When you heard that new The Elder Scrolls Online was ditching its subscription model and going “buy to play,” you might have heard a nagging little voice in your head respond with “pay to win.”
The new version, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, will be out 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.
And, yes, it will feature a cash shop with “convenience” items such as potions that will make life a lot easier if you’re willing to throw down some real money. In a recent Reddit discussion with several ZeniMax officials, Creative Director Paul Sage tried to quiet fears that this would make the game’s PVP elements less fair.
“Our goal with the Crown store is to offer convenience and cosmetic items. Convenience will allow people to save themselves time. It will not allow people to get the best items or become more powerful in the game than another player could achieve. I will say openly that some people feel ‘time-saving’ items are buy-to-win such as being able to gain experience faster. But our perspective is that removing time barriers is something players want, without providing an unfair advantage in power,” Sage wrote.
The producers answered several other questions about the game. You can check out the whole thing here, but here are some highlights:
Text chat and USB Keyboards will be supported on console
The team is investigating allowing players to change their appearance
Details are still being worked out as to whether and how the ESO Plus Subscription will be offered to console players. For a monthly fee ESO Plus provides free access to paid DLC, a monthly allotment of premium currency and experience boosters.
The update pace will slow down in 2015 and the focus will be on “new adventures,” presumably paid DLC, instead of system changes
You can sell your gear obtained in the DLC, and players without the DLC can buy it
Player housing is not being worked on, but is the kind of thing they might like to add
There will be a console beta before its release in June