The Elder Scrolls Online has not had the triumphant arrival that Bethesda - and longtime fans of the franchise - would have hoped for. There was plenty of anticipation for the MMORPG, particularly given the rich lore taken from the single player The Elder Scrolls titles, but the multiplayer sister game from ZeniMax Online Studios has faced its fair share of problems. The console version of The Elder Scrolls Online has faced delay after delay, its release pushed back to sometime early 2015, and the PC and Mac version has suffered from bugs, bots and spammers.
The game's issues took their toll. The Elder Scrolls Online suffered from its share of negative reviews upon release, and made its way onto our list of the worst MMOs of 2014. Although the subscription figures were surprisingly high, with 750,000 players in the summer of 2014, there was still trouble behind the scenes. ZeniMax Online revealed a round of layoffs for the team working on the MMO.
It now looks like there is even more change in the pipeline for The Elder Scrolls Online. According to a report by Kotaku Australia, the video game retail chain EB Games is removing all copies of the MMO from its store shelves, and aims to do so by January 13. The directive, which was sent to all EB Games stores, affects both the boxed copies of the game and pre-paid subscription cards.
All this points towards a dramatic change in business practices for the MMO. As we discussed last week, Bethesda could be looking to move The Elder Scrolls Online to a Free-To-Play model. The publisher has recently removed the option to subscribe for 6 months, stating that the short-term subscription options of 30- and 90-days have been more popular than the long-term ones. However, it's still a bizarre move unless there are some serious changes to the subscription model ahead.
EB Games has since stated that the withdrawal of The Elder Scrolls Online from shelves is simply part of a regular stock recall, which involves other titles including the likes of Destiny and The Evil Within. However, Kotaku Australia's source has reveals that the other games that are part of the recall will only have excess stock removed. The Elder Scrolls Online, however, is down for a full recall, and all copies of the game are set to have disappeared by January 14.
Those playing The Elder Scrolls Online will also have a new update in January. This sixth update will add extra dynamics to the MMO. One of these is the Justice System. This dynamic will allow players to rob and kill NPCs, but will then have to face the wrath of Tamriel's guards. Eventually, other players will be able to claim bounties on the badly-behaved. The update will also contain the third phase of the Champion System, which makes changes to post-level 50 veteran progression.
The Elder Scrolls Online is out now for PC and Mac, with a PS4 and Xbox One release set for Spring 2015.
Source: Kotaku Australia