Earlier this morning Bethesda Softworks announced that they would be dropping their subscription model from The Elder Scrolls Online starting March 17, 2015.
Despite what many other news sources are reporting, this will not make the game Free-to-Play, but rather, players will only have to buy the initial copy of ESO and will no longer have to pay an additional $14.99 per month in order to keep playing the game. For those of you keeping score at home, that means you would have had to pay a minimum of $194.90 so far to play the game if you got it on the day of release, because each copy comes with a free 30 days of play, plus an additional $40 if you bought the Imperial Edition of the game.
New players to the game that want to avoid paying the subscription fee would be able to buy the game starting February 15th and would only have to pay $59.99 to set out on their adventures in Tamriel. The game will still be supported by a premium subscription service as well as by DLC sales that will both come at additional costs. Zenimax Studios, the developers of the game, will also introduce shortcut packs for players who would like to buy gear and other items that would normally take a considerable amount of time to gather through normal game-play.
These shortcut packs are something that publishers like EA and Ubisoft have brought into their gaming services and something that some gamers seem torn on with a few consumers claiming that it makes the games unbalanced and introduces a Pay-to-Win element to the games. It will be interesting to see what the new changes bring to the balance and play styles of ESO when things change over in March. The long awaited console versions of the game will also be released on June 6th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.