Hot on the heels of Star Wars: The Old Republic's transition to free-to-play comes the announcement of the game's first expansions. Players have been waiting a long time for this first expansion, dubbed Rise of the Hutt Cartel, considering the game released in December 2011. They'll have a bit longer to wait too, as Rise of the Hutt Cartel isn't scheduled to launch until sometime in spring 2013.
The expansion will have the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire facing off against the Hutt Cartel through a selection of story-driven missions on the planet Makeb. Of course, new weapons, abilities, and armor will be added with Rise of the Hutt Cartel, but don't expect a huge level cap increase. The level cap is going up to 55 with this release, so you'll have five extra levels to rise through once this expansion lands.
If you're not a subscriber, Rise of the Hutt Cartel will cost $19.99, though paying for it will net you preferred player status. Those who are subscribed will only have to shell out $9.99, and the expansion is available for pre-order now on the game's official site. Those who pre-order before January 7 will receive five days early access to Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
There's more information on the expansion in BioWare's handy little Rise of the Hutt Cartel pre-order FAQ. As stated above, there's no solid release date yet, but with a release window of spring 2013, it won't be too much longer before Rise of the Hutt Cartel is here. Are you planning on picking it up, or have you left Star Wars: The Old Republic behind for greener pastures?