The first question I get from folks interested in Elder Scrolls Online is usually whether the game is free. It’s not. But it is cheap! Then they usually ask about paying for a subscription. The good news is that you don’t need ESO Plus to play the game. The bad news is that it’s such a huge quality of life improvement that it feels mandatory if you’re playing for any extended period of time. There’s a free trial which gives you a taste of what the membership has to offer, and many find it hard to go back. But is ESO Plus worth it? Let’s break the benefits down one by one.
ESO Plus Price
- 1-Month: $15/Month
- 3-Month: $14/Month ($42 total)
- 6-Month: $13/Month ($78 total)
- 12-Month: $12/Month ($140 total)
Let’s be real. Bag space is always a huge issue in every MMO on the planet. You almost always want to carry more than the game will let you. This is a staggering problem when you’re interested in crafting and furnishing. Both require an extensive amount of resources, each of which takes up a unique slot in either your bank or backpack. At first it’ll be an annoyance, a few inopportune trips back to a banker. But eventually you’ll fill up and realize there’s not much room for anything other than crafting materials.
If that’s you, get ESO Plus for the Crafting Bag. This is by far the biggest perk. It’ll hold every single crafting material in the game. That includes the dozens of wood and ore types, your reagents and solvents, runes and glyphs, everything you can think of. Mine easily contains upwards of 200+ unique item stacks. Without a fully upgraded backpack and bank it really isn’t feasible to keep everything without an ESO Plus subscription.
Nice to Have
There’s a whopping 14 pieces of paid DLCs in ESO at this point. Purchasing of all them (barring any bundles or discounts) would require 29,000 Crowns which is more than $150. Or you can just maintain an active ESO Plus subscription and get access to them all excluding the latest yearly expansion.
Before you purchase any of them, give ESO Plus a try and explore the older content Bethesda has put out. If you find you like it, keep the subscription up and consider purchasing the latest expansion. Right now you might want to hold off though. Once Greymoor, the 2020 expansion, is out later this year, Bethesda will make Elsweyr free as part of the membership.
The new classes, Warden for Morrowind and Necromancer for Elsweyr, are not included in the ESO subscription, however. You can purchase the standalone classes in the Crown Store for 1,500 Crowns.
Thankfully the next ESO perk helps out with both of these problems.
Like most other MMOs, Elder Scrolls Online relies on cosmetic purchases to help keep the game afloat. There are an abundance of things to buy like mounts, costumes, and time-savers. What a lot of players do, however, is use their monthly allotment to purchase the game’s DLC. Then, once everything has been purchased, they can cancel their subscription. By that point they likely have a ton of storage space and can live without the crafting bag.
You get 1,650 Crowns (worth just over $15) each month which essentially makes ESO Plus free if you would be buying Crowns anyway. Just note that longer subscription bundles come with the Crowns bundled together. You only get a new influx of Crowns when your subscription renews.
Extra Bank Space
This one is less significant than the other two, but you also have double your normal bank space whenever ESO Plus is active. That’s just a nice quality of life improvement. It also helps justify the absurdly expensive bank upgrade costs. In total, you can pay a little over 750,000 gold for 170 more slots. Having ESO Plus doubles that to 340 extra slots which gives you a much more comfortable maximum of 480 bank slots.
Doesn’t Really Matter
Faster Crafting Inspiration, More Gold, More Experience
I’m lumping all of these together because they’re nice bonus perks but ultimately don’t matter. In short, with ESO Plus you gain 10 percent more experience, 10 percent more XP towards leveling your crafting skills, and 10 percent more gold from missions, chests, etc. You also snag a nice 10 percent faster research buff on crafting traits. These take a long, long time – upwards of months of real time – to complete so that does add up over the duration.
Double Furnishing Capacity
If you’re a huge fan of player housing, then this might actually be a bigger deal for you than it is for me. The crafting limit, even with ESO Plus, is relatively limited. Each house comes with a furnishings cap, trophy cap, and collectibles cap. While the trophy cap is set in place, the other two can be doubled. The biggest homes having furnishing caps of just 350 total items makes things rough for players who like to include lots of small household items. Even with a subscription, housing fans routinely complain about how low the cap is. As such, ESO Plus is viewed as a must have for those into housing.
While Elder Scrolls Online does have an outfit system where you can display armor pieces over the actual armor you’re wearing, that requires funds to change. Costumes, on the other hand, are free to change in and out of. You can’t dye them like traditional armor, however, without being an ESO Plus member. That’s a nice little benefit, but certainly not worth subscribing alone.
Double Transmutation Crystal Capacity
This one seriously doesn’t matter for new players in the slightest. I’m nearly 500 hours into the game and I’ve never transmuted a thing. Don’t worry about this until much, much later.
Crown Store Deals
Finally there are some Crown Store deals each month making purchases a little cheaper. The selections are limited, however, so this is like an extra teaspoon of sugar and not much else. While Bethesda may promote “free items” every month as one of the benefits, each and every month since the change has featured a statuette and that’s it, nothing exciting.
Overall, ESO Plus is certainly one of those experiences that you can’t really go back on. Once you have it, you’re usually addicted to the convenience and value that it provides. Just try not to spend all your Crowns at once. Go buy an assistant or something.