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Bethesda Team Discusses Upcoming Free-to-Play model and Console Release of Elder Scrolls Online

Bethesda developers announced Wednesday that "The Elder Scrolls Online" will be switching to a new "no subscription required" model that will be available to both PC and console users.

Wednesday Bethesda announced a new subscription-free model for The Elder Scrolls Online and took to Twitch to share the details of the new system, as well as the upcoming console release for PlayStation 4 and XBox One.

In the live stream, Bethesda's Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing sat with Game Director Matt Firor and Creative Director Paul Sage to discuss the impetus for the changes, as well as to explain how the new features will work.


In Wednesday's Twitch stream, Bethesda released the fourth and final part of the trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.

Beginning March 17, The Elder Scrolls Online will move to a "buy to play" model - that is, users will initially purchase the game, but will not have to pay a subscription fee. Those dedicated fans who choose to continue to subscribe to gain premium access (now called "ESO Plus") will receive a number of perks to reward their loyalty to the game, including:

  • 1500 complimentary Crowns (the new in-game currency) per 30-day membership period
  • Access to all downloadable content
  • 10% bonus to experience earned
  • 10% faster crafting research times
  • 10% increase to crafting inspiration gain
  • 10% bonus to gold acquisition

The hosts of the Twitch stream also discussed the new Crown Store, a micro-transaction system which Firor emphasized sells items of "customization and convenience" such as costumes, new mounts and pets, as well as potions that can be purchased in the regular in-game stores (but that are not as good as player-crafted items).

The new Crown Store will sell costumes for users who want to customize their armor to suit different professions or occasions without losing the armor's bonuses.

As of this new system, the game will be known as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, and a series of DLC will herald the arrival of the game to consoles, expanding the in-game world in a way that will be scaleable to player level. The DLC will be free to subscribers of ESO Plus as well as available for a la carte purchase for those who choose not to subscribe.

To read more about the console release, check out the press release here.

Published Jan. 22nd 2015
  • Nathan DCom
    Contributor
    Too bad the game is going to become Pay2Win now :(
  • Si_W
    This was always going to happen, just a question of when.

    And now we know...
  • Jessa Rittenhouse
    Columnist
    This does seem to be the way it goes when an MMO doesn't do as well as its developers hoped it would. Perhaps, though, this will help breathe new life into the game, and the new content will make it appealing for those who have held off on trying it so far. Guess we'll have to wait and see!
  • Si_W
    I honestly believe that Guild Wars and the Star Wars ones have proven that monthly subscriptions will not work for casual gamers.

    I have an EVE account but gave it up after a couple of months as I just wasn't able to justify it for the amount of time I spent playing it.

    If you have one game that you play constantly, then it'll probably work but how many people only ever play one game?
  • Jessa Rittenhouse
    Columnist
    I admit that I am very guilty of playing one game more often than all others, and it's a very old game. That said, I do play others, but none that I think I'd be willing or able to pay a subscription for - at least not for any extended amount of time. Three months would likely be my max before I was bored and unsubbed, unless the game was something just amazingly spectacular.

    With so many new things coming out all the time, games evolving and changing, it does seem a bit unreasonable to expect long-term subscription. I think this model has the potential to keep people coming back, though, however sporadically, and keep long-term fans of a franchise subscribing for the perks. Seems like all the major MMOs want to give subscription-based a shot, first, though, and have to arrive at this model the hard way.
  • Arya_8862
    I love how 'to the point and clear' you are in your articles, and how you do not provide extreme conjecture in them. More mainstream journalism should follow that example. :-D Posting the media was also a nice touch.
  • Jessa Rittenhouse
    Columnist
    Thanks! I always appreciate feedback.

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