As promised, Bethesda Softworks’ massively multiplayer The Elder Scrolls Online has dropped monthly subscriptions today, picking up the subtitle Tamriel Unlimited to reflect the change. From now on fans will only have to buy the game up front in order to play, much like the popular MMO Guild Wars 2.
— Elder Scrolls Online (@TESOnline) March 17, 2015
Tamriel Unlimited includes all content released to date, like the recently-added Justice and Champion systems. It will come as a free update to anyone that already owns the game. Lapsed subscribers will also be invited to jump back in, having already paid the up-front cost of purchasing the game itself.
Current paying subscribers will be automatically enrolled in ESO Plus, the new premium membership. Plus members gain access to a variety of in-game bonuses like additional experience gains and a monthly allotment of Crowns, a new currency that can be spent on cosmetic and convenience items in the game’s new Crown Store. All new players will receive a gift of 500 Crowns when they buy the game, regardless of whether or not they sign up for ESO Plus.
While all content to date has been rendered free in Tamriel Unlimited, future DLC expansions will come with a price tag. ESO Plus members will have access to this additional content for the duration of their subscriptions.
World of Warcraft also modified its subscription options recently, introducing a new currency called Tokens. Purchasable with in-game gold, Tokens can be exchanged for subscription time, meaning that dedicated players can make their gameplay self-sustaining if they manage to bring in enough gold. After a decade of dominating the massively multiplayer space, WoW‘s subscription base has fallen off in recent years. Combined with the rise of various free-to-play business models in gaming, this has led to a general re-evaluation of how players will be most inclined to pay for access to persistent online games like World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will come out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 9, 2015, sharing the same subscription-free model as Mac and Windows. Like other multiplayer games on those platforms, fans will have to pay for PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live. Check out Bethesda’s FAQ if you have any questions about how this all works.