B2P is the best move for Elder Scrolls Online

esoSo 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.

12 thoughts on “B2P is the best move for Elder Scrolls Online

  1. Tyler F.M. Edwards January 21, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    I’m always glad to see a game lose the mandatory sub. I think it’s good for gamers, good for games, and good for the industry as a whole. It tends to reinvigorate a game and its community, and cause a lot of excitement around a title. It’s a positive all around.

    I haven’t done a lot of research, but it seems they’re going for a pretty good business model reminiscent of TSW’s, which is about as good as it gets.

    My one additional hope is that they begin to offer some kind of limited free trial, for purely selfish reasons. I am wary of plunking down money on a game without somehow sampling it first. I haven’t been a fan of the previous Elder Scrolls games, but there’s a lot about ESO that intrigues me, and I’d like to at least give it a shot.

  2. Isey January 21, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    I’m shocked this went sub faster than WildStar as well. I may try it on console, going to wait and see.

  3. Redbeard January 21, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    If Wildstar goes F2P, I think I’ll try it out again. But ESO, I don’t know. That might be more due to me never getting into Skyrim very much, but I’m not sure.

  4. Athie January 21, 2015 / 4:15 pm

    I played ESO briefly when it launched — but there were issues as everyone knows, and I left after a month. I’m curious to see if things are as much improved as current players say, but I wasn’t going to spend cash on the game before being able to be sure things were better now. This change will certainly get me back in the door in March — at least for a few play sessions. For me at least, they’re getting the fabled second chance to make a first impression.

  5. Telwyn January 21, 2015 / 4:55 pm

    We tried this in late beta but the phasing for quests was so intrusive it made duo/trio play painful at best. I wonder have they actually made that any better? In any case I’ll probably give it another whirl just because the story-telling seemed pretty good overall.

  6. Sylow January 21, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    Hmm. It miiiight be that i take a look at ESO again when it’s buy to play. For solo roaming and building an unusual character, it was quite fun. Unfortunately as far as i know the game still has one problem which really drives me away or at least will prevent me to play it more than once in a (long) time: the anti-play-with-a-friend mechanic.

    To understand what i mean, connect these dots:
    1. If you kill a boss in an instance, you are immediately (read: the very second) moved to a copy of the instance where the boss is dead and will never turn up again. After all, in your story the boss is dead, so you can’t kill him again.
    2. If you kill a boss in group, only the person dealing the killing blow is credited for the kill. The rest are not credited, have to wait for the respawn and fight it again, till they get the killing blow.

    Translated: if you adventure together and stand up against a boss which you can only defeat together, then each time the party kill the boss only one of the party will progress the mission, the rest will be left behind and have to repeat the fight, but this time with one person less, as that one is in the other (boss-free) copy of the instance.

    If somebody here still plays ESO, please tell if this still happens or if (and how) this has been fixed. When playing with my girl in the open beta, this mechanic was a massive turn-off and the biggest reason (next to concluding that the game would still need a few month of bugfixing at that time) to skip it.

  7. Sylow January 21, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    Dammit. I shouldn’t have left this open for a few hours and then comment without refreshing. Telwyn asked my question in the meanwhile. 🙂

  8. D T January 21, 2015 / 10:15 pm

    Having played the closed beta. Purchased the game. And subscribed for 6 months I’ll defiantely go back. After all I don’t need to spend any more if I don’t have to 🙂

    I was playing up until they rejigged the crafting and Veteran levelling and I did find it fun. I had not played Skyrim before so it was all new to me and having come from LOTRO and GW2 I liked the less cartoon like graphics. Combat was responsive enough and the PvP was a great experience storming castles with siege equipment.

    As mentioned the only thing that was dissappointing was the lack of support for grouping. They should have taken notes from SWTOR which does story integration and grouping well and the instancing did create headaches where someone would leave the group behind because they killed the boss first. But you just learn to deal with it and it does make for a more dynamic world.

    Defintely worth the box price for me. Hope they reward those of us that did subscribe thou with more than just a pet.

  9. Larhanya (@Larhanya) January 22, 2015 / 1:10 am

    I’ve been playing ESO for about six months now. I’ve never come across the grouping issue that y’all are talking about (i.e. quests only updating for one member of a group at a time, triggering phasing). I regularly duo with my husband and trio with my husband and my sister. There are occasional small issues where a quest will advance after one person makes a choice, but it does advance for the whole group.
    Some phasing will occur if one person has already completed an overland quest and then groups up with another person. You will enter into different layers of the region because things have changed for the person who already completed the quest. We find that the best way to avoid issues with that is just to play as a fixed duo or trio and only play those characters when we’re together.

    I’m taking a wait-and-see approach to the B2P model for ESO. I expect it will be an okay and possibly even a good change, but I have my reservations after living through the F2P transitions in both LotRO and DDO.

  10. baldwinp January 22, 2015 / 8:21 am

    This is awesome news. I played in the beta, subbed for 6 months, and thoroughly enjoyed the game, but I couldn’t justify giving it even more money on my budget. I was so hoping to be able to return to my characters one day and I am glad that I will. Thanks for the news, Syp! I mostly played the game solo, so I can’t advise anyone on the group mechanics. To me it was fun enough to do ad hoc grouping depending on whoever was in a dungeon with you.

  11. Zombiepirate January 23, 2015 / 5:22 am

    I bought it, played it for a bit and actually enjoyed it during the first few months. Sadly I’d also got WoW and TOR with their subs so 3 games I wasn’t going to be paying for and therefore ESO got the boot. With me lready having bought the game and F2P will definitely see me going back in and having some fun (I hope, depending on the F2P restrictions).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s