If you’re an Elder Scrolls fan like me, odds are you’re excited about the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG. The time is fast approaching when the beta tests will be concluded and we’ll all be able to adventure in Tamriel in a new and different way. The Elder Scrolls Online is slated for an April 4, 2014 release date for PC gamers, with a June 2014 release for next generation console players.
The Elder Scrolls Online Is Controversial
My excitement about the upcoming ESO release is tempered by the realization that several of my fellow Elder Scrolls brothers and sisters will not be playing the game. In many ways, The Elder Scrolls Online is controversial:
- Some believe that The Elder Scrolls should never have been developed into a MMORPG in the first place, and that resources would have been better spent creating Elder Scrolls VI, the sequel to Skyrim.
- Some believe that The Elder Scrolls Online should only be released as a PC game, and that console versions have only slowed the game’s development.
- Some believe that The Elder Scrolls Online will pander not only to console gamers, but to PC gamers with older machines. They feel that by not having more stringent system requirements, the game’s graphics will suffer and won’t be as robust as they could be.
If that isn’t enough, the most controversial thing about The Elder Scrolls Online is the planned subscription fee.
Gamers will be required to purchase the game, and will then have to shell out $14.99 a month to play ESO. In addition, console gamers may have additional fees to pay for either the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live in order to play online (Bethesda is trying to work a deal to avoid this). To say that a subscription fee doesn’t sit well with many gamers is putting it mildly…
Is The Elder Scrolls Online A Ripoff?
So is The Elder Scrolls Online a ripoff at $14.99 a month, or is the price reasonable? In many ways, this is a subjective question, and gamers will need to reach their own conclusions based on their personal finances and perception of value. No doubt about it, for a lot of players the subscription fee is a deal killer. However, in an effort to look at the fee somewhat objectively, let’s compare the monthly cost to other forms of popular, subscription-based entertainment (assuming that the listed service is used for 24 hours/month):
[table caption=”ESO Cost Comparison” width=”500″ colwidth=”20|20|20″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Entertainment, Monthly Cost, Hours Used/Month, Cost/Hour
Elder Scrolls Online, $14.99,24,$0.62
World of Warcraft,$14.99,24,$0.62
Hulu Plus, $7.99,24,$0.33
GameFly (1 Game),$16.00,24,$0.67
When compared to other forms of popular entertainment, The Elder Scrolls Online subscription fee doesn’t seem outrageous. Also, gamers should be able to purchase multiple months at a somewhat of a discount. With that said, there are two pitfalls as to whether players will continue to pay a monthly fee:
- Gamers may not play ESO all that much due to time constraints, work responsibilities, school, etc. Playing the game for less than 24 hours/month (as in the example above) may diminish the game’s overall value in the eyes of some players. Basically, gamers won’t continue to pay a monthly subscription for a service they’re not using.
- Subscription fees should help support the game and the ESO community. If the fees aren’t reinvested back into ESO by ZeniMax Online (the game’s developer), the perceived value of the game will lessen and subscriptions will drop.
Personally, I’m willing to pay the monthly subscription fee, and I wasn’t all that surprised when The Elder Scrolls Online went the way of a subscription-based model. As an Elder Scrolls fan, I want the game to be a success, and I’m willing to pony up some cash to ensure that the game will grow and continue to be supported. Based on the amount of time I anticipate playing the game, I see good value for my money. This is just my opinion though, and I realize that everyone’s situation is different.
So what do you think? Is The Elder Scrolls Online a ripoff? Are you willing to pay the $14.99 a month fee, or will your entertainment dollars go elsewhere? Share your opinions in the Speak Your Mind section below. Until next time, fellow travelers!