Zenimax Confirms Micro-Transactions at Launch

March 17, 2014 20 Comments » Share

So what exactly is a “micro-transaction?”  I use that term instead of the dreaded “Cash shop,” since that has such a negative stigma attatched to it.  It is simply something that players will be able to purchase with real life money instead of in-game gold.

In an article with ZAM, TESO Game Director Matt Firor confirmed there will be micro-transactions available to all players at the launch of The Elder Scrolls: Online:

“The purpose of the store is to offer interested players a variety of additional services. At launch we’re going to have two items: the ability to upgrade to the Imperial Edition, and an entry level horse (Palomino colored). The horse you get in both purchases is functionally the same, but the Imperial Edition is the only way to ever get the White horse. We have the Palomino horse available to allow players to purchase a basic mount without purchasing the entire Imperial Edition”


Obviously, this is causing a huge uproar.  There are chants of “pay to win!” and “ESO is already admitting defeat!”  But rest assured, this is merely a time-saver for players that do not mind dishing out an extra five dollars or so for a horse; or for the money conscious that want a white horse at the start of the game, but don’t want to dish out an extra $20 for other imperial edition perks they do not necessarily want.

The most important thing is that horses are available to all players at level one.  Sure, they are much more expensive, but there is no definitive perk to having a horse at level 1 or waiting to acquire the money to get one at level 15 or 20, aside from moving a measly 15% faster.

Want to hear more on this topic?  Be sure to check out the TESOElite Podcast on Tuesday, March 18 at 9:00 PM EST on Twitch.tv/TESOElite where we will take some time discussing these micro-transactions and the overall affect of it on the game!


  1. FoxPT March 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    i hate to be right sometimes

    Question from user in today AMA in Reddit

    GrandmasterSpaceBat – Cashshop
    I’ll cut the crap about how much I like the game and skip to the questions.
    The cash shop. I and many other players are very concerned about "premium" content. The game hasn’t even launched and there’s already an entire race and two mounts we’ll have to pay extra to access. Extra, on top of the game’s already-hefty $60 price tag and $15 monthly subscription fee.
    How are you planning on dealing with this? The point of a subscription-based game is that they don’t need to rely on things like cosmetic items and other cash shop gimmicks to turn a profit. Personally, I don’t care about vanity pets, but the fact that the ability to play as an Imperial, a race that’s been available in every single main Elder Scrollsgame, is already being sold, is a huge red flag for me and many other potential players

    Answer from Zenimax
    "Cash Shop": The next items available for purchase are a name change service, and possibly some vanity pets. We have no timeline for these, so don’t expect them soon, and there aren’t concrete plans for anything else at the moment after that.

    So lady and gentleman's appreciate your "horses" in multiple colors as referring another char from another game "for money!!!!"

  2. BMATHUNTER March 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    The logic behind why they are offering a horse for a small amount of real cash is spot on. Some don't have the discretionary funds in their budget to purchase the Imperial Edition. But now they can have a starting mount inexpensively. And if someone is going to cry foul, its unfair, then they are obviously going to be behind the curve in leveling anyway because they too aren't purchasing the Imperial Edition. The Mara rings in the IE are far more important than the mount for XP advancement. So in the end, they are just blowing in the wind. either buy the IE or a mount or don't. They have provided more options for more players in order to best fit the game play that different players want. Some want absolutely raw game play from the start and want to earn everything in game. Some want to have all the perks and rare items (the Imperial Edition). This option adds more diversification and Im all for it.

  3. Roger Casey March 19, 2014 at 8:31 am

    P.S. And as far as the H.R. Puffinstuff show was concerned..just remember it almost catered to a certain kind of audience ;)
    and remember its a game so have fun :)

  4. Roger Casey March 19, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I was late to the podcast, so I wasn't there for this topic discussion. But after talking with a cpl of my current guild mates, What's your thoughts on the cash store selling cosmetic outfits and attire?, that you can wear all the time, but still have the effects of your armor. So nothing actually changes but your appearance.

  5. triwar March 19, 2014 at 2:46 am

    the moment i heard this news i canceled my preorder…

  6. HeroOfEvbof March 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I ran around a ton in the beta before last and in this beta I had a horse. I could barely tell the difference, although statistically speaking 15% speed boost is significant. Anyways, an early horse may be a time saver but it doesn't give an edge in combat. If your character is not geared properly to beat a boss it doesn't matter that you can run back to that boss a little faster just so you can get killed again.
    At high levels, the veterans in Cyrodiil are all going to have more than enough gold to have an advanced horse so not a big change. But I can see that horses would make a difference to a low level character in Cyrodiil. A horse may allow you to avoid death squads a little more easily than being on foot. Nonetheless you don't earn alliance points by avoiding combat, you earn alliance points by winning. Getting to the keep isn't going to improve your alliance standing if you get killed by a death squad outside the keep instead of on the road.

  7. FoxPT March 18, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Again its not a question of the horse … forget the horse, the question its a sub game it going to cost $15 a month there should not been any item in a shop period.

  8. Richard Daniels March 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Also upgrading your horse cost at least 250 gold. For early game that's a lot of coin. I found that having a horse (During beta) only gave me about a 15 to 20sec advantage from people on foot. You are definitely not going to miss out just because you don't have a mount during the first 15 levels.

  9. DrGerm March 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I don't know if I really care that they let you pay money for a mount. Really? Not a big deal… that doesn't make it a F2P or P2W game.

    HOWEVER…. I swear that if they go beyond that, I'm not playing the game.

    Apparently P2W is the way companies are making 'more' money than the subscription model. My guess is it's a way for a company to get more money from you up front before you quit playing their crappy game that has no updated, quality content.

    I know there are those (like me) who will NOT play those games. I hope ESO is a game where they choose to cater to us. If they do, then I'll buy 20 of these stupid mounts or pay double the subscription fee (yes I would) – if it helps them stay in business and provide a Quality experience (and keeps the Riff Raff out?).

  10. picasso trigger March 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    "The most important thing is that horses are available to all players at level one. Sure, they are much more expensive, but there is no definitive perk to having a horse at level 1 or waiting to acquire the money to get one at level 15 or 20, aside from moving a measly 15% faster."

    Besides the two to three horse levels from feeding and having the gold you didn't have to spend on a horse, you mean? because those sounds like perks to me.

  11. Sirilis March 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Honestly, if Zenimax channels funds into maintaining an amazing game experience, I'm all for them taking money in other ways in addition to subscription and purchase. Vanity mounts/pets/w/e on a micro-transaction basis is pretty much the standard in MMOs and every time it's successful, it helps the company produce better expansions and maintain their game better with more patches and server stability. As long as the game is as unbelievably amazing as it is, they can shut up and take my money XD.

  12. Adin March 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I have known they were going to have a cash shop for a while but i only thought i was gonna be for vanity stuff. Seriously this is crossing the line. the imperial edition upgrade isn't too bad but seriously a horse … why not just give em 20k for $5

  13. Veralidaine March 18, 2014 at 1:33 am

    So it begins… arg.

  14. Messy1 March 18, 2014 at 12:53 am

    This is not pay to win, it's pay to be more immersed, some critics are just way off base YIKES!

  15. FoxPT March 18, 2014 at 12:32 am

    The "rant" its not exactly because of a mount its because of the principle, Zenimax said before there not going to be a "CASHSHOP" call for the name for items in game only for services like rename and kind of stuff. That announcement came less then a month away now we already have a horse "for the ones who don't want get the other perks" who comes next …. a XP Bonus Drink, A MAGIKA Regen bottle


  16. Tetratonic March 18, 2014 at 12:25 am

    selling a mount for real money is dumb…mistake for ESO…now i have to spend another chunk of change including sub so i can be like all the other nerds roaming around cyrodiil….buying a mount for real money is exactly like p2w. u level quicker with a mount, kinda like an XP boost. Bad form ESO….bad form indeed

  17. Shelleg3s March 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Technically this is not even a "Cash Shop", the right term would be in fact micro-transactions.

    What you can pay for is cosmetic and not a "pay 2 win", I dont mind people paying for cosmetic gear which does not impact the game at all. ZOS decided to go the Valve way :D

  18. vexx March 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    oh, what a suprise :D

  19. Shelleg3s March 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Technically its not even a cash shop, those are just cosmetic gear and now pay to win.
    I dont mind people paying for cosmetic stuff that doesnt impact the game at all. ZOS is going Valve style :D

  20. TheNakedGamer March 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    The problem i see with this. Once they start micro transactions, they will continue with many other things that will possibly turn this into a pay to win just like all the f2p games out there.. small steps lead to great disaster just like huge leaps do.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment. If you're not registered yet, it takes less than 1 minute - Register Now