As I’m sure you know by now, ESO has announced its pre-order bonuses and exclusive content with the purchase of what they call the “Imperial Edition.” Since ESO Weekly is way too far away for me to wait to discuss the topic, I’ll share my thoughts with you on the subject right here.
So the game will release in 4 separate editions. All four of these editions will come with what is called the “Explorer’s Pack.” This pack comes with the ability to play as any race in any of the alliances. Now I’m not so sure I like this. It kind of rules out the point of faction pride a bit when you’re not sure which races you’re supposed to hate. It does make sense however as we’ve always been able to choose our race in past TES games regardless of where the story takes place. Of course I doubt ZOS thinks of it in those terms. They probably see it as a way for people to both play the race they want and with their friends on the same alliance. My only hope for this is that they allow people to unlock this ability by either completing the main story once or in some other in-game way. Restricting this privilege to only those that pre-order is a bad call.
Before we move on, I know some people have mentioned that the bonus treasure maps are pointless as we will be able to look their locations up on the wiki. Let me stop you there by informing you that you’ll need those maps for the treasure to be phased to you. By that I mean if you go to a treasure spot and don’t have the map, you won’t see the treasure there.
Let’s compare the digital and retail standard editions. Both cost $59.99 and both come with the Explorer’s Pack but why does the retail version only get 3 days early access when the digital one comes with 5? Is this to cut down on the production of DVDs and box art? Seems a little weird, but whatever. Moving on…
Here comes the big controversial topic of what ZOS is calling the “Imperial Edition.” For another $20, you can get the digital Imperial Edition of ESO that comes with the items listed below:
So the controversy is the fact that you have to spend another $20 to have the privilege to play the Imperial race. This does irk me pretty badly. It annoys me because it’s content that should already be in the game but are charging you more instead. I know this has become fairly common lately but I was really hoping ZOS wouldn’t follow suit.
Now I know the ignorant people viewing this are yelling and screaming “P2W or PAY TO WIN!” but that’s just stupid and isn’t true. The Imperial race will not be this uber race that has the best passives or anything like that. And when it says unique gear, they don’t mean more powerful gear. By this they simply mean you will have access to unique skins or textures. And if I were to comment further, I’d tell you that this simply means you can start crafting Imperial gear right away instead of learning how to craft it later. But since I won’t comment further, I didn’t say what I just did. Got it?
If I were to guess, the Imperial race will probably be available to everyone at some point regardless of purchasing the Imperial Edition. I believe this will be the only way they can get away with charging people for it in the first place. As I’ve said before in the cast, I have no issues with developers selling items as long as we can eventually obtain the items in the game in some manner. So if they tell us that those that didn’t buy the Imperial Edition can unlock the race after completing the main story, I will not feel so frustrated by this. I know some of you will say, “Then why charge us another $20 in the first place if we can unlock it later?” Well you’re paying for it ahead of time instead of having to spend 100+ hours to unlock it. By then you probably won’t even want to start a new character simply to play as an Imperial because you still will have too much to do with your first character. Make sense? No? Oh well, moving on!
Now the horse is pretty and it does come with a speed increase but guess what? This is available in the game already and the only difference is the way the horse looks; so again, not pay to win. Now let’s talk about these rings that buffs your experience gains. Guess what? You got it! It’s in the game too. They’ve already confirmed that these rings will be in the game except it will cost a lot of money to purchase. So since these items are already in the game and are obtainable, it isn’t pay to win.
The sad thing is the most exciting thing to me about this Imperial Edition is the ability to look badass anytime I want by transforming my gear into Imperial gear. So I can pick that ugly piece of gear with better stats without worrying about looking like an idiot because I’ll always be sporting the Roman look. You feel me? I just hope Spartacus doesn’t show up.
So if all of these bonuses (except maybe the vanity pet and ability to transform your armor) are obtainable in the game in some way, then I have no issues with people being able to pay $20 to get them sooner.
And just to cover all the bases, let’s talk about the retail Imperial Edition of the game. This edition includes a sweet-ass statue of Molag Bal, an illustrated book made to look like a scholar’s journal and a map of Tamriel that I cannot wait to get on my wall… if I were to buy into such a thing as a Collectors Edition. Don’t judge me! All the other bonuses from the digital version are included in this edition as well.
So let’s do a final recap. The Explorer’s Pack allows us to play either alliance as any race we choose and is obtained by pre-ordering any version of the game. The Imperial Edition comes with the exclusive ability to play as the Imperial race. And all of them, excluding the retail standard edition for some unknown reason, comes with 5 days of early access to the game. To many, ZOS has crossed the line here by excluding content that should be included with our purchase of the game and continued subscription payment. I have to say that I agree with them unless ZOS states that the Imperial race and these items can be unlocked or purchased in-game with in-game gold. Forcing people to pre-order a game for content that should be included has become a common occurrence but was something I thought ZOS was above. Maybe they will rethink this and allow these items to be unlocked in-game: maybe that was the idea all along and this is just a way for us to speed up the process.
All I can say is that I’m disappointed once again that another momentous event has been tarnished with what most would consider bad judgement. I still love you ZOS, but sometimes I wonder. Will the game “fail” because of this stuff? No. As with everything else, people will blowup about it and then they will shut their mouths and pull out their wallets.
P.S. This Arrival Cinematic Trailer is the best damn thing I’ve seen in a long time. That High Elf chick (she’s not Queen Ayrenn by the way) was kicking so much ass! I thought the Breton guy was pretty weak until he comes back as a freaking necromancer. And that Daedric armor… DAAAAAMN!