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Zenimax Online Studios | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download,Retail | Retail Price:$59.99 | Pay Type:Buy to Play | Monthly Fee:Free
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Columns: Are ESO Subs Going to Plummet?

By Ryan Getchell on January 28, 2015

Are ESO Subs Going to Plummet?

With the announcement of The Elder Scrolls rebranding itself to The Elder Scrolls: Tamriel Unlimited and utilizing a Buy to Play model a lot of people are questioning if it is worth subscribing to the game after March 17th, myself included.  Let me explain why.


When ESO was first announced, Matt Firor and the team behind him stated they wanted to achieve a very audacious goal of releasing content patches every four to six week, a goal that they were almost attaining. However, that goal has now become a distant memory and they will no longer be focusing on that, which is why I am questioning if it is worth subbing after March 17th.

On Friday, Zenimax did a live Ask us Anything on the ESO Reddit and one of the answers did not sit well with me, or with a lot of people:

We are not going to keep up our 2014 pace of updates in 2015 - and our future update pace will focus more on new adventures and game experiences than system changes. It's time to let the game breathe a little - we've done so many new features so quickly that we want to make sure everyone is on the same page with us. 1.6 alone has a complete rebalancing of most player abilities - we don't want to do that again, for example. Our #1 priority right now is getting Tamriel Unlimited launched on PC, and then focusing on a successful console launch. While we do those things, we have other teams already working on DLC and expect to see that start rolling out at some point after console launch settles down. – Matt Firor

A lot of people do not realize how horrible this news is. Basically 1.6 is going to be last major update to the game until “after console launch settles down”. First, let’s try and figure out when that is, typically a MMO has two months after launch before it settles down. Trying to fix the bugs and server issues that always come with an online game launch takes a bit of time. With consoles being released in June that places the next potential release of content somewhere around September. If 1.6 launches the same time as Tamriel Unlimited that means we’ll have a stale period of six months before anything new is added to the game.

If this was World of Warcraft, six months isn’t that long of a time, as lot of guilds and players will still be pushing their way through the current tier of raiding. This is ESO, we don’t have a gear grind that takes six months to achieve. We have trials that take an hour to defeat, and these trials do not always drop best gear, sometimes the best gear is crafted. Once you’ve received the crafted gear what is there for you to do? Quest? Most VR14 players have already completed the quest lines for all three factions and if they haven’t they surely won’t take six months to do.

While patch 1.6 is incredibly massive it does not offer six months’ worth of content, maybe two. In terms of content patch 1.6 is giving players the Justice System. While this is going to be an extremely fun aspect of the game do you really foresee yourself spending six months looting and pillaging cities? Is that really how you want to spend your in-game time?

Of course there is PvP, and I really enjoy PvP.  It is one of the major reasons I am still excited about this game. Even then, after days of strict PvP I get bored. Undaunted Dailies aren’t overly difficult and once you’ve obtained your 2 piece set, and capped out the undaunted skill line there isn’t much reason to continue them. As time goes on we’re going to see less and less people looking to do the undaunted dailies.

Let’s say I did stay subscribed, and it took six months for ZOS to release content, what will I have gotten in the mean time?

  • 9000 crowns
  • Access to all downloadable content
  • Exclusive character progression bonuses for the duration of membership
  • 10% bonus to experience point gain
  • 10% bonus to crafting research
  • 10% bonus to crafting inspiration gain
  • 10% bonus to gold acquisition

Having played the game since release in April, a lot of those benefits are worthless to me, and many other people.

The XP gain is great for leveling an alt, but useless on my level capped character unless it counts towards champion points as well.

Crafting Research time, means nothing as I’ve capped out all my crafting already. Unless they release additional crafting traits this bonus serves no purpose. Which I can’t see them doing for six months.

Crafting inspiration gain, again same as the crafting time, I’ve capped my crafting skills inspiration means nothing.

Gold acquisition is the only major thing that I’ll be utilizing for those six months. Even that isn’t a lot. The average mob drops 50 gold, with the bonus I’d be getting 55 gold. Every 10 humanoids killed I get a free 50 gold. Nothing I’m super exciting about, but I’ll take it.

I’ll also be getting the 1500 crowns every month, or 9000 total. These crowns would go towards vanity items such as costumes, pets, mounts etc. This is something that is 100% optional and offers nothing in the way of actually playing the game and enjoying it for what it is. I’ve played this long without it and enjoyed every moment of it, doing it while wearing a jester costume would be a bonus but one that I can easily say no to.

All the bonuses offered by Zenimax are outstanding and extremely beneficial to a new player or a player who is returning but for those who’ve been enjoying the game since day one they are mediocre at best.

On top of ZOS not releasing any content for six months, I found this worrying thing within their FAQ:

Does purchased downloadable content (DLC) come with me if I switch megaservers?

No. DLC purchased in the Crown Store is only available on the megaserver where it was purchased. (For example, if you buy DLC on the North American megaserver, it will only be available when playing on the North American megaserver.)

When you buy ESO, you’re given access to play on both EU and NA servers. You can switch between them at will. You do not need to own two copies of the game, yet for their DLC releases if you wish to play both EU and NA servers you’re required to purchase two.

What is the difference between buying the retail box or buying a DLC for that retail box. I do not see any difference however Zenimax has placed an imaginary difference on them.

This is my plea to Zenimax, please for the love of the eight, make the $15 a month feel valuable to us. As of right now it feels like anyone who subscribes from now until the first DLC release that isn’t a new or returning player isn’t getting anything of value.

I had no issues paying the subscription fee in order to play the game, my money was going towards access to this fantastic game, but with it going Buy to Play where I can enjoy the same exact game with no limitation for FREE why should I subscribe. So please, Zenimax make us want to spend the money, give us content, even veteran dungeons is acceptable.

Ryan Getchell / Ryan is our resident Elder Scrolls nerd, and columnist for Zenimax's MMO. When he's not out killing things in Tamriel, he's working in IT professionally.