Elder Scrolls b2p, take two

So Elder Scrolls Online will go buy-to-play come march. Yesterday i wrote that this is the business model the game should have launched with, so you can guess i’m in favor of this change. It’s not so much about the game, in fact, i think the negativity it gets, for instance in the comments over at Massively, is surprising and totally undeserved. Yes, features one is expecting in games nowadays are missing, but personally, i feel that this makes the game more interesting.

The game

No Dungeon Finder? Great! No global auction houses? Also great, although i’d still like to see easier ways for individual players to sell their stuff. Why not have local auction houses, at least? I like the class-building skill system- basically, you can make every class do what you want- some will do it better, some will do it worse, but a plate-armor-wearing, two-hander-wielding sorceror is entirely possible. Of course, if you want to min-max your character, you’d say that this-and-that isn’t possible/viable, but who cares about that, anyway?

Arriving in Vulkhel Guard...again
Arriving in Vulkhel Guard…again

In light of last month’s discussion about how to get players to socialize more, Elder Scrolls Online has it’s own take on the matter- there are merchant guilds, guilds can own a shop somewhere, somehow in the regions of Tamriel (haven’t looked into how they work yet) and you can join 5 guilds at a time. You have to talk to other people to get into a dungeon, knowing crafters helps, having a “crafter buddy” is also kind of recommended if you want to improve your crafting more quickly. So ESO has an opinion and at least tries to do something that makes the players communicate more and it blows in their face, since the public impression is that of “missing features” instead of “wow, finally a game where we get to know each others again”.

This goes as an example that players don’t necessarily want what they think they want. In an upcoming post about an old multigaming guild and the Repopulation, i’ll take a closer look at that. For now, let’s just say that when players say they want more of x, y, z, this is not entirely true, as Wildstar also proved.

Elder Scrolls Online is immersive, it has interesting writing/quests/areas, some unique mechanics and a lot of content, even if you wanted to treat it as a singleplayer experience. Come march, i think it is great value for money, and it really isn’t a bad game and/or MMORPG.

The business model

So they’ll sell mounts, pets, costumes and potions in their ingame cash shop in addition to DLCs and an optional subscription. The subscription comes with bonuses one would expect- a monthly stipend of cash shop currency and 10% more experience, inspiration, gold and analyzing crafting stuff and also provides access to all future DLCs (of course, if you cancel your sub you’ll lose this access).

It is a starter island, but at least it isn't instanced away- the tutorial is, however.
It is a starter island, but at least it isn’t instanced away- the tutorial is, however.

Interestingly, the DLCs will scale in level- you won’t have to be at the top to play the DLC. I like that very much, since i’m always way behind the curve (and if you scroll through this blog, you’ll know one reason for this to be the case) and i think it is a good move for them since more people will end up buying the DLCs or paying a sub to get access.

In my opinion, this is the way to go- on PC, but especially on consoles. If these DLC’s can even be played by mixed-level groups of players, even better. I think this is going to be good for the game- and also, housing DLC please!

Guess what

Yes, the announcement made me go back, which is a bummer for Wildstar, since i planned on going back to one of these games the moment they announce the business model change. I liked my experience with it good enough, although at the time i played it, it was still plagued by some issues (bots) and also i had even fewer time than i have now, so all i really did in the last days of my ESO subscription was inventory management. But for now, i think this games’ future looks good indeed.

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