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Elder Scrolls Online Will Have a Monthly Subscription

By - Source: GameStar | B 111 comments

Be prepared to pay $15 per month for an Elder Scrolls Online subscription.

ZeniMax Online General Manager Mat Firor confirmed with GameStar that the upcoming MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online will not have a free-to-play model. That's surprising given that Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic and many others in the genre attempted the subscription-only path and seemingly failed, adding the F2P model. However Firor believes The Elder Scrolls Online will have a fighting chance, and based on our hands-on during E3 2013, we might have to agree.

"Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play," he said. "Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make."

Like all other subscription-based offerings, The Elder Scrolls Online will come with 30 days of free play after purchasing the game. Customers will have access to everything the virtual world will have to offer, and then have a choice to continue on with a flat monthly fee once the trial expires. Additional information about discounts and whatnot will be revealed at a later date, he said.

"The Elder Scrolls games are all about allowing the player to go where they want, be who they want, and do what they want," he said. "We feel that putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in game ruins that feeling of freedom, and just having one small monthly fee for 100% access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play."

Firor went on to add that the decision to go with a monthly subscription model has no reflection on the team's opinion of other online game revenue models like free-to-play, buy-to-play and so on. They're proven models, but the subscription-based version is the one that works best with The Elder Scrolls Online. It's a premium experience backed by professional customer support.

"Players will appreciate not having to worry about being 'monetized' in the middle of playing the game, which is definitely a problem that is cropping up more and more in online gaming these days," he said. "The fact that the word 'monetized' exists points to the heart of the issue for us: We don't want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for - with our system, they get it all."

Firor added that the team is already working on content that will be rolled out once The Elder Scrolls Online goes live. This content will include new skills, quest lines, zones, dungeons and more – this is in addition to end-game content and the Player-vs-Player portion. An exact release schedule hasn't been etched in stone, but the team is shooting for a four to six week period between each content release.

Pricing details will be provided later, but the company plans to charge $14.99 per month, and cheaper rates for customers who choose to buy multiple months. Game time cards will be supported as well as a variety of other payment options.

UPDATE: The Elder Scrolls Online will have a cash shop too for "fun stuff".

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  • 14 Hide
    beayn , August 24, 2013 8:13 PM
    I paid for a WoW subscription for 7 years before canceling. After playing Neverwinter and spending $30 on Zen for very little return, I've come to realize that maybe the monthly subscription model isn't so bad. Neverwinter is the only game I've played like this, but the prices are absolutely insane. $10 for a bag with no way to craft even a small bag in game. $3 for profession packs that almost always give you the minimum they advertise. $35 for some epic mounts, $8 for fashion items that do nothing at all. Crazy.
  • 13 Hide
    ipwn3r456 , August 24, 2013 7:11 PM
    Seriously $15 per month? I can save up the money and buy 3 games per year with that money (without taxes or shipping)...
  • 13 Hide
    rantoc , August 24, 2013 7:37 PM
    Pay to win games are lame imo, either you don't have access to the advanced toys or you have to pay for them alternatively you have to grind 20x the time it takes to get the same items. If Bethesta intend to take a chapter from E.V.E's way of subscriptions i'm happy to pay them since it ensures the game will continually be updated with expansions without paying any additional money.

    World of Warcraft model both wants your money for the expansions AND pay a subscription each month to be able to play your already bought expansion. I don't say keeping servers up is free but hell it don't cost 12$ / month per subscriber. (Yes they made billions / year from the subscriptions alone and yet wanted more when expansions were made, now that that income have dropped due to more and more left the game all of a sudden they can afford to give out additional content w/o payment like the 5.4 patch... strikes me as they were overly greedy and now see that in the revenue stream).

    If Bethesda intend to go with the E.V.E approach i'm all for that, everyone will play the mmo with the same rules, unlike any "f2p" model where skill is less important as money can make up for that....
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    NightLight , August 24, 2013 6:02 PM
    well, no elder scrolls online for me then. I refuse to play any game that includes any fee other than the purchase price.
  • 8 Hide
    BigBodZod , August 24, 2013 6:09 PM
    This is great news if it keeps asshats from playing due to the cost but it probably will not have this affect.

    Seems so many multiplayer games have to include this kind of player.
  • 1 Hide
    deriven , August 24, 2013 6:17 PM
    Unless expansions are included with the subscription, players will not have ALL content. Subscription-based MMOs usually follow the same pay-to-play / pay-to-win progression model of F2P games .. only with a sharp and distinct time interval rather than constant. For instance, your character cannot reach level 60 until you buy that expansion that "unlocks" it.

    I do not believe subscription-based or any other model has even been selected for the good of players. Only for the ease of managing that MMOs budget, where a subscription of players x $15 is easier to predict rather than f2p random economy.
  • -6 Hide
    rrbronstein , August 24, 2013 7:04 PM
    Quote:
    well, no elder scrolls online for me then. I refuse to play any game that includes any fee other than the purchase price.


    monthly fees help support the game, why are people so against this? If its F2P they will have money sinks anyways like stores to buy skins, powerups, etc. So just pay a fee, and enjoy the game.
  • 13 Hide
    ipwn3r456 , August 24, 2013 7:11 PM
    Seriously $15 per month? I can save up the money and buy 3 games per year with that money (without taxes or shipping)...
  • -4 Hide
    bystander , August 24, 2013 7:28 PM
    Pay per month has good and bad. The bad is you can't test the game out, but the good is that if you get into it, and want to do all there is in game, it is actually cheaper than F2P, as F2P charges you for all sorts of transactions needed to play seriously.

    I frankly prefer a monthly fee than having to mess with all the up charge nonsense with F2P.
  • 6 Hide
    maxiim , August 24, 2013 7:33 PM
    Hmm okay, so free DLCs? No micro transaction shop? Still a 59.99 game with some sort of starter kit 89.99 one? Why bethesda? Why now? You've been so good to me
  • 13 Hide
    rantoc , August 24, 2013 7:37 PM
    Pay to win games are lame imo, either you don't have access to the advanced toys or you have to pay for them alternatively you have to grind 20x the time it takes to get the same items. If Bethesta intend to take a chapter from E.V.E's way of subscriptions i'm happy to pay them since it ensures the game will continually be updated with expansions without paying any additional money.

    World of Warcraft model both wants your money for the expansions AND pay a subscription each month to be able to play your already bought expansion. I don't say keeping servers up is free but hell it don't cost 12$ / month per subscriber. (Yes they made billions / year from the subscriptions alone and yet wanted more when expansions were made, now that that income have dropped due to more and more left the game all of a sudden they can afford to give out additional content w/o payment like the 5.4 patch... strikes me as they were overly greedy and now see that in the revenue stream).

    If Bethesda intend to go with the E.V.E approach i'm all for that, everyone will play the mmo with the same rules, unlike any "f2p" model where skill is less important as money can make up for that....
  • 4 Hide
    patrick47018 , August 24, 2013 7:48 PM
    This game had better be really good.. They are trying to **** us. This game had better come with a gift card to a fine dining establishment, because I like to be wined and dined before I get ******
  • 4 Hide
    abbadon_34 , August 24, 2013 7:56 PM
    oh well, and I thought it looked interesting...
  • 7 Hide
    thesuperguy , August 24, 2013 8:00 PM
    15 dollars a month is steep. They should at least have some kind of discount for purchasing a bulk subscription for like a couple of months or a year.
  • -6 Hide
    bystander , August 24, 2013 8:10 PM
    Quote:
    15 dollars a month is steep. They should at least have some kind of discount for purchasing a bulk subscription for like a couple of months or a year.


    They probably will.

    I don't understand how $15/month is so expensive. Besides online stuff that is nearly free, it is about the cheapest entertainment per hour there is.
  • 8 Hide
    rawoysters , August 24, 2013 8:10 PM
    No thanks Bethesda. I've played games all my life without dishing out that kind of monthly fee just to play a video game that I already payed for.
  • 14 Hide
    beayn , August 24, 2013 8:13 PM
    I paid for a WoW subscription for 7 years before canceling. After playing Neverwinter and spending $30 on Zen for very little return, I've come to realize that maybe the monthly subscription model isn't so bad. Neverwinter is the only game I've played like this, but the prices are absolutely insane. $10 for a bag with no way to craft even a small bag in game. $3 for profession packs that almost always give you the minimum they advertise. $35 for some epic mounts, $8 for fashion items that do nothing at all. Crazy.
  • 3 Hide
    bystander , August 24, 2013 8:15 PM
    Quote:
    I paid for a WoW subscription for 7 years before canceling. After playing Neverwinter and spending $30 on Zen for very little return, I've come to realize that maybe the monthly subscription model isn't so bad. Neverwinter is the only game I've played like this, but the prices are absolutely insane. $10 for a bag with no way to craft even a small bag in game. $3 for profession packs that almost always give you the minimum they advertise. $35 for some epic mounts, $8 for fashion items that do nothing at all. Crazy.


    They get your money one way or another. Pay per month will have everyone pay equally. Free to play, causes only the people into the game to pay, and they pay through the nose to make up for those who barely play.
  • -5 Hide
    GoldenI , August 24, 2013 8:18 PM
    bethesda. stahp.

    pls.

    pls stahp.
  • 6 Hide
    smeezekitty , August 24, 2013 8:20 PM
    $15 ($180 / year) is kind of absurd
    IMO When you buy software, you should be granted unlimited use of it without further payments.
  • 1 Hide
    jackt , August 24, 2013 8:54 PM
    Thats a lot !!!
  • 2 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , August 24, 2013 8:55 PM
    It'll be F2P after awhile I'm sure, nearly every MMO that's released since WoW couldn't avoid that fate. I'll play the included month and then wait for it to go F2P. I can't afford to spend half of my monthly gaming budget on an MMO subscription.
  • 7 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , August 24, 2013 9:06 PM
    I think it's amusing all these people objecting to the sub model. I guess the reality of compensation never occurred to them, they just want it as free as possible.

    The funny thing is, their F2P model often charges a lot more for one time use items then the sub model costs with items earned by quest for free that often can be used more then once. (Almost all quest items in FFXI for example can be used indefinitely.)

    But hey, if they want to give the developers all their money, more power to them. But they should also realize they're paying for others to play as well. Nothing is free, the cost will be recouped from you somehow, somewhere, and often, it's going to be higher then what the sub model charged.

    I've been playing FFXI for a bit over 7 years, I've paid upwards of 1400$ in that time span, not counting expansions. And I wouldn't ask for that money back for anything, because the quality of the content I've been able to experience is greater then anything I've seen in all these F2P games put together.

    Btw, for comparison, if you bought 20$ worth of items every month for a F2P game store (so like, 1 semi useful 1 time item or fashion piece, maybe 2 crappy one time items), you'd pay about 1800$ in the same time span. More items, would cost more. 2 pricey items would be crazy (Around 3600$)

    So good luck with you guys F2P games.

    Personally, I applaud Bethesda for going a sub route. I wish them the best.
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