It's Official: The Elder Scrolls Online is Going Buy-to-Play

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It's Official: The Elder Scrolls Online is Going Buy-to-Play

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Come March 17, you won't need an active subscription to play The Elder Scrolls Online - you'll just need to purchase the base game.

Well, it looks like those Australian retailers knew something that we didn't after-all. Bethesda Softworks has now officially announced that The Elder Scrolls Online is going buy-to-play on March 17, and will be launching on PS4 and Xbox One on June 9 (where it will also not require a monthly subscription). Players will be able to subscribe instead to an "ESO Plus" service, providing exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns (premium currency) to use in the store, and access to all DLC game packs.

The buy-to-play rumors have been circling the game ever since Bethesda removed six-month subscription options, and many Australian retailers pulled the game from its shelves. However, it is not entirely "free", as players will still need to purchase the base game to play.

The new F2P version of the game, re-branded as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, will be supported with special, optional downloadable content available for purchase, and an in-game Crown Store for convenience and customization items. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players free of additional charges.

Xbox One and PS4 owners will still need an active subscription to Xbox Live Gold/PlayStation Plus to play the game. If you're a PC player who has an active subscription past March 17, the remaining subscription time will automatically transition to ESO Plus membership. Additionally, if you add any unused game time cards past the March 17 cutoff date, they will also simply transition to ESO Plus game time. No refunds will be offered for existing subscriptions.

"Our fans are our biggest inspiration, and we've listened to their feedback on the entertainment experience they want," said Matt Firor, Game Director of The Elder Scrolls Online. "We know that Elder Scrolls fans want choice when it comes to how they play and how they pay, and that is what they will get. We have made numerous changes to the game over the past year, and are confident this is a game that Elder Scrolls fans will love to play."

If you're still confused by the change, Bethesda will be running a Twitch Stream at 12 PM ET today that should hopefully answer all your questions.

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Steven Bogos:
So it looks like even The Elder Scrolls isn't immune to the typical non-World of Warcraft MMO life cycle of launch -> server mergers -> free-to-play -> death. Hopefully there's a bigger gap between the last two steps this time.

Yes, tell me again about the server mergers that ESO's gone through.

I don't think going Free to Play means death, many games have made the transition and did better then when they were subscription based the two ones I have experience with are The Old Republic and Star Trek Online. I am not the biggest fan of the feeling I get from The Old Republic for I feel like I am being punished by their free to play model, but Star Trek Online did it better, I am just not a big fan of how they implemented the newest level of ships.

I'll have to see how much content they lock off to see if it's worth it. If it's anything like GW2, then I might actually be tempted to get this. If it is anything like SW:TOR then... maybe not (obviously that one has no initial purchase, but they gutted F2P so much it might as well be sub only still)

So if the base game still needs to be purchased I don't understand why EB Games were taking it off their shelves.

Alexander Kirby:
So if the base game still needs to be purchased I don't understand why EB Games were taking it off their shelves.

By the same logic, how can the "removing the six month sub means imminent F2P!" be the case, when the subscription system will still be in place.

Effectively the game is just moving the subscription to the optional pile, like Secret World... if the business model follows that game's lead, this won't be a bad deal... unless of course, they also follow TSW's example and replace "new content" with "grind horde mode if you want to advance the main story."

If nothing else, here's fingers crossed they'll finally let us buy new character slots.

Well, that happened quicker than I expected.
But then again, I expected this game to fail from the start anyway.
They wanted to cash in on the Skyrim hype and gave the Skyrim players a game that wasn't at all like Skyrim.
So yeah, expected but quicker than expected.

"Well that's surprising!" - Said absolutely no one. I think the only reason this lasted as long as it did (which is not very long, really) is because of the ES license.

It still needs a purchase to play though. So it seems like it went the way of The Secret World, as far as I can tell. I doubt I'd ever try to play this game again though. I tried out the closed beta last year and... I hated it.

Oh well. This seems like it will be a good business move since I'm sure there were a lot of people interested in the game but held off because of the subscription.

Tohuvabohu:
I tried out the closed beta last year and... I hated it.

Might be worth taking another look at it now. Even the open beta was kind of a mess. The current state of the game is actually a lot of fun.

Not a huge surprise. For the past year the box copies at Target (and a few other retailers) have been on half off sales almost every other week. That kind of consistent low discount seemed to imply that people really weren't picking up copies.

Honestly don't think I'll play it even with the F2P, I enjoy single player to much. Come to think of it I played Skyrim 200+ hours and still haven't completed the main story. -_-

Yes!! In this case count me in to give it a chance!

So correct me if I'm wrong, they are moving to a model similar to guild wars?

If they do, I may give it a shot since I hate subscription style games due to them always being priced in US currency I refuse to pay the exchange

Anyone play this a fair amount? I was interested back in the day when it was released, but life intervened and pushed it out of my mind. I'm curious to know how it compares in terms of combat and exploration to Skyrim and how the whole multiplay deal actually works. Like, are there raids or group quests, is there a hub town or multiple cities with stuff to do and so on.

Can somebody explains to me the logic behind a 60$ game being called Free-to-Play ?

Free to Play does not mean death.

I mean, there are 2 million World of Tanks players IN GAME right now. That is insane, Steam in its entirety manages 8 million...
Then again... it is F2P by design.

Well fuck. I guess Zenimax is as stupid as the people that have been shouting the game down since day one...

A little too late for me. I just recently started playing WoW. Maybe when I get bored of it I'll have a look at ESO again.

EvilRoy:
Anyone play this a fair amount? I was interested back in the day when it was released, but life intervened and pushed it out of my mind. I'm curious to know how it compares in terms of combat and exploration to Skyrim and how the whole multiplay deal actually works. Like, are there raids or group quests, is there a hub town or multiple cities with stuff to do and so on.

Send me any questions you may have in a pm and I'd be happy to answer as best I can :) I have a fair amount of experience with the game (~400 hours) so I should be able to answer a lot of questions, though I haven't actually gotten to endgame yet.

Steven Bogos:
Come March 17, you won't need an active subscription to play The Elder Scrolls Online - you'll just need to purchase the base game.

wait did they change the definition of Free to Play again while i wasnt looking? its "free" with a purchase?

Incorrect title. Correct title:
Elder Scrolls Online is removing required subscriptions.

Maybe I'll check this out with my brother. We were interested, but my younger brother has no money, and I have enough subscription services to pay for myself that I didn't need another one. Hopefully going free to play won't welcome too many toxic members of the internet.

That's good news for me. I wanted to try out ESO. Looks like now's the time to do it.

Could... they make it single player offline... XD
TBH it being free to play isn't the solution to the problem.

Still
-$15 for a horse.
-Glitchy as hell, this week it's been launcher problems for a few peeps.
-Broken Quests.
-Incredibly good phasing, mixed with incredibly bad phasing.
-Gold Farming Bots.
-No local servers (Melb, Australia, 300-500 ping).

Also the new "ESO Plus" sounds a lot like what SWTOR did. Not good...

I'm not surprised that this happened. If Star Wars couldn't pull it off, I'm not surprised that TES couldn't either. Should be interesting to see where it goes from now.

Wildstar is the sole mmo to still require subs, aside from wow. They should be going f2p themselves soon. Subscription models for mmo's need to go. Back when wow first launched the tech was new and servers maybe justified the monthly sub, but these days it feels like a rip-off.

A no sub model, with optional expacs is the best value imo

Raioken18:
Could... they make it single player offline... XD
TBH it being free to play isn't the solution to the problem.

Still
-$15 for a horse.
-Glitchy as hell, this week it's been launcher problems for a few peeps.
-Broken Quests.
-Incredibly good phasing, mixed with incredibly bad phasing.
-Gold Farming Bots.
-No local servers (Melb, Australia, 300-500 ping).

Also the new "ESO Plus" sounds a lot like what SWTOR did. Not good...

-Don't buy the horse then it's completely optional. You can get it in game for 17k gold which takes about 10-15 levels to get and honestly you won't really need it until then.
-Game is not very glitchy at all anymore
-Quests are all fixed aside from an occasional issue that's usually solved by relogging. I've not had a single issue with quests aside from one very very minor quest back in July that I had to drop because the NPC wasn't spawning correctly.
-Phasing still needs to be addressed, I'll grant you that
-Gold farming is completely gone. I haven't seen a bot or a chat spam since May
-Australia is screwed, sadly.


I did not want this! I liked the community that had built up around this game. It was robust enough to always feel full, while simultaneously creating a barrier for the more disruptive influences that have ruined so many other MMOs. Now that barrier is gone and I have not an umbrella big enough for the shitstorm that is to come.

Captcha: boiled cabbage. Yes indeed, Captcha, yes indeed.

Alexander Kirby:
So if the base game still needs to be purchased I don't understand why EB Games were taking it off their shelves.

Technically they're releasing a different edition, if you look at the ESO announcement they even mention the PC/Mac release is March 17th.

Starke:
By the same logic, how can the "removing the six month sub means imminent F2P!" be the case, when the subscription system will still be in place.

I'm guessing so people who are currently on 6 months subs (it was only removed as an option for those who didn't already have this) don't find they renewed and have too much time left on it when the new payment model comes in. This, at least, gives them the option to cancel renewal now.

TESO is not free 2 play. It just has no subscription left. Please change the OT or someone mention that. It gives a false impression.

You still have to buy a full price game and there's a ingame-shop. Just the subscription fee is gone.

As has been said before;

Free to play = Full priced game littered with micro-transactions and extra subbing options, now?

Isnt that having your cake, eating it then finishing off the entire buffet table? Defiance went free to play recently, you know, the one where it is actually free...to...play?

They would probably get more players/more transactions if the game was actually free to play. A lot of people still aren't going to buy the base game even with no subscription fees.

Well I suppose if someone is going do free to play the wrong way, it is not surprising that it would be them.

At least Old Republic removed the need to buy the game when they introduced F2P, they even give non subscribers access to gameplay additions like Galactic Starfighter and Strongholds, just a month after subscribers get access

"a monthly allotment of crowns (premium currency)"
I REALLLLLY hope that did not exist before it went "F2P"!

Anyway, now it's up to the "whales"; how long will they throw enough wads of cash at it before it's no longer profitable enough?!

Time to dust off the launcher and patch it back up.
See you in March, Bethesda.

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