The SOE Austin team may not be working on an expansion for Star Wars Galaxies, but today it sure feels like the players have gotten one. The enormous content drop, Chapter 11 in the SWG saga, hit the live servers early today like the main blaster on an AT-AT walker. The Hoth heroic encounter is now live on the servers for all players to enjoy. The complete patch notes for The Battle of Echo Base are available in the official forums, and there's an informational press release included below the cut.

Highlights from the patch include:
  • The expansive battle itself, which pits Rebel and Imperial heroes against NPC opponents in a timed experience. The Imperials seek to destroy as much of the ragtag fighting force as they can, while the Rebels aim to flee the battle with as many resources as they can. This is easily the most ambitious offering in SWG history, and we explored it thoroughly in a feature from Fan Faire 2008.
  • A new holo-pet system, which will allow players to add fun holographic creatures to their homes.
  • New collections and other side-elements were added to the game to suppor the addition of Hoth.
  • Several classes recieved slight gameplay tweaks and balancing fixes.
  • The character transfer service recieved a big upgrade in advance of next year's free transfer initiative.
  • The Aurilia Guildhall, which serves as the hub for heroic encounter play, has a new memorial to former SWG developer Jeff Freeman.
It's great to see a much-anticipated chunk of content go live in a game like this. Check out the developer insight SOE passed on to us as a developer diary, and read on below for the official release for the patch. LEGENDARY BATTLE OF ECHO BASE COMES TO LIFE IN NEW STAR WARS GALAXIES CHAPTER

-New Hoth Encounter Lets Players Experience One of the Most Memorable Battles in Star Wars History-

AUSTIN, Texas - Nov. 20, 2008 - Choose your side and prepare for battle -- the epic fight for Hoth is now yours to be waged! Sony Online Entertainment LLC and LucasArts today announced the latest addition to Star Wars Galaxies, Chapter 11: The Battle of Echo Base, that brings the epic action and excitement from one of the most gripping fights in Star Wars history to fans and players in a way they've never experienced before.

This latest chapter in the Star Wars Galaxies saga lets players relive pivotal combat missions on behalf of either the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance. The breathtaking heroic encounter adds vehicular combat, so players in groups of up to eight people can jump into the fray at Echo Base and take the controls of a Rebel snowspeeder or Imperial AT-ST.

The fight for both sides begins on the icy North Field, where the battle between the forces of good and evil are joined, and continues all the way to Evacuation Point, the site of the Alliance's desperate, harrowing escape from the menacing Imperial ground assault.

About The Battle of Echo Base

After picking up the mission at the Adventurers' Guildhall in Aurilia, players who have chosen a side in the Galactic Civil War will need to accomplish various objectives. Under the command of General Maximilian Veers, Imperial players must infiltrate Echo Base, taking out at many Rebels along the way as possible. Rebel players, led by General Carlist Rieekan, will need to evacuate Echo Base with as much manpower and material as can reasonably be preserved.

Feature Set:
  • Multi-stage battle with exciting objective based-missions for both Imperial and Alliance players.
  • Exciting vehicular combat featuring iconic Star Wars vehicles including snowspeeders and AT-STs.
  • Massive gameplay area with endless replayability.
  • Appearances by major characters of the battle including Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and R2-D2.

This article was originally published on Massively.