Bethesda have finally ended weeks of speculation on the future of their fantasy massively multiplayer online game, The Elder Scrolls Online.
Just after Christmas it was reported that several Australian retailers were pulling stock of the game and the prepaid subscription cards from their shelves. This was explained as being just routine stock rotation exercise, but didn't stop the rumours that the game was going free-to-play.
Bethesda have now announced that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will be launching on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on June 9 and will also be available on PC and Mac from March 17.
The Elder Scrolls Online had a rocky start being launched only on PC in the middle of last year, with the Xbox One and PS4 versions getting delayed indefinitely. Even though it did receive some critical acclaim (read my first impressions here) the game's outdated monthly subscription model did raise some eyebrows.
Now, with the The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, players will no longer be required to pay a monthly game subscription to play. Instead a one-time purchase of the game is all that’s required to enjoy hundreds of hours of gameplay.
Existing game accounts, whether open or closed, will be updated to the Tamriel Unlimited edition in March. This gives former players whose subscriptions have lapsed the opportunity to return to the game a play it free-of-charge.
Of course, nothing is really for nothing, with optional downloadable content as well as convenience and customization items available for purchase from the in-game Crown Store. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players free from additional charges.
“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. The game offers hundreds of hours of gameplay with unlimited adventures with one single game purchase,” said Matt Firor, Game Director of The Elder Scrolls Online. “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.”
Players keen to continue paying a monthly subscription can still do so with ESO Plus, the game’s premium membership service. This provides members with exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs. Existing players with active subscriptions on 17th March will be automatically enrolled into ESO Plus on that date.
Whilst not really surprising - the free-to-play model now being the accepted industry standard for MMOs - this is great news for players- existing, lapsed and new.
The Elder Scrolls Online is a gorgeous game, offering players a top class RPG experience. Now, without the burden of a monthly subscription, there’s absolutely no reason not to journey into Tamriel and embark on your own Elder Scrolls Online adventure.