The past two days on The Elder Scrolls Online forums and discussion pages have been awash with talk on the newly announced monthly subscription fee model (£9 – $15) and not the Free-2-Play model like many people had hoped was coming.
With people saying they no longer want to play TESO, that this choice has already doomed the game and that it will be F2P within 6 months due to a lack of subscriptions, but really is it that ridiculous of a decision? After all there is no such thing as a free lunch and keeping a server running with a large amount of people, running websites, 24-7 customer service and developing new patches and content on a regular basis is one big lunch.
The argument here is that a monthly sub is what killed Star Wars: The Old Republic and that many MMORPGS are now going F2P to boost numbers, you can see how people would be reluctant to pay up. But with 3 million beta sign-ups to date and a pretty loyal fan-base already from past Elder Scrolls games, who will have the option to play it on their consoles, we could possibly be witnessing a very strong contender for World of Warcraft’s crown.
But Guild Wars can do it why not other MMO’s?! I here you cry and while this is true, GW’s player numbers are questionable at best seeing as they are reluctant to confirm anything officially, with most people speculating that the game is dying more then anybody would like to admit, you can’t possibly have tons of free content and no subscriptions without some form of quality dropping somewhere. Bethesda may have a point on why completely F2P is not the best way to go.
Even Rift, which is technically F2P for all content and expansions has the option to pay for a monthly sub for extra in game bonuses, which i’m guessing most die hard fans of the game would pay for, because if you love a game, get hundreds of hours of game play from it and still want more from it, why shouldn’t you pay for it?
World of Warcraft and EVE are two of the most popular MMO’s on the market and both have a monthly sub, and while WoW may have lost some interest over the past few years, managing to hold over 7 Million players for nearly 9 years is still pretty impressive.
TESO will also have an in game store to buy cosmetic and “fun” things, which people seem unhappy about, but both Rift and WoW have sub options and game stores for in game content. If it’s not essential to play the game then there doesn’t seems to be any problems here.
So there is a way to make it work, but whether Bethesda and Zenimax can pull it off is another story.
I think this all just seems more a case of people being disappointed that they aren’t going to be able to play a pretty popular game for free like they originally thought they were going to be able to. Maybe in this day and age of recessions and unemployment it isn’t a viable business plan to make players pay monthly subs anymore.
What do you guys think? Are you willing to pay for The Elder Scrolls Online or are you disappointed in their choice for a monthly sub?