Elder Scrolls Online defends subscription fee with regular, "significant" content

Bethesda want to give their MMO players a value proposition that's not just a "new sword" or a "funny hat" every month.

Bethesda's Vice President of PR, Pete Hines, has detailed the publisher's plan to support The Elder Scrolls Online post-launch with regular content additions. Speaking to GameSpot, Hines defended the game's monthly $14.99 subscription fee by describing it as a "value proposition".

"We feel pretty strongly about the support we're going to have for the game and what you're going to get for those dollars," he said when asked why The Elder Scrolls Online was not pursuing a free-to-play model. "We're also very confident in our ability to support it with content. And not content of the magnitude of, it's a new month, here's a new sword or here's a funny hat--but content that is real and significant and it feels like regular and consistent DLC releases."

"... Not here's a new sword or here's a funny hat--but content that is real and significant and it feels like regular and consistent DLC releases."

Hines further justified the subscription fee by explaining that, as a massively multiplayer game, The Elder Scrolls Online would require all players to have the same content installed and available to them in order to interact with one another.

"So you wind up in a situation where you say, look, by and large, when you're talking about regular content, adding new features and new parts of the world, either you're all in or you're not," he continued.

Hines recognized that this may limit the MMORPG's potential number of players, saying that this was not an issue for Bethesda.

"We're not trying to make a game that everybody who plays games will automatically buy," he elaborated. "It is a certain kind of game. There's no shooter elements. There's no aliens. It is a massive, 'Go where you want, do what you want' game that we think offers the kind of experience that's worthy of a subscription."

Hines described how this approach would have been affected had Bethesda chosen to adopt a free-to-play model, stating that the percentage of the team Bethesda could afford to assign to create future content would depend upon the The Elder Scrolls Online's base sales performance.

"That just seems like a lesser game, and we're not going to make a lesser game that might be more palatable," he continued. "We want to do the version that we think is the best game and the coolest experience. And that means putting a lot of people and a lot of content creators towards having stuff that comes our regularly; every four weeks, five weeks, six weeks. Big new stuff that you want to do."

The Elder Scrolls Online was rated M last month for sexual innuendo and severed heads. It's set to launch in April on PC and Mac and will come to Xbox One and PS4 in June.

Daniel Hindes is the AU editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @dhindes
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Want the latest news about The Elder Scrolls Online?

The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online

Discussion

925 comments
rolandxdeschain
rolandxdeschain

@nyxthid yes, WoW does have a subscription fee, but they also make it free to play until level 20, so you can at least try the game out and see if you want to spend the money for the game+sub, where Bethesda you have to buy the game in order to even try it, and if you don't like it, you just screwed yourself out of however much you spent on it. I bet ESO would get many more people to subscribe and play if they did something similar to this.

elijafirebrand
elijafirebrand

So far the changes have been huge and game changing for me, I had my doubts at the start but now I am very happy paying such a small fee for a superb game.

dragondeathlord
dragondeathlord

I played it, They can defend it PAY to Play model till there bankrupt. Game I played looked Great but Engine and scripting got to be rewritten. It looks and feels great I was Like WOW , But a one time fee of 75 buck I would do,  Throw in a home server so my friends could Play Private games And I pay another 300. Then they could of sold expansions at 35 a pop for home.75 for server. And  still hosted Public Servers, Or they could of done it with a store F2P and a one time fee to buy the client say 45. Or Even did it with an Auction house that takes bitcoin dose conversion for real world cash then charges a Auction house fee on Auctions. Now those Models works and are the future. 



But this? Its yesterdays business Model . Fanboys sorry no matter how good a game it could be the Markets to competitive to suport yesterday Crusty Old Man Subscription plans .   


No need to convince you wait and see. Even Blizzards saying subscriptions an Outdated Idea. SO Enjoy your ESO and tape it on your BetaMax Player, Because it will not last.   

stacyamendola
stacyamendola

ESO is well worth the cost of the game AND the sub fee! They will have over 10 million subs by the end of this year and will go on the become THE most successful MMO to date.

TORCEDOR
TORCEDOR

well you cant have your cake and eat it too Bethesda. give the game for free and charge subscription (like EVA)or charge for game and do away with subscription like (guild wars)

nyxthid
nyxthid

All of you haters can just suck it right now. WOW the so called most successful MMO has a fee. Millions pay for it. You're all forgetting one big key factor. This is Bethesda they have won game of the year 4 out of the 5 last games they have made. Morrowwind Game of the year, Oblivion game of the year, Fallout 3 game of the year, Skyrim game of the year. And Skyrim didn't even drop from $60 till the game of the year edition came out. This game has so much to offer, and the insignificant amount of $15 a month that you know you spend more on in food and other stupid stuff monthly. That will only help add to the experience, and make this game great. I cannot see you having a valid argument over such a small thing. If you can't afford $15 then you need to get your priorities straight and stop living in your dam parents house. Really think about it. Netflix for basic streaming $8 a month average combo meal when eating out $7 

medusacharmer
medusacharmer

nah, i am gonna skip this one, I like the game but this subscription fee or the upgrade thing, nope. I did that with LoL and it ended up costing me a lot of paysafecards. Next please.

natedogg661
natedogg661

 My disappointment with this game is the fact that I am a fan of the previous Elder Scrolls games, and would probably enjoy playing this game but don't want to pay $15 a month just to play it.  I spent various amounts of time playing Skyrim over the course of a year to fully enjoy that game.  To do the same thing with this game I would end up spending an extra $180 over the course of a year.  That is nearly half of what I paid for the PS4 that I would be playing it on.  Add in the initial cost of the game and you are looking at over a $200 investment for one game.  Its just too much for one game regardless of the content that is "added" after the fact.

lutarian
lutarian

Aw. Look at all the ESO haters that forgot about the horrible the WoW beta was and the horrible WoW launch. Yet WoW fixed the issues...with time.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

I'm tired of hearing industry apologists sitting around saying 'get a job', or '$15 is only 2 hours work!'.

it's clear as day that you 5 year olds have never had to work for a living and pay actual bills. If you had a mortgage to pay, gas+electricity and water bills, rents etc to pay, you wouldn't be spewing this garbage. I make very good money in my line of work, yet I wouldn't spend a red cent on this dire failure of a video game. I'd CONSIDER it for a game that appears worthy, and this is NOT such a game. You idiots are making pathetic excuses for greedy companies to release BROKEN GAMES, whilst laughing all the way to the bank. You are SUCKERS. If you clowns had played the beta, you would know how horribly unworthy of a monthly sub it is. Even WoW (one of the best-established MMOs, regardless of whether or not you enjoy it) isn't worth paying a monthly sub for. Having played a lot of the ESO beta, I can confirm that ESO is not worth the initial sale cost, nevermind a recurring subscription. It is utterly broken and barely playable, and riddled with stupid issues and horrible design flaws (designed to emulate the single-player ES experience...it does not translate well to MMO format).

1) you have no cursor, so trying to ask someone for help as they dart past you in the wilderness is next-to-impossible. Even vanilla WoW had this basic feature sorted 10 years ago, whilst ESO cannot sort it today.


2) you have to click for every single weapon swing. RSI here we go! After playing the beta for just a few hours, I could feel the carpel-tunnel syndrome kicking in, as well as irritation and pure annoyance at the shoddy controls.

If you have a brain, you'll avoid this worthless spin-off. It's NOT a proper ES game, and it is frankly embarrassing to play, and to behold.

duffin01
duffin01

“We want to do the version that we think is the best game and the coolest experience. And that means putting a lot of people and a lot of content creators towards having stuff that comes our regularly; every four weeks, five weeks, six weeks. Big new stuff that you want to do."


"And it's not content with the magnitude of, it's a new month, here's a new sword or a funny hat! But content that's real and significant that feels like regular content releases."

Okay... 15$? This is NOTHING... you can make this much in 2 hours at a mcDonald's if you had to! For 30 days of content! And imagine having new "DLC" every couple of weeks... it's like, "Here, have Dragonborn! we'll get back to you with Dawnguard in Just a couple weeks." Did you hear that? DLC EVERY COUPLE OF WEEKS!! That would mean having Skyrim with REGULAR UPDATES! For only 15$   I mean come on... stop whining. That is nothing for amazingness.

MGSFAN612
MGSFAN612

I still don't understand how monthly fees for these games are legal and even more so how players justify them, It is basically a legal form of extortion, If you don't pay your monthly extortion fee that $50+ dollar game you bought is a coaster.


I tried the beta and while I find it entertaining I don't think it is worth $60 + a monthly fee

xzoozano
xzoozano

FUCK! i bet what I'm about to say has been said by everyone and there grandmother but WHY IS THE MONTHLY FEE SO HIGH? i love elder scrolls but come on. dose anyone out there think they will lower the fee or take it out all together eventually?

sacen
sacen

There's no aliens. It is a massive, 'Go where you want, do what you want' game that we think offers the kind of experience that's worthy of a subscription."


Just lied about your game. I can't go anywhere I want right at the start of the game. I STUCK in a ISLAND and force to finish the main story there then ported to another island that is If I'm luck with out the bugs....

PadreSteven
PadreSteven

Keep your multiplayer out of my Elder Scrolls. Please and thank you.

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

MMO's used to be able to justify their monthly fee with server maintenance and that was it. That was the reason, plain and simple. 


Now if they want to charge monthly they have to goad everyone with promises of regular expansions, basically. This is on top of the massive server maintenance.


I'm not really sure what my point is. Just saying that MMO's didn't need to promise regular anything and we used to happily pay monthly. F2P movement, I guess.

Vexov
Vexov

TESO knows its going to get into trouble fast, so they will suck in all the money they can from subs before they have to go F2P.

mrtwyst
mrtwyst

Elder Scrolls has been my favorite series of games since it first came out.


However, there's no way I would purchase this game and pay a subscription fee after having played the beta a couple of weeks ago. This was a serious disappointment.


As soon as a new Elder Scrolls or expansion pack was released, I'd purchase it right away. They should have left this model as is.


The game-play and fighting were extremely clunky and I couldn't stomach playing for more than a couple of hours. I was done. Not only would I not purchase it for $60, there's no way Bethesda would squeeze an extra $15/month out of me on top of it.

elijafirebrand
elijafirebrand

@stacyamendola I would pay more per month and hope they put cool stuff in the store soon so I can support them that way too... what a gorgeous game, and the best combat I have played even better than GW2.

dragondeathlord
dragondeathlord

@nyxthid  All there new Blizzard games are subscription free. Blizzards saying subscriptions an Outdated Idea. Ever hear of Starcraft II? Titan whenever it comes out will be free as in free free, Rumor is it will be supported with an Auction house that takes a cut and uses Bitcoin.Hence the huge Reboot of the Project. If so they will make more cash than god. While Bethesda will keep their old model and starve.

Xr1s
Xr1s

@nyxthid  

And that is why I feel compelled to buy this one. Except wait, no I don't. I'd rather get a new triple-A title every 4 months with my $60 or watch netflix. I will be happy to let you pay the monthly fee and enjoy whatever content Bethesda thinks that buys you. As much as I liked all the other TES titles, this is not the equivalent of 5 Skyrim's a year.

Also, aren't the first 20 levels of WoW free to play now?

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@lutarian

Unless they plan to completely overhaul the entire ESO system (especially the horrible control scheme), then they aren't going to 'sort it'. They are trying too hard to re-create the Elder Scrolls experience as an MMO, and the two concepts simply do not work. They lose the best of both worlds. As a result, ESO comes in as a sub-par MMO, and a HORRIBLE Elder Scrolls game.

You say 'ESO haters', but I am an ES fan and have been for a long time. I dislike ESO because it is, in fact, a horrible game. It fails as an MMO due to trying to emulate the single-player experience, and it fails as an Elder Scrolls game because it makes you feel like a weakling surrounded by other weaklings. It does not feel like an ES game at all tbh, it feels utterly horrible to play and the controls + lack of cursor are RIDICULOUS!

As for the WoW Beta...this was 10 years ago, it seems that Bethesda have not even learned lessons from those days by the looks of it.

OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@Syndicalist so in other words all your complaints about the game come from a position of being angry about paying to play.  I can understand that bills are expensive, but you either.... A) set aside the 15 dollars a month to play, maybe skip on one or two impulse buy games or B) Don't play.


Someone already pointed out you could his period on your keyboard to bring up the cursor.  Also Beta is beta, they can have some time to work things out, just like every other MMO on the market, it's not like you sneeze and the game is magically perfect.

OrgeLambart
OrgeLambart

@duffin01 LOL @ you if you really think they'll deliver DLC every couple of weeks for free for the entire life of the game...  That is pretty foolish to think, I'm sure the first few months they'll keep this up, (it'll be the features they promised prior to launch which weren't quite ready or features that everyone knows are coming like Dark Brotherhood and Thieves guild.  Eventually it'll taper off to be once a month, then once every two months, then once every 6 months, then eventually no new content outside of holiday events.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@duffin01

Hey idiot, would you work 2 hours in McDonalds each month to play this pathetic overrated garbage ES spin-off?

I make more than $15 in 30 mins at work, yet I wouldn't waste a penny of it on this rubbish game. The issue is not the subscription, but whether or not it is WORTH the subscription. Having played countless hours on the beta, I can say that I wouldn't pay for this game at all. The beta has been utter rubbish.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@MGSFAN612

"OMG JUST GET A PAPER-ROUND!"
-ESO fanboys (who have not actually played the BETA)

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@xzoozano

Judging by the beta, the game is not worth playing. Nevermind paying for.

lutarian
lutarian

@sacen Incorrect. You are not stuck on the Island. You can simply talk to the NPC that takes you off the Island and you never have to do one starting area quest. You can also go back to the Island if you want to.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@sacen

Exactly! 'Go anywhere, do anything'....

...except the 70% of the map which is unreleased and inaccessible. Most of what IS accessible, cannot be accessed at low levels. You're correct in your assertion that the devs are outright BSing us here.

revan292
revan292

@PadreSteven Quit whining

"out of my elder scrolls" uhh... yeah... it's not yours xD It belongs to bethesda/zenimax and only they can decide what to do with it.

So yeah... Quit whining ;D

It's time for the people who actually want to be able to play ES with friends/online with other players to have a turn. Get over it.

No one is forcing you to buy it, and it's not like it's the last ES they'll ever make.

Especially since this is being made by Zenimax and not the traditional bethesda itself, It's safe to say that other Elder scrolls will come around eventually, especially with their being no "ESO is the final ES" declaration by bethesda or even zenimax.

templarhealz
templarhealz

@PadreSteven This is a silly comment, The Elder Scrolls Online is being handled by a sister company created by Bethesda to handle it. They will still be making the solo games you enjoy so why bash them with this comment.

They are one of if not the best developer out there in terms of listening and providing their fans exactly what they want. If you don't like MMO's then fine, but no need to act as if this is the way the entire franchise is going, they are already working on the sequel to Skyrim.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@spikepigeo

Only one MMO succeeded and it was WoW. Now it's in the past and dying of old age. Those playing it are mostly Asians in cybercafé, for a few pennies per hour. I've spent a few years in WoW also but that's over for me and for any subs type of games. I'm not paying full price for a game that needs monthly payments to work, and I don't think many will either.

I would add that maybe people are getting bored with MP games. We all know what happens with MP games and unless you have a few friends, friends playing games, friends playing that game and available to play at the same time you are then they are usually boring. Stories are not developed, grinning is a necessity to increase level and equipment (and to extend payments over months), some will play like idiots to become the first to reach maximum level and have the best equipment then they'll spend their time in cities to parade and hope of attracting attention, groups are hard to form and many think they're the best and don't want to play with newer players, arrogance and so on.... Just not worth it.

I think we will see a return in force of single player games with highly developed stories, with interesting moral choices and multiple branching depending of your actions. And you won't see monthly payments.

I bet my 10 cents ESO will suffocate by the lack of subscriptions in the first few months and will be unplug in a year or so.

lutarian
lutarian

@Syndicalist @lutarian 

There is nothing wrong with the system except the bugs that all mmo's have in beat, at launch and a time after.

I normally solo and it felt fine as a single player experience. I also did not feel like a weakling and it felt like an ES game.  Controls are fine. If you want the cursor press period on your keyboard.



revan292
revan292

If anyone reading your whining rants has a brain, they're laugh at/ignore your whiny supremacist snippets like "this worthless spinoff" "It's NOT a proper ES game" "and it is frankly embarassing to play".

If anyone reading your pissing and moaning tantrums has a brain, they'll know that you're whining hate of the game doesn't mean they can't decide for themselves whether they like it.

lutarian
lutarian

@Syndicalist @duffin01

I have read your posts and you are a very degrading and angry person.  On top of that, a person that does well financially does not go around talking about what they make (unless they have massive low self esteem), so I doubt you make what you claim.


I played the beta and it was...a beta. The last beta weekend had quite a bit of bugs (which I expected) but the one prior to that ran very smoothly.  Things are being worked on and will improve. WoW had a crap beta and crap launch and they fixed their issues. Or did you and so many forget about that?  With ESO I found the quest system to be great if you listen to the dialogue. It really pulls you in with a deep immersion. The story is great and the combat is fun. You talk about having to click for every basic attack which I find funny since I never used the basic attack. I only used power attacks and the skills. The combat does start opening up quite a bit after level 10.  You can leave the starting islands after talking to an NPC and bypass the area all together.  Once there, you have quests for your specific level so you don't get wiped out.  The graphics are also very nice. Looked better than Skyrim on my rig. The crafting system is very good and the PVP is great. I am not really a PVP guy but I found this one really good.


The problem with the negative complaints is that people are forgetting about all the other MMO's and their beta issues, trying to compare ESO to MMO's that have had years to refine their system or people are not putting in enough time into the game and experiencing what it truly offers.  OR...they are hard core fanboys of another MMO that hate on other MMO's.


Now. With all that said. Dark Souls is a great game.  I agree with you on that.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@lutarian

Then you can run around a high level area and get one-shotted by random enemies. 'fun'.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@templarhealz

Way to miss the point, genius.

PadreSteven's point was that TES does not work as an MMO. ESO neither works as an ES game, nor does it work as an enjoyable MMO. It's garbage, and honestly ESO is an embarrassment to TES series.

templarhealz
templarhealz

@SpicaAntares I guess you haven't notice the pre-orders for this game.....its selling like hot cakes.

Although I do somewhat agree generally with what you mention about the life-cycle surrounding MMO's, but

believe player drop off correlates with developers not keeping up with end game content. Time will tell on this game like all others but I'll bet on them and so will many others. This being a fully voice acted MMO is a huge deal and it show the developers commitment to the overall Lore and storyline that make the elder scrolls franchises what they are. Will there be compromises due to this being an MMO? Sure but they will add something that's been missing from the genre for a long time which is developing story lines. You will however still have some grinding aspects (albeit not as many as most) and you'll still have players you play 10 hours a day and out run content (albeit not as many as most again).

katzenkrimis
katzenkrimis

@SpicaAntares


Aside from the different payment options, the experience in an MMO is always the same.  You get the hard-core, unwarranted self-importance types, leading groups through PvP.  You get the giggle groups and the loners running through PvE.  You put on the necklaces, the rings, the bracelets, and loot a helm of might and glory.  You craft a weapon of legend which you proudly name, The Word. You kill the field rats, the minions, the mini-bosses, and Grandmaster Smash.


*yawn*...How much did I pay for this?


But after all that, like you say, one of the biggest problems with MMO's is the writing.  Which people rarely comment on when bitching about MMO's.  The writing is child-like.  Elementary level baby talk.  Hold my hand and walk me through this quest, please. I don't think my brain is capable of computing these words.


Predictable is bad enough. But MMO's are a painful process. Laborious. 


With painfully bad writing, all one can do is grab The Word, slice off its head, and bury it. 


fancypantsguy
fancypantsguy

@revan292  I must say I agree with you. If this guy doesnt like how the game functions, he can do one thing. NOT PLAY IT. No one is stopping him from doing so. But there's no denying the fact that many people, after playing the beta, still like the game. 

lutarian
lutarian

@Syndicalist @lutarian 

In ALL mmo's you have to click something for every single attack if you want to perform anything that's worth anything. An auto attack sucks because it's the weakest attack.  I never even used the pansy left click attack unless I was doing a power attack and then all you do is hold the button down. Instead, I used the actual skills. I had weapon skills that used stamina and class skills that used magicka. So I would run in, use my weapons skills thus draining my stamina and then used my class skills that used my magicka. If anything was left alive I would repeat. Did not have to ever click, click, click as you say.  I also played with a 360 controller. Aw. That was great. Felt just like an ES game.

lutarian
lutarian

@Syndicalist @lutarian 

Once again.  ALL mmo's have bugs during beat, at launch and quite some time after launch.

The best beta weekend was the second to last one.  I had a great time, actually paid attention to the dialogue which created alot of immersion within the quests. Interlocking stories were great. Combat was fun, crafting was fun and PVP was fun..and I am not even a PVP guy. Then again, I actually put in alot of time and played the game how I would normally play an ES game.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@lutarian

The problems I've seen with ESO are fundamental to the 'experience'. I.E needing to click for every single attack. This isn't going to work.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@lutarian

I would not normally mention my financial circumstances, but like I said, I'm SICK of hearing 'OH IF U DONT LIKE SUBS GET A JOB!!11 HURP DURP!'

In other words; idiots who are missing the point completely. The issue isn't that ESO requires a sub, the issue is that ESO isn't WORTH a sub. Hell, the beta isn't even worth playing.

Who gives a damn anyway?

DARK SOULS!

ZanderDF
ZanderDF

@Syndicalist @templarhealz  how many comments did you write bashing this game? I played the beta some like it some dont get overrr it. I thought it was ok tho so stop pushing your near groundless opinions on people. If you like MMOS and you also happen to enjoy es then you will love ESO if you hate mmos but like es then you will not like ESO. There is a Skyrim sequel in the works and even if this game fails there is allways room to come back up again for aslong they dont screw it up too much. Have faith ^_^

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@templarhealz

Big deal, pre-orders and release sales. I bet most of those players haven't played the beta. If they had, they wouldn't be pre-ordering this rubbish. The ones who preorder and are paying a fortune, will soon realise their error....or continue to suffer from delusions.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@katzenkrimis

Well said!!

Now go play Dark Souls, the least patronising, least hand-holding experience ever, and I LOVE IT! Oh yes, and it's got tons of multiplayer.