Do you think Elder Scrolls Online will become Free to Play? If so, when? (Poll)

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Edited 5 months, 13 days ago

Poll: Do you think Elder Scrolls Online will become Free to Play? If so, when? (Poll) (355 votes)

No, ESO will retain it's subscription model for years to come. 3%
Yes, ESO will go F2P within 3 months of launch. 4%
Yes, ESO will go F2P between 3 and 6 months after launch. 8%
Yes, ESO will go F2P between 6 months and a year after launch. 51%
Yes, ESO will go F2P between 1-2 years after launch. 27%
Yes, ESO will eventually become F2P, but more than 2 years after launch. 4%
Other / Show Results / Tralse / Explain in Comments 5%

What do you think the future holds for Elder Scrolls Online?

#1 Posted by Random45 (1210 posts) -

Yes, I think within six months to a year of launch. I predict it'll go the way of ToR - the Elder's Scrolls fans will flock to play it initially, and once they complete the story at the end, they'll quit playing since they don't want to keep paying a subscription fee.

#2 Edited by Village_Guy (2579 posts) -

My guess it will be between six months and a year, maybe a year and a half. It think they will give it a year or so from when the console versions launch, then buckle and make it free to play due to low subscriber numbers.

#3 Posted by jakob187 (21671 posts) -

A year minimum seems like the logical spot. Then again, it took Rift about two years and some change to go F2P, so who knows, right?

#4 Posted by BaneFireLord (2935 posts) -

By September 2015 (at the latest) it will have gone F2P.

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

For MMOs, it is not a question of if, but a question of when.

#6 Posted by MB (12409 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

For MMOs, it is not a question of if, but a question of when.

What did you vote for? Do you have an actual opinion on the topic at hand?

Moderator
#7 Posted by expensiveham (291 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

A year minimum seems like the logical spot. Then again, it took Rift about two years and some change to go F2P, so who knows, right?

Rift was actually an okay game though.

#8 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@mb:

I thought that was my opinion :(.

For an actual time period....a year at most?

#9 Edited by MindBullet (163 posts) -

Just going off all the negative/overwhelmingly 'meh' reviews and press (something about shady subscription practices now?), I'd be surprised if ESO doesn't go f2p by this time next year.

#10 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1639 posts) -

I'm a bit torn between 6 months and 1-2 years. I'm agreeing with folks that say a year minimum seems like a most likely scenario. But, it seems to have gotten a relatively negative to bland reaction. How long was TOR pay before it went f2p? I'd say ESO might be in a similar window

#11 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Between 6 months and a year. Once it comes out on next-gen consoles, and assuming it underperforms, which it very likely will, it's a matter of months.

If ESO was pay-to-play like GW2 was, I'd totally have given it a go. As it is, it's a minimum 120$ investment just to get a proper taste of it. The client is more expensive than usual for MMOs, and a subscription is mandatory, or else the 30-day free trial can't be used, which would mean in my case, I'd be forced to buy a 40$ gametime card ontop of the 80$ client. That's way too costly for something I'm only very moderately interested in.

I doubt the console market gets over the 100-120$ paywall in large enough numbers to sustain the subscription model longterm. Free 2 play is the next logical step in that situation. In fact, if they were smart, they'd switch to a pay-to-play model for the console release, because that model might actually work on consoles. Longterm pay-to-play might be much better business than trying to recuperate their investment as quickly as possible, by overcharging die-hard fans, and then going free 2 play, to squeeze the market for all it's worth.

Goldfarming is reportedly a 3 billion dollar strong market, and ArenaNet definitely went the right way by going pay-to-play, and tapping into that market with their microtransaction scheme, as they did with Guild Wars 2. Apparently it works pretty darn well for them, to the point of them sitting on the next add-on until they must release it. Seeing how pretty much every console player is prefectly setup for microtransactions from the get-go, it'd be a flippin' folly if they'd launch ESO with a subscription model really.

#12 Posted by MB (12409 posts) -

@earlessshrimp: SWTOR went free to play in a little less than a year.

Moderator
#13 Posted by AlexanderSheen (5008 posts) -

@random45 said:

Yes, I think within six months to a year of launch. I predict it'll go the way of ToR - the Elder's Scrolls fans will flock to play it initially, and once they complete the story at the end, they'll quit playing since they don't want to keep paying a subscription fee.

I think the same way, although ToR did some cool things with the storytelling while ESO is pretty generic in that regard.

#14 Posted by Evilsbane (4619 posts) -

I think this game is actually a lot of fun, I don't know what the future holds for it, if it does go free to play at some point then so be it but Damn I cannot believe how down people are on this game here, the PvP is fantastic the sound design and DAOC inspired keep takes have been a blast, on a high end computer it looks quite sharp in all areas I have been in especially taken into account that it is an MMO. The quest have been supported by high quality VO and some tough but creative bosses. Maybe I'm crazy I feel like I have a pretty high taste in games I just don't get the Hyper negative reaction I am having a really great time playing it.

#15 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -
@evilsbane said:

I think this game is actually a lot of fun, I don't know what the future holds for it, if it does go free to play at some point then so be it but Damn I cannot believe how down people are on this game here, the PvP is fantastic the sound design and DAOC inspired keep takes have been a blast, on a high end computer it looks quite sharp in all areas I have been in especially taken into account that it is an MMO. The quest have been supported by high quality VO and some tough but creative bosses. Maybe I'm crazy I feel like I have a pretty high taste in games I just don't get the Hyper negative reaction I am having a really great time playing it.

It's really not about the quality of the game, but rather about the market it launches into. It's not 2004 anymore. Regardless of how good the MMO in question is, it will always be an uphill battle, and the subscription paywall doesn't do newcomers any favors.

There are countless high quality MMO experiences, and most of 'em are free-2-play too. Most regular genres incorporate more and more MMOish hooks into their design too, and depending on which hooks hook you, do you really need to play a MMO, if you play Dark Souls 2 - for example? Upcoming games like Destiny are destined, forgive the pun, to give the classic MMO design template a run for its money.

To me, ESO feels like a quick cashgrab. Bethesda lauched too late into the MMO market with the wrong product, and now it tries to recuperate their investment as quickly as possible, before their product loses all momentum. Not because they didn't believe in their game, but because they lost faith that the market will accept it. Damage control mode. It feels really shady, looking in from the outside.

#16 Posted by Dalerax (55 posts) -

I think this game is actually a lot of fun, I don't know what the future holds for it, if it does go free to play at some point then so be it but Damn I cannot believe how down people are on this game here, the PvP is fantastic the sound design and DAOC inspired keep takes have been a blast, on a high end computer it looks quite sharp in all areas I have been in especially taken into account that it is an MMO. The quest have been supported by high quality VO and some tough but creative bosses. Maybe I'm crazy I feel like I have a pretty high taste in games I just don't get the Hyper negative reaction I am having a really great time playing it.

You have my attention. I haven't enjoyed an MMO nearly as much as I did since I played DAoC for years and years. I've been dying for something to take hold of me like that game did but every MMO I've tried (with the exception of WoW) I ended up quitting after getting about 20 levels into my first character. I miss that kind of PvP, or should I say RvR. Realm pride and constantly monitoring the keeps and relics was something that had me hooked. I also thought I read something about ESO possibly having a zone like Darkness Falls, but I didn't get any specifics on the issue. This is something I'll be monitoring. I'd be more than happy to pay a subscription for it if it even came close to providing what DAoC did for me.

#17 Posted by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

The negativity is coming as a side effect of discussing the negative parts. I can only speak for myself but I don't think ESO is a bad game but simply at the wrong "price point". The way the game is now, it would be an easy "recommend" for FTP or PTP but as a subscription game it is somewhat lacking. That doesn't mean there are people out there who won't enjoy it now or that people who point this out hate the game but that it feels off compared to the competition.

#18 Edited by jakob187 (21671 posts) -

@jakob187 said:

A year minimum seems like the logical spot. Then again, it took Rift about two years and some change to go F2P, so who knows, right?

Rift was actually an okay game though.

It was. Nonetheless, anything that isn't WoW just can't really seem to sustain a pay-to-play model. Part of me thinks that Guild Wars helped kill that model for anything else with the "buy-to-play" model of the first game. However, I know the majority of the reason was due to, quite simply, the overwhelming amount of free-to-play MMOs that launched later on. They were able to show that you can sustain the MMO model with only around 500,000 users or less.

#19 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1639 posts) -

@mb: I had a feeling it was something like that!

Then I'd probably figure it'd be around 9-14 months? Going f2p isn't even a bad thing though, it's what they do with it. That'd be the most interesting to see.

#20 Posted by Wolfgame (754 posts) -

I voted 6 months to a year, seems most people share that sentiment, the biggest reason I selected that is because they want those who subbed in advance for a year to feel like they got the best value possible, if you roll into ftp before that time you have to come up with ways to compensate in cash shop currency and it becomes a headache. That's just my speculation, but if I were Zenimax I wouldn't want to deal with that.

#21 Posted by RonGalaxy (3168 posts) -

Almost definitely (I voted between 6 months and a year. Probably closer to a year).

#22 Edited by Broomhitches (173 posts) -

I give it a year. I want it to go F2P sooner than that because $60 along with a subscription fee is a little too much.

#23 Edited by RazielCuts (2954 posts) -

When MMO's do go F2P whats the rebalancing process like? They obviously have to then start chopping everything up so things can be bought. Loot drops, experience doublers etc. And systems that maybe (although probably were for a failsafe) weren't designed to work like that. Is it usual that then the already existing players of the game get like a 'Founders Circle' bonus or something? I remember Jeff got like the 'everything' pack' for Star Trek but I think he paid like $200 up front. How did it work when Star Wars went F2P? I don't really pay too much attention to MMO's but the design process and dealing with the change in sub model is definitely interesting.

#24 Posted by MB (12409 posts) -

I'm guessing that even if sales of ESO are poor, Zenimax will hold onto the current subscription model through the end of 2014 to try and get in on some of that Christmas action, and we may possibly see a price reduction in the price of the game. l predict a SWTOR-style conversion in or around February or March 2015.

Moderator
#25 Posted by Nightriff (5084 posts) -

Very similar to KotR so it will be free to play within a year, the market just doesn't want to pay very long for a MMO unless you are WoW. They will get what money they can from the hardcore and quickly move to FTP surprisingly fast because they know they will have to do that at some point.

#26 Edited by TheRealMoot (380 posts) -

I'll give it 6 months to a year, just on first impressions and a few hours spent in the closed beta. Didn't seem like there was enough to do for the amount of money they want on a monthly basis. But I feel that way about all MMO's.

#27 Posted by PurplePartyRobot (179 posts) -

Depends on subscription trends and how fast they bleed out subscriptions. I give it a year at most.

#28 Posted by TobbRobb (4650 posts) -

6 months sounds about right. Maybe more than a year, but there is no way they would do it as soon as 3 months in.

#29 Edited by MariachiMacabre (7096 posts) -

I'm betting on it going F2P at around the 8-month mark.

#30 Posted by Bollard (5550 posts) -

It makes me wonder why MMOs don't just adopt the price policy Guild Wars took. MMOs aren't that different now from normal games anyway - pretty much everything has some online persistence, so why would I pay monthly for that?

#31 Posted by Irvandus (2879 posts) -

2 years. I'm really enjoying it and others do too. You have to factor in all the sales of the game itself too.

#32 Posted by Original_Hank (113 posts) -

I predict it'll be f2p 5 minutes from this post.

#33 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4351 posts) -

I'll put some Brad Bucks down on it going F2P in a year

#34 Edited by spraynardtatum (2953 posts) -

God I hope not. drop the subscription fee but keep it $60. Guild Wars 2 did it right.

Bethesda needs to work out that magic.

#35 Posted by clush (417 posts) -

i think the 1st 5 options in the poll make up 99% of the possibilities in more or less equal shares

#36 Posted by chilibean_3 (1642 posts) -

Launching an MMO without a solid F2P transition plan would be ridiculously irresponsible. It will be within a year, no doubt about that. Less than 6 months doesn't seem likely but could happen, sure.

#37 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2775 posts) -

They will hold out for up to six months, but my guess is they go free to play after that.

I also expect they game will be gone, the servers shut down within three years. The game will get some decent numbers for eight months, then it will pop up as a free to play game. But after about 36 months the user numbers will drop until they just start wondering why they should support the game at all.

So I'm predicting a sagging, slow decline failure like so many other traditional MMOs. I think for the time being games where progression happening to the players character will be replaced by games where the player builds a city, an object, a space craft, etc. Your character doesn't so much gain levels, but rather the structure, ship, or team they build makes the character more formidable as a force in the world.

#38 Edited by Skeletors_Sack (1 posts) -

@video_game_king:

I'm guessing 3-6 months before it goes F2P. The Elder Scrolls Online has lots of bugs and glitches that should have never made it out of beta. I literally just recorded this earlier this morning and bugs like this still exist in the game.

Even without the bugs and glitches, this game seems to be not quite a full-blown Elder Scrolls game or MMO and seems just like my family. Half-baked.

#39 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

Keep in mind that Elder Scroll (and the open world Fallout) games are kind of infamous for being glitchy bug ridden crapshots where either the software was exploding with crashes and faults or the game was imploding due to scripted quests and story lines being coded having problems leaving players in bad and broken games. It is kind of remarkable that the PC 1.0 version of Skyrim had a main quest that was bug free.

#40 Posted by spraynardtatum (2953 posts) -

@skeletors_sack: I had that happen to me too. That's basically the only bug I get (I get it pretty frequently though). Next time that happens just use /stuck.

#41 Posted by Universalize (130 posts) -

for me ESO felt light and perhaps cheap in some ways. just felt a bit empty not much engagement and immersion going on

#42 Posted by -Cipher- (108 posts) -

I think ESO is going to ride out its subscription, six months is little profit for the MMORPG that it is. They'll try to milk it first.

#43 Posted by RandomHero666 (3181 posts) -

@seppli: Guild War 2 is Free-to-play, always has been.

The only way they make money is through micro-transactions(mostly cosmetic/convenience items)

#44 Posted by MB (12409 posts) -

@seppli: Guild War 2 is Free-to-play, always has been.

The only way they make money is through micro-transactions(mostly cosmetic/convenience items)

No monthly fee and F2P are two completely different things. Guild Wars 2 is not free to play - you have to buy the game up front in order to play it.

Free to Play means anyone can install the game for no charge and start playing.

Moderator
#45 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5513 posts) -

I really hope it goes F2P in the next six months, because that retail price along with the sub is really pushing me away from trying it. I never play Mmo's, but I'm really interested in the game, given my love Elder scrolls in general.

#46 Posted by RandomHero666 (3181 posts) -

@mb: Oh my bad, I always associate 'pay-to-play' with subscription.

#47 Edited by TheHT (11266 posts) -

I'll give it about 1.3 years

#48 Posted by kasumi_geist (30 posts) -

No doubt in my mind. I give it 5-7 months.

#49 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1117 posts) -

It will depend on how it performs on consoles. If it bombs on the console side, then I could see it start to move in that direction in six months to a year from that point.

#50 Edited by Seikenfreak (428 posts) -

6 months to a year I voted for but I'd probably say more a year or year and a half.

There seems to be a lack of interest and enthusiasm for this game right out the gate. Doesn't look very good to me either from watching GB's 3 hour video thing.

These days it seems an MMO needs great positive reception to even have a chance to succeed. FF14 is subscription based and I think it's going to stay that way. Producer has said they will shut it down before it becomes completely F2P and the game has seen wide positive reception and subscriber numbers have far exceeded Square's initial projections.

So I think that is the type of atmosphere an MMO needs to have to remain subscription based in this era. Haven't heard anything like this for ESO. I think Jeff kind of summed up how I see it: They took an MMO and tried to make it like Elder Scrolls rather than taking an Elder Scrolls game and adding multiplayer/MMO. I still don't think I'd be interested in it even if it was free.

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