In a very recent interview by GameStar with the General Manager, Matt Firor, we have confirmation that ESO will indeed be charging a monthly fee. With this subscription, we are guaranteed to have access to the entire game (something that is rare with F2P titles), top-notch customer service and content releases every 4 to 6 weeks.
The reason Firor gives for this decision is that this model best fits ESO “given our commitment to freedom of gameplay.” Elder Scrolls Online is all about the freedom of choice and exploration. To be able to play how you want, quest how you want and flat-out do what you want. With other models, you’d be stopped by the game and be required to pay for certain services or content which would ruin the immersion for players. Paying a monthly fee would stop this from happening and allow the player access to hundreds of hours of content unimpeded.
So what is this going to cost us? After purchasing the game, you will be able to play the game in its entirety for 30 days to see how you enjoy it. Afterwards, you must start paying their subscription fee. Sadly, they are going with the old $14.99/€12.99/£8.99 monthly fee which I feel is a mistake. I understand and completely agree that to receive the best possible service with regular updates and properly maintained servers, you need to charge a fee. But $15 a month is going back to the WoW days and back then I never really felt like I was getting my money’s worth. They will be offering discounts for those that purchase several months at a time and will have game cards for purchase. They did not confirm whether the console players will be paying the same amount but likely they will.
While I wish ZOS was only charging $5-$10 a month, I’m still happy with their decision overall. I know many argue that they cannot afford a monthly fee and for those TES fans that have not played MMOs before, paying a fee for an Elder Scrolls game will feel quite bizarre. Keep in mind there are several things that a subscription-based MMO will help ensure. Less botting (at least in the beginning) since gold farmers will have to purchase accounts or wait until they get their grubby little hands on hacked accounts. By the way, don’t purchase power-leveling services or buy gold as that’s where they hack most accounts. A fee ensures more serious players since those players are actually paying to play. Much better customer support is guaranteed as they can afford such a thing. And of course the most important thing that hopefully will become true is the guarantee of monthly to bi-monthly content updates.
To hear our perspectives in more detail, please watch this Friday’s Elder Scrolls Online Weekly show as we will discuss the subscription model further. Let us know how you feel in the comments or visit our Facebook and Twitter.