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TESO going free-to-play?

1 min read


I wasn’t overly impressed with The Elder Scrolls Online when I got my hands on it last year. It was a decent game, but nothing to blow me away or get me hooked and willing to pay money every month for it. Now there are hints that the inevitable might be happening – the game could be going free-to-play.

Despite the success of World of Warcraft, most MMOs can’t follow a subscription model anymore. It just doesn’t work for continued success and breeds ill will in their own communities. The Elder Scrolls Online made all sorts of promises, but it seems that might not have been enough.

In Australia, EB Games is no longer selling The Elder Scrolls Online. At first, it was just assumed that this was a shift at the country’s largest retailer. However, this stock recall includes pre-paid cards for the game, all of which will be sent back to the publisher. Zenimax Online has apparently been making some changes, including removing the 60-day subscription package. Could this mean that in the next couple months we’ll be seeing TESO going free-to-play? Or at least, could it mean a shift in the payment/subscription model?

I’m not the biggest MMO fan, mostly because I’m not a very social gamer. Even more of a restriction for me is that I simply can’t justify a monthly subscription every month. Sure, I could get a year’s subscription and pay less, but I know there will be some months when I just don’t have time or inclination to play and I will feel guilty for throwing that money away. Could TESO be worthwhile if it goes free-to-play? Are you guys paying subscriptions for any games? Do you feel like you’re playing them enough to get value for money?

Last Updated: January 9, 2015


  1. Brady miaau

    January 9, 2015 at 13:41

    Paying a sub for a game while you have real world responsibilities I find hard to justify to myself.

    Will play it a bit if is free to play


  2. Rock789

    January 9, 2015 at 13:41

    Ouch… Predictable, but a total slap in the face to all the peeps who actually coughed up cash to buy this game.


    • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

      January 9, 2015 at 13:47

      Sorry, I know it’s harsh of me to say, but people that pre-order an expensive game before reading how good it actually is only have themselves to blame.


      • Tulipdame

        January 9, 2015 at 14:23

        I didn’t care much for the game, but I bought the Imperial Edition for the Molag Bal statue


        • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

          January 9, 2015 at 14:25

          That is a pretty sweet statue, flip!


        • Kromas, Guardian of Cenarius

          January 9, 2015 at 14:34

          Me too!

          It is also the reason why I own the collectors of Alien:CM.


          • Tulipdame

            January 9, 2015 at 15:29

            Hehe. I bought a few collectors editions that I honestly haven’t touched the games of. I have in total 9 collectors editions lf which I finished 3 and played a little bit of another.

  3. Hammersteyn

    January 9, 2015 at 13:41

    I still say they need bill per hour played. That way if you don’t play for a couple of months you don’t pay for nothing.


    • Wyzak

      January 9, 2015 at 13:51

      Yep, that is the only way that I’ll subscribe to an MMO again.


    • ReaperOfSquirrels

      January 9, 2015 at 14:41

      Totally agree… I’d possibly still be playing WoW if they billed like that.

      Would be awesome if I could get 60 days worth of time in game instead of being billed for 2 months and averaging 3 hours a day, you only get about 7 and a half days worth of play time then.


  4. Hammersteyn

    January 9, 2015 at 13:42

    The numbers Mason! How many are still playing TESO?


  5. Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

    January 9, 2015 at 13:45

    They’re missing point: they made a dull and boring game. The price is irrelevant, it’s still a dull and boring game even if it’s free.


    • B-B-B-Ba-na-na-na

      January 9, 2015 at 14:07

      They can always chuck n EA Tantrum.

      “If you don’t play we’ll.. we’ll TAKE THE SERVERS AWAY!” – Humff!!

      LOL so childish EA.

      I remember when it was 2 months in when TESO came out, someone did a review & stated TESO would eventually become free to play. He was laughed at, ridiculed and told to early to judge. Dude said not now but the quality and it’s the way pay for MMOs go and he we are.

      So ladies & gentlemen, if you are called crazy you probably are, but it’s the crazy people who think outside of the box.


  6. Wyzak

    January 9, 2015 at 13:50

    *Gasp* who could have foreseen this? Oh yeah, everybody.


  7. bluegoon

    January 9, 2015 at 13:53

    I need some sugar water as the shock has not yet left my body.


  8. Blood Emperor Trevor

    January 9, 2015 at 14:00

    Meh. MM-NO.


  9. PestControl

    January 9, 2015 at 14:16

    Pre-Ordered TESO and played it for about a week or two… Pre-ordered WoW:WoD and then bought a 60 day sub for around R300 however only activated the playtime on the 31st of Dec. and even though I enjoy this expansion ~R150/m feels like I’m obligated to spend more time on it than I normally would. I would honestly prefer a once off fee (when buying the game) to a monthly sub and then have the option spend more on in-game cosmetic changes etc. At least Witcher 3 got delayed so I’ll hopefully get the opportunity to play some GTA V while also juggling WoW:WoD, DA:I and FC4.


    • Tulipdame

      January 9, 2015 at 14:26

      Oh yeah. Cant wait for Witcher 3. Finished FC4 a few weeks ago. Awesome game. Also playing GTAV and DAI now. My next purchase is DmC definitive edition. Hands down and blindfolded, I am buying it again. I left WoW some 4 years ago.


  10. Tulipdame

    January 9, 2015 at 14:22

    I will only buy the game if it goes F2P. I don’t pay subscriptions to play a game. To me, it simply seems….greedy. Sorry, I know there are reasons to justify a subscription, but paying just to be able to play, no thanks.


    • Majik

      January 10, 2015 at 09:43

      I think F2P (free to play) means you don’t have to buy the game.


  11. ToshZA

    January 9, 2015 at 14:38

    Not even worth my time as a F2P title. Just nope.


  12. Mark_D

    January 9, 2015 at 14:59

    World of Warcraft could charge a monthly subscription fee because it came out in 2004, even before Facebook was readily available. It had a huge following from the RTS games (Warcraft 1/2/3) and relatively no competition. It was innovative and took the gaming world to a new level. I paid to play it for years (when I had the time to waste). These days though, there is nothing really unique about yet another MMO. I’d guess that most people that continue to pay to play for WoW do it because of the social aspect (all the friends they’ve made) or the fact that over the years they have become heavily invested in their toons and the lore, or because they have an addiction. These people aren’t going to leave for another MMO, and the ones that have left and broken away from it, sure as hell dont want to pay to get locked in to some other random world. The Subscription Based model is dying a slow death that should be alot quicker. Only very specialised, almost niche, MMO’s (like EVE) can charge monthly subscriptions. The copy-and-paste ‘fetch me 5 of those’ quest based MMO’s surely, surely cant operate on the subs model ever again!


    • ???????????

      January 9, 2015 at 15:06

      Innovative? It plaugerized 99.99% of Everquest.


      • RustedFaith

        January 10, 2015 at 09:38


        Everyquest plagiarized the Elder Scroll games ….. actually here is how it went down. Dark Ages of Camelot plagiarized Everyquest but vastly improved it then WoW plagiarized Dark Ages of Camelot and massively improved on the interface.

        Ok so if we go down this route then every single FPS title ever released plagiarized Wolfenstein and every racing game ever released plagiarized Test Drive …. Diablo plagiarized the Ultima games, all flight sims plagiarized Elite …..

        In conclusion the entire industry thrives on taking someone else’s idea and making them better or worse …

        The only genre that was not created in the 80’s and 90’s is MOBA’S so you can say the only original game that was made since then is the mod Dota 1 ….. which wasn’t a game but a mod ….


        • Fishbowl

          January 10, 2015 at 11:11

          Not sure where you are getting your information dude but ????? is right. Blizzard did plaugerize Everquest, you should probably look up what the word means because you’re coming across as a bit naive. Inspiration from ideas and plaugerizing are two different things.

          Just sayin.


          • Mark Treloar

            January 10, 2015 at 11:32

            Otherwise Apple wouldn’t have anything to sell.

          • Fishbowl

            January 10, 2015 at 11:54

            LOL, or Valve.

        • Mark Treloar

          January 10, 2015 at 11:31

          Except MOBA’s are all based on the original hero classes from Warcraft 3 so hardly original.


    • Fishbowl

      January 10, 2015 at 11:28

      I think the dead horse has been flogged to much with collect this fetch me that in MMOs. Rift tried to change it up with originality of concept but that to fell into the same stale of Fetch this collect that. Had the best fishing skill though for a game, I would go as far as to say surpassed TLOZ Fishing.


    • HairyEwok

      January 12, 2015 at 08:05

      Cool thing about EVE is, if you commit enough time into it you could pay for the sub through just playing the game.


  13. Michelle

    January 9, 2015 at 16:04

    I’ll try it out,but I doubt I’ll be on it much.


    • HairyEwok

      January 12, 2015 at 08:09

      I tried the Beta and that was the last nail in the coffin for me on ESO. It’s nothing like any other ES due to it being so restrictive on what you can be at a instance. HUGE world and rich lore but it’s so dragged out and boring.


  14. I have tISSUES oops CAPS

    January 10, 2015 at 15:07


    Can someone verify if this is legit? Apparently Bethesda is creating an Elderscrolls 6 ….. with multi player options…..

    Oh yeah, nothing says inasity then”Hey! our online EO is going so well we had to make it free to play so let’s try it again!!”

    TESO Round Two….

    Bethesda will be having to compete with CD Project Red if this is the case.

    Confirmation appreciated to false or true story.


  15. Lothy

    January 12, 2015 at 07:03

    Currently paying for 2 accounts on Eve Online and its been worth it. Having tons of fun playing that game again after a long break. At least with Eve Online u have the option to buy a month’s subs with in-game currency.


  16. HairyEwok

    January 12, 2015 at 08:03

    How will they compensate the people that have paid for the game… poor blokes are going to be pushed to the side if ESO goes Free to Play.


  17. Axon1988

    January 12, 2015 at 08:32

    I’d like it when these kind of games have a new pay-per-hour subscription. Steam already logs your gaming hours, so why not use that. Buy a month’s worth of gaming time in a game. In case you have days when you are unable to play. But I guess this way almost guarantees they will make less money in the end.


    • Norm (@e3zype3zy)

      January 12, 2015 at 11:11

      This! Please!


  18. Guava_Eater

    January 14, 2015 at 13:09

    I’d rather pay a subscription than have a free to play with Micro Transactions. I’d started one game recently and I’ve hit a paywall in a big way. My char is utter crap unless I pay for equipment, even level 3 monsters deal more damage to me than I can to them at level 8. There are no weapons available for purchase with the in game currency except lvl 1 and 3. Just none. Now with the premium currency…. butt loads. Problem is the premium currency is R145 for 35. An entry level Warhammer costs 42. Makes the game unplayable.


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