elder scrolls online a ripoff

Game: The Elder Scrolls Online
Content Type: Gaming News
Date: January 17, 2014

elder scrolls online a ripoffIf you’re an Elder Scrolls fan like me, odds are you’re excited about the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG. The time is fast approaching when the beta tests will be concluded and we’ll all be able to adventure in Tamriel in a new and different way. The Elder Scrolls Online is slated for an April 4, 2014 release date for PC gamers, with a June 2014 release for next generation console players.

My excitement about  the upcoming ESO release is tempered by the realization that several of my fellow Elder Scrolls brothers and sisters will not be playing the game. In many ways, The Elder Scrolls Online is controversial:

  1. Some believe that The Elder Scrolls should never have been developed into a MMORPG in the first place, and that resources would have been better spent creating Elder Scrolls VI, the sequel to Skyrim.
  2. Some believe that The Elder Scrolls Online should only be released as a PC game, and that console versions have only slowed the game’s development.
  3. Some believe that The Elder Scrolls Online will pander not only to console gamers, but to PC gamers with older machines. They feel that by not having more stringent system requirements, the game’s graphics will suffer and won’t be as robust as they could be.

If that isn’t enough, the most controversial thing about The Elder Scrolls Online is the planned subscription fee.

Gamers will be required to purchase the game, and will then have to shell out $14.99 a month to play ESO. In addition, console gamers may have additional fees to pay for either the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live in order to play online (Bethesda is trying to work a deal to avoid this).  To say that a subscription fee doesn’t sit well with many gamers is putting it mildly…

So is The Elder Scrolls Online a ripoff at $14.99 a month, or is the price reasonable? In many ways, this is a subjective question, and gamers will need to reach their own conclusions based on their personal finances and perception of value. No doubt about it, for a lot of players the subscription fee is a deal killer. However, in an effort to look at the fee somewhat objectively, let’s compare the monthly cost to other forms of popular, subscription-based entertainment (assuming that the listed service is used for 24 hours/month):

[table caption=”ESO Cost Comparison” width=”500″ colwidth=”20|20|20″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]

Entertainment, Monthly Cost, Hours Used/Month, Cost/Hour

Elder Scrolls Online, $14.99,24,$0.62

World of Warcraft,$14.99,24,$0.62

EVE Online,$14.95,24,$0.62

Netflix Streaming,$7.99,24,$0.33

Netflix DVD,$15.98,24,$0.67

Hulu Plus, $7.99,24,$0.33

GameFly (1 Game),$16.00,24,$0.67

[/table]

When compared to other forms of popular entertainment, The Elder Scrolls Online subscription fee doesn’t seem outrageous. Also, gamers should be able to purchase multiple months at a somewhat of a discount. With that said, there are two pitfalls as to whether players will continue to pay a monthly fee:

  1. Gamers may not play ESO all that much due to time constraints, work responsibilities, school, etc. Playing the game for less than 24 hours/month (as in the example above) may diminish the game’s overall value in the eyes of some players. Basically, gamers won’t continue to pay a monthly subscription for a service they’re not using.
  2. Subscription fees should help support the game and the ESO community. If the fees aren’t reinvested back into ESO by ZeniMax Online (the game’s developer), the perceived value of the game will lessen and subscriptions will drop.

Personally, I’m willing to pay the monthly subscription fee, and I wasn’t all that surprised when The Elder Scrolls Online went the way of a subscription-based model. As an Elder Scrolls fan, I want the game to be a success, and I’m willing to pony up some cash to ensure that the game will grow and continue to be supported. Based on the amount of time I anticipate playing the game, I see good value for my money. This is just my opinion though, and I realize that everyone’s situation is different.

So what do you think? Is The Elder Scrolls Online a ripoff? Are you willing to pay the $14.99 a month fee, or will your entertainment dollars go elsewhere? Share your opinions in the Speak Your Mind section below. Until next time, fellow travelers!

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PO'd TES Fan
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PO'd TES Fan

If it was actually an Elder Scrolls game, playable online with my friends? Yep, I’d pay the fee in a heartbeat, and probably for expansions as well. As things stand now? No, emphatically No!

This is not an Elder Scrolls game. It is an MMO made by Zenimax that has been painted to look like a TES game. It lacks all of the hallmarks of what make an Elder Scrolls game, an ES game. It plays, and feels, like a rip-off of WoW. It’s ‘Innovations’, aren’t really.

Bethesda, working in concert with Zenimax to create an online multiplayer persistent world that you and a group of friends could explore, in the same manner as the Single Player games is what this SHOULD have been. Instead we are getting WoW: TES edition.

Seto
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Seto

Considering there are multiplayer games out there that are one-time costs, and free to play, I see no reason to pay a subscription for a game. 15$ a month adds up to a ridiculous amount, especially if they are going to charge extra for expansions, like WoW does. I personally just think that the Elders Scrolls games should have multiplayer integrated from the start, with servers you can set up to your liking, so that you can play with friends, PvE or PvP. That way, mods would be compatible, latency could be drastically reduced and you wouldn’t have to pay 179.88$ a year to play an RPG with friends.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Hi Seto,

Thanks for commenting. Both you and PO’d have a great idea in regards to a multiplayer option. Regardless of what happens with The Elder Scrolls Online, I’d love to see multiplayer integration on ES VI (would like to see it on Skyrim, but it’ll never happen).

Mehbeh
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Mehbeh

Hi!

I think a subscription model is the best model for this game. It avoids silly gating and micro-transactions that breaks immersion and hinders you from getting everything you want out of the game. For a few euros/dollars/whatever a month you get to do whatever you want in game, no silly restrictions from player A to player B depending on their wallet and will to put money into it. 15 dollars a month really isn’t much. i ASSUME most people that can even afford to buy games, earn that in less than an hour of work. Also assume you take a night out and to go a pub or a club, wouldn’t you end up paying way more than those 15 dollars for one night of entertainment? But lets say that instead you sit at home playing the game with your friends for 8-hours. You would’ve paid less per/h and possibly had the same amount of entertainment. And its highly doubtful these are the only 8-hours during the course of a whole month you’ll end up playing.

My point really, is that 15 dollars really isn’t that much of money vs what you get out of it. I’m sure you all that guilty pleasures you can cut back on to find the money for a small subscription fee.

Also, I must say i disagree with you PO’d. It does absolutely not play and feel anything like WoW. I’m sure they will release a TES: VI in a few years. Fallout first then the next TES. Probably in 2017-2018.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Hi Mehbeh,

Thanks for your comment. Like you, I don’t mind paying the fee if it means ESO will be supported (I’ve played some free games that were junk, and I wouldn’t want ESO to sink to that level). Also, I’d hate if ZeniMax nickle-and-dimed my gaming experience (paying for weapon upgrades, new armor, potions, etc.). I agree — micro-transactions would kill the immersion experience, and a flat-fee is best.

Personally, I can justify springing $15/month, and for me it’s money well spent. With that said, I know a lot of hardcore Elder Scrolls fans that are dead-set against the subscription fee due to principle or budget constraints. These gamers simply won’t play, and it’s a shame because they could really help make the game special.

Liaso Shaderunner
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Liaso Shaderunner

Hi there folks now I have to write something. There are indeed a lot of games out there for “free” that aren’t very good. But don’t forget the KING of RPG (Lord British) is coming with Shorud of Avatar also class free game and its a one time fee only!!!!! On the other hand the king of space sims ELITE DANGEROUS is coming out with a subscription model also.

Lot of hard choices. On the other hand I do thing games like WOW earn a rediciliuous amount of money…. but then again so do some football players !!!

Raidenwick
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Raidenwick

As an Elder Scrolls fan I love this game. But I have never payed to play and I don’t think I ever will. Paying to play is the sole reason I do not own an Xbox anymore. I would rather watch this game burn than pay every month to play. I think a single digit monthly fee would be more reasonable, perhaps a yearly subscription of less than a hundred dollars a lot less. Otherwise I will be waiting for Elder Scrolls VI.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Hi Raidenwick,

You’re not alone. I know a lot of Elder Scrolls fans that won’t be playing ESO because of the subscription fee. The “pay-to-play” business model is alienating many fans. Will ZeniMax change course and either do away with the subscription entirely or reduce the fee? Time will tell… It’ll be interesting to see how many gamers signup to play the game, and how many gamers stick around.

Liaso Shaderunner
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Liaso Shaderunner

True you can see more and more game turn to the “free” to play model.
AION even turned all the way and really is absolutely free to play no restrictions what so ever. LOTRO turned free to play. I guess it all depends on how many people will subscribe.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

It’s going to be interesting to see what eventually happens regarding the pay-to-play business model…

iain
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iain

you missed out a big point its not only $15 a month the game costs $60 to begin with its a complete rip off.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Hi iain, thanks for your comment. I actually mentioned in the article that gamers will be required to purchase the game first, and then pay the $14.99 a month subscription fee. You’re definitely not alone in being against the sub fee though, and it’ll interesting to see if the pay-to-play business model will stand.

Nathan T. Konrad
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Nathan T. Konrad

Hi!

I was wondering about whether there have been many games that have a free to download but cost to play (monthly subscription fee)? Have any “AAA” titles tried to use that model? Most quality games would be playing for several/many months. What I’ve paid to Blizzard monthly makes the buy-in almost unnecessary for them, but would be great for me.

Thanks

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Hi Nathan, I know some games like EVE Online offer a free trial, but every “AAA” title that I know of still requires that the game be purchased upfront…

Darin Brown
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Darin Brown

I have played the Skyrim franchise from the beginning and something about this just seem wrong based on the franchise I grew to love. Strikes of a money grab as the next iteration from DLCs that other games employ to keep content ‘updated’. I will need to know/see a lot more before I’m sold…how battles will play out, how combat works, how quests work, what they do with all the human elements and then give a story. Ifthis is just a I can walk around Tamreil and hang out but no objectives etc. then I will be out. Need to know a lot more, so I’ll probably wait and but skeptical on purchase.

adrieke
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adrieke

I have only found out now that there will be a hefty monthly fee for playing, and that on top of the purchase price.
Will there be updates to the game so that it is worth paying every month ?
if not then in my opinion we shouldn’t have to pay for the initial game (or get plenty of subscription for it and not just 30 days)

maybe they should change to a pay for time played instead of monthly fees, that way at least you get the most out of it and not waste money when you are not playing it for awhile.

Shane Scarbrough
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Shane Scarbrough

Hi PO’d — your comment is much appreciated, and I respect what you have to say. An online multiplayer option was one of the things that I always felt would have made Skyrim even better. Exploring dungeons with a computer AI hireling or follower helps to replicate a traditional RPG experience, but can you imagine being able to clear out Bleak Fall Barrows with a real friend or two? Priceless!

The Elder Scrolls Online can be played with friends, but an MMORPG is a different kind of animal. Some players are for it, and some are against it. Your idea though of online multiplayer persistent world is an excellent one — one that I sincerely hope Bethesda introduces in the Elder Scrolls VI.

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