The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Preview
If you're an MMO fanatic, chances are, you mostly play on PC. But consoles have become home to several amazing online role-playing experiences, and perhaps the next masterpiece is The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, which was just given a finalized launch date of June 9, 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. While ESO didn't necessarily blow critics away when it initially launched a few years ago, the game has become better and better since it released, and Tamriel Unlimited should be the definitive version available. And hey, there's some pretty great news for newcomers to the franchise:
Not only will you be able to explore the vast landscape that is Tamriel for the first time ever on a console, but you also won't have to pay a monthly fee. That's right; you no longer need a subscription to play, although you do need an active PSN account with PlayStation Plus activated. If you're a Plus member, nothing is stopping you from playing ESO as long as you wish; you just make a one-time purchase of the game and that's it. If you're a returning player, you still won't have to pay subscription fees on console, but you can opt for a single monthly charge for the premium membership (ESO Plus). This delivers monthly in-game benefits like bonus XP and a monthly allotment of in-game money.
Ready to head out? You can go it alone or team up with friends, or perhaps even join an army of hundreds of players to fully experience everything the game has to offer. This newly updated version will boast the familiar gameplay from the original PC/Mac entry, along with all the new content and updates released, which means this is one massive package. We get the new Justice and Champion systems and if you want, you can go the extra mile and pick up optional downloadable content. The new in-game Crown Store offers convenience and customization items, and other changes will result in a very intuitive console MMO experience. This is always a concern but in this case, ZeniMax has done their homework.
The game now caters to your DualShock 4 and they say it "feels closer to experiences you've had with past Elder Scrolls games on consoles." This means if you're at least familiar with the likes of Oblivion, Skyrim, etc., you'll probably take to ESO like a fish to water. And while it's certainly true that the new Crown Store is basically for cosmetic purposes, it's cool that you can purchase content directly from the PlayStation Store. These small additions should make the game feel fresh and new, and well suited to the PlayStation 4. And even if you don't opt to enroll in ESO Plus, you'll still receive patches and various improvements, and DLC will always be an option as well.
A beta test is coming up, so stay tuned for the details. As usual, MMOs really require a fair amount of testing before everything is hunky-dory, and don't forget that ESO for consoles was already delayed a few times. Here's hoping the beta will go well and the launch won't be a rocky one...we've had our fill of technically compromised games, haven't we?
1/27/2015 Ben Dutka