So by now I’m sure that most of you have heard the big news of the day, which is that Elder Scrolls Online will be dropping its sub-only model for a buy-to-play one with optional premium subs.
Good. Awesome. Applause-worthy. And I’m not being even a hint sarcastic here.
I think we all knew something was coming, and it makes perfect sense that ESO would want to get rid of mandatory subs before pushing out a console version (as the console crowd isn’t quite sold on subs as a general rule). It could even trigger a renaissance for the game that could overshadow its 2014 launch, as it’s going to get a lot of attention for the next few months, have the March business model shift, and then have the June console launch. Take all of that and factor in a game that’s shored up its weak spots with six substantial updates, and it could be a whole new ball game. Will it get old players back? New players in? Expand ZeniMax’s potential for revenue? Yes to all of the above.
For me, I’m actually excited. There wasn’t going to be any way that I was going to sub up last year, especially on top of WildStar (and in what world does ESO drop its sub model before WildStar? C’mon!). Now, I can easily justify the cost of a box if I know that it’s free sailing after that. I love the B2P model with TSW and GW2, and am far less resentful of an up-front cost than in-game restrictions.
So I’m penciling in April to be the Month of ESO for me. Even if it’s not a good match and might just be a one-month experiment, at least it will expand my horizons and satisfy some curiosity I’ve had about the title.
I gotta say, we’re not even through the first month of the year, and already we’ve had this huge announcement, H1Z1’s early access launch, almost-confirmation of a Guild Wars 2 expansion, and tons of previews from other MMOs. Even with an anemic launch lineup, 2015 is looking to be one incredibly interesting year.