Tamriel Unlimited will mark the first time the title has seen a ‘buy to play’ model, allowing gamers to explore Tamriel without paying a subscription fee. All existing versions of the game on PC and Mac will also receive an automatic upgrade to Tamriel Unlimited on March 17th, free of charge.
However, current subscribers (as well as any newcomers) who wish to continue paying the monthly fee will be enrolled in the new premium program, ESO Plus, to receive benefits such as increased earned experience and gold, all ESO DLC, and an allotment of Crowns (to be redeemed in the new vanity Crown Store) for the duration of the payment period. Full membership details can be found on the ESO website.
Anyone who has pre-ordered their copy of The Elder Scrolls Online for console will be getting the updated version automatically.
Last year, the console versions of ESO were delayed for six months after unforeseen issues arose in the development process. For some time, it was speculated that Bethesda would have to work around PS Plus and Xbox Live subscriptions in order to swing a successful console release. While the official PlayStation Blog posted that PS Plus would not be required to play the game, it appears that Bethesda has found another way of alleviating the concerns of potential buyers for both consoles.
I played a lot of Star Wars: The Old Republic, back in the day, and I admit that when it went ‘free to play’ I felt a little betrayed for having paid full price for the game and remaining a loyal subscriber.
I haven’t played ESO, but it seems the title is in a very similar situation. The MMORPG landscape is full of carrion, and many of these games have to trim a lot of excess fees in order to survive amongst behemoths of the genre. While those who currently play the game may see this maneuver as an omen, it may prove to be a well-plotted move for a game that has yet to be released on two of the largest gaming platforms. I’ll admit I have my eye on it now more than ever before, and I’d wager many others do too.
Jordan Loeffler is an Associate Writer for MONG who drives a 2006 Pontiac Vibe with Minnesota license plates even though he lives in Portland, OR. She’s seafoam green, and she drives like a wave. You can follow him on IGN and on Twitter.