We've seen TESO fall to around the £20 a few times, but this is the cheapest price we've seen for Bethesda's now-subscription-less MMORPG. From what I've played of it, there have been numerous improvements from its condition at launch, making it more MMO-like and more Skyrim-esque, but it still doesn't quite hit the mark of either. Still, new content is being added all the time - including the Orsinium DLC that was released yesterday - so for £18 you can decide for yourself and fight back the forces of Molag Bal. Or spend the entire time stealing things. Either or. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Be sure to check out our The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited review for more details.
Well, there you have it folks. less than a year after launch, and it's been announced that The Elder Scrolls Online is dropping the subscription and going buy-to-play. A press release revealed that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, will release worldwide on 9th June, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One. Players "will no longer be required to pay a monthly game subscription for extended play. Players will make a one-time purchase of the game and can then enjoy hundreds of hours of content without the requirement of a monthly game subscription fee when The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited becomes available on console in June and beginning 17th March for PC/Mac players."
New players will "make a one-time purchase of the game and play, without restrictions, for as long as they like – without game subscription fees". However, it seems that Tamriel Unlimited will be supported with "special, optional downloadable content" and an "in-game Crown Store for convenience and customization items. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players to enjoy free of additional charges."
There'll also be a Premium subscription option called ESO Plus, "providing exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs while a member."
Is this a good move? Does it make the console versions more attractive prospects? What the hell will ESO Plus mean for in-game balance? We stuck our heads together to chat about our impressions of this fairly monumental shift for TESO.Click here to read more...
Sprawling, ambitious, and ultimately divisive, The Elder Scrolls Online is an odd one. Though I found its attempt to try and please both hardcore TES players and the MMO crowd to be wanting in several aspects, many have fallen in love with Zenimax Online's attempt at bringing Tamriel to multiplayer life.
Though not as cheap as the now-expired deal a few weeks back from Game Keys Now, this flash deal from The Game Collection is still a cracking price for TESO, and includes the pre-order Explorer's Pack bonus that let's you ally yourself with any faction regardless of race, and gives you a few extra treasure maps as well as a Scuttler to keep as a pet.
The Elder Scrolls seems like an opportunity missed to me. It's a game that needs to be weighed and measured on its own merits, but that's tricky when it's trying so hard to please two separate groups of people in MMO lovers and traditional Elder Scrolls fans. Still, this deal at least solves one problem with the game -- its absurd pricing structure, which starts with its inflated asking price.
You'd normally have to fork out £30-40 for TESO, but Game Keys Now have a flash deal running over the next few hours that more than halves the game's RRP. Obviously, GKN are a digital distributor, so you'll be sent a code rather than a tangible copy of the game, but they're MCV finalists and I've ordered from them with no issue in the past before.
Dealspwn's resident MMO guru, the honey-voiced Mr. Carl Phillips, and I sit down for a little natter about The Elder Scrolls Online now that our review is live. Here's a TL:DR version for you to get the gist of things:
The Elder Scrolls Online is a brave attempt at combining two seemingly polar opposites, but it ultimately fails to build a continuously compelling world, compromising too much on either side. It's an MMO that can't hold a candle to likes of Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World, and an Elder Scrolls game that can't hope to be as deep and rich in content and solo experience as Morrowind and Skyrim. The allure of an online Tamriel is strong, and when the game's disparate parts align, it really is a bit special, but those moments are too few and far between to recommend for a game with this much of an inflated price point.
If you haven't read the whole thing yet, save the remorseful flagellation for later, pour yourself a nice cuppa and have a read whilst listening to the dulcet tones of our voices discussing the nature of ZeniMax Online's ambitious MMO... and where it all went wrong.
The middle of the road has never been a good place to be -- you just end up getting run over by traffic from either side. And trust me -- as someone who once went sailing through the air and landed squarely either side of a sturdy, roadside, wooden perimeter -- there's little solace to be found in sitting on the fence. I wrote an article a little while back about identity and the importance of knowing, as a developer, what your game is, what you want to achieve, and who your target audience is. Unfortunately, The Elder Scrolls Online finds itself in a bit of a dither.
Is it just Skyrim with multiplayer? Is it a WOW-ish MMO with pretensions towards being an Elder Scrolls game? The Elder Scrolls Online demands to be judged by two completely conflicting groups of fans. On the one hand, the Elder Scrolls series has long served up several of the most expansive, enriched, singleplayer experiences to be had in this industry -- games that place you as an empowered individual, the only one who can save Tamriel from whatever mischief has befallen it this time around. On the other, you have this massive world, filled with warring factions and steeped in millennia of lore, just ripe with possibilities for a Massively Multiplayer Online experience.
So how do you consolidate the two into one game successfully? That is the question that lies at the heart of The Elder Scrolls Online.
And the answer is... you don't.
Tamriel itself is a bit of an empty husk. It's a showroom more than a showstopper, a simulacrum of the worlds we've previously explored in detail. But whereas before, we could be anyone we wanted and do anything we liked, here there are invisible forces at work compelling us to follow certain paths. There's no crime in this version of Tamriel, little opportunity for the fleet-footed and light-fingered, and NPCs are fairly few and far between. TESO is set a couple of millennia before the events of Skyrim, so having a more empty world might be just about justified, but the lack of interaction is troubling. If you saw a sword on the ground in previous games you could pick it up. Now, however, it's most likely just painted decoration.
For a series that has always been synonymous with immersion, that's not a good thing.Click here to read more...
It's often been the case that I've found myself lacking the patience for the seemingly needless convolutions at work in MMOs. Crafting in particular has always been something of a bugbear of mine, with systems often cluttered beyond belief, often only half-explained, and ultimately incredibly offputting.
The Elder Scrolls Online is nothing like that. In fact, it's something of a joy.
As it stands right now, there are six different professions available in The Elder Scrolls Online. Each have their own unique benefits, and what's impressive to see in a number of them has been how they tie into mechanics used previously in the series. As a player, you can start pretty much straight off of the bat once you emerge out into Tamriel -- it's just a matter of finding and obtaining resources and then getting to work. Here's a rundown of the sort of professions you can invest your time in currently:
There are still MMO staples involved here, of course. Running around and gathering resources from nodes is pretty repetitive and time consuming, but the respawn rate is fairly decent and if you're keeping your eyes open, you'll naturally spot plenty of maple, iron, jute and more on your travels. The limited inventory slots come into play when you're juggling lots of different ingredients for the alchemical and provisioning side of things, but you can stash crafting materials in your bank's vaults, so that takes the load off a little. The real fun begins when you get back to a spot of civilisation and can work upon turning your raw materials into useful items.Click here to read more...
Things are getting a little more interesting of late in The Elder Scrolls Online, especially now that I've reached Cyrodiil. There'll be a big, fat article PvP and the heartland of Tamriel later this week, but for now here are eight reason why The Elder Scrolls Online is filling me with ambivalence...
I LOVE... Skill Progression
The organic process of getting better by doing something repeatedly has long been a staple of the Elder Scrolls games in the past. But it's not how MMOs have traditionally worked. Thankfully, TESO said bollocks to tradition and stuck to its guns, proving all the better for it. Thanks to the implementation of Skyshards, there's not so much pressure put on levelling, instead giving more weight to exploration. Besides, actually improving your skills works outside of general levelling anyway, meaning that whatever you're doing out in the wide world, you're probably getting better at something.
Reached level 23 and want to turn your Dragonknight into a staff-wielding bringer of rain? Well you can.
I HATE... Level Grinding
The gap between levels becomes interminable pretty quickly. I get that MMO developers want to keep you playing for as long as possible, and that TESO isn't all about the rush to the endgame content, but this is ridiculous. Combat counts for virtually nothing when it comes to rising through the ranks, nor does exploration or crafting or anything, really. It's not long at all before progression slows to a crawl, and that's even when you're doing every quest that you find and battling every creature you come across. Making you work for it is one thing, but too often TESO turns into a bit of an interminable slog.Click here to read more...
The more I inspect the world of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls Online, the more I'm filled with a sense of slight unease. It is as if instead of romping across the mountains of Skyrim or wading through the marshes of Vvardenfell as in previous games, carving out a niche for myself in a living, breathing world, I find myself in a museum or sorts, or a grand theatrical historical experience, surrounded by actors and other tour audience members. Tamriel in TESO is beginning to feel more like a showroom (a very big one) than a world that's actually alive.
The presence of other characters is beginning to grate when it comes to PvE, being out in the big wide world. It just doesn't really fit, and I'm having to suspend an enormous amount of disbelief. Having played WildStar for hours on end, I have to say that NCsoft's game made sense -- you're on a frontier world, scrambling to do everything that you can to carve out a niche. It would follow that certain pillars of the community would be in demand, and I could more easily ignore multiple characters swarming about the place. There are obvious benefits to having fellow adventurers alongside you for certain areas that absolutely require a group, but on a moment to moment level, it's sometimes a little disconcerting.
Part of that has to do with the fact that the game seems to not know exactly what it wants to be. Exploring the frozen tundra of Bleakrock, having persevered with the Ebonheart Pact, occasionally feels a lot like playing Skyrim, and there are moments when I've found myself wandering the wastes in relative solitude. But often the constructs are a bit of a lie, with objects and bodies that might otherwise be interactive rendered inert here, like window dressing -- serving the showroom vibe rather than contributing to the world.
That said, I rocked up to an abandoned fishing camp and got out my rod and stayed for ten minutes or so, catching fish to later sell. By the time I left, five more people had arrived, and there we were, angling in snowy serenity. Then we teamed up and went off to deal with the Frozen Man and his riddles, only one member of our group glitched out and couldn't complete the quest and wasted half an hour thanks to a bug.
There's so much I'm enjoying about TESO, but it always seems like there's a caveat just around the corner.Click here to read more...
It's nice to be back behind bars. The Elder Scrolls Online brings familiar notes the fore immediately, clasping you in irons and having you awaken in a prison. But it is not the brig of a ship as in Morrowind, nor the Imperial jail in which you find yourself at the start of Oblivion. No, you start your journey in ZeniMax Online's Tamriel-set MMO as one of the many soulless denizens of the ethereal Wailing Prison, being chatted to by a ghost played by an actor with an instantly recognisable voice.
Aside from what has been a deep foray into the wonders of WildStar, I'd still hardly call myself an MMO aficionado, but The Elder Scrolls Online made me feel right at home from the very start.
I adored Morrowind and its expansive DLC, Oblivion took close to 100 hours out of me, and Skyrim was a mainstay in my disc tray for the best part of a year. The point is that I've been a huge fan of The Elder Scrolls series for some time, and I won't be the only one coming into this game from that perspective rather than those of genre fans. But, as I said, ZeniMax have done much to make TESO seem like a familiar adventure from the start, and that begins with a UI that's cribbed almost entirely from the PC version of Skyrim.
The level of customisation just at the start is almost absurd. The detail you can go into when it comes to the appearance of your character is almost insane. If you want to make a stick-thin Khajiit assassin with an arse the size of a houseboat, you can. I spent the best part of an hour concocting weird and wonderful characters with almost impossible physical proportions -- like the pot-bellied Argonian Dragonknight whose neck was almost the length of his forearm and whose eyes were practically in his mouth. No afros, though, ZeniMax? FOR SHAME!Click here to read more...
Oh man it feels good to be back in Tamriel.
The Elder Scrolls Online releases today and our coverage of ZeniMax Online's curiously innovative MMO starts here with a big, fat look at the game's Opening Scenes.
There's no commentary to this one, just sit back and enjoy the dulcet tones of Gambon and Cleese and the rest of the star-studded cast. There'll be a first impressions piece up later today, along with plenty of coverage of the game over the next couple of weeks, a regular critical diary of my time in Tamriel, several supplemental videos, with everything culminating in a massive final review a little after launch.
If there's anything you'd like to see in particular, let me know in the comments box.
There were two big, fat announcements last week - those of Black Ops 2 and The Elder Scrolls Online. This bank holiday weekend, we take a look at both announcements and discuss our hopes and fears regarding both. Elsewhere, we chat about starting out own convention, we gush about Morrowind as it turns 10, we discuss a few of our favourite Star Wars titles, and Jon suggests a new fandom day dedicated to the Empire.
PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 12, Recorded: May 7th, 2012
Some of the things that get covered this week:
...and much, much more.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.
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Yesterday's sensational announcement of The Elder Scrolls Online knocked us for six, and got us good and excited for Game Informer's June preview. However, this article has seemingly made its way into the internet via a lengthy PDF file and scans, revealing a host of potential new details about the upcoming MMO.
If this new intel is correct, The Elder Scrolls Online will be a much more traditional MMO than we were expecting, featuring a familiar third-person perspective, no real-time combat and stylised cartoon-esque visuals. Mind you, it's also going to be big.Click here to read more...