In September 2009, a year after the game was officially announced, BioWare began accepting applications for Star Wars: The Old Republic's closed beta. Almost a year later, the gate has opened, and the developer is letting the first wave of volunteer testers get their hands on the game.
According to a post on SW: TOR's Web site, the game testing process is composed of several phases. The first waves, which BioWare says are "small" and "focused" tests, are limited to North American users. However, as the testing window progresses, it will open to "other territories."
Those interested in getting their hands on the Star Wars-flavored massively multiplayer online role-playing game can express their interest by registering with SW: TOR's community Web site. Additionally, those who are already members can travel to the Game Testing Portal and opt in for selection, though there is no guarantee for admittance into any of the testing periods. More information on The Old Republic's testing phase can be accessed at its FAQ page.
SW: TOR takes place approximately 300 years after the events of the original game but some 3,600 years before the events of LucasArts' quintessential films. Players can choose to align themselves with either side of the Force, taking on professions like the Sith warrior and bounty hunter for the dark side and the trooper and smuggler for the Galactic Republic.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is scheduled to be released on the PC during spring 2011. For more on the MMORPG, check out GameSpot's most recent preview, and the trooper and smuggler mission video (embedded below).