So this news came out two days ago (Massively article), Elder Scrolls Online will be subscription-optional from March 17th this year. It’ll be a Buy-to-Play game like The Secret World and others – you have to buy the original game but then you can choose to subscribe or not. The stated benefits of the subscription are the standard now for a lot of hybrid Free-to-Play games with optional subscription: you get a monthly stipend of the real cash store currency and an experience/progression buff for leveling those characters faster (see Tera, SWTOR or EQ2 among other examples of this).
Generally I’ve read positive reactions to the news, or at least resigned acceptance that it was inevitable given that the game is to launch on consoles and console gamers are not as used to playing MMOs with a subscription (FFXIV being the only recent exception). Like Ravious of Kill Ten Rats I find myself somewhat surprised that ESO beat Wildstar to the change.
This change for ESO has me mildly interested as I’d happily give the game another go to see what has and hasn’t improved since beta. The one off purchase isn’t much of a barrier, at least not compared to the same plus a subscription.
Hopefully by March I’ll have crested the current mountain of study I have to do and my free-time for gaming will have increased enough to give another MMO a try…