ESO – to purchase or not to purchase

The Elder Scrolls Online have today released the pre-purchase details for their game that is being released in April of this year.  They also released the new trailer in an obvious attempt to get people to stop thinking about that cost.  http://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-uk/  When viewing the trailer, please be aware that this is not in-game footage, but a cinematic. I am sad to say that the prices they are asking for ESO are rather high, even for the basic digital pre-purchase, and at that cost it really is somewhat debilitating to those of us on a tight budget.

https://account.elderscrollsonline.com/store
Digital Standard Edition = £49.99 (with 30 days sub included)
Digital Imperial Edition = £69.99 (with 30 days sub included)

You also, after those initial 30 days, have to pay £8.99 per month subscription.  That is a crapload of money to spend when you are unsure whether, after a couple of months, you will want to continue playing it (and paying the subscription).

The cost vs the game only really becomes cost-effective compared to other games if you are playing for a certain amount of time.  For instance, the average cost of new games I see coming out on Steam these days are around, £20-25.

£25.00 £20.00 ESO ESO
new games new games standard imperial
Month 1 total spent 25 20 50 70
Month 2 total spent 50 40 58.99 78.99
Month 3 total spent 75 60 67.98 87.98
Month 4 total spent 100 80 76.97 96.97
Month 5 total spent 125 100 105.96
Month 6 total spent 150 120 114.95

From this, you can see that if you spent an average of £25 a month on games, you would have to be willing to play Elder Scrolls Online for 3 months for the standard digital edition, or 4 months for the imperial edition to get your money’s worth.  If on the other hand you only spend around £20 a month on games, you would have to be playing ESO for 4 or 6 months for the two editions in order to get the same value for money.  Obviously if you pay less on games then the amount of time you would have to be subscribed for would be far greater.

Now, that is a hefty amount of gameplay on one game, especially since, other than beta, there are no trial accounts.  The company is asking you to trust that their gameplay is going to be just how you like it, and that is a difficult call to make since the game does resemble both Skyrim AND an MMO, but there are critical differences for people who love Skyrim that might pollute their enjoyment of the game.  Unfortunately I cannot comment on the differences I noticed in beta, since it was under signed agreement not to talk about aspects of the game.  Suffice it to say that while I did enjoy the ESO in beta, there were aspects of it that would grind on my nerves if they were not changed.

I think Elder Scrolls Online has a good chance of being an enjoyable game.  It has taken aspects from other MMOS and utilized them here to try and tap into the growing MMO market.  However how successful their attempts at this transition in gameplay style will be can only be judged if you play the game.  My impression is that people who love Skyrim will indeed like this enough to want to play it, but I am concerned as to how well implemented the multiplayer aspects have been thought out.

Hopefully my concerns will have been put to rest by the next beta, but as with all things, games are a fairly personal experience as to how one likes it, and so before you consider putting your money on this game, I would highly recommend that you sign up for beta, and hope that you get a chance to test the game before you decide to fork out cash for it.  Quite a bit is different from Skyrim, and players need to figure out whether they like those changes.  But more than that, players need to be able to judge just how much they are willing to play this game, because if you only play for a month, the cost is pretty extreme and you may be better investing in another game that doesn’t require that much initial cost and constant subscription.

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