ZeniMax: The Elder Scrolls Online to use "subscription model" for MMO
Posted: 21.08.2013 14:18 by Simon Priest Comments: 12
ZeniMax Online Studios' Matt Firor has said they're nose to the grindstone on delivering a game that's "worthy of the Elder Scrolls name" in The Elder Scrolls Online. Apparently monthly subs are also 'worthy'.

Game director Firor promises "meaningful and consistent content" with TESO, that can be played solo, thanks to a "flat monthly" fee. Free-to-play 'would mean sacrifices'.

As with 99% of MMOs, the first 30 days are entirely free when you buy the game, and if you want to "continue playing for hundreds of hours more" then it's time to pay.

"We're thrilled that gamers are looking forward to diving into The Elder Scrolls Online and we've been working hard to deliver the game that fans want - one that's worthy of the Elder Scrolls name. Choosing the right business model is part of that. We are going with the subscription model for ESO," Matt Firor told GameStar.

"We're building a game with the freedom to play - alone or with your friends - as much as you want. A game with meaningful and consistent content - one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support."

"Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play," continued the game director. "Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make."

"The Elder Scrolls Online offers unlimited play for the first 30 days with the purchase of the game. The choice is yours to play as much as you want; hundreds of hours of content, PvP, etc - is all there for you to experience with the base purchase of the game. If you want to continue playing for hundreds of hours more after that first month you'll pay a flat fee for continued, unlimited access to the game."

ZeniMax didn't want to put in free-to-play 'pay gates' between players and certain content.

"We feel that putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in game ruins that feeling of freedom, and just having one small monthly fee for 100% access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play," said Firor.

"The Elder Scrolls Online was designed and developed to be a premium experience: hundreds of hours of gameplay, tons of depth and features, professional customer support - and a commitment to have ongoing content at regular intervals after launch." They aren't dissing alternatives, which are all "valid, proven business models" in the MMO market.

"...subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery. Plus, players will appreciate not having to worry about being "monetized" in the middle of playing the game, which is definitely a problem that is cropping up more and more in online gaming these days."

Check out the full interview between Matt Firor and GameStar. The Elder Scrolls Online releases on PC in Q1 2014.

Source: GameStar
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By danfreeman (SI Elite) on Aug 21, 2013
Aaaaaaand there goes all the interest i had in the game,still they`ll move to f2p eventually,mark my words.
By Mindrax (SI Core) on Aug 21, 2013
I guess i will skip this MMO then.
At least for now.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Aug 21, 2013
I have no intention of paying for any kind of a sub either but I'm sure there are plenty that will actually be glad hearing this. It filters the population a bit and 'pay gates' really are immersion killers.

They can always go F2P later if things don't work out.
By The_Tingler (SI Core) on Aug 21, 2013
There will be a few who are glad of this, but they won't number enough to sustain the game. Bethesda clearly haven't done their homework - subscription-based MMOs are dead.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 21, 2013
I don't care enough either way, other people in my Tamriel ruins it already for me >->
By djole381 (SI Elite) on Aug 21, 2013
By Voqar (SI Core Veteran) on Aug 21, 2013
F2P is trash and the worst thing to happen to MMORPGs, so I see this as a big plus. All players should be on the same footing where how you play dictates your success, not how much you pay. Subs are trivial if the game is worth a sub. The problem with most post WoW clone MMOs is that they just aren't worth a sub. Solo ez mode games with a smidge of grouping and weak endgame aren't worth a sub.

But, since the game is going to be soloists sharing space like GW2, with no structured grouping and lacking many typical MMO features by design, it's really hard to be excited about it even with it being sub-based. The GW2 style deviates even more from real MMORPG form and is even less appealing if you like classic MMORPG elements like structured grouping and challenge.

"subscription-based MMOs are dead"

I totally disagree. Quite the opposite. F2P is killing the MMORPG genre. It's turning it into a suckfest of weak low quality games with low quality players. It's not how the genre was established and it's not what real MMORPG players want. People who just want to solo, who want ez-mode, who want casual gaming, should not be playing MMORPGs and companies should stop trying to appeal to players who aren't suited to playing MMORPGs the way they should be played.

I like that some companies are getting away from the F2P suck, or trying to, but I still question whether games like FFXIV or TESO will be worth a sub. FFXIV seems to be an even more dumbed down and simplistic than usual post WoW clone and ALL of those games are now F2P and ultimately considered failures (to maintain subscribers or sub-based). TESO looks like a GW2 clone and that's not worth a sub either.

WildStar is going P2P (with a ruthless $60 box) AND because they smoke huge volumes of crack they're also having a currency exchange mechanism that will basically let losers buy in-game currency from other players for cash - with the cash going to the company and the seller getting credit towards their sub - so basically you get all the cheating and slime you usually find in the worst of F2P AND you get to pay a sub.

Again, IMO, subs are no big deal if the games are worth it. If 15/mo for hundreds/thousands of hours of entertainment spanning years is NOT trivial for you, you probably should be focused on something other than gaming period. Or, maybe MMORPGs aren't for you and companies should stop trying to force the issue.

MMORPGs were worth subs when the genre first started. The switch to trying to appeal to casuals and emphasis on solo gameplay that shifted MMORPGs into being glorified single player games made them not worth a sub.

You're right in that some people like me prefer and want sub-based. I also want a return to the MM in MMORPG, less emphasis on solo, players who are invested (paying makes people take things more seriously and behave slightly less like tools), players who stick around instead of flitting constantly (it's tougher to have solid guilds and communities when players aren't committed and flit around, don't show up for days at a time, etc).
By Gale47 (SI Core) on Aug 21, 2013
F2P MMO games suck camel ass, as Voqar said. I haven't found a single one of them that's actually worth playing for more than a couple of days. On the other hand, while I do support the subscription system, I feel that 15 bucks is a little steep price to pay on a monthly basis. I believe 10 would do the trick.
By The_Tingler (SI Core) on Aug 21, 2013
Hmm. The problem is Voqar that you are very much in the minority, and saying "if you don't want this you shouldn't be playing MMOs" isn't going to work, because that turns MMOs into a niche genre. Are you trying to say that unless you're prepared to spend dozens of hours a week playing a single game you're banned? Because I think you'll find there aren't many gamers like that, at least not enough to sustain a game.

The problem is that, like it or not, the subscription-based MMO IS dead BECAUSE F2P killed it. While I agree that quality is the most important thing, the majority of people won't try a subs-based MMO because a) there are so many free big-name alternatives, b) everyone is clued up to the fact that every subs-based MMO goes F2P within a year, and c) subscriptions are only worth it if you're one of the hardcore fans who can put in the time. Most people aren't.

Besides, in most of the comment you're blaming casual players, not committed players who simply don't have the time. I'm interested to know how old you are and whether you're in a relationship - because if you're fairly young (low 20s or earlier) and/or single the moment either of those factors change you'll start to realise just how little free time you have...
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 22, 2013
Honestly I feel that all of that would be addressed if the subscription prices were lowered across the board.
By FoolWolf (SI Elite) on Aug 22, 2013
While I'm sipping a beer and toasting SirRoderick on this one - other people in Tamriel sucks - I say that GW has so far the best and only method I have liked and endorsed. Pay once, get silly stuff later on for money - but it is ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY! - it is merely a way to make you enjoy an already good game more - for those so inclined.
By cowgirl1776 (I just got here) on Aug 23, 2013
This kills all of my interest. I hate paying money twice for the same game. Guild Wars did it best, it was fair to everyone. Pay once for the game and you're in. Micro transactions are available to help further fund it, but once you bought it you owned it.