Why the Five Days Free in Elder Scrolls Online
Early in the morning I blinked my eyes trying to clear my vision and reached for my phone. The latest email to come was alerting me of something I already knew - my game time for ESO was extended by an additional five days. This gave me, on the mark, about 40 days of free gameplay which is considerable. You get the 5 day head start, the 30 days free, and five extra days. That's a pretty substantial haul of stuff. Don't quote me but I think that the extension to add time a few days after the launch also counted as 'free time' but I'm not 100% on that one.
Anyway, the five days is to atone for the issues players had at the start of the game. For instance, the quests that were broken, server downtime, and various other things that bothered players. The sad thing about this is that the fixes needed to really appease the playerbase isn't coming until 1.1
What does 1.1 bring? Well, outside of the adventure zone and trials, it brings about some semblance of balance to Alliance Wars. The underdog bonus will help level the playing field when there is a population disparity. Patch 1.1 also improves the character models, brings a ton of fixes (especially with animations), and other little nitpicky things that players want addressed.
So the big question I guess on everyone's mind is if this is a proper appeasement. Will this make people subscribe? Are mass cancellations happening in droves as we speak? I don't know, but I will tell you one thing - I'm not a huge fan of the free game time. Free game time is sort of a bandaid patch to player happiness.
The good part is that it acknowledges that there is an issue, that there is exists a problem, and that problem is being taken care of. The bad part is that it's necessary in the first place and a lot of these issues were obvious, glaring mistakes that should have never happened. For instance the quest stops, where you couldn't complete a quest due to it being bugged, were a nuisance to say the least. Some of the issues seem, at least from our perspective (the players) to be easy enough to fix. I mean it could be a super big undertaking for some of them, I wouldn't know, but at least on the surface getting quests to work would seem like a thing.
I wonder if when 1.1 comes out if they'll offer a free trial of the content, since patch 1.1 is, as mentioned, the patch that's going to be bringing all of the stuff players wanted at launch. When the Craglorn patch is going to hit? Well, Zenimax knows, but I sincerely hope it is soon.
That's about all I have to say about this. I don't like the idea that players have to be rewarded because these issues should never have been present to begin with. However, I do admire the fact that Zenimax was able to be the better man and offer something for the trials and tribulations of their players. Lots of other games have done it, but it's not very common, so high five to them for that.
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