Why We Stopped Subscribing to Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online Launcher ScreenshotWe finally did it this last week, after paying for a couple of months where we barely touched the game. We uninstalled Elder Scrolls Online, ESO. It was not an easy decision, and even now, we kind of wish we could play occasionally. It was a good game, a fun game, but there were some things that stood in the way.

One thing, which is maybe unique to us, is that almost everyone we know who plays has stopped playing the game, or never started after expressing interest. Our only friend still subscribed is GuestGeekBrian, who wrote some of his thoughts on the game a couple months back. We had other family and friends who are no longer playing. And Brian had other friends as well who have dropped the game or never started – so maybe this experience is not so unique.

Did they make enough of a game to keep people playing for a long time? To keep the players engaged, subscribing, playing? I don’t know. And that’s where our problems come in: never really even having the chance to find out.

Dealing with an Internet Cap

As we mentioned in considering the game in the first place, one question was about the data caps we have with our Internet Service Provider. I am pretty sure we are not alone in dealing with caps. And it’s an MMO, so we needed two copies to make use of it.

And for initially getting the game, it was a bit tough. The download, getting it digitally, was 30gb each – a big drain on our cap. So we downloaded one copy at the end of one month, and another at the end of the next month. However, we ended up, with some other usage as well as playing the game and initial updates, getting really close on our cap.

It would have meant a lot of money to go over, so instead, we cut back on playing. And, in cutting back, we got out of the flow of playing. We didn’t for a while. Then we picked it back up a bit, found people had already started dropping it, got busy, time passed…

We got back to it last week, and there was a new update. Which was the size of the game, again, as a download. So we could update the game – 60gb now in one month – and then again probably not play it at all the whole month. Paying for – what again? The right to download updates?

The only times we have been close on our data cap are these months where we’ve been downloading the huge game files. Which makes sense, but is also a Catch-22: we can have the game, or play the game, but not both. Oh, and you have to update the game to play it, so the choice is made for you.

This game just really does not favor people with a data cap – are you among those folks?

Having the Time

We also discussed how having the time to play would be tough. With our blogging schedule, one of the two of us is blogging six days a week. So, for playing together, it would involve playing once blog posts are done, or else on our one free day a week.

And this just ended up not being very consistent. There are plenty of other things to do as well, so it was just one among many.

Except, this was the one we were paying for. Well, I suppose cheaper subscriptions like Hulu are being paid for as well, we use plenty of that. Though we couldn’t as much the months where we downloaded more of the game! And we couldn’t put TV on in the background or anything like that, since we had to play in the office, and we have a computer in there instead of a TV – for watching Hulu.

Another Catch-22.

Anyway, my point is, that it reminded us of some of the bad parts of playing a subscription MMO. Because you’re paying especially to play it, and paying constantly, there is a feeling you need to play constantly. Or at least, consistently. To get your money’s worth. Or for us, to get two peoples’ money worth.

And so not being able to play much, with the caps, with the rest of life, meant that it was hard to justify the expense. We considered keeping one account active; Holly was really enjoying playing solo as well. Her computer is much nicer than mine (desktop versus laptop), and it was a gorgeous game there. It was pretty bland for me on the laptop, so I was maybe okay without. But I’ll let Holly talk more about some of her thoughts here soon (probably tomorrow).

Final Thoughts

Whoa, this has been a long, pseudo-rant, sorry about that. We canceled our subscription. It says it saves your characters for if you come back, so if our friends do get back in it – giving us a reason and schedule to play – we would do so. But just scheduling a time to play D&D – even playing online through Roll20 – has been difficult.

And it’s many of the same friends. So one or the other… and only one was being paid for, whether we played or not. Something had to give, and unfortunately, ESO got the cut. Good game, we enjoyed it, but we didn’t really have time for it, and when we did we couldn’t play for data caps. We got a PS3 for a reason, so there are plenty of other games for us to play…


12 responses to “Why We Stopped Subscribing to Elder Scrolls Online

  1. Wow. Data Caps. I never even considered that that would be an issue. Thankfully i have no such cap, but i see now that not everyone has that luxury, and it really can be an issue. I’m still playing and having fun.


    • There’s an ISP in town that has no cap (we have 2 to choose from…) but they run at about half as fast. So then we’d potentially have a different problem with the game…

      Data Caps: one of the many problems with American ISPs.


  2. I’m still bummed that City of Heroes, the greatest superhero MMO of all time, had its plug pulled over a year ago.

    Sorry, this comment isn’t Elder Scrolls related. Your post just brought back the MMOstalgia in me. And tears.


    • I hear good things about Marvel Heroes, and it’s free. But it also sounds like it’s more of a Diablo 2 style game, rather than a full-on MMO.

      Was playing other MMOs when City of Heroes was big… never played. I imagine I would have liked it. And I didn’t know it was gone. Rest in peace, City of Heroes.


      • Thanks man, I think it had 8-9 years behind it. 9, I’m pretty sure.

        I’d played since the 2nd month.

        (If it was still live, though, I wouldn’t have had time to write long rambly blog posts.)

        There are a couple of competing spiritual successors to CoH in the pipeline, as well as the existing Champions (free to play) and DC Universe (possibly free to play?)


        • Lots of MMOs in the pipes, yeah. I’m still vaguely curious about the Neverwinter Nights MMO… I love me my Forgotten Realms!

          We have Macs, though, so a lot of the games we’ve considered (including Marvel Heroes that I mentioned above) we can’t because they’re not available. We were so excited that ESO was on the Mac from release…

          Haven’t played an MMO from release before, I can’t imagine the pain of it closing down then!


  3. Data caps. Insane. Not sure what I’d do if I had one. Blog two weeks out of the month and tweet the other two weeks? I use a ton of data.

    Never played an online subscription game (for the most part, I just don’t do subscriptions of any kind), nor downloaded 30GB at one time.

    I feel your pain, though. It’s hard to let go of a game, especially when you’re forced to let go by problems like these.


    • Yeah, we hadn’t really even hit a stride with the game. Hadn’t gotten to party together with friends, or try out the PVP area. There were things we’d do if we were still playing!


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  6. King of Red Onions

    Honestly, as old as this is and just randomly finding it, I had to stop reading after you said you downloaded it twice. Why not transfer it between computers with CD’s, USB’s, or via your LAN connection. Just. What?


    • I feel like we thought of this and that something with how the game worked at that time (maybe different now) didn’t make that work. We have Macs, so honestly, an Airdrop would have been fast easy and painless. Hopefully they’ve resolved these issues by now, but they lost us at the point when we couldn’t actually both update and play the game.


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