Elder Scrolls Online: Subscription Model Revealed (Gamasutra.com)

Well, not exactly shocking. It never occurred for me that ESO would make a great F2P model as fun, fluffy costumes and such would seem really out of place. That said, ESO has announced a subscription fee: $15/month. That’s been the standard monthly fee for AAA MMOs for the past several years. Thanks to Gamasutra’s reporting of a German gaming website’s interview, we have plenty of the reasons why.

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With only a few big exceptions like World of Warcraft and EVE Online, the subscription model has largely been abandoned by MMO developers.

So it’s notable that one of the most highly-anticipated MMOs — Zenimax Online’s The Elder Scrolls Online — will be charging a $15 monthly fee (/€12.99/£8.99).

Zenimax Online general manager Matt Firor talked about it openly in a new interview with German website Gamestar, and a Zenimax rep confirmed as much with us.

“Charging a flat monthly fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play,” Firor told the website. ESO will also include 30 days of play with the purchase of the game. “Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren’t willing to make.”

The decision flies in the face of current MMO trends, but Firor says the move is “not a referendum” on free-to-play business models, though he does imply that with subscription-based games comes a higher level of quality.

“F2P, B2P, etc. are valid, proven business models — but subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery,” he said.

It’s a noble sentiment — to want to give players the keys to the castle for a flat (monthly repeating) rate. But players often storm the castle, do everything there is to do in the castle, and then are left twiddling their thumbs wondering what else there is to do, other than being resentful that they’re paying $15 a month. It’s players’ ability to burn through content faster than a developer can create it that gets certain kinds of subscription-based games in trouble.

Firor said for ESO, the plan is to “have new content available every four to six weeks.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the most obvious major example of a subscription model that failed. The game had the talent, resources and license to theoretically warrant $15 per month, but in the end, subscriptions dropped off rapidly after a strong launch, and the game adopted free-to-play. Other games like Rift and Tera are just a couple other examples of games that have made the subscription-to-free-to-play switch.

Firor said, “The fact that the word ‘monetized’ exists points to the heart of the issue for us: We don’t want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for – with our system, they get it all.”

ESO is slated to release on PC, Mac and next-gen consoles next year.

Elder Scrolls Online: New Beta Group Emailed Today!

For those of you clutching at your chest and heaving fists Heavenward after each ESO beta group announcement because you weren’t selected, today may not be your day either! Sorry. However, you can at least rejoice in the knowledge that “Spring 2014” is the all-platform-launch (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac).

Elder Scrolls Online today announced a new group of beta participants have been invited to the super secret closed beta. Read on for more info! Their new gameplay trailer is at the end of the article.

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NEW BETA INVITES

Check your email—we’re sending new invitations to the ESO beta.

It’s been an exciting week for us already (check out our big announcement and newgameplay trailer if you missed it!), and now we have even more good news: we’re sending out a round of beta invites today for PC users. Check your email now to see if you’ve been invited.If you didn’t get an invite, don’t worry. The ESO beta test will continue to grow as we head towards launch. Make sure to check your spam folder just in case your invitation was caught, and check out this article for more information about the beta test.We’re excited to have more of you join the test and are looking forward to your feedback!

Original ESO Article

Elder Scrolls Online: 20 Quick Facts

TenTonHammer.com usually does a great job giving everything from overviews to detailed commentary about games. While this article doesn’t really share any brand new insights, for gamers who haven’t paid much attention to the hundreds of updates the rabid community has come up with thus far, it’s a worthwhile high-level view of what The Elder Scrolls Online is planning to bring to the MMORPG sphere.

(Will add the video links tonight, but you can view the original article for them now.)

http://www.tentonhammer.com/eso/cheat-sheet-20-facts

The Elder Scrolls Online Cheat Sheet - 20 Down and Dirty Facts You Need to Know

1. ZeniMax Online releases a lot of information in the form of YouTube videos:

2. All of the provinces of Tamriel, seen in the 5 previous single-player games, will feature in ESO, but it is unlikely that the game will be as expansive as The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, which covered about 188,000 square miles. Many regions will be inaccessible at launch; some of these regions may be opened up in later expansions or content updates, but some are likely to remain off-limits.

3. Players will choose between three factions, each consisting of three races: the High Elves, Wood Elves and Khajiit of the Aldmeri Dominion; the Bretons, Redguard and Orcs of the Daggerfall Covenant; and the Nords, Dark Elves and Argonians of the Ebonheart Pact. Each race starts out in its homeland, but may visit other lands later on in the game.

4. Characters will be class-based instead of skill-based like the other Elder Scrolls games, but classes are somewhat less restrictive. Any character, regardless of class, can use any kind of weapon or armor. Players can build sword-and-board mages in heavy armor, or staff-wielding, robe-wearing warrior-monk types using a melee fighter base class. Spells and other powers will be accessed by an ability bar, MMO-style.

5. ESO uses a dynamic combat system, similar to the single-player games; characters must be facing their enemies to hit them, and can dodge blows via movement keys (provided they have enough stamina to dodge). A “soft lock” targeting system still requires the character to face his target, but allows the player to pick a single target out of a crowd, or to hit the soft-locked target if it moves behind another un-selected target.

6. It will be the only Elder Scrolls game set in a time before the rise of Tiber Septim, whose ascent to godhood and political legacy shaped the events of all of the single-player games to date.

7. The cinematic trailer makes all the player races look way badass:

8. The player character is called “The Soulless One,” and the main story of The Elder Scrolls Online deals with the character’s struggle to get his soul back from the Daedric prince, Molag Bal, who stole it.

9. Glory is fleeting. The events of the other Elder Scrolls series of games take place after the Elder Scrolls Online, so by the history of those games, we know that none of the playable factions in ESO manage to hold onto Cyrodiil for a significant length of time.

10. For the same reason, we know that Molag Bal is ultimately unsuccessful in pulling all of Tamriel into Coldharbour, his own personal realm of Oblivion. This is more or less confirmed by the Journey to Coldharbour video:

11. The events of ESO take place about 948 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Some structures that appeared as ruins in TES I – V will be found whole and in-use in ESO.

12. Looting barrels for crafting supplies, lockpicking and buff stones carry over from previous titles, according to the Gathering and Exploration video:

13. Crafting will be MMO-style – characters will be able to master two out of five professions, but will need to buy or barter for items crafted by other professions.

14. Since Molag Bal is known as the Father of Vampires (among other things), vampirism will play a significant role.

15. As detailed in the Wolf Queen books in the other games, the city of Camlorn has werewolf problems. Lycanthropy will also play a role in the game, at least for Daggerfall Covenant players.

16. The PvP comes with a rich backstory, according to The Elder Scrolls Online: Alliances at War video:

17. Players earn Alliance Points through PvP. These points can be spent on things like catapults and other siege weapons. Players also earn Alliance Ranks through PvP, which give them access to specialized gear and skill trees. Players can also be named Emperor through PvP, by taking the Ruby Throne.

18. XP gain in PvP is not as consistent as through PvE questing, but players who choose to do so will be able to reach level cap purely through PvP, starting at level 10. At level 10, players can enter the Cyrodiil PvP arena, where they will be scaled up to level 50. Characters with naturally higher levels will have some advantage over scaled-up low-levels, with more expansive skill trees and access to better gear, but low-levels shouldn’t be completely gimped.

19. The guilds from previous games – Mages Guild, Fighters Guild, Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood – will be included in Elder Scrolls Online, and will be joinable. They will also provide special bonuses to some skill trees – for example, mages who join the Mages Guild will gain extra abilities with some magic skills.

20. The Elder Scrolls Online will have built-in social media integration with major social networking sites, allowing players to form guilds and coordinate events with their friends easily.

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