Just Like That: The Elder Scrolls Online Now Buy To Play
Coming hot off the heels of another major content update, The Elder Scrolls Online has taken a page out of ArenaNet's Guild Wars handbook, and made the game buy to play, with an in-game cash shop. If your worried about people buying themselves a competitive advantage, not to worry, since the items available for purchase appear to be mainly cosmetics, pets/mounts, and consumables. The game itself runs a cool 59.99 USD on Steam, and if you'd subscribed previously, you'll automatically be enrolled in the ESO Plus Membership program.
That program itself nets you a 10% experience boost to all characters, access to all DLC packs so long as you retain your membership, and 1500 Crowns to be spent in the in-game cash shop per month, worth about 15 USD. Curiously enough, for those players looking to acquire Crowns right now, they're only able to purchase one of each kind of Crown pack every two weeks, possibly due to issues with how TESO is being integrated with the Steam Wallet.
For those entering into the series now, Update 6 has introduced the Justice system and Champion system to the game. The Justice system allows your character to steal, assault and murder their way across Tamriel...so long as they don't get caught. If you're notorious enough, guards will attempt to kill you on sight, but committing more and more crimes unlocks a skill tree that makes you less susceptible to being caught.
Whereas the Justice system takes place entirely in-game, the Champion system is a persistent form of progression for all of your characters across your account. Earn enough experience on a veteran ranked character, and you earn a point to spend on whatever you want, allowing for more creative freedom in how you build each character, skill-wise.
Might this move towards a more open payment model temper moods to TESO? Community and professional critical reaction has been mixed, though ideally, the game would be getting better with every major update that comes out. It's been just under a year since the game came out, so there's plenty of time for it to improve in the future, and with this move to a "B2P" payment model, this can only mean that the community would get larger.