Despite its promise, The Elder Scrolls Online hasn’t had the best time of it since it launched last April. Almost immediately, players complained of bots and duping bugs that severely hampered gameplay and compromised the in-game economy, sending the game’s developers scrambling to respond. Meanwhile, the game’s Xbox One and PS4 versions were delayed eight months, and the game’s development studio suffered an unspecified number of layoffs last fall. But perhaps the biggest problem facing The Elder Scrolls: Online was its subscription model. Now that we’re long past the heady days of World of Warcraft’s peak and Free-to-Play games have become popular enough to be parodied by South Park, the subscription model has become less and less viable.
So The Elder Scrolls Online is finally going to abandon them.
Announced in tandem with the release of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, an updated version of the game with all of the updates and added content released since then, the new subscription-free Elder Scrolls game will instead offer a new premium tier, called ESO Plus. With ESO Plus, players will still give their money to publisher Bethesda Softworks on a monthly basis—except instead of paying for the right to play the game, they’ll be paying for “exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs while a member.”
Tamriel Unlimited will launch on March 17 for PC and Mac players, and June 9 for Playstation 4 and Xbox One.