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.


  1. As you say, there would be no point to remove the 6 month subscription option. Actually it took more work to delete it. That’s like cutting down my tree in the backyard because no one climbs it.

  2. In truth the game is great and if it goes free to play is going to suck because all the stupid idiots will join the game and spammers and it would ruin the game and like the director say if the only option is free to play they will shutdown the game hat would be great.

  3. TESO was a fail, it won’t live long, eventually they might go F2P to try and save it, or at least make some more money before killing it.
    TES doesn’t work as an MMO game, especially not the generic type we have today.

  4. Why always go for the extreme? And I am talking about games going from subscription to free2play at an instance. There is still a middlestep making players pay once for the game itself and no further costs, but nope… Appears like Free2play and Keep paying2play are the only options nowadays. The problem is not just the change from the concept and the aspects that follow this. God, no. It’s just feels like getting slapped in the face for actually buying the game, what I’d almost call theft WHICH again is justified by saying that those people could play the game earlier.

    Note: This is just an opinion and a feeling about a situation like this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t start with the flames. I got enough buckets of water to deal with it.

  5. F2p not saves this piece of crap, game should be f2p from start but now its too late, game lost so much players, i not see anything elderscrolls there, looks like indie studio made this, some peeps who never played eso

  6. Well guess b2p will be the model..with the lunch on consoles.There is no way this is going f2p atm I have info that the game is actualy doing preety well from a development and income perspective and with the new updates keeping the game intresting.My opinion is this game should have been b2p from the start I would have no problem paying 60$ upfront for the box atm it is realy hard to keep a sub going when even big companys are turning and opting for f2p/b2p.Sub model isnt viable on a long term anymore.So in conclusion I dont see this going f2p but droping the sub and leting people buy the box while people who already got to play till now can keep playing since they purchase the game.

  7. My guess is they are going B2P for when the console release is ready. I don’t see them going F2P. They want to get as much of their investment back and console players are used to buying Elder Scroll games anyway.

  8. Here’s a tinfoil hat question.

    Was this their plan all along?

    Console MMOs are hard to sell to the console crowd, even harder when you tack a sub onto it. So could they have planned it this way from the start? Go sub for the PC launch because PC players are willing to pay it, bilk them for as many subs as possible. Then you take just long enough to get the console version ready that everyone has forgotten the bad PC launch, then go free to play to draw in the huge console fan-base for the franchise when you do the console launch.

  9. Not sure why you are so sure about F2P versus B2P. I see them going B2P for PC and consoles. They get the box sales and then income from the cash shop. They are not going to pass up on the income from the console box sales and a F2P PC version would compete with that.

  10. A company name lingers however the people behind that name often times change and thus they can go from producing games of passion that will become nearly immportal legends too making games of pure money making potential as are so common these days in a matter of months.

  11. The game is basically dead. But of course I guess companies are obliged to dig out a bit more profit before the games official funeral.

    Too many awful design choices, terribly thin gameplay with absolutely no depth. It could have been great. The core functionality is fine, but there’s just absolutely no substance. It’s just a boring uninteresting grind.

    and oddly enough closed beta was DAMN fun, but as soon as the game moved into release it felt awful. I have no idea what they changed but it ruined the game and a LOT of people ingame were saying the same thing at launch.

    • I dunno, I feel it was dull from the onset. I remember I played during the beta weekends and being bored very early on. Perhaps it took people longer to notice?

    • i don’t know where do you get your confirmations from, but i can tell you for sure the game is not dead. There are a lot of players on, a lot of fans, a lot of ppl that are waiting for the changes this january. The game is begining to get polished. Players still buy imperial upgrades, explorer packs and so on. The game is dead but for ppl who think that f2p is the way. The same think happened fo swtor, the game was a fail becaus ppl wouldn’t pay for a sub, then because the f2p model was to strict. Mot wanting to pay for a sub is not the same thing with the game is dead.

  12. Multiplayer in a TES game would be fun if it were in the form of a simple co-op option like in Saints Row, not some cookie cutter MMO. The MMORPG market has been overcrowded and stagnant for many years. I don’t know what made them think this would be a good idea.

  13. Should have been b2p maybe with a non p2w cash shop to help with development.
    About that subscription option, it doesn’t really say much, maybe they are just trying to squeeze the most from their loyal subs, if they even exist, i had already forgotten this game existed.

  14. that would be zenimax’s first f2p mmo wich has a high chance of having a p2w cash shop but eventualy if they decide to make another they make better cash shops .

    first time is always hard.

      • Sorry Hov, they haven’t made a MMO before. They’ve been a part of several successful titles however, such as Quake, Doom, Fallout and Dishonoured.

        • No they have never been “part of” Quake or Doom, they acquired the ones who did make those games (id) long after those games were released. Dishonored was developed by Arkane Studios and published by Zenimax so you could make there.

    • SWTOR became f2p, if TESO goes the same direction, it will be OK, as long as they don’t go the direction LOTRO did. I’ve played each three of them, SWTOR the most and as much as it was restricted, it was pleasant.

  15. Game is a right mess and did not warrant the hefty price tag, it can still be successful with the right f2p model but they’ll like botch that as well. I’d say poor zenimax but they aren’t even worth the pity.


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