‘Elder Scrolls Online’ Goes ‘Buy-To-Play’ As PS4, Xbox One Launch Announced

The removal of certain The Elder Scrolls Onlinesubscription options leading to a free-to-play option for the MMORPG was confirmed Wednesday. Bethesda Softworks and Zenimax Online made the announcement Wednesday, but it’s more along the lines of “buy-to-play.” The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release date was also revealed.

The warning signs for The Elder Scrolls Online making this move have been around for a while, as it is not the first MMORPG to make the transition. The most recent evidence was when a leaked memo revealed that an Australian retailer pulling the game completely from its shelves.

This led many to believe that it was going the free-to-play route like Star Wars: The Old Republic. Instead, Bethesda has decided to go in the direction of buy-to-play similar to Guild Wars 2.

The change in subscription options comes with a change in names too. The game is now called The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. The new subscription option happens first to the PC and Mac versions on March 17 with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch scheduled for June 9, 2015.

Here’s Bethesda’s explanation that make the new subscription model for The Elder Scrolls Online clear.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited includes all the great gameplay from the original PC/Mac game, plus all the updates and content additions, including the exciting new Justice and Champion systems. If you’ve ever played ESO, you’ll be invited to return to the game and experience everything new in the world without game subscription fees. If you’re new to ESO, you’ll make a one-time purchase of the game and then continue playing without restrictions for as long as you like.”

That’s not to say that there won’t be micro-transactions, however. Future expansions will cost money and there are other options as well.

“In Tamriel Unlimited, you’ll be able to purchase optional downloadable content, and the new in-game Crown Store will offer convenience and customization items. If you choose, you can pay a single monthly charge for our premium membership, ESO Plus™, to receive monthly in-game benefits and a monthly allotment of crowns to spend in the store. Our team remains committed to providing a great experience to all players, and you can expect continued, regular updates free of charge in addition to our new store offerings.”

So it sounds like the Crown Store will be used to purchase vanity items. It’s unclear what is meant by “convenience” at this point though. Could that possibly be experience boosters? We’ll need to see more details before we can make a determination there.

“Our fans are our biggest inspiration, and we’ve listened to their feedback on the entertainment experience they want,” wrote Matt Firor, Game Director of The Elder Scrolls Online in a press release. “We know that Elder Scrolls fans want choice when it comes to how they play and how they pay, and that is what they will get. We have made numerous changes to the game over the past year, and are confident this is a game that Elder Scrolls fans will love to play. Players can explore Tamriel with friends, battle creatures, craft, fish, steal, or siege. The choice is theirs. The game offers hundreds of hours of gameplay with unlimited dventures with one single game purchase. We can’t wait for everyone, whether they’ve played before or will be experiencing it for the first time, to begin adventuring in The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.”

Do you prefer the move to a Buy-To-Play option for The Elder Scrolls Online versus Free-To-Play? The reaction in the ESO sub-Reddit seems to be more in favor of this move over going F2P. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images via The Elder Scrolls Online]