet simply that it is planned to launch in spring.
Since going free-to-play most players will agree the Cartel Market appears to be having a fair amount of success and positive impact on the game itself. While some complaints can still be heard within the general chats of either faction, the evidence speaks for itself. With all their active servers regularly sporting 'Heavy' or 'Very Heavy' populations during peak play times and constant additions to the items offered from their 'money-market', the announcement of this expansion along with what it has to offer are sure signs of progress from the transition.
There are still many desires, concerns, and even bugs that the players all agree need to be addressed before the true potential this game inspires for them will be delivered; but while their money-market thrives and the anticipation of this upcoming expansion builds, things are looking steadily brighter on the Old Republic's horizon.