Elder Scrolls Online Removes Six-Month Subs, F2P Rumors Arise

Steven Bogos

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Elder Scrolls Online Removes Six-Month Subs, F2P Rumors Arise


Could The Elder Scrolls Online be preparing to go free-to-play?

So here's an interesting story. When we first discovered that The Elder Scrolls Online would have subscription fees [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/127057-The-Elder-Scrolls-Online-Will-Have-Subscription-Fees], many raised a dubious eyebrow. After all, it seems like World of Warcraft is the only MMO these days to get a free pass on subscription fees. Anyway, it now looks like Bethesda has removed the option for players to purchase six-month subscriptions to its game, which some are taking as a sign that it may go free-to-play.

Bethesda made no announcement about the removal of the payment method, and when fans who discovered it asked about it the forums [http://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/discussion/143763/zos-why-did-you-remove-the-6-month-subscription], an official response from the company simply stated that players indicated they preferred the shorter billing options, so the six-month option was removed. Players can now only renew their subscriptions in 30 or 90 day increments.

The fact that they were somewhat sneaky about it, coupled with the fact that this kind of thing isn't exactly without precedent (Warhammer Online, for example, was shut down [http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/12/18/warhammer-online-shuts-down-tonight/] shortly after removing longer subscription options), certain does raise a few questions. We haven't heard too much from The Elder Scrolls Online since its release, and in the case of MMOs, no news is usually bad news.

Are you still playing The Elder Scrolls Online? Does it feel like Bethesda is planning to abandon the game, or maybe go free-to-play?

Source: Joystiq [http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/12/18/warhammer-online-shuts-down-tonight/]

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Saulkar

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Hmmm, if so then I might dust off my Argonian from closed beta and stretch his limbs. His scales might be rusty from spending so long in hibernation.

EDIT: I wonder how the F2P elements will be handled. Then again they are not Canadian so we will not have to worry aboot asinine Fee-To-Play elements creeping in. ;-)
 

Doom972

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I was in the beta and I'm not sure that it's worth an Elder Scrolls fan's time. You might as well play Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim with new mods instead because TESO doesn't have the depth of an Elder Scrolls game.

I'll probably pass even when (because it definitely will) it will become F2P.
 

Voulan

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Saulkar said:
Hmmm, if so then I might dust off my Argonian from closed beta and stretch his limbs. His scales might be rusty from spending so long in hibernation.
I thought that the characters made in Beta were wiped before the start of the game. Or at least that was the popular notion at the time.

But I'll be doing the same too if it does go F2P. I actually enjoyed my time in the Beta, especially once I accepted that it wasn't going to be as in-depth as Skyrim and the like.
 

Sight Unseen

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I don't think that the MMO is going F2P but thanks for more antihype for the game Escapist! As if this game needed any more :(

I've been on hiatus from the game for a while (university will do that) but I just checked the ESO subreddit and everyone there seems to be saying that the community has only been GROWING, not shrinking in recent months. They've fixed all of hte major launch problems and have added a ton of content since then that apparently greatly increases the quality of the game. the console version is still in development and should be coming out "soon" and if it's released in the same state as the game is in now it should get a much more favourable press reception than the game originally had.

They're still hyping Update 6 and 7 which are going to be major updates that add the Justice system and Champion system which will add a ton of new things to the game. There is still no sign of a cash shop being implemented and no free trials which would likely come BEFORE they made the game go F2P.

I'm sorry Escapist, but the anti-hype is not real and is not appreciated considering the game has gotten MUCH better and is growing in size since its shaky launch.

EDIT:

And another thing that's not directly related to this is that ESO is currently in the final round of mmorpg.com's "Great MMO Face Off of 2014" tournament. And it is currently leading against LOTRO. It has gone up against and beaten Wildstar, Destiny, and the Secret World to get to the finals (the way the tournament is structured the first bracket is "newbie" MMOs from that year and the second bracket is "veteran" MMOs which were already established at the start of 2014)
 

Saulkar

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Voulan said:
Saulkar said:
Hmmm, if so then I might dust off my Argonian from closed beta and stretch his limbs. His scales might be rusty from spending so long in hibernation.
I thought that the characters made in Beta were wiped before the start of the game. Or at least that was the popular notion at the time.
I am actually not sure! I will have to check that.

Voulan said:
But I'll be doing the same too if it does go F2P. I actually enjoyed my time in the Beta, especially once I accepted that it wasn't going to be as in-depth as Skyrim and the like.
My two primary issues were one big and one nit-picky. The big one is entering new areas would randomly crash the game and there was no progress in fixing it from one BETA iteration to the next so I quickly gave up on it after the third or fourth update. The nitpick that drove me crazy is the stupid lack of physics for arrows, stupid semi-guided things. It rubbed me in all the wrong places, and not in a good way. XD
 

Sight Unseen

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Saulkar said:
Voulan said:
Saulkar said:
Hmmm, if so then I might dust off my Argonian from closed beta and stretch his limbs. His scales might be rusty from spending so long in hibernation.
I thought that the characters made in Beta were wiped before the start of the game. Or at least that was the popular notion at the time.
I am actually not sure! I will have to check that.

Voulan said:
But I'll be doing the same too if it does go F2P. I actually enjoyed my time in the Beta, especially once I accepted that it wasn't going to be as in-depth as Skyrim and the like.
My two primary issues were one big and one nit-picky. The big one is entering new areas would randomly crash the game and there was no progress in fixing it from one BETA iteration to the next so I quickly gave up on it after the third or fourth update. The nitpick that drove me crazy is the stupid lack of physics for arrows, stupid semi-guided things. It rubbed me in all the wrong places, and not in a good way. XD
I played ESO until September and I'm almost positive that your beta characters got deleted when the game launched. You get an exclusive monkey pet for participating though :p

As for your nitpicks... Personally I never had any crash issues with ESO. I can't actually remember it ever happening for me unless the internet went out on my end. So that's probably fixed. Sadly the arrow nitpick is still valid but I think that's just the nature of MMOs. You can have battles of literally hundreds of people in the PVP and I think it would be too difficult to manage real time ballistic trajectories and collision detection for arrows and spells on that scale.

If you had any other issues with the game I'd be happy to comment on whether they've been addressed (as of September at any rate)
 

Saulkar

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Sight Unseen said:
Sadly the arrow nitpick is still valid but I think that's just the nature of MMOs. You can have battles of literally hundreds of people in the PVP and I think it would be too difficult to manage real time ballistic trajectories and collision detection for arrows and spells on that scale.
I know, I know. I just wish there was some way for there to be a hybrid system where the physics of your character and the other people in the immediate vicinity are calculated client side with the server just doing periodic checks to ensure that hits are landing and no one is exploiting the system on their end. Still, could be very calculation and bandwidth intensive with room for exploitation but damn would I not want the chance to give it a try.
 

fix-the-spade

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http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/10964-We-re-Going-to-Be-Rich

This is the only thing that springs to my mind. My main fear is that it affects The Elder Scrolls 6 in a negative way.


Sight Unseen said:
Sadly the arrow nitpick is still valid but I think that's just the nature of MMOs. You can have battles of literally hundreds of people in the PVP and I think it would be too difficult to manage real time ballistic trajectories and collision detection for arrows and spells on that scale.
I think that's overly negative, Planetside can handle ballistic projectiles from thousands of people and vehicles at once, some of them with multiple weapons firing in multiple directions at the same time, that came out in 2003. Planetside 2 can handle the same scenario with everybody vs everybody and bullets, beams, grenades and projectiles flying in all directions.

I think the idea an MMO released this year couldn't be made to handle that kind of load is somewhat pessimistic, or flat out misinformation on a lot of devs part.
 

Ranorak

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Even if it's free to play. I am still never going to touch that ball of disappointment again.
Maybe if all the spell schools are brought back. (I want my damn Illusion magic), not every single item is bolted down to the floor, phasing tech that actually allows me to play with friends, instead of waiting until they are at the exact same stage of the quest that I am. a proper crafting system. Quests that, when I finally get to play with my friends, don't become more tedious BECAUSE I'm with friends (AKA the Now you have to pick 20 mushrooms instead of just 10 because you don't share the objective). And whatever things I hated about it's released state..

Maybe if they fix all that, I'll still go play Skyrim, cause it's still better.
 

Xyebane

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I hope it goes F2P. I was terribly bored in the Beta and ESO just didn't feel like an ES game at all (to me). F2P would mean i could poke around it a little more and see if I like it for what it is rather than what it is not without the commitment of a subscription.
 

Sanunes

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I have a minor issue with using Warhammer Online as an example for there are many other MMO's out there that have dropped subscriptions for EA lost the license to Warhammer Online and that is why they stopped subscriptions.

I don't think I can think of another MMO that removed one of the their subscription options which is why I am not sure what is going on with Elder Scrolls. You would think they would keep all options open for if I was looking at Elder Scrolls online they either don't have faith that they have enough content to last six months or that they want more money because the cheapest option per month is now gone.

I was in the beta for Elder Scrolls Online and the only way I would go back to it is if it does go Free-To-Play, not because the game was inherently bad, but I never felt the draw to keep logging in like I did with World of Warcraft when it was released and that led to me feeling like I wasn't getting enough done in the game to justify $15 a month.
 

laggyteabag

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Doom972 said:
TESO doesn't have the depth of an Elder Scrolls game.
HA! "Depth".

OT: Damn. I thought that the game was going to go F2P by the end of the year, but I guess I was wrong. Oh well, my next best guess will probably be around April-June this year.

I played the beta, and that pretty much just killed any hype that I previously had for the game. In my eyes, the game was just not fun enough to justify a subscription. The only games that can really justify having a subscription now are WoW and EVE Online, anything else is just being unrealistic in their predicted success. If you make an MMO now, you make it B2P or you make it F2P, not even BioWare with SWTOR could beat this curse.

Would I play it if it did go F2P? Probably not. There are just better games and MMOs out there.
 

Zontar

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If it goes F2P then I will be happy to remind my TES fanboy friend that I called it a year before the thing even came out. It's genuinely amazing it hasn't gone F2P by this point.
 

Sanunes

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Laggyteabag said:
Doom972 said:
TESO doesn't have the depth of an Elder Scrolls game.
HA! "Depth".

OT: Damn. I thought that the game was going to go F2P by the end of the year, but I guess I was wrong. Oh well, my next best guess will probably be around April-June this year.

I played the beta, and that pretty much just killed any hype that I previously had for the game. In my eyes, the game was just not fun enough to justify a subscription. The only games that can really justify having a subscription now are WoW and EVE Online, anything else is just being unrealistic in their predicted success. If you make an MMO now, you make it B2P or you make it F2P, not even BioWare with SWTOR could beat this curse.

Would I play it if it did go F2P? Probably not. There are just better games and MMOs out there.
Personally I thought BioWare making a MMO wasn't going to end well, at least them going F2P made it successful from what I understand. I just wish I didn't feel like I was being punished for wanting to play it as a F2P game.
 

ron1n

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They rushed/botched its release badly.

Not only that, but the developers were incompetent at dealing with all the issues that arose soon after. Between the hoards of botters farming dungeon bosses, numerous exploits, buggy-as-fuck item banking and the invulnerable vampires killing 50 players at a time, I lost any faith I had reserved for them. You just cannot release a tripple A MMO in that state and expect it to succeed in the current climate.

It's a shame because the PvP zone was actually amazing, but they made the same stupid mistake that Warhamer Online did, which was parsing off the PvE and PvP as two entirely separate entities. Yes they would have lost plenty of PvE people who would have turned their nose up at having to go into a PvP zone to quest, but it ultimately would have given them a more stable and active population of hardcore PvPers who have been neglected with every single MMO that has been released of late.

If I could have played that game entirely in PvP and levelled like I did in WAR, I'd have still been playing. Instead I was forced to grind through mind-numbingly boring Veteran Area questing in order to be competitive at PvP -_-

TL;DR
Devs should have stuck their Mythic/DAOC roots and made a great PvP game instead of a mediocre PvE experience that only detracted the required people from making the PvP zone work.
 

Colt47

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I'm still crashing after the FFXIV ARR shiny new paint magic wore off. Too many games at the moment are following old school linear progression models that lack customization options and depend entirely on class specific gear ramping (Extra Credits did an episode on this a while back), and the Asian MMO rush of the last decade has severely burned out an entire generation of MMO players who have become increasingly jaded towards anything MMO related. The Elder Scrolls Online was just a horrible idea from the get go, but the ball was likely started before anyone even realized this situation was going to happen so it got released anyway.

On an off topic note, I'm starting to think Asia should just keep it's MMOs to itself. The majority of their games seem to suffer from collective inbreeding and casino mentality.
 

SecondPrize

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I really liked this game at launch, it took the same ol' MMO things I've grown tired of and did them differently enough that they felt fresh. Putting the game itself aside, I thought ZOS was the worst first time online developer I've ever seen. From locating their EU servers in freaking Texas to testing credit cards for the amount of a month's sub when people set up their accounts to get their free month at launch, they have just been as inept as is possible whenever any decision point was reached. I'm just going to allow myself to be pleasantly surprised if they manage to work up a F2P system that I would ever consider touching.
 

Silverbane7

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well, i enjoyed the beta, i enjoyed the game up to the point they added the dyes (actualy i enjoyed it till they removed all the decent looking gear, because it was supposed to be only for the *cough* elite *cough* VR players, and they had messed up)

if it goes F2P, i wont mind so much, provided i get to keep my characters i allready have and my current bank space.
also provided i can play with certain settings turned off (i am talking about the so called pvp-justice update) so i can play in peace in the PVE areas.

i do not, and probably will never, ever, enter the pvp zones. they hold no interest to me, and i actively avoid all areas that are likely to casue me to be set to PvP-enabled.
so of course i was very worried as i watched them describe their so called justice system. while the first part, the PvE side is almost exactly like the things you get in the older elder scrolls games, the Pvp-side update (which rolls out a while after the PvE side update) is going to be a problem for a lot of players like me.

we already saw the trollfest that is the dye system (and hours after it went live, the constant trolling of the dye benches by players popping AoE spells, so as to leach out the colour from your dye choices, so as to troll you and waste your time)
how long befor someone works out how to glitch people so they can attack anyone? (whether they are opted into or out of, the justice system)
personaly, i give it an hour befor it start to go tits up and turns into a pvp free for all.

if they *have* to have the system, why dont they just turn the pvp-justice on only in the pvp maps, and the pve-justice on only in the pve maps? that to me, makes more sence, since those who prefer pvp stay in the pvp areas.
i have no issue with them removing all the pvp based buffs that the pve people gain somehow (we shouldnt realy get those anyway if we arent in the Pvp map lol)

i would have prefered it if they had 2 megaservers per area. one pvp and one pve. but they chose this route, so they have to live with that desicion
 

Doom972

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Laggyteabag said:
Doom972 said:
TESO doesn't have the depth of an Elder Scrolls game.
HA! "Depth".
Look, I'm not saying that this game is as deep as masterpieces such as Deus Ex, but Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim were much deeper and more immersive than any MMO, including TESO.