Escapist News Now: Elder Scrolls Online Subscription Model

Elder Scrolls Online Subscription Model

At Gamescom this week, game director Matt Firor for The Elder Scrolls Online confirmed to GameStar that yes, ZeniMax Online Studios will charge you a subscription fee to play The Elder Scrolls Online.

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I mean, really. I can't tell you how many gamers jumped at my throat for even daring to imply that this game would be a subscription game. Yet I've been calling it since they first announced it.

They wanted to do a subscription model from the start. The only reason they didn't announce it immediately is because of how badly the subscription model has burned other games. So they pulled a SWTOR: Keep talking about the game as long as possible and avoid talking about your payment model until people have heard so much about your game that they're "hooked" and will be willing to pay a sub fee to play your supposedly godly game.

Now they only need to fulfill the second part of what I call the "Captain Obvious Prophecy": their game will take off in the short term, drop most of its players after the first few months due to them burning through the content in no time flat and/or perceived problems with the game, and we'll be back to talking about how horribly the game "failed" and how it was totally obvious this was going to happen, even though most of the people saying "it was so obvious" will be the same morons who over-hyped it to begin with.

Sorry MMO novice dev crew, a lot of us are tired of your paid betas. Check ya in a year when you drop the real game with all the F2P changes.

I haven't played a subscription MMO (I know I'm still classed as an MMO virgin) but I have played some free to play ones and I do get annoyed by the amount of begging for our money that goes on in those games. I've dropped a lot of money into some of them over the lifetime of the game and have been ok doing it till the power creep started getting out of hand. Then the lotteries came and the single character paid unlocks etc etc. I'd rather have just paid a sub, got the balanced gear and had regular updates.

Course maybe a top up or pay as you go option might do well for those that like the game but don't want to have a constant sub or play it all the time. Just top up game time on your account and play as and when you want, if you spend more time on it than you initially thought then upgrade to the recurring sub, if not you can still have an infrequent fumble in tamriel.

If you can get people to pay a subscription it makes for a better mmo or at least it should. More server maintenance, more support staff, more bug fixing and constant content updates are at least what happened with wow before seemingly activision got involved and started cutting costs.
If you go free to play you rely heavily on a cash shop which often turns pay to win.

Guild wars 2 and swtor were crap though in swtor it going free to play was it's last dying move.
I played them both they seemed either broken or just took wows combat without the endgame.

I am curious as to how wildstars hybrid subscription systems pans out.

The best thing you can do with MMO's is wait 1-2 years before playing them. Rift, GW2 and Swtor all have been through a heck of alot of changes and improvements since launch. They are now all free to play and are very much superior to when they first launched. Swtor and Rift both charged for subs at launch when they were comparatively inferior.

Let Elder scrolls go through the motions, fix the inevitable problems every mmo has and then check them out in a year or so when the free to play shift begins to take motion

Rift and Gw2 are two very strong free to play models. Great bargins for what you get.

Swtor is less of a bargin but still superior with amazing questing quality (hands down the best in the market) on free to play terms

Imo Wow is the last sub mmo and it is very much a rip off at this point, with so many newer quality mmo's going f2p

Well, curses. I really thought Zenimax would be wise enough to do as Arenanet did with GW2. Say what you wish of the game itself, the B2P payment policy is nothing to sneeze at. You buy the game, then you can play as long as you want, no subscriptions, no restrictions. Sure, there are minor mictotransactions in the shape of the alternate currency of gems, but you can get those gems for regular gold too. It just takes more time. GW2 is still running, and as far as I've seen, has a significantly better community than F2P games. Actually, thanks to the mechanics, I'd say the community is better than most MMOs, period. Really, I'm disappointed at Zenimax. With how the current patterns look, it feels inevitable that they're going to fall to the F2P model in due time, which will be hell to the community.

(-_-) sigh~ Here we go again.

It's just the same old story. New MMO arrives with a subscription fee, trying to milk as much money from it's "early adopters" as it possibly can. Then once the numbers start to fall they hit the F2P Switch, regain their lost numbers and it's back to making money for them.

I mean just look at SW:TOR & Rift. When they released info on their subscription model, their PR department pretty much outright said that their game is too good for F2P and that they are not planning to ever become F2P. At least with Elder Scrolls Online they didn't rule out the possible F2P transition, which means it will definitely become F2P. It's just a matter of how long till it happens.

ive Never been a Fan of Subscription Model MMOs, because i Do get Bored or Burned out Playing them sometimes. or sometimes i Find i Cant Play Said game, for whatever Reason- id rather get a chance to Try it before investing in it, rather then Blindly Leaping in

This is a risk decision.

How many players want to pay a sub fee to play an MMO with the amount of MMOs out there who are F2P. Especially since any P2P MMOs go F2P anyway. People will expect this to go F2P in the future (even if it doesn't).
How many people will want to P2P to 'start anew' in an MMO and discard their characters in other MMOs they invested time in?

Every MMO launch you get a surge of interest, which then dies away when the tide misses their old level 90 Warlock who they owned for 7 years.

ESO needs to be exceptional to survive a P2P model for a good many years.

Considering how many years I played WoW and let them siphon $15 a month from me, I am not the least bit deterred by the idea that Elder Scrolls Online would have a subscription fee. My fondest wish is that they would provide a free trial so I can at least try it out a little before deciding to subscribe or purchase the base game. I know what I like, and I've been burned by far too many games recently to keep throwing money at my computer screen hoping for the best.

I have fallen in love with Skyrim, though, so if the game is "kinda like that, only multiplayer," I would be down for a subscription. I am one of those people who always wished to have a friend tagging along on my Elder Scrolls adventures, and I am really hoping that Elder Scrolls Online can help me with that feeling.

Hmm...

This doesn't surprise me at all.

It doesn't even deter me (I play WoW, have played Rift when it had a sub, LotRO when it had a sub, CoX when it had a sub, WAR, EQ, EQ2 and many F2P MMO's) in fact, I prefer a MMO to have a sub, as it usually ensures a more consistent update/bug fix schedule as well as content updates.

What I am concerned about, is whether the gameplay will be any good and if there's going to be any endgame on release (If the gameplay isn't much different to other MMO's what's the point of leaving others to play this. Also many MMO's lost my interest once I'd maxed every class in the game and was sitting around for months waiting for some end game content that wasn't just PvP)

Also... When you say the fee will be "14,99 a month" what currency are you referring to there? (I assume USD, but I know that Eve has a fee similar to that in UK Pounds)

Lawnmooer:
Hmm...

This doesn't surprise me at all.

It doesn't even deter me (I play WoW, have played Rift when it had a sub, LotRO when it had a sub, CoX when it had a sub, WAR, EQ, EQ2 and many F2P MMO's) in fact, I prefer a MMO to have a sub, as it usually ensures a more consistent update/bug fix schedule as well as content updates.

What I am concerned about, is whether the gameplay will be any good and if there's going to be any endgame on release (If the gameplay isn't much different to other MMO's what's the point of leaving others to play this. Also many MMO's lost my interest once I'd maxed every class in the game and was sitting around for months waiting for some end game content that wasn't just PvP)

Also... When you say the fee will be "14,99 a month" what currency are you referring to there? (I assume USD, but I know that Eve has a fee similar to that in UK Pounds)

I'm with you on this. I much prefer the subscription model where I have access to all the new and existing content. The problem is, so many MMOs just are not worth the subscription. Like you, I've played a ton of sub based MMOs and pretty much dropped them all once they went F2P. The only MMO I ever stuck with was DAoC, which I played for three years, though it does have glaring issues in hindsight.

aaaand another mmo that's removed off my list :(. after wildstar and ffXIV the elder scrolls online also falls to monthly fees. i did see this coming from miles away for TESO but still makes me sad. i really hate monthly subscription fees for games, they make you feel like you're obliged to play because you're paying for just having acces to the game. "you payed for these 30 days, better make the most out of it or feel bad about it" i think the GW2 model is the right p2p model. pay upfront for the game (so the devs always get some cash) and then you can use the cash shop for some minor things like skins or boosts that don't really do anything if you want to. heck, if you've got a lot of gold ingame you can get those things for free.

let's hope that everquest next doesn't have monthly fees, though i seriously doubt it...

edit: i also think they've already planned to go f2p with TESO in the coming year(s), so i'll just wait for that :D

Id say im disappointed, but that would imply im suprised...

And what is with the term 'minor fee'? 15$ (no currency mentioned usualy means USD), which will no doubt get translated to 15 euros where I live. After all, steam gets away with that and still is community darling.

I think zenimax underestimates how many people will not have 15$ to spend on a game they allready own, and which they arnt sure whether or not they will even want to play for the rest of the month.

...

Heres the better approach:
- Get the PC Skyrim with the expansions for maximum mod compatibility. (if you havnt allready)
- Go wild on mod nexus! (even if you allready have! the modders still are active)
- Have money left to buy 'paper, please' on GoG.
- Enjoy having 15$ more to spend for six to twelve months.
- By that time Zenimax eats words and TESO goes FtP. Buy the game at a fraction of the launch price.

This doesn't surprise me, but I know I won't be buying it until it goes F2P because I have several older offline Elder Scrolls games I can play if I ever want to immerse myself in the world.

LadyMint:
Considering how many years I played WoW and let them siphon $15 a month from me, I am not the least bit deterred by the idea that Elder Scrolls Online would have a subscription fee. My fondest wish is that they would provide a free trial so I can at least try it out a little before deciding to subscribe or purchase the base game. I know what I like, and I've been burned by far too many games recently to keep throwing money at my computer screen hoping for the best.

I have fallen in love with Skyrim, though, so if the game is "kinda like that, only multiplayer," I would be down for a subscription. I am one of those people who always wished to have a friend tagging along on my Elder Scrolls adventures, and I am really hoping that Elder Scrolls Online can help me with that feeling.

From what I've heard the game will include a free month subscription if you buy the base game. Haven't heard if there will be free trials other than that, though.

And also, the game so far very much looks "like Skyrim, only with other people." A lot of the classic TES gameplay has made a return, including sneaking, first person or third person camera, real time combat (you have to time and aim your attacks and blocks and dodges properly), and the classic Radar bar that highlights landmarks in the direction you're facing. The UI is very much like skyrim and the hotbar is not visible. They want you to take cues from the environment not from the UI. Characters have a high degree of plasticity, meaning they can adapt to different play styles if they want to even though they do choose a certain class at the start. A mage can still fight in full platemail with a warhammer if they want to and still theoretically be viable.

All in all, it looks to me very much like an elder scrolls game first and an MMO second.

Eh, while it may turn some off to the idea, hard core Elder Scrolls fans will jump on this like Mario at a goomba fest no matter what payment model they have. After Skyrim, that number's gonna be massive either way.

Like most, I'm just leary of what the MMO genre will do to this series - can you really MMO an TES game and still have a TES game? ... If not, well... It's not like WoW hasn't eaten big names to step into this ring before.

without proper gold sinks, an extensive auction house, and a eve's plex subscription style alternative a subscription based mmo is not going to survive long before going ftp

Sight Unseen:

LadyMint:
Considering how many years I played WoW and let them siphon $15 a month from me, I am not the least bit deterred by the idea that Elder Scrolls Online would have a subscription fee. My fondest wish is that they would provide a free trial so I can at least try it out a little before deciding to subscribe or purchase the base game. I know what I like, and I've been burned by far too many games recently to keep throwing money at my computer screen hoping for the best.

I have fallen in love with Skyrim, though, so if the game is "kinda like that, only multiplayer," I would be down for a subscription. I am one of those people who always wished to have a friend tagging along on my Elder Scrolls adventures, and I am really hoping that Elder Scrolls Online can help me with that feeling.

From what I've heard the game will include a free month subscription if you buy the base game. Haven't heard if there will be free trials other than that, though.

And also, the game so far very much looks "like Skyrim, only with other people." A lot of the classic TES gameplay has made a return, including sneaking, first person or third person camera, real time combat (you have to time and aim your attacks and blocks and dodges properly), and the classic Radar bar that highlights landmarks in the direction you're facing. The UI is very much like skyrim and the hotbar is not visible. They want you to take cues from the environment not from the UI. Characters have a high degree of plasticity, meaning they can adapt to different play styles if they want to even though they do choose a certain class at the start. A mage can still fight in full platemail with a warhammer if they want to and still theoretically be viable.

All in all, it looks to me very much like an elder scrolls game first and an MMO second.

Well that's good. I'm still a stickler for trial periods, though. Even if it was only a weekend trial.

Will they allow controller use? I have Skyrim on my PC but I use my Xbox 360 Wireless controller for it. Makes things so much nicer.

Funny how the lead designer went on and on about how microtransactions will ruin the game and how a subscription model is best then turn around later and put them in anyway

LadyMint:

Sight Unseen:

LadyMint:
Considering how many years I played WoW and let them siphon $15 a month from me, I am not the least bit deterred by the idea that Elder Scrolls Online would have a subscription fee. My fondest wish is that they would provide a free trial so I can at least try it out a little before deciding to subscribe or purchase the base game. I know what I like, and I've been burned by far too many games recently to keep throwing money at my computer screen hoping for the best.

I have fallen in love with Skyrim, though, so if the game is "kinda like that, only multiplayer," I would be down for a subscription. I am one of those people who always wished to have a friend tagging along on my Elder Scrolls adventures, and I am really hoping that Elder Scrolls Online can help me with that feeling.

From what I've heard the game will include a free month subscription if you buy the base game. Haven't heard if there will be free trials other than that, though.

And also, the game so far very much looks "like Skyrim, only with other people." A lot of the classic TES gameplay has made a return, including sneaking, first person or third person camera, real time combat (you have to time and aim your attacks and blocks and dodges properly), and the classic Radar bar that highlights landmarks in the direction you're facing. The UI is very much like skyrim and the hotbar is not visible. They want you to take cues from the environment not from the UI. Characters have a high degree of plasticity, meaning they can adapt to different play styles if they want to even though they do choose a certain class at the start. A mage can still fight in full platemail with a warhammer if they want to and still theoretically be viable.

All in all, it looks to me very much like an elder scrolls game first and an MMO second.

Well that's good. I'm still a stickler for trial periods, though. Even if it was only a weekend trial.

Will they allow controller use? I have Skyrim on my PC but I use my Xbox 360 Wireless controller for it. Makes things so much nicer.

Considering that the game will be launching on Xbox One and PS4, I'd be pretty shocked if you couldn't use controllers on PC too, but I haven't heard anything official.

Sight Unseen:

Considering that the game will be launching on Xbox One and PS4, I'd be pretty shocked if you couldn't use controllers on PC too, but I haven't heard anything official.

All good points. I have a new concern, however. I read in their "Ask Me Anything" articles that players from different alliances can't group together. I have friends who want to play non-Dunmer elves while I want to be an Argonian. It concerns me that we wouldn't be able to level together because of our individual character preferences. Of course there's always alts, but that "first out the gate" character is something I like to stick with for a long time.

LadyMint:

Sight Unseen:

Considering that the game will be launching on Xbox One and PS4, I'd be pretty shocked if you couldn't use controllers on PC too, but I haven't heard anything official.

All good points. I have a new concern, however. I read in their "Ask Me Anything" articles that players from different alliances can't group together. I have friends who want to play non-Dunmer elves while I want to be an Argonian. It concerns me that we wouldn't be able to level together because of our individual character preferences. Of course there's always alts, but that "first out the gate" character is something I like to stick with for a long time.

Have they ever confirmed that the race you choose HAS to be associated with the alliance for its race? Maybe they'll let you play as a dark elf who doesn't want to be in the Ebonheart Pact and instead decides to wander over to Elsweyr or something. I'm not sure.

Even if you are locked by your faction, isn't this what WoW does anyway? It's not like it's a new restriction.

Sight Unseen:

Have they ever confirmed that the race you choose HAS to be associated with the alliance for its race? Maybe they'll let you play as a dark elf who doesn't want to be in the Ebonheart Pact and instead decides to wander over to Elsweyr or something. I'm not sure.

Even if you are locked by your faction, isn't this what WoW does anyway? It's not like it's a new restriction.

I'm pretty sure it's set in stone. If you go to their website, those factions are the divided lines of their PvP, and the faction descriptions list the specific races you choose to become a part of them. Would be nice if they'd let you choose, though. Or defect. My Elder Scrolls characters have always been largely uncaring about whatever the latest war/skirmish/angry fight for land is.

WoW isn't a good comparison for that, IMHO. Traditionally, the Warcraft games had their two very distinct factions. It was only natural that this would translate into their MMO. In the Elder Scrolls games, no matter what race you chose, you were still free to choose quite a few of your alliances. Frankly, it surprises me that they would go this route on the MMO. But I'm not about to flip tables and declare the game unplayable. I'm just disappointed that this might get in the way of myself and my friends playing the races we love and being able to group together as those varied races.

This was surprising to me only because I know that when people were invited for a sneak preview a year or so ago, Jesse Cox said they asked everyone what people would be willing to pay per month, and everyone said zero. That most people aren't willing to pay monthly fees anymore. I really don't know what this game is doing that is so extremely different from other fantasy mmos but I don't care enough about Elder Scrolls to pay a fee. Honestly, I don't even care if it goes free to play. I am so excited for Ever Quest Net by this point, that other mmos are really just serving to hold me over until that game is released

 

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