There was something that bugged me about yesterday's press release and, having slept on it, I now think I know what it is. Reading through Zenimax Online's announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online would be dropping the subscription and going buy-to-play, it hit me that aside from the vague allusion in the first to TESO being an "award-winning multiplayer roleplaying game" at no point to the letters MMO pop up in sequence. The whole thing reads like Bethesda are desperately trying to frame the experience as the thing many of us wanted in the first place -- a game that's basically a bigger version of Skyrim with friends.
"For the first time in history, players will explore the legendary world of Tamriel with their friends on console," reads the official blurb. "In the latest and biggest Elder Scrolls game ever made, players will be able to adventure alone, quest with friends, or join an army of hundreds in epic player vs. player battles as they explore and discover the secrets of a persistent Tamriel."
Along with the constant reiteration of phrases like "one-time purchase" (even when describing the Premium subscription, which is still an option, the language used tells of a "single monthly charge" in an attempt to soften the blow) there's a clear drive to play down the MMO-ness of TESO for its console release.
The abdication of the cancerous subscription model has been a long time coming. We were already taking bets on how long it would take Zenimax to drop the creaking infrastructure after seeing monthly payments swiftly abandoned by pretty much every new MMO in the last few years, and now we have a date of March 17th.
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