Star Wars: The Old Republic's Hutt Cartel expansion warps in on April 14

If you want to boldly go and tease those husky Hutt, or simply spark a non-heterosexual romance, draw a big red ring around April 14 on your calendar (floating hearts optional). That's when Star Wars: The Old Republic's digital expansion Rise of the Hutt Cartel will launch, EA announced today.

Rise of the Hutt Cartel introduces the new planet of Makeb, where the Hutt are up to no good. Makeb also just happens to be the the only planet in the final frontier where players can find NPCs who're up for same-sex relationships.

It's not callous, simply short-sighted: BioWare is only adding same-sex romance options in new companions, not rewriting old ones, and Makeb is the first place to introduce new chums.

Rise of the Hutt Cartel also brings a rise in the level cap, to 55, along with new quests, weapons, items, abilities, and all that sort of expansion stuff.

Pre-ordering will net you a bonus title, minipet, and holostatue. The digital expansion costs $19.99, but subscribers can get it for $9.99. Plus, of course, buying the expansion pushes you over the $4.99 purchase threshold to achieve Preferred status, with all the benefits that brings.

BioWare recently boasted that The Old Republic has gained two million new accounts since it free-to-play shockingly soon after launch--only 11 months. Of course, the important metric is whether it's now more profitable. Many MMO fans were put off by how the initial free-to-play release charged for important MMO features like having more than one action bar in the UI. This limit was later doubled but still, people hold grudges, and some think it's still too stifling.