The Elder Scrolls Online will have monthly subscriptions

Wednesday, 21st August 2013 11:41 GMT By Dave Owen

Subscription models seem to be going extinct, but that hasn’t stopped Zenimax Online and Bethesda from announcing that The Elder Scrolls Online will require a flat monthly fee to play.

“We’re building a game with the freedom to play – alone or with your friends – as much as you want,” said Zenimax Studios president Matt Firor in an interview with Gamestar. A game with meaningful and consistent content – one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support.”

As is standard practice you’ll get 30 days of full access included in the box. But after that you’ll have to pay in return for unlimited game-time.

It’s a strange move given the prevalence of free-to-play. “The Elder Scrolls games are all about allowing the player to go where they want, be who they want, and do what they want,” Firor 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.”

The basic monthly charge will be $14.99/€12.99/£8.99, but players can “expect some discounts if you buy multiple months at a time.”



  1. Kuppz90


    #1 1 year ago
  2. NocturnalB

    So what does this mean for PS4/XBOne players? I’m going to take a wild guess and say their PSN/XBL Gold subscriptions aren’t going to count in any way toward this sub?

    Don’t get me wrong I enjoy sub-based over F2P MMO’s but, paying 2 different subscriptions just to play on a console is likely to be a deal breaker for more than a few.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. backup

    PC gaming killing gaming industry nothing new here

    Sony only one trying to save it

    #3 1 year ago
  4. dsr

    Good luck with that. I’ll be there when it goes F2P eventually.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Sunshyme

    This is what changes the game from a potential popular MMO to a complete failure. It is a hopelessly outdated system to use monthly fees as a business model.

    After a year it will be free to play, after two years it will be gone.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Aullah

    Soo much stupidity in this topic. For one, im happy for this cause I rather pay than deal with the free and stupid microtransaction non-sense.

    @2 Pretty sure you will have to pay sub on console too.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Sunshyme

    Opinions vs stupidity. ;) I don’t like microtransactions either. However, the fact that you have monthly payments doesn’t make it a great game. Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online… I bet we can add TESO to that list in 2 years.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. backup

    why don’t ask casual wow and eve online PC beggars first

    #8 1 year ago
  9. ps3fanboy

    using a monthly fee is so 2005 stone age, this game will be Dead On Arrival.. nice reading about it thou… but RIP ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ 2013.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Blackened Halo

    thanks god they can use their brains yet :)

    #10 1 year ago
  11. dsr

    You forgot RIFT, SWTOR and Secret World.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. _LarZen_

    This means I now have faith in the game, F2P games are cancer in the gaming industry.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. lookingglass

    What a relief. That just gave this game a chance at greatness.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. super3001

    paid sub = doa.

    it will change to f2p before release

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Blue Oni

    This was going to flop anyway but now it will flop even harder.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. budoshi

    I always wonder why ncsoft a ka areanet a ka guild wars 1 – 2 can be no monthy fee but all others noooooooooooooooooooooo we cant… screw it i wont touch it t ill it comes f2p wich it probably will anyway.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Kreion

    Mmmm This may not be the best decision for them. Sure they have a big franchise behind them, but when you have games like GW2 already going F2P and Everquest: Next coming out which will also be F2P…why would I want to pay a subscription fee?

    #17 1 year ago
  18. TheWulf

    So, levels and a subscription? Okay, this one’s off my list.

    The problem with that is is that it’s going to be designed in that precious way that all operant conditioning-based MMOs are. All that a subscription and levels says to me any more is ‘hey, our game isn’t really all that fun to just play, so we’re using carrot-on-a-stick compulsion as a replacement for enjoyable gameplay.

    I’ve played MMOs where that isn’t the case, where the base of the game is actually fun. The two that I’ve been sticking with lately are Marvel Heroes and The Secret World. Marvel Heroes has levels, but they’re hilariously just cosmetic. See, a lady friend and I brought another friend into Marvel Heroes — we were around 15, his character was level 3. It made next to no difference. In TotalBiscuit’s Marvel Heroes video, he also commented on how levels were cosmetic, and how he brought a low level Wolverine into a higher level area.

    That’s just something you can do. And there’s no grind in that game because loot drops like candy. And often loot actually gives you abilities that you haven’t even unlocked yet via ‘levelling,’ so it’s all the funnier. So without an operant conditioning basis to play Marvel Heroes, why stay? Because it’s actually fun to play, damn it! It’s fun to play in precisely the same way that Torchlight II is.

    Except I’ve been playing Marvel Heroes a lot more than Torchlight II, because I can’t pick up and throw cars in Torchlight II. And you all know how much I love TL II.

    So the only two MMOs I’ve stuck with in the longest time have no subscription, and either no levels or inconsequential levels, thus removing the feeling of vertical progression. I don’t feel like I’m actually climbing to some power plateau where I can finally have fun, instead I’m actually just having fun.

    That’s the distinction.

    If you were to pick up TSW or MH, you’d start having fun right away. If you were to pick up Wilstar or Elder Scrolls Online, you’d feel pressured to reach the power plateau, the max level with the best gear. You’d grind, and grind, and not really be having fun. You’d feel stressed, and irritable, and you’d just push yourself. And when you finally do reach the power plateau you’ll just force yourself to play the game then even though it isn’t fun because you earned it.

    How do I know this? I have a roomie that became addicted to WoW, and I kept asking him why he did so.

    Why do you grind?
    I have to reach max level, that’s when the fun starts.
    Why are you grinding now?
    I have to get consumable sets to have fun with a raid.
    Why are you grinding now?
    Gear to beat the next raid, they said the next raid is really fun.
    Why are you grinding now?
    I need consumable sets to help my friends beat the next raid.
    Why are you grinding now?
    Gear to–
    Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be that magical point you told me about where you could stop grinding and start actually having fun?
    …shut up, I’m busy.

    And so it went.

    Some people are weak-willed like that, but that does nothing for me. I can see through it and I find it very transparent. So all a game with vertical progression and operant conditioning-based compulsion ever does? It just makes me bored. Bored, bored, bored. Why buy an unfun, boring game?

    I’ll stick to games without subscriptions and/or levels, thanks.

    I finally realise what makes a good MMO, I’m just waiting for everyone else to catch up and realise that they’re not having fun.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. TheWulf


    The Secret World and Marvel Heroes are doing a good job at that. Check them out!

    I’ll warn you about some iffy writing and sometimes dull combat in TSW, though, but still it’s definitely worth it for the research, exploration, puzzling, and deck-building stuff.

    And if you like dungeon crawler/loot hoarder style games (like Torchlight II) then Marvel Heroes is a blast. It’s an amazingly fun game. And the new survival maps they put in are hilarious and definitely worth seeing.

    Like Torchlight though, MH is more fun if you go into it with friends.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. TheWulf


    How so?

    I’d say that, contrarily, subscription games are the cancer. I can’t remember the last time that a free to play game was responsible for actually killing people, or having children killed by proxy.

    It’s not fun sharing a name with the latter, I’ll tell you. Especially since I had a roomie who almost met the same fate thanks to WoW.

    No, I think it’s fairly obvious which is the cancer.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. TheWulf


    Play either The Secret World or Marvel Heroes and tell me how the microtransactions ruin them.

    Furthermore, both games give you game-shop money to buy stuff without actually putting down real money. The first time I quickly reached 600 eternity splinters in Marvel Heroes without even trying, I was stunned. Likewise, I was shocked when The Secret World dropped enough game-shop money in my lap at one point to buy a complete outfit.

    Microtransactions don’t ruin MMOs. Greedy business plans do. And often you’ll find more greedy business plans in a subscription MMO than you will in a free to play one.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. TheWulf


    Your trolling is boring at this point, but you did actually say something mildly profound, there.

    See, I can agree that SOE are always trying new and interesting things. They have been since day one. I wouldn’t dream of arguing with that. There was a point where you could see how SOE was trying to be Blizzard, around the Everquest II era, as EQ II was all about expansions, subscriptions, grinding, and greed.

    However, they’re also responsible for PlanetSide, PlanetSide 2, Free Realms, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Dragon’s Prophet, and Everquest Next. Some of those I still have issue with and take umbrage at, but there’s no denying that each of those games was, at the time, something new.

    Free Realms is something that I lost way too many months too as it was a compelling experience about something other than killing everything in sight for a change. And it actually had half decent writing, which shocked me considering that it was a kid’s games. The blatantly dark undertones in some of the areas shocked me — such as the fairies who were using mind controlling drugs on everyone to make them happy and to force them to have fun, some are on the cusp of freaking out but they always receive a new supply of ‘party foods’ just in time.

    Why was I angry? I… forget. Hm. Oh well! PAR-TAY!” *shiver.*

    But yeah, I have some good memories thanks to Sony’s offerings, and I’m intrigued by Everquest Next.

    The thing is is that Sony hasn’t always had good ideas — Everquest II is an awful mess of grind and greed, and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes deserved to fail for reasons which become obvious when playing it. Dragon’s Prophet just feels like the humans are only there so that objectified tit fests can be a thing, and it feels like the game would be much more fun if you controlled the dragon directly… but still.

    They do have ideas, at least. Even if not always good ones. Even if sometimes really bad ones. They are trying.

    So I’ll be interested to see how Everquest Next turns out.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Phoenixblight


    Man you are a moron.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. viralshag

    @23, As much as it pains me to do this, technically D&D:O went F2P sometime in 2009 and that article is from 2007.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Phoenixblight


    There was another article where parents in africa had killed their children due to them playing DDO.

    Apparently WUlf is right F2P is a cure for mental illness.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. viralshag

    @25, Wow.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Stardog

    EverQuest Next is the game for those who aren’t into these kind of generic MMO’s.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. Dargoth

    To the comments about TSW and Marvel Heroes. Somehow you all forgot Guild Wars 2 :)

    #28 1 year ago
  29. budoshi

    @ 28 check again *cough* 16 *couch*

    #29 1 year ago
  30. brfyr5

    If final fantasy xiv requires a monthly subscription then TESO will have one too. I don’t get why people think TESO is the same as F2P. You still have to pay 60 bucks for the game. So it’s not free. Also it’s just speculation that you won’t need PS Plus to play the game, either way you’ll be paying for a subscription with or without PS Plus.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. McLovin

    Has no one played GW2? The Buy to play model is the only one that makes any sense. You’re buying an online game to play, you’re not receiving a new game every month like when you subscribe for other things such as magazines… The subscription model is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever seen.

    #31 1 year ago

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