With a month to go before The Elder Scrolls Online morphs into a buy to play game under the mouthful of a new title The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, there is now more info on how things will work after the switch. When the switch was announced, and the buy to play option with future DLC (included for subscribers or available for purchase) made known, there were still some pressing questions left with regards to just what this might entail. There are other games out there with hybrid models that sell content updates like The Secret World or The Lord of the Rings Online, but details were scarce until now. Additionally, there have been some new details released with regards to players being able to keep up with one another once the new model, additional DLC updates, crown shop, and even possible new gear are available.
It’s clear from chatter around the internet and even on this very site, that some people are awaiting the buy to play launch to start playing the game or to return. With update 6 on the PTS but not live just yet, there is a buzz of fresh activity among existing players, especially for looking into just what the future holds for everyone. While this time kind of feels like a lull before a storm in a way, Zenimax is filling us in with some details about what we can expect with the switch, as well as some bits about what’s beyond. It’s only expected to wonder about some of the announcements and development beyond the rush of fast-paced development over the past year that has brought us all here to the point of a model change and upcoming console release.
DLC has been a big one since the announcement, since the switchover to DLC for major content updates earned comparisons to other games employing the same overall policy. Would the game be like The Secret World, where each new issue is released for purchase over a loose period of time? Would it be more like LOTRO, with each new expansion sold adding areas that are otherwise gated off. What might these DLC updates include? Would players who cancel their ESO Plus (new subscription option) have to buy every DLC pack released in order to continue playing in certain ways? Would items released via DLC impact player progress?
It’s a valid question, especially if new gear is released that affects player viability in PvP, but given the track record and previous statements on gear, it seems that there shouldn’t be too much concern as crafted and drop gear should keep players on similar enough ground for skill to take precedence, and gear released through DLC seems as if it will be tradeable for those who can’t obtain it on their own. This is good if the gear isn’t bound. Not so good if it’s a single-time drop and players can’t give it a spin to see if they like it first or use it for a bit before moving onto something else. Yet the player-driven economy being what it is and the value of getting players to keep subbing or paying for the DLC in development, it seems reasonable to expect such gear to be bound. In other words, some of what DLC brings to the table will be of interest to non-subscribers, but prepare to fork over a premium in gold if that is in your interest.
Given that, like SWTOR, the game’s story will continue to be accessible without restriction to all players, these new DLC packs do seem likely to add optional content along similar lines. New regions gated off to non-subscribers, but which you can either subscribe to gain access to or purchase to unlock permanently.