Elder Scrolls Online Director Explains Opting For Subscriptions

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Elder Scrolls Online Director Explains Opting For Subscriptions

elder scrolls online dungeons

The Elder Scrolls Online Director Matt Firor says a free-to-play MMO wouldn't be a true "Elder Scrolls experience."

Yesterday's announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online will require a monthly subscription fee was met with a certain degree of surprise from an awful lot of gamers. Conventional wisdom is that the subscription model is effectively dead, a widely-held opinion reinforced by the spectacular failure of Star Wars: The Old Republic, which switched to a free-to-play model after less than a year of operation. So how does Bethesda figure The Elder Scrolls Online can make it work, if a money-printing IP like Star Wars couldn't?

Firor said The Elder Scrolls Online is a "world," and Bethesda doesn't want monetization options taking players out of it. "It's like, I go into a dungeon, if I don't have access to the dungeon it pops up a window: you don't have access to this, go buy 50 credits. We didn't want that experience. That's not an Elder Scrolls experience," he told Eurogamer. "We wanted to do monetization outside of the game. So, if I pay for a month at a time, I have 100 percent of the game. I don't have to worry about paying one more cent. I'll never run into a pay gate and I'll be in the world."

Bethesda also wants a "steady forecastable revenue stream" so it can effectively plan and pay for content updates. TESO will launch with the Mages and Fighters Guild questlines built-in, and Bethesda plans to add the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood in a future update. "Those are 15 hours of content apiece," Firor said. "We're talking major new stuff, which is going to be coming out constantly. And the way to do that the best for us is with a subscription."

The Elder Scrolls Online is currently expected to launch in early 2014 for the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, at a cost of $14.99 per month.

Source: Eurogamer

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...Are there pay gates or pay worlds? I was under the understanding that the F2P model had things you can purchase but didn't restrict access to areas/portions of the game.

I can understand it, but I don't have to like it. I can't justify paying monthly for a game, or I'll worry about getting my money's worth and play constantly to make up for it. And I certainly won't be able to.

That's good news for people willing to put up for it, I suppose.

Mr.Pandah:
...Are there pay gates or pay worlds? I was under the understanding that the F2P model had things you can purchase but didn't restrict access to areas/portions of the game.

It varies from game to game, LOTRO has pay-gates, as does DDO Online, I believe SWTOR does too, the only F2P game I can think of that doesn't is Rift, but you can't access the expansion content without paying sooo?

OT: I like the subscrip model far more than I do the F2P micro-transaction model. More stuff I seem to kind of like in ESO...interesting.

The mindset of this guy. Does he think that if he carefully explains it, I will suddenly develop a desire to pay for it? No. You tool.

Mr.Pandah:
...Are there pay gates or pay worlds? I was under the understanding that the F2P model had things you can purchase but didn't restrict access to areas/portions of the game.

Some games. It depends. I know TERA/Aion are completely free. In that even content updates are free.

I took part in last Thursdays stress test of the beta and I really enjoyed the time that I had with it. I don't mind paying $15.00 dollars a month for an MMO that I enjoy.

I admire their nerve, foolish as it may be.

I expect that forecast-able revenue to be a lot, lot less than Bethesda are hoping for. I don't expect the die hard TES fans are going to pay for it either, not when there's a whole bunch of free mods kicking about for Morrow-blivio-rim (and the dismissive attitude of TES:O's writers has been going down so well with the hardcore). They'll all wait for a 'proper' part six, unless Bethesda pulls a Bioware and declares this to be Elder Scrolls 6 and the new canon, that'll go down a storm...

I really want to meet the person who decided to chase the World of Warcraft market, they must be either very brave or very dumb to go after the dwindling monopoly.

GW2 has a great model, that doesn't require me to buy more stuff if I don't want too and I don't miss out. They also release new content monthly.

Well, I was slightly interested in TESO before, but I am not anymore after this news.

The subscription model also keeps out quite a lot of trolls and griefers. People tend to be less of a dick when they have a monetary investment in a game.

Of course, EVE Online would be the exception to that... ;P

This game wasn't a true "Elder Scrolls experience" in the first place you twat.

This game has nothing to do with TES.

It's made by a bunch of hacks that don't care about the series and are actively shitting on it.

Fuck 'em, I wouldn't play this game if they paid ME

Man, this all sounds so very... familiar.

Those are nice sentiments I guess, and they were just as nice when the developers of SW:TOR and Secret World held them.

But who knows, third time's the charm?

If I had to pay more money for every month I owned Skyrim, I wouldn't own Skyrim.

While I can respect the desire to avoid the f2p micro transaction route, monthly fees add up and end up costing far more than the game is worth.

I'll wait until the f2p version comes out a year after launch.

Dear ESO,

Their are other ways to have a F2P MMO in this day and age. Cosmetic items, boosts to leveling (which isn't selling power, since it just means players will go through the experience faster, it shouldn't effect the balance), mounts, convience, etc.

Unless you your WoW or Eve, you can't survive on subscriptions anymore.

Not G. Ivingname:
Unless you your WoW or Eve, you can't survive on subscriptions anymore.

Or FF11, it's been chugging along nice and quiet like with a subscription model in the background of all the MMO hullabaloo. Its successor, FF14:ARR, will be following the same model.

Why do they think it either has to be Pay to Play after purchase or Free to Play? Why can't more MMOs adopt the Guild Wars way of doing things and just charge $60 once and be done?

I'm pretty sure on name alone ESO would be successful with just charging $60 and charging for expansions. I can't name a subscription game since WoW or EVE that hasn't gone free to play.

So what's wrong with the Guild Wars model then? If you don't want to gate content DON'T GATE CONTENT. Instead, sell services, conveniences, and skins.

I guess I can understand the sentiment. But there's no way I'm ever paying a monthly fee for one game ever again.

Captcha: History repeats itself. Huh. Ominous.

KeyMaster45:

Not G. Ivingname:
Unless you your WoW or Eve, you can't survive on subscriptions anymore.

Or FF11, it's been chugging along nice and quiet like with a subscription model in the background of all the MMO hullabaloo. Its successor, FF14:ARR, will be following the same model.

The FF MMOs are a bad example of surviving on subscriptions considering they almost destroyed Square Enix. Especially FF14. Even so, WoW, EVE, and FF are the only games to have any success with a subscriber system. Everyone else either went F2P or went bankrupt.

I guess Skyrim wasn't a 'true Elder Scrolls experience' then since I didn't have to pay a monthly subscription. Then again Skyrim wasn't part of the 'real' TES lore according to the TESO loremasters so I guess it doesn't count anyway.

I'll stick with the proper Elder Scrolls games since they have a way better gameplay-to- ratio than TESO will with a monthly fee.

I wish they would just make it pay once. Like every other Elder Scrolls games. I think that would be an "Elder Scrolls experience." I am sure that a lot of people will say "Screw this game"

I am not surprised, they are also adding a cash shop because more money.
On top of that Bethesda are selling shitty statues for 300 bucks. These guys are quickly becoming the new EA, except worse.

It's going to be a difficult move to make it work and I hope they're aware of that. Still, I wish them luck. Good MMOs are hard to come by.

I'd like to know whether they intend to take any sort of stance on user modding, as that has long been an essential part of the Elder Scrolls experience. I've not played Skyrim (PC's too old), but I've left months of my life in Morrowind and Oblivion, and in both cases I found them almost unplayable without heavy community modding. (I've heard some similar complaints about Skyrim at least insofar as the menu system is concerned.) In particular I hope they've finally started to put serious effort into character modelling. Vanilla Morrowind and Oblivion character models and textures are just plain ugly.

Meh at first I was surprised that the game isn't B2P, but I see why they did it, since they don't plan to be like GW2, and have a base game, and then add more stuff funded by the cash shop which sells cosmetics and "convenience".

Here its more like TES, you aren't thinking about money, you bought the game, and you have access to everything out. I don't think its a particularly smart move unless this is an absolutely phenomenal game with lots of lasting appeal in RvR, in the business sense, but for the gamer this is a smart move. If they wanted the most money they would have went the GW2 route, everyone would have bought it, and, like GW2, if you feel let down, too bad, you already bought it!

EDIT: Nvm there's a cash shop too, f*** these guys. I think it will last longer than a year without a sub, but it will go F2P eventually.

All this has happened before. All this will happen again.

Guild Wars 2 seems to be doing well with the P2P model, why couldn't TESO?

Mr.Pandah:
...Are there pay gates or pay worlds? I was under the understanding that the F2P model had things you can purchase but didn't restrict access to areas/portions of the game.

My thought exactly. Why not make money from purely cosmetic items like TF2 does? Though personally, I would prefer to just buy the game in a single purchase and play it.

"It's like, I go into a dungeon, if I don't have access to the dungeon it pops up a window: you don't have access to this, go buy 50 credits. We didn't want that experience. That's not an Elder Scrolls experience," he told Eurogamer. "We wanted to do monetization outside of the game. So, if I pay for a month at a time, I have 100 percent of the game. I don't have to worry about paying one more cent. I'll never run into a pay gate and I'll be in the world."

This is such a load of crap!

Yes, some games utilize pay walls for zones, but not nearly as many as this guy makes it sound. Lots of micro-transaction games make bank on cosmetic items alone.

Bethesda also wants a "steady forecastable revenue stream" so it can effectively plan and pay for content updates. TESO will launch with the Mages and Fighters Guild questlines built-in, and Bethesda plans to add the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood in a future update. "Those are 15 hours of content apiece," Firor said. "We're talking major new stuff, which is going to be coming out constantly. And the way to do that the best for us is with a subscription."

And this is even worse!

Your most direct competitor, the game you've been modeling yourselves off of, is Guild Wars 2. GW2 is releasing "major content patches" entirely for free every two weeks.

Your competitor, as of right now, is offering a way better deal than you, and they've now got a year under their belt. How exactly do you plan on beating them by offering less content at a less frequent pace, all funded by subscription fees?

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying this as a legitimate justification. There are methods of sustaining revenue that aren't simply "pay 50 credits to access dungeon."

Star Citizen intends to sustain itself based on cosmetics and non-gameplay impacting microtransactions.

APB: Reloaded has managed to balance its microtransaction shop so that ingame items and weapons are effectively side-grades more relative to player preference over Pay 2 Win. It is obnoxiously expensive, however.

Firefall was- last time I was on there- undertaking a similar process.

Star citizen is rapidly approaching the $16million mark, APB is going from strength to strength and Firefall doesn't appear to be suffering. None of them (at present) appear to intentionally deny access to the game (Firefall may have changed).

This guy is clutching at straws and got a very short one indeed.

So will the game still be 60 bucks when it comes out on top of this? I'm assuming you will get at least a month free when pay. I wasn't expecting free to play, but free after you buy the game like guild wars 2. And the game will only have the mages guild and fighting guild to start? That's less than skyrim and oblivion. They underestimate how quickly people will fly through those guild questlines if there are only 15 hours of content each. So many meh statements in this article.

MinionJoe:
The subscription model also keeps out quite a lot of trolls and griefers. People tend to be less of a dick when they have a monetary investment in a game.

Of course, EVE Online would be the exception to that... ;P

EVE players are paying for the RIGHT to be dicks to eachother. And I frankly salute that business decision

what I want to know is, will they still charge for the game at launch, if its subscription based, as that was always my biggest issue with the subscription model

A sub means everyone's on equal ground and the devs don't put time, effort, and resources into making the game frustrating enough to get you to pay cash... and someon just can't drop a wad of cash on OPing themselves and just stomp all over everyone who's invested time just playing the game.

I might give it a shot if I can get in on a trial.

AzrealMaximillion:

KeyMaster45:

Not G. Ivingname:
Unless you your WoW or Eve, you can't survive on subscriptions anymore.

Or FF11, it's been chugging along nice and quiet like with a subscription model in the background of all the MMO hullabaloo. Its successor, FF14:ARR, will be following the same model.

The FF MMOs are a bad example of surviving on subscriptions considering they almost destroyed Square Enix. Especially FF14. Even so, WoW, EVE, and FF are the only games to have any success with a subscriber system. Everyone else either went F2P or went bankrupt.

"Square Enix president Yoichi Wada announced in June 2012 that Final Fantasy XI had become the most profitable title in the Final Fantasy series."

I kind of doubt it ruined square. Though XIV 1.0 almost did, XI subscriptions helped it survive to even attempt ARR.

A GOOD game that votes for Subscriptions, can help hold a company well. A bad game, however, can cripple it.

Buy to play. Problem solved.

Nurb:
A sub means everyone's on equal ground and the devs don't put time, effort, and resources into making the game frustrating enough to get you to pay cash... and someon just can't drop a wad of cash on OPing themselves and just stomp all over everyone who's invested time just playing the game.

I might give it a shot if I can get in on a trial.

That is one thing checked off my list of points to make.

The second is that I am sick and tired of F2P and wish an mmo (other than WoW) would finally come out with all of it's content available from the start. I just need to wait and see if the game is worth it or finally decide to pick up GW2.

I dunno. I'm not a fan of the argument "That's not an Elder Scrolls Experience" when he talks about building a free to play model. It's also not an Elder Scrolls Experience(tm) to lose all of your access to your progress if you don't pay $15 per month, which is the subscription model. So yeah.

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