The Elder Scrolls Online launched amid many MMOs seeking to dethrone World of Warcraft as its subscription numbers plummeted before its recent expansion. Regrettably, things have not gone so well for these new contenders in the MMO field. It is good to see World of Warcraft picking up yet again with innovative new features and content, yet it would be nice to see other MMOs also rising to offer more choices within the genre. The Elder Scrolls Online has had difficulty releasing its console versions, which is probably a result of their efforts to polish end-game progression and play options in response to player feedback.
Earlier today, the console release date was announced, along with a new plan to offer players the option of enjoying the game without a subscription, only the purchase of the retail box. This new approach is dubbed “The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited”. The release date for Playstation 4 and Xbox One is set on June 9th 2015. The new subscription-free options will be available a little earlier on PC, starting March 17th, 2015.
Current details are relatively sparse, but the announcement states that anyone who has already played Elder Scrolls Online will be able to play again without resubscribing. While existing content will be available as a part of the deal, the announcement mentions downloadable content as well. In the future, players will be able to purchase said DLC, or use in-game currency to purchase “convenience and customization items.” A premium membership subscription will still be made available, which offers access to DLC and monthly allotments of the in-game currency. The announcement states that, in addition to this, players can still expect free regular updates.
An extra announcement released explains the premium membership, stating that it will effectively function like a regular subscription with similar pricing options. The premium membership will allow you to progress slightly faster in XP, gold gain, and crafting. If you cancel the premium subscription, you will retain the items you had gained from unlocked content. However, to keep playing DLC, you will either have to keep up the subscription or buy the DLC separately.
We cannot judge how well this program will work out, yet. On the one hand, it is nice to have more options to enjoy a game as expansive as an MMO. However, the extra perks for a premium membership may concern some that the game will be hindered without the extra investment. Overall, it seems the approach takes a bit from Lord of the Rings Online and Guild Wars 2, as well as regular downloadable content. Hopefully, this program will make it easier, and more affordable, for everyone to enjoy the game at their own pace and leisure.