<The Elder Scrolls Online has re-launched on PC and Mac today with fresh content, a new subtitle and a buy-to-play monetization model.
Back when The Elder Scrolls Online first launched, there were more than a few gamers left skeptical by its developer's decision to try and sell it as a subscription-based MMORPG in a world largely conquered by free-to-play games. Those skeptics wound up being pretty dang right. While the initial game had its fans and followers, many ignored it and Bethesda eventually made the decision to re-brand the game and switch over to a more appetizing buy-to-play model.
If you were one of the gamers holding out for that change to actually happen, your wait is over. As of today, ESO on PC and Mac is now officially The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Gamers interested in jumping into it will merely need to purchase a copy of the game ($59.99), after which they'll have full and unlimited access to all of its content. This includes "six major content updates" added to the game after its initial launch. Players already owning copies of the original ESO will be automatically upgraded to Tamriel Unlimited.
While the paid-for game won't come with any required subscriptions, players willing to part with a bit more cash will have the option of purchasing an ESO Plus membership. Rewarding players with extra in-game cash, "exclusive character progression bonuses" and automatic DLC access, ESO Plus memberships are being offered in durations of 30, 90 and 180 days. ESO players who had previously had subscriptions will have the remaining time on their accounts automatically transferred into an ESO Plus membership.
The big question, of course, is whether or not The Elder Scrolls Online dropping subscriptions will be enough to entice gamers who had previously ignored it. Considering the continued popularity of The Elder Scrolls as a brand, we'll go on a limb and say that the game might still have a shot. There's also no telling how it will perform when it hits the PS4 and Xbox One later this year on June 9th.