I'm going to preface this by coming right out and admitting that I bought
the Digital Imperial Edition. I have my reasons, and I'm sure a lot of
other people do, too.
As we all know by now, the
Elder Scrolls Online has been available to pre-order for a
few weeks now, and comes in four different flavors: Standard and Imperial
digital versions, and Standard and Ultra-Deluxe Super-Size Imperial retail
box versions. Both of the Standard versions sell for $59.99, the Digital
Imperial sells for $79.99, and the Retail Box Imperial Edition, with all
the bells and whistles, sells for $99.99 ($114.99 in Canada). The question that must be
asked, then, is: are the more expensive versions worth the extra money?
Well, first, look at what all you get.
Standard Edition comes with the game and the pre-order bundle
that is common to all the different editions: 5 days early access, the
ability to play any standard race in any alliance, a scuttler vanity pet
and some "bonus treasure maps." No physical media - you have to download
it. You get a product key you can write down somewhere, if you want to
Standard Edition is the same, but comes with physical media,
and it includes only 3 days early access instead of 5. It may or may not
come with a basic manual of some kind, possibly a paper map. I haven't
seen the box contents yet, so I can't say for sure until April.
Imperial Edition comes with the same as the Digital Standard,
plus a product key to unlock another set of bonuses: access to the
Imperial race, access to the Imperial White Horse from stable vendors, a
mudcrab vanity pet and the ability to essentially marry a leveling partner
for an experience bonus (Rings of Mara).
The Retail Imperial Edition comes with all the stuff
from the Digital Imperial edition, plus physical media, a super-nifty box,
a 12" statue of Molag Bal, a book that actually looks really awesome, and
a big map.
For my money, I don't think Digital Standard is really "worth it," but
the Retail Standard is. If the digital version were 10 bucks cheaper than
retail box version, then sure, totally worth it. But it seems strange to
charge the exact same price for a product with no media or packaging as
for one that has those things, minus the 2-day head-start. If I'm going to
pay 60 bucks, I prefer something I can hold in my hand, and I don't really
feel the "extra" 2 days early access that comes with the Digital Standard
is enough to make up the difference.
That being said, it may sound strange that I went for the Digital
Imperial edition, which is $20 more. Well, like I said, I have my reasons.
Since I plan on writing extensively about it when it launches, I need the
full game experience. I'm willing to pay a little extra to give all of you
readers a little extra. Plus I've always liked the Imperials with their
awesome Roman-y Roman-ness. Also, access to an inexpensive mount early on
in the game is almost worth the extra money all on its own. If you plan on
exploring as much of the game as possible, and spending a lot of time in
Tamriel, that extra 20 bucks is an acceptable expense.
And of course, there's the Big Daddy Retail Imperial ultra-lux package
for the rich kids. If you have that kind of money to burn, you're probably
not looking for "best value." I'll admit, that book looks awful nice and
I'm a sucker for maps and silver-painted resin statuettes, so... yeah,
sure, it's worth it if you can afford it. You get all the goodies plus the
About this same time last year, a similar issue arose when Neverwinter
offered up a "Hero of the North" pre-order bundle for $199. The people
that go for the big buy-ins find value beyond just the few exclusive
items; there's a kind of weird prestige that goes with it, as well. We saw
the arguments a lot during the early days of Neverwinter - the people who
opted in through the less-expensive bundles mocking the Hero of the North
guys, and the Hero of the North guys laughing about it from the backs of
their awesome spiders. Once again, I bought the "middle" package - the
"Guardian of the North" pack, which came with enough cool stuff to keep me
interested, but wasn't so overpriced that I felt somewhat foolish buying
If you enjoy the game and you're planning on spending money on it anyway,
there's no sense in not getting the best version within your budget. If
you have only a casual interest in it, then by all means go for the cheap
seats. The value you get out of a game is determined by you.
I'm a "middle version" guy myself - how about you? Do you go for the
fancy collector's editions, the no-frills basic version, or something in
between? Let us know in the comments!
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