Revision History: ESO Drops Mandatory Subscription

With the mandatory subscription gone, I can only assume ESO has seen a massive influx of new and returning players. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the UESP is seeing a small rise in new and returning contributors (welcome back, RIM!).

Update 3/23/2015- A new addition to the Loremaster’s Archive is available, Songs of the Stars!

Public Service Announcement: The General Namespace
Some might not realize that the UESP has a General namespace, which is meant to provide general information related to the Elder Scrolls games. And unlike the Lore namespace, there are relatively few restrictions regarding how content is added and presented. This is the part of the site that is really dedicated to everything Elder Scrolls, but it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Developer information and interviews, coverage of fan fiction and other TES-related websites, etc. There’s even a whole page for the Fishy Stick meme, and I’m sure there must be others we could cover. Why not have a page about the Boob Window, for example?

There’s a lot of room for expansion in the General namespace, so please, share your thoughts on the Community Portal and/or the New Page Requests page if you have some ideas on what you’d like to see. Anyone can go right ahead and make improvements, of course, but for bigger additions, you’re less likely to face any friction by getting some input from other contributors first.

What did you think they meant by “loyalty”?
The final Loyalty Rewards were distributed March 19, with the “loyaliest” people getting the Striped Senche-Tiger mount shown above. Thanks for paying to beta-test the game for us, folks; enjoy your cats and what-not.

Absolutely kidding! If you’ve been happy with your experience, fantastic, and I know a lot of people are. But I also know some people, like this guy, are feeling a little ripped off. To anyone out there who feels the way he does: sorry, and I really honestly can’t thank you all enough! I hope you have still gotten a lot of enjoyment from the game and will continue to enjoy it.

If you see someone with one of these rewards, give them a bow. And maybe a sweetroll.

I want a flying minotaur, Jedi, a Dwemer airship, a BFG, levitation, Muatra, Master Chief, cars…
I really hope everyone out there is posting their wishlists for items available in the Crown Store. Let ’em know what you want to see in there, and just as importantly, what you don’t want to see.

As it stands, there’s some concern that some items might be a bit too generous, and risk turning the game into a Pay to Win arrangement.

Lag: They’re working on it
Some players are really aggravated by latency in large-scale PvP battles, which are often creating essentially unplayable conditions depending on the number of players in close proximity to each other. According to Paul Sage, they’d hoped that Update 6 would help alleviate problems. This ultimately didn’t work, but they’re not giving up:

Actively, we are looking at changing the behavior of the players to remove incentives for large groups to stay in the same area. We want to do this by providing larger incentives for Alliances to split up and take on multiple-challenges in Cyrodiil. We'll continue to work on this.

They are already pursuing changes to experience gains in trials and Cyrodiil, see here and here.

By the way, whenever the official site asks me for my age, I select April 1, with the oldest year option they have. I’m pretty sure that used to be 1899 or 1900, but now it’s 1915, so … I have discovered the Fountain of Youth.

Enlightenment Accrual Stretched to 12 Days

As discussed here, a day’s worth of Enlightenment is needed to accrue a Champion Point each day (at a reasonable rate). Previously, you could only accrue Enlightenment for three days before it was capped. So if you didn’t pick up the game and earn some XP after three days, you were bound to leave Enlightenment on the table.

In what seems to be a big crowd-pleaser, this cap has been raised to 12 days. This gives players a lot more freedom to set the game down for a while, and then binge on ESO as they see fit while still leveling efficiently.

The Grand ESO Mining Operation
Looking at the enormous range of placeholder pages, icons, etc., which are flooding onto the wiki, it’s abundantly clear that we have a long road ahead. We now have roughly 10,000 pages and counting which are blank or close to it. It seems like it’s going to take a decade, if not longer, to put all the meat on these bones.

I’m in. Come June, that is.

Perfecting Oblivion
While the pioneers are mining that new frontier, SerCenKing has been moving forward with the Oblivion NPC Redesign Project. He’s put the finishing touches on a few pages recently, such as Bhisha from the Shivering Isles.

A cat? Who likes dogs?! My mind can’t handle this madness!

Tamriel Rebuilt charges on
Despite all the buzz about ESO and other newer projects, people shouldn’t forget that Tamriel Rebuilt is still slowly but surely moving forward. I just got Morrowind for PC, and I look forward to finally seeing Tamriel Rebuilt for myself. I’ve been reading about it jealously for years.

Just recently, the modder Glisp got the Esurio Viridius working! This was a giant, very grumpy venus flytrap which was planned for the very first version of Tamriel Rebuilt, but was scrapped due to bugs. They’ll continue polishing it, if history is any judge, but check out an early demo below.


Now I want giant flytraps in ESO.

Random Stories of Seyda Neen
While perusing Tamriel Rebuilt’s forums, I noticed that they have been having a discussion for about a month regarding Seyda Neen. They’ve got plans for a big Dwemer lighthouse, but there’s concern over how it might contradict some lore about Seyda Neen’s lighthouse, the Grand Pharos. While I can’t be sure, I think this may have inspired a recent reddit topic, which then elicited an interesting backstory for the Grand Pharos from Michael Kirkbride. And all of this discussion naturally inspired a fan fiction.

After reading all that, I then got inspired to polish up the Seyda Neen lore page a little. There’s no point here, I just found that interesting.

Final thoughts on the mandatory subscription – tl;dr
TES games have always been a cheap option. Since Arena all the way to Skyrim, the cost of the games are absolutely miniscule compared to the hours of enjoyment you can squeeze out of them, even if you’re a filthy console player like me without access to mods. While you can’t judge all facets of the matter so quantitatively, the fact remains that for much of the last two decades, TES has been a great option for penny-pinching gamers. Often the best option. I believe that this is a core strength of the TES franchise. But the mandatory subscription for ESO made their TES experience one of the most expensive gaming prospects out there.

I think, when the marketers decided on the pricing model, they overlooked this somewhat implicit expectation of the existing TES fanbase in favor of what they thought the existing MMO community would tolerate. Don’t forget, they hyped the crap out of ESO before announcing the mandatory sub. And how could any existing TES fans at the time give appropriate feedback on the game’s quality when they didn’t know how much it would cost them?

People like me, and I think most diehard TES fans, are not done with a TES game “after three or four weeks”. That’s not how we play the games. Three or four years, on and off, is probably a better estimate (although I personally trend higher). A monthly subscription is entirely antithetical to how I, for one, enjoy playing the games.

Point is, while the MMO crowd may tolerate and even appreciate subscriptions for “keeping the riff-raff out”, much of the existing TES community was not, and is not, tolerant of this model, and that doesn’t make them all riff-raff. These are people who remember the Horse Armor Pack in Oblivion, as well as Hearthfire, the so-called “major” expansion to Skyrim. These are fans who, in other words, are justifiably reticent to pay for any and all premium TES content up front, without regard for its ultimate merit. That Zenimax is a different developer dealing in a different genre is irrelevant; Bethesda’s “sister company” should still have appreciated and understood the history fans have had with the IP. I get where they were coming from – but I don’t think they got where many of us were coming from. Or else they just didn’t care.

I think it’s fair to assume that a great percentage of TES fans have been forced not to play ESO due to their financial circumstances. I thought this was a tragedy, because there but for the grace of God go I. I was willing and able to pay a subscription, but I was and am also more than willing to tolerate free-loaders. The more, the merrier, as far I’m concerned. By making the barrier for entry so high relative to what it had been in the past, they were retarding their own game’s potential by shutting out a lot of TES players. People whose love of the games is not determined by the size of their wallets – or their apprehension at being fleeced.

Anyway, the mandatory sub is gone now, and I hope the door hits its ass on the way out. Let us never speak of it again.

Bravo, Zenimax! You are inarguably making one of the best TES games of all time… for PCs, at least. Any TES fan who remembers the debacles with the PS3 version of Skyrim should reserve judgment on console ports until they see the final version, regardless of the developer. But my Imperial Edition is pre-ordered and I look forward to subscribing, because the last thing any of us want is for another TES masterpiece to be left unfinished.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *