I logged into Elder Scrolls Online as planned to check out the week’s free trial of the ESO Plus subscription. It’s not something I’ve honestly looked at before with this game, I only started playing ESO properly when it went free to play so hadn’t subscribed before.
The game has a nice summary screen of the attendant benefits, some of which are more relevant to me than others. The 10% bonus to experience stood out to me as it’s a common benefit of subscribing with optional-sub MMOs – a minor benefit I suppose if I go back to soloing again, but actually a minor nuisance if my trio leveling group ever comes back to Tamriel – even if the “One Tamriel” level-syncing means my characters gradually out-leveling my compatriots won’t be a group-breaker.
In older MMORPGs if you out-leveled your group-mates you’d ruin their experience gain or, at least, make content too easy by being too high for it. The more accommodating MMORPGs with level-sync (either optional or mandatory), allow you to avoid this, but I guess it’s not great for fellow adventurers to see my character gradually accelerating away level-wise (this happened in our last major stint in SWTOR for instance).
The account-wide unlimited crafting storage bag is, however, a massive perk from my own perspective. This solves two major issues I have when playing the game, firstly that my characters are forever running out of handspace far away from a bank or vendor, and secondly that the shared bank space is relatively stingy and expensive to expand (for someone who hasn’t played for years actively). Another related benefit of ESO Plus is the doubled bank space, so the shared bank space you have purchased will stretch that much further, and it won’t be full of crafting mats!
So, currently my main characters have suddenly empty hands and my bank is also looking capacious and rather light. The account-wide nature of the crafting bag would save a lot of character swapping to shift tradeskill-specific items between an actively adventuring character and the crafter who needs the mats I stumble across. Inventory management headache solved!
Like all subscriptions the biggest issue I have with ESO Plus is not that I do not find the benefits worth paying for, if anything I was simply ignorant of them in this case. The problem at the moment is my limited playing time and the fact I’ve other games that I have committed to play already. I made the decision years ago in certain games, like Everquest 2 and SWTOR, that I’d only play if subbed – the free to play experience simply wasn’t for me at least on high-level characters. So this week’s trial may not immediately encourage me to sub up or even return to play actively. I’ll have to look into what will happen to the items in the crafting bag when the week’s trial runs out, losing access to all those mats wouldn’t be pleasant. The convenience is pretty amazing though compared to the F2P gaming experience; when I do come back to finish the Morrowind content or to carry on levelling my Dragonknight, I suspect it’ll be as an ESO Plus member.
With the crafting bag, the only thing that changes once your sub runs out is you won’t be able to add more mats to it — anything new you acquire goes into your main bag as before. Everything that was already in the crafting bag will stay there and remain accessible to all characters.
I swap between my paid and my free EQ2 accounts all the time and I can scarcely tell the difference. Same with EQ. The subbed versions have a couple of nice perks – being able to use the Fast Travel for free is the best – but they really are luxuries. I can’t think of anything I actively miss when I’m on the free as opposed to the paid one.
The XP buff made the difference between acceptable but slow level gain and painful crawl for me when doing recent expansions in EQ2 (although the latest hasn’t been as bad anyway).
Also, one important thing to note on ESO+: while nobody mentioned it here yet, there is a the idea going around, that ESO build in additional inconvenience to push people to ESO+. The truth is the other way around, ESO did not have the crafting bag while it was still subscription based. Only after ESO+ was introduced (and apparently wasn’t picked up much), the craft bag was one of the new convenience features added to ESO+.
So anybody who now plays without ESO+, basically plays the way the game was in old times. That being said, i run ESO+. The game has changed a lot to the better in the last time. It was a catastrophy at launch, but is very enjoyable now. So the developers sure deserve the money for the good work. (And i also don’t mind things to be more convenient. 🙂 )
Oh thanks for this clarification, I did wonder if the crafting bag was a pre-F2P thing while writing the post. It’s a great feature in any case!