Finally, nearly a year after launch, Bethesda’s big MMO bet has gone free to play, or at least, buy to play. Following a model similar to the acclaimed Guild Wars 2, purchasing the base game will now get you instant access to a massive trove of in-game content.
The move is a welcome one, if a little overdue after seeing the trajectory of most AAA MMO’s these days. A wise gambler wouldn’t have put ESO gold down against it happening, especially after the game delayed the console versions of its release and rather tellingly did away with its six month subscription option late last year.
Savvy shoppers can pick up a copy of Elder Scrolls Online now for much less than the $59.99 it launched at. While some complained about the game’s lack of content at launch, this isn’t unusual with new MMO’s. Since launch the dev team at Bethesda have been working day and night to fix bugs, add content and address player concerns. It’s one of the more player-friendly dev studios we’ve seen, and it’s fairly clear those guys care a lot about what their fans think.
To that end, it’s no wonder that when the game relaunched as “The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition,” it did so with a wealth of new content and major tweaks, as part of Update 6. ESO Update 6 is such a massive and fundamental update to the game that some might argue it’s what the game should have launched with in the first place. The headline changes include a new Justice system, Champion system, Game rebalance, Animation updates, Provisioning revamp, Collections system, Trial leaderboard changes and an Updated tutorial.
The updated tutorial is particularly welcome, as the dry and somewhat lonely nature of the previous tutorial is something lots of players highlighted. Speaking on the subject of the revamped tutorial on the forums, Admin ZOS_GinaBruno said:
“Yes, there will be some revisions to the existing tutorial in Coldharbour in Update 6. The goal is to make sure new players feel more comfortable and confident with their character after leaving Coldharbour. Some of the things we’ve touched on are basic combat skills which will be covered in more detail, you can try lockpicking to learn the mechanics, Lyris will guide you through more areas, and more.”
It’s great to hear players will get a better introduction to basic combat, as this is one of the areas of the game that’s benefitted most from Update 6. The development team has put a lot of time and effort into refining the game’s initially lackluster combat system, reworking animation and timing to make it much more impactful and visceral.
Provisioning has also been hugely overhauled, returning players will find new recipes and expanded inventory space waiting. There’s also the introduction of the Collections window, a revamped way for gamers to keep track of mounts, pets and costumes. Even bigger though, is the new Champion System. The Champion System, has been added specifically for long-time players, offering Veteran characters a new method to earn power. Players with Veteran characters automatically start earning Champion Points, which they can assign to a series of passive abilities like Shadowstrike, Master gatherer, Plentiful Harvest, Sprinter, Elusive and More.
The biggest and best update though? Without a doubt, it’s the new Justice System, which allows players to embark on a life of crime, stealing as much ESO Gold as they can carry and murdering those unfortunate enough to get in their way. It’s an update that brings the game much more in line with what gamers who have played the console versions of The Elder Scrolls are used to. Nimble-fingered thieves can pilfer goods and items from NPC’s, pickpocketing and stealing from their homes, and can finally kill and loot NPC’s well.
Those who choose a life of crime must be weary, the guards in ESO are extremely tough, and no amount of cheap ESO Gold will buy them off, though you can pay a sum to relieve the bounty on your head, depending on the level it’s currently at.
- Disreputable – The guards will generally ignore you unless you approach them.
- Notorious – You’ll be chased down by the guards, who enlist other guards to assist in the pursuit.
- Fugitive – You are Kill On Sight to the guards. To lower your bounty at this level, you must either wait for it to decay over time or find a fence that can assist you in paying it off.
The life of an outlaw is not an easy one, either. Once you’ve got stolen merchandise, the only player you can sell it is to a fence. Luckily, there are Outlaw refuges in major cities scattered throughout the provinces. Find one, relax, sell your wares, but be aware that you can only sell a certain amount to a fence each day, you don’t want to raise too much attention.
The updates to ESO are vast and numerous, and perhaps the only conspicuous absence at this stage is the lack of a built-in controller setup option. This isn’t entirely surprising, the dev team have stated that a controller profile is in the works, but it won’t be ready till after the game ships on console, which makes sense, since that version of the game will absolutely require it. Update 6 weighs in at a hefty 20-25GB, but if you’re even somewhat curious about the game, it’s absolutely worth downloading.