I just took a few minutes to patch up and launch Elder Scrolls Unlimited to take a look at the “Crown Store” / ingame story as well as the actual prizing of “Crowns”.
Concerning the prizing- there will be some people that’ll tell you a subscription is the way to go, the main reason being that you’ll get:
- 30 days of membership (DLC available)
- 1500 crowns
- +10% bonus on progression-relevant stuff
for the same prize as 1500 crowns are going to cost you, so if you’re comparing 30 days of subscription with the purchase of 1500 crowns (which would buy you about one horse and one set of cosmetic armor), the sub is the better deal.
Of course, Elder Scrolls Online offers discounts when you buy more than one month of subscription and more than 1500 crowns.
So, if we’re to use the dollar pricing as base, if you buy 5500 crowns, it’ll cost you 40$, which means a dollar’s going to buy 137.5 crowns- this is a hefty discount. You’ll get 120 crowns a dollar when you buy 3000 crowns. Let’s compare this to the 1, 3 and 6 month subscription option (wait, the 6 month sub is back- i thought nobody bought those and that’s why they were removed?!?).
USD: $14.99 / Euro: 12,99€ / GBP: £8.99
Crowns per Dollar: 100
USD: $13.99 / 30 days / Euro: 11,99€ / 30 days / GBP: £7.99 / 30 days
USD: 42$ / Euro: 36€ / GBP: 24
Crowns per dollar: 107
USD: $12.99 / 30 days / Euro: 10,99€ / 30 days / GBP: £6.99 / 30 days
USD: 78$ / Euro: 66€ / GBP: 42
Crowns per dollar: 115
As you can see, it’s not really that easy. Consider, as well, that with the ESO plus membership, you’ll only “rent” DLC- if you drop your sub, you won’t have access to DLC anymore. I don’t know if DLC will be purchaseable without using the ingame shop, but even if that was possible, it would be additional cost on top of the sub prize.
Actually, i think this is a pretty smart prizing strategy that’s also quite beneficial for the customers- if you are a “ESO only” player who loves to log in and play pretty much every day and care for the +10% benefit in experience, gold, crafting research and crafting inspiration gain, a subscription might be the way to go. I’d advise against subbing for longer periods for the crowns, though, because the discount is somewhat marginal when compared to buying crowns directly.
Of course, they kind of sweeten the deal by giving you your subscription crowns all at once in the beginning of your sub period. So if you sub up for 6 months, you’ll get 9000 crowns immediately.
If you’re more casual, i’d go with buying crowns, i think. Sure, you’ll take a little bit longer to level and gain gold (ESO is a game that’s quite frugal in giving you coin, at least in my experience), but it might not matter that much to a casual player.
In the end, it’s a matter of personal choice- do you care for the +10% bonuses the membership grants you? Would you like to own or rent the DLC?
For me, this is a great move- Elder Scrolls Online has some interesting concepts; i count not having global auction houses as one of them, although i think there should be another way of doing things than to join multiple guilds for trading. So being able to explore Tamriel on my own terms without paying a mandatory sub is a huge boon.
I gave the store a quick look, and we know it will be expanded upon by selling xp potions and the like, but what i saw looked great- i might even buy a pet or something. It looks both “high-quality” and “fitting into the world”. There are no flying carpets or giant squirrels to ride on. There could be more choice in cosmetic gear, but i’m sure this will also come. The prizing is reasonable- about 700 crowns for a mount or a cosmetic armor.
In my opinion, if they don’t go overboard with the crown store, this business model is great for both the developers and the customers, because it provides options. Options are good.
On a side note: i wonder if b2p is the “new f2p” in terms of business model conversions. Granted, many MMOs just launch free-to-play now, but if this is a trend, i have to say i like it. Selling a box and later content (DLCs), while also maintaining an ingame store and a (truly) optional subscription service puts the dev under less pressure to “trick” or “force” their players into paying for something. It seems more honest and fair than pure f2p, while maintaining the advantage of not having to sub up to play for a night/a week.