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[Column] Elder Scrolls Online: How Zenimax’ Gambit Could Pay Off



  • st3v3b0st3v3b0 Gainesville, FLPosts: 155Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arndush
    What high expectations? I keep hearing from people that this game is overhyped and the expectations are too high, but I keep hearing that from the same people who have been bashing the game the whole time. While MMORPG's articles slanted to the positive, they have been fairly critical as well and this site has been by far the kindest. Massively has been banging on about what a bad idea this is and what a terrible game it will be for months. Most posters have been very vocal in their healthy disdain for this title. So, I ask again, what hype? What high expectations? As far as I can tell, most posters and review sites this game is and will fail.

    Not player high expectations, but developer.  Of course they have high expectations of their own game otherwise they would not have dumped $200m into it.  They are banking off consumers that are Elder Scrolls fans, which are in great numbers and will buy it even if it is a sub-par game.  So they are banking off a bang going out the door and not longevity which this game does not have.  So if they can bank on box sales and subscriptions for a year or year and half it will pave the way for them to drop the subscription after that since the luster will have worn off for other players that might be willing to try it based on the box price (or discounted box price) in hopes that they have improved it since release.  

    That is what I was trying to convey in the sense of high expectations.  From a player perspective I am shocked that anyone would have them if they actually played the game.

  • SimonVDHSimonVDH GdanskPosts: 178Member
    Originally posted by botrytis
    I feel this game DOES NOT require a sub. Why, it is no more advanced or better than what is already out on the market, besides having the ES  moniker. It is really a console game ported to the PC, not the other way around. I will give examples: 1. Too many loading screens - even buildings have loading screens. 2. Many of the mobs look the same (too few models used). 2. From what I have seen the armor could use a total redone. 4. The animations are awful - running looks hysterical in this game. 5. THE UI is pathetic. This game will garner many players than in one or 2 months, there will many that leave.  

    Some things you mention has been present in Elder Scrolls games at least since Oblivion. ES series was always mentioned to be played from first person perspective - the animations were always bad. There has always been loading screens when entering into buildings. From what I've seen, the UI is very similar to all previous ES games.

  • st3v3b0st3v3b0 Gainesville, FLPosts: 155Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SimonVDH
    Originally posted by st3v3b0
    They are smart to take advantage of naive consumers.  They are going out the door with high expectations and get a boatload of cash upfront and then when the luster wears off (and it will) they will drop the monthly fee and open a cash shop and keep the box price.  That is my prediction 12-18 months from when it is released.

    Why would I care what happens in 12-18 months? I don't buy a game to play it in 12-18 months! Life is not that long. Talking about naive customers: I'm sure that paying ridiculous amounts of money for alpha acces, or just for a promise that game will be made and released years from now, is much smarter.

    The naivety is that you are paying for something it is not worth (in my and many other's humble opinion).  There are many other games with far better features, gameplay, animations and uniqueness that do not cost $60 for the box and $15 months thereafter.  if it is your cup of tea then by all means.  Give them your money and be the cup of hot water.  

    It has nothing to do with what you care about in 12-18 months as long as you are fine as a consumer that for the first 12-18 months you paid $240 to $330 for a game that now only cost $60 (the price it should have been from day one).  With regards to the comment on paying for alpha access I completely agree.  I'm in EQN:L Alpha, but it was gifted to me so I don't feel as guilty trying it out and playing ;)

  • azzamasinazzamasin Butler, OHPosts: 3,090Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by orbitxo
    i must agree here on this. ive never been a fan  or heard of  TES, but Skyrim made me a fan.- to see an mmo evolve and me beign an mmorpg player- ist a win/win for me..and them for having my sub fee. ive enjoyed the betas very much. i cant help to look at LoTR or warhammeronline similarities, only time will tell when i delve deeper into the game. having a sub will filter out players who have no respect or interest in the game.  

    As well as filter out a larger segment of gamers who would of tried the game or stuck with the game in the first place.


    This archaic and outdated model of thinking that Subscriptions keeps out the riff raff is asinine.  One look at the infamous Barrens Chat or WoW and Douchebaggery of guilds like Goonsquad should prove this notion false.  The best recourse for a good stable and intelligent community comes from positive interaction and removal of PvP.   

    Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

    Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

    Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!


  • OzivoisOzivois Phoenix, AZPosts: 598Member

    For the sake of the community you got to have subs. Without subs, you have a community filled with multi-boxers, infinite account holders, million-man spammers, and not-so-serious gamers.

    If the game is fun, the sub cost  is not an issue for a true gamer.

  • Gallus85Gallus85 Winter Park, FLPosts: 1,092Member
    Originally posted by Ozivois
    For the sake of the community you got to have subs. Without subs, you have a community filled with multi-boxers, infinite account holders, million-man spammers, and not-so-serious gamers. If the game is fun, the sub cost  is not an issue for a true gamer.

    Studies have proven that subscription fees do not deter the kind of behavior you suggest it does.


    However, studies have proven that F2P is in many ways a much better business model, both for the health of the game's population as well as financial success of the game's company.


    Also, you used a "No true Scotsman" logical fallacy.  Subscriptions are volatile by their very nature.  People who can't play a lot in a month for any number of reasons see the $15's taken out of their bank and feel they paid for nothing.


    Then when they drop the sub, they're a lot less likely to resub. 


    On the other hand F2P model rewards you for the money you do spend.  You get a costume, or you get an exp pot, or you get a new mount, or you get more bag space.  The purchase is tangible.


    It's all psychological.  People who get bogged down with other things and don't get to log in very often for a month or two feel like their money was taken for no reason.


    People in F2P games get a nice feeling when they buy stuff in the game.  They got something in their hands.  A euphoric feeling, like buying something at a mall.



    P2P model is volatile to the health and well being of the MMO.


    Even if you're like me, and $15, or $30 a month isn't even a big deal, it's just a fact of life.  F2P is the smarter move in today's day and age.


    Legends of Kesmai, UO, EQ, AO, DAoC, AC, SB, RO, SWG, EVE, EQ2, CoH, GW, VG:SOH, WAR, Aion, DF, CO, MO, DN, Tera, SWTOR, RO2, DP, GW2, PS2, BnS, NW, FF:XIV, ESO, EQ:NL

  • demodardemodar BanyaPosts: 62Member Uncommon
    Well people like me are not afraid to say F it and buy the collectors edition , and get the imperials which they said they wont be playable race ,but w/e. But dropping the factions which is pretty much the games lore foundations is just.... . But also why should i buy this game now and 1 month later they comes up with a new thing to get money , 3 months later they comes with new area which they will count as major content update and want from me 50 $ more , 6 months later 50 $ more and so on , not to mention the cash shop and what will pop up in it. Its obvious that they have pretty much no grounds of what they speak in interviews so they can say no this wont happen ,but it probably will...
  • free2playfree2play Toronto, ONPosts: 1,940Member Uncommon

    I'm on the fringe of the fringe.

    I think Bethesda I think Sea Dogs. I really liked that game.


    As for Subscription, they are second nature to me when playing online games but I did sub with Tera, TSW, LotRO, STO, AoC, PotBS, the list goes on.

    Half those games blanked or locked my subscription account so when they went free I couldn't play the original account. I spent a month trying to get my SOE accounts for PotBS switched out. They always had an excuse on the website. Come back later. Same for AoC.


    If this game ends up dropping subscription and I truly expect it to, I also expect there to be a nightmare for anyone who played, left and might return. Maybe the only glimmer of hope here is, I truly think they are planning it now so they might have a chance at managing the transition.

  • GanksinatraGanksinatra Salem, ORPosts: 354Member Uncommon
    So let me get this straight........console players are thought to not be that into this because, and I quote, "They already pay for their network access" mean like almost 100% of us who aren't pirating the next door neighbor's wifi signal? Poor excuse to whine for F2P IMO.
  • VolgoreVolgore Posts: 3,819Member Epic

    Zenimax would be crazy if they believe that this game will ride on the subscription model forever. I don't think they are.

    My bet is that it's made with F2P in mind, but they also know that no matter how bad a game is, there are always people who sub to it at least 6 month after release.

    From a business perspective nothing wrong with trying to regain your 200mio as quick as possible and once you have, you can still see where you take your game from there.

  • TimEisenTimEisen Columnist Posts: 2,806Member Rare
    Seems simple to me. You can always go FTP later, it's very hard to go PTP later.
    I used to role-play a Warrior Priest now I role-play a writer.
  • Gallus85Gallus85 Winter Park, FLPosts: 1,092Member
    Originally posted by Ganksinatra
    So let me get this straight........console players are thought to not be that into this because, and I quote, "They already pay for their network access" mean like almost 100% of us who aren't pirating the next door neighbor's wifi signal? Poor excuse to whine for F2P IMO.

    No he was talking about PSN / Xbox Live.

    No one is "Whining" for a F2P model.  We're just pointing out the P2P has been proven to be a volatile monitization method for scores of reasons.

    Even if us core MMORPG players don't mind spending $15 or $30 or $45 a month on subscription MMORPGs, history has proven that many gamers do.  P2P in this day and age is a recipe for disaster.  That's all we're saying.  It's just a damn fact of life.

    Legends of Kesmai, UO, EQ, AO, DAoC, AC, SB, RO, SWG, EVE, EQ2, CoH, GW, VG:SOH, WAR, Aion, DF, CO, MO, DN, Tera, SWTOR, RO2, DP, GW2, PS2, BnS, NW, FF:XIV, ESO, EQ:NL

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Chicago, ILPosts: 4,420Member Epic
    Originally posted by discord235
    The sub makes perfect sense, from Zenimax's perspective. It will get players to pay an extra $15 a month for a few months before they cancel, thus generating millions of more dollars than just offering the game for $60. And then it will of course go FTP within a year to build the player base back up, a la SWTOR, RIFT, TERA,'s textbook marketing at this point. I just think of it as paying a "premium" to get to play the game the first 6 months or so after it is released. If you are not a big MMO/ESO/sub fan, just wait til it inevitably goes FTP. Personally, gaming is what I spend the majority of my free time doing, so paying $15/mo for a sub is no big deal for something that I spend hours on every single day. 


    "Change is the only constant."

  • ArndushArndush Dallas, TXPosts: 303Member
    Originally posted by aspekx
    a 'gambit' typically implies that one is sacrificing something small in order to gain something larger. like a pawn in a chess strategy. so i'm not sure what you think Zenimax is sacrificing. which confuses the article a bit for me.

    Bethesda's reputation and a 200 million dollar investment are what's on the line. They are betting that against the promise of even greater returns.

  • LavecLavec NewcastlePosts: 42Member Uncommon

    I wish they would just offer both models on separate servers to please everyone. The biggest complaint I hear from pro-subscription players is that it weeds out not so serious players, well if the B2P players were on a separate servers that would solve the problem. Subscription players who stop subbing would be forced to move onto a free server and players who start subbing would have the choice of moving onto a subscription server.

    I do wonder if the resurgence to subscription is due to the limited mmo market on consoles. What has put me off the subscription model and I imagine many other PC players is that you can't sub to all your games or it gets too costly. Subscription locks you into a single game. This is not a problem if you are limited for choice as it was in the early mmo days on PC and as is now on the console, but later it will be a problem again imho.

    Also I think the console market will be very small at first. I have FFIX on both PC and PS3 and the PC experience is far better in full HD. This means only PS4 and XBox One are viable consoles for mmos I think, and that represents a small percentage of the console market.

    What I'm not confident about though is that ESO will go free to play anytime soon if ever. I think changing from subscription to free to play is unlikely to happen on the console and this will limit their ability to do it on the PC. Also B2P is only viable by selling many copies at full price like GW2 have done. You need to do it from the start. Once your games are selling for $20 to entice new players to the subscription model it becomes less viable to make it free to play without an obtrusive cash shop to unlock content,etc. More likely they will rely on the growing console market to make up for the dwindling PC market. 

    Until there is an abundance of mmos on console with players having invested countless hours in many of them I think they are unlikely to go free to play and catch the casual gaming market.

    I hope I'm wrong because I don't want to go back to the sub days and having to chose between mmos on a monthly basis rather than when I feel like it. I like to play something different every week sometimes.

    Getting back to my first suggestion, I think this would be an awesome compromise to make to be able to grab PC gamers like me as well as the emerging console market.

  • ZoeMcCloskeyZoeMcCloskey Phoenix, AZPosts: 1,254Member Uncommon

    I've never played Skyrim or any other game in the series.

    My interest in this was of course nearly non-existent.  But as more information comes out I will admit that my interest is piqued a bit.  That it is rated M and has a subscription fee are both +'s imho.  That one of my friends seems like he may get it makes me ponder if I will too.  At least for me the entire lore and world will be completely new experiences.

  • Stuka1000Stuka1000 Posts: 948Member Uncommon
    Always makes me shake my head in disbelief when people complain about a sub model.  If you go out for a few drinks on a Friday or Saturday night, how long does it take you to blow through $15 or £8.99 which is the UK price?  About ten minutes I'm guessing.  Yet with ESO and other sub based games you get a full month of entertainment for that price.  I can understand those gamers that have no access to a credit card etc. complaining but these people wouldn't be buying anything from a cash shop either so what gives?
  • c0796c0796 Edmonton, ABPosts: 28Member Uncommon

    Like some others, I haven't played previous ES titles, so, I didn't go in with any expectations either.

    Beta seemed promising, I have no problem with the sub model.

    Name me another form of entertainment for $15/month that provides countless hours of entertainment...on your schedule.

  • NeherunNeherun St. MichelPosts: 280Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by c0796
    Like some others, I haven't played previous ES titles, so, I didn't go in with any expectations either. Beta seemed promising, I have no problem with the sub model. Name me another form of entertainment for $15/month that provides countless hours of entertainment...on your schedule.

    About the maintenance cost of my scuba-diving equipment. Most likely no entertainment at all per month, perhaps every 3 months. Add in the "initial boxed price" which was around $$1k. Ohhh, wait.

    Videogames have spoiled people, have you people ever had hobbies? Those are costly, 80 dollars and 15 dollars a month is absolutely NOTHING in comparison.



  • knox1711knox1711 covington, GAPosts: 38Member Uncommon
    The MAIN thing you didn't talk about in this article is the PRODUCT itself.  The product will largely determine if people are willing to pay for it.  I have yet to hear ONE person be really enthusiastic about it from the list of people I know that have played beta.  Not ONE.   No NDA breaking, just their obvious desire to play it again versus other games.  From what I have read it seems it falls short of games like GW2, and if that is the case, then a subscription model will be as lethal as it was for TOR.  Time will tell, but I plan on being incredibly cautious with my money where this game is concerned...
  • NinjamasteryodaNinjamasteryoda ParisPosts: 6Member Uncommon

    For Zenimax to pull this off they really need to take serious efforts. I just think they are going Online just because everyone else is doing it. Their Niche was basically offline and they have proven this on their other ES titles and especially with Skyrim. This online model is uncharted area for Zenimax and generally ES. 


  • NightfyreNightfyre Pandora, OHPosts: 175Member Uncommon

    After playing ESO, I know it's not the game for me.  It did not feel all that awesome or fun like they are attempting to make it.  I didn't like all the quests in town, felt too saturated with the amount of quests they threw at you.  I don't need them, just let me out there in the world doing long winded adventuring style quests not go fetch a bucket for me because I'm way to lazy.

    Maybe if they allowed you to cause some actual havoc, like destroying a town or killing an npc it would feel more ES, but right now it's just another mmo with nothing new that I haven't experienced in another game.



  • DeddmeatDeddmeat StanwellPosts: 366Member Uncommon

    Don't have enough time to justify the £8.99 / $15 so they want f2p as they feel that's better for them. Tough shit, if you want to play a genre where you know it takes time to do things don't moan.

    i have CoD but I can't shoot for shit, I am probably the WORST shot in the game but I don't cry for others to be slowed down so I have a chance of hitting them with at least 1 bullet maybe, or an auto lock feature.

    i just have a laugh and enjoy it if I do kill someone, I figure it's more depressing for them to die than me .. Being hit by such a bad shot ;-)


  • EugeneKDudleyEugeneKDudley Seaton, ILPosts: 58Member

    ESO has potential, the issues that came up for me is, not  that i want it to go F2p it's the lack of communication from Zenimax itself, they already seem they're off to a shady start with some of the stuff they have done.

    Lets hope for the best here though, would love to see them stay a primarily sub based game, F2P is for nothing but pure greed and it has so far proven to be true. Even Rift which is a pretty good F2P game has everything tied to that damned cash shop.

    My own opinion but lets hope for the best here.

    "By all means, reach for the stars but you need to build the spaceship first"

  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 1,458Member Uncommon

    Games are made to make money.  You know what is in its last days?  Free game play.  The latest technology development, Tracking free gamers, gamers who don’t use the cash shop or don’t spend a monthly quota.  Once they are identified, next phase is blocking them from the game server.

    The free game play is there for you the gamer to decide if the game play is worth paying for.  If it is not worth paying for, then the free game play is over.

    Developers love the phrase “Cross Platform”, but to them it means “All Consoles.”  Today if a programmer goes to an interview and says they want to make PC games, they are looked at the same as terrorists.

    The console makers told developers that there would be an end to lost sales due to the used game sales and used game sharing markets.  But as we saw this fell through.  I don’t know if, when, or how but I expect this controversial console DMR to make a comeback.

    Pardon any spelling errors
    Konfess your cyns and some maybe forgiven
    Boy: Why can't I talk to Him?
    Mom: We don't talk to Priests.
    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.
    Even telemarketers wouldn't think that.

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