I’m guessing everyone and their mmo addicted marsupials out there have heard the recent news that Elder Scrolls Online will be going Buy to Play in March, ahead of the June console release to which I’ll give a tentative… yaaaay???
There has been a few coincidences of this result for some time now. Recently it was the big news that a lot of Australian retailers had begun returning this stock, and not much of anything else. Personally I didn’t see this as a big deal except for the game severely under-performing based on an extremely popular gaming franchise. Aussie retailers have always been rather skittish about the PC market. Barely a fraction of a fraction of the space in stores now is dedicated to PC with the focus being consoles of course. With PC sales in retail slipping due to our criminal history (also just being savvy online shoppers) the console market is the mainstay for them as they can continue to over charge by close to a 100% mark up.
I don’t think I’ve seen an mmo in the game retailers for a while now, rift was one on release… maybe gw2 but I forget. Most no, and if so it isn’t a large space at all. ESO was thought to be different…. But no, It is mostly subject to the same decreasing brick and mortar market.
The removal of the six month subscription option was a bit of a giveaway though. That’s an indicator that something is happening although good on them for removing that early to avoid people paying too much for a different service. Don’t remember $WToR warning it’s players much about that beforehand.
Personally I am still a little sceptical about this change. I have always supported the subscription style paying to play, and it has never been a barrier to a game I wanted to try. Buy to play is obviously even less of a barrier but emotionally that is an ideal that has become a little tainted in recent times. To me now, Buy to Play is synonymous with the developer intent of charging a box price and then seeing how much other bullshit they can get away with.
I’m not even talking about mmo’s in this aspect. Just basic multiplayer or single player games with their Box price model have been increasingly slipping down this hill of microtransaction (lol at that term now), pre order, special purchase, season pass, DLC bullshit. We haven’t been getting the full game with a purchase for a long time now and been increasingly charged for options or just all the little elements that improve the experience. Some AAA models like say Ryse and Dead Space are even peddling the freemium, zynga style approach of paying to skip the annoying bullshit we added in just for this purpose.
So yeh. I’m sorry if I’m not excited about the Unleashing Tamriel for now. I probably will hop in to see what it’s like but not with any real enthusiasm. It wasn’t good enough to play with a sub so it’s still not worth playing now, I value my time to highly for that. Yeh it has improved and they even stated on reddit that they will not be including lockboxes in the cash shop but then, I’ve heard other companies recently claim things too and back out all the while playing the ignorant martyr.
In saying that I hope it does well…. I just have other stuff to do and other more worthy products to play.