If you've ever dreamed of swaggering into an intergalactic cantina to down a few drinks with one of the Hutts, or to sign up as a Sith trainee to learn the intricacies of lightsaber combat as a Jedi Padawan, it's time to fire up your hyperdrives. Star Wars: The Old Republic is the biggest, most ambitious game ever created in George Lucas's universe, and allows Star Wars fans to inhabit a vast, virtual recreation of places they've dreamed about for years. This is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, or MMORPG for short. These games also have the nickname "virtual crack" due to their incredibly addictive nature. Played entirely over the internet, you'll first need to select what kind of space-faring swashbuckler you'd like to be. There are eight main character roles to select from; ranging from evil Sith warriors to do-gooder Jedi consulars. Each has a very specific role to play - some are better at helping other players, healing them from afar, while others like nothing more than to go toe-to-toe at lightsaber range, but you can evolve your character over to become more unique and tailored to your preferred style. Once you've created your character, right down to selecting their hair style and facial scars, you're placed inside a massive virtual universe, where you can visit the likes of Tatooine, Hoth, Coruscant and many other planets only hinted at in the films. What makes this an MMORPG is the fact that you're not alone in these places - there are literally thousands of other human-controlled characters in the world around you. You can choose to group with them to go adventuring and exploring the worlds together, or you can go it alone; it's totally up to you. You can also decide to focus just on the storyline, facing off against computer-controlled opponents, while more competitive types will head to the player vs player zones, where it's every man for himself. This isn't the first MMORPG on the market; you've probably heard of World of Warcraft (WoW) already, which currently has about 10 million subscribers, making it one of the most popular games in the genre. It's obvious that the makers of SW:TOR have been heavily inspired by WoW, as many of the gameplay features are extremely similar. However, SW:TOR has spent a considerable chunk of its $79 million development budget on making its game a more cinematic experience. The most obvious difference is the use of voice acting; where WoW's storyline is usually told via floating text boxes with zero narrative interaction, SW:TOR's missions and quests are all delivered via fully voice-acted characters. During these conversations the player is given a variety of response options. Choosing the nastier reply usually turns the player towards the Dark Side, which in turn influences the storyline further down the track. We first created an evil bounty hunter, but the immense guilt we felt when murdering innocents soon saw us creating a new character, a goody two-shoes Jedi consular who felt bad about stepping on space-roaches, let alone slicing anybody in twain. Given the immense technical complexities of building a virtual universe and having it inhabited by thousands of players at any one time, most MMORPGs launch with more bugs than you'll find in the Mortein R&D labs. It's amazing then that SW:TOR has very few technical issues at launch. The biggest complaint most players have are the long queues necessary to join their chosen world, a problem caused by the game's immense popularity. With the boxed version of the game due to hit Aussie shelves early in 2012, it's currently only available as an online purchase - thankfully a quick Google search will turn up dozens of online stores with the game on sale already. Despite the ongoing monthly subscription fee, SW:TOR is an absolute must for any Star Wars fan. It's the closest most of us will ever get to living out the space-faring dreams we've all had since Episode IV, without having to freeze ourselves in a carbonite slab for the next 10,000 years.