The Elder Scrolls Online, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the well-regarded fantasy franchise, has officially made the move to a subscription-free model.
While developer Bethesda had traditionally shied away from an Elder Scrolls MMO
, the long-awaited multiplayer entry in the franchise finally landed last year. Sadly, it was not exactly well-received: in our review
the game came in for strong criticism over its derivative and boring nature, while the relatively high purchase price coupled with a mandatory £8.99 a month subscription fee saw slow uptake.
Facing poor sales, Bethesda did the only logical thing: rebrand the game as a subscription-free title and drop the monthly charge. Now known as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, the game is available to play as a one-off purchase on PC, with its delayed console ports due to land in June this year. Any existing player with an account that has been cancelled or a subscription that has lapsed will be able to log in and play from today onwards at no charge, while newcomers need only buy a copy of the game to get involved.
Naturally, Bethesda needs to defray the ongoing cost of running an MMO infrastructure - so it should be no surprise that the company is launching an in-game shop that will allow players to pay real-world cash for virtual items. An optional subscription service, dubbed ESO Plus, will also be available, allowing players to receive in-game cash, downloadable content, and character bonuses in exchange for a 30, 90 or 180 day commitment.
Full details of the changes that come as part of Tamriel Unlimited are available at the official website