Since E3 in 2013, when Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) announced their payment model ($14.99/month), a common question is being asked throughout the community. Is ESO worth the price?
ESO when released will require you to pay $59.99 (typical cost of a MMO, actual cost not yet released). This price will offer you unrestricted access to the game for one month, after which you’ll need to subscribe for an additional $14.99/month (discounted rates for multiple month purchase).
The average MMORPG gamer spends about 22 hours a week playing their favourite online game. The developers of ESO have stated that it will take approximately 150 hours to reach level cap. Which would mean the average gamer will spend 47 days leveling up. Anyone who has played an MMO before, knows leveling up is only the beginning. ESO will offer a semi-diverse character progression system, along with mass scale PvP, which in itself offers the player additional hours leveling up their PvP skill tree. If you’re a completionist, you’ll be looking at, at least 300 hours to complete the game, excluding the time spent in PvE End Game that we still do not know anything about.
MMOs are games we’re supposed to spend months, if not years playing. Unlike single player games that you complete in a week or less. World of Warcraft had the correct design. The main story arc wasn’t something a single player could complete, it required team work. SWTOR on the other hand, did the exact opposite, as did Guild Wars 2. You could complete the entire primary storyline by yourself, without the assistance of anyone, and once you completed that, the rest of the game became nothing but a grind. Whereas in WoW, the game’s storyline required you to progress through multiple dungeons before getting to the final one. It required time, something a lot of MMOs aren’t making us do anymore.
As I said in my article, “ESO the next SWTOR,” the leveling experience is a small part of an MMO. It is what we do after we hit level cap that keeps us playing.
ESO has also stated, they want to push new content out every four to six weeks. That is an impressive goal, one I would love to see them meet. If Zenimax can adhere to that goal, it will most definitely be worth the subscription fee. Typically content is released every four to six months. In recent months however, developers have been pushing for a two month content release and Zenimax wants to go even further with their goal.
The average single player game takes 20-30 hours to complete, which is just over a weeks’ worth of content, for a casual MMO player. At a cost of $59.99, a weeks’ worth of gameplay and little re-playability, isn’t very economical, however two to three weeks’ worth of content sounds a lot better. Remember it is a MMO, you won’t just be doing the new content when you’re playing, making the value even higher.
Once you’ve completed those two to three weeks’ worth of content, it is only an additional $14.99 and a week or two later a patch will be released, providing additional content. Making the subscription fee well worth the price, if ESO can achieve their goal.
What are your thoughts? Do you think ESO will be worth the retail fee and subscription IF they adhere to their four to six week content promise?