Very quietly, things are changing for The Elder Scrolls Online. Count me among the disappointed when the game first launched. I bought the Collector's Set and was very much looking forward to jumping into "Skyrim Online." Obviously, The Elder Scrolls Online had a bit of a rough start. Most of us are familiar with the stories.
Since then though, I have to admit that every change I've seen and read about has been for the better. It seemed like Zenimax was actually listening to its players and making change after change in the right direction. Was any of it enough to get me to jump back in? No, but it certainly was becoming a bit more like what I envisioned it being at launch and I was looking forward to giving it another test spin in 2015.
That said, the lack of information on the console version and other factors led me to believe that The Elder Scrolls Online would go free-to-play in 2015, an opinion I've expressed on a few Free to Play Casts and one in which Jason Winter disagrees.
Did Zenimax take the first step towards a free-to-play transition? Maybe. They've quietly removed the ability to purchase a 6 month subscription. The only official explanation currently comes from the French forums. Translated, the post reads, "We have noticed that players preferred subscriptions of 30 and 90 days, the Elder Scrolls Online team therefore took the decision to delete the 180 days subscription. The 30 and 90 days subscription are still available."
Could that be the sole reason? Sure. But why take away an option people did use (and that provided the greatest subscription discount) simply because a lot of people weren't using it? It's not like leaving the offering available was costing Zenimax anything. Could it be that Zenimax is gearing up for a free-to-play conversion (and maybe a console release)?
While I am of course just speculating on this option removal, we have seen this exact path before. Warhammer Online removed the 6 month option in June of 2013 then converted to free-to-play in November 2013 (before shutting down in December 2013.) Other pay-to-play MMORPGs have made subscription changes and rate changes prior to their free-to-play conversions as well.
Does this mean we'll be seeing a change soon for The Elder Scrolls Online or is it just a case of Zenimax removing a little used option and nothing more? Let me know what you think below!
For even more speculation, take a look at the official forums.
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About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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