Star Wars: The Old Republic early access begins on 13th December - seven days before launch, BioWare has announced.

Early access is granted everybody who pre-orders SWTOR. But not all will be allowed the full seven-day head start.

"Early Game Access may be up to seven days," states the BioWare email small print. "The length of your Early Game Access depends on the date and order in which you redeemed your Pre-Order Code."

"Early Game Access will be granted during the Early Game Access period in the order pre-orders are redeemed."

You can redeem your pre-order code on the SWTOR website now. You can also "pre-load" - i.e. download - the hefty game client now, ensuring you're ready to begin your adventure when key turns in the lock.

Early access codes are given for pre-ordering any edition - Standard, Digital Deluxe, Collector's - of the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic opens formally to everybody on 20th December worldwide.

Everybody is granted 30 days free play with a copy of SWTOR. After that, however, you'll be asked to subscribe, paying either $14.99/£8.99/€13.99 a month, $41.97/£25.17/€35.97 for three months or $77.94/£46.14/€65.94 for six months.

Star Wars: The Old Republic recently ended a huge round of beta testing. During it, 725,000 people logged in to stress-test the BioWare game servers.