After months of rumors and signs, ZeniMax has made it official. Today it announced it is ending the subscription model for The Elder Scrolls Online and rebranding the game as buy once, play free experience.
The new version will have a new name, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and launch March 17 on PC and Mac and June 9 on Xbox One and PS4. It will include all of the content in the 1.6 update, including the new Justice and Champion systems. Anyone who has played before can dive right into the new version, but there will be a one-time purchase of the game for new players.
The game will now charge for optional DLC. It’s also opening a cash shop, called the Crown Store, where players can buy “convenience and customization” items with Crowns, a real money currency. Crowns can buy “unique mounts, special vanity pets, a variety of fun costumes for your character, and convenience items like health potions and soul gems.”
If you preferred the subscription model and don’t want to be nickel and dimed, you can opt for an ESO Plus account, which gives you: in-game benefits including free access to the DLC; a 10 percent boost to XP and gold gain, crafting research, and inspiration; and a monthly allotment of the premium currency.
ESO Plus can be bought in 30, 60 and 90 day increments, with the 30 day plan costing $14.99. If you have an active subscription to ESO now on PC/Mac, you’ll be automatically enrolled in ESO Plus. You can cancel if you’d rather play for free.
“Our fans are our biggest inspiration, and we’ve listened to their feedback on the entertainment experience they want,” said Matt Firor, Game Director of The Elder Scrolls Online in a press release. “We know that Elder Scrolls fans want choice when it comes to how they play and how they pay, and that is what they will get. We have made numerous changes to the game over the past year, and are confident this is a game that Elder Scrolls fans will love to play. Players can explore Tamriel with friends, battle creatures, craft, fish, steal, or siege. The choice is theirs. The game offers hundreds of hours of gameplay with unlimited adventures with one single game purchase. We can’t wait for everyone, whether they’ve played before or will be experiencing it for the first time, to begin adventuring in The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.”
ESO also released a new trailer to coincide with the move, which you can see above.