Convenience items in the cash shop are nothing new in The Elder Scrolls Online. ZeniMax has been selling experience boosts and mount training accelerators for years. But the recent addition of skill shards and skill lines have had some players claiming pay-to-win.Tamriel Infinium.
In my guild Discord the other day, one of the relatively newer members was asking about how mounts work. Hoping to spin up a new character, the player wondering whether mounts were account-wide. “Yes,” came the answer, “but you have to train them all over again!”
Training a mount in ESO is both a gold sink and a time sink. The good news is that mount training is per character, meaning a single character will never have to train up more than one mount. The bad news is that every character on your account has the same time/gold-gated requirements for mounts to reach max effectiveness, so you’ve got to do it for each toon you roll.
ESO already offers accelerators for mount attributes (called riding lessons), but they are somewhat cost prohibitive. Maxing out a single character’s mount skills costs the cash shop equivalent of about US $135 worth of riding lessons. Seeing as how you can now buy an entire character skill line (undaunted, psijic, etc.) for under US $40, I’d say those riding lessons could probably use a pricing adjustment.
But better yet, package them like the character skill lines: If you’ve previously maxed out a mount, you can buy a riding lesson that maxes out another character’s mount skills for a similar amount (5000 crowns, less than US $40) as is charged for character skill lines.
If there’s never going to be an all-inclusive mount maxing option, how about a new kind of pocket assistant that could be summoned over landscape in order to pay for daily mount feedings? The assistant would work much like the banker and merchant assistants already available and could be placed in our houses as well as summoned. Assistants are one of the best purchases available in the cash shop, and a portable stable master would boost an already strong category.
Enhanced smuggler assistants
Currently, everybody who owns the Thieves Guild DLC has access to a pocket smuggler, who can be used to buy your stolen items. Unfortunately, this assistant gets a 35% cut of anything you sell to him when compared to what the item sells for at a regular in-game fence. I’ve never completely understood the logic in that, except perhaps that ZeniMax is afraid that nobody would visit an outlaw’s refuge if we could sell everything to an assistant. At any rate, perhaps a cash shop upgrade to a premium smuggler is in order – one that doesn’t charge you for selling items and is able to pay off your bounty and fence items for you out in the world. It seems that a smuggler should be able to do anything that an outlaw’s refuge fence is able to do.
Players have been asking for writ boards that can be placed within their homesteads for some time now. I can understand both sides of this debate: It certainly would be nice to be able to log in and do all of your crafting inside your house. For those who use their houses as a guild gathering spot, it would be a good opportunity to run into guildies who also happen to be crafting at the same time.
On the other hand, crafting hubs throughout the cities of Tamriel do tend to be the most highly populated areas on the server. The constant coming and going adds a lot of life to these zones. I would miss all of the activity if people suddenly decided they preferred a “solo crafting” experience. I think that’s the biggest reason we haven’t yet seen these boards available as housing items. Even if they were made available, I think it would be as a crafting reward and not a cash shop item. This would be more consistent with how crafting stations are currently acquired.
For some players, crafting really is the bulk of their ESO gameplay. Even when they are not experiencing a new dungeon or content update, they’re logging in every day to complete crafting writs with every character on the account. For these crafty souls, perhaps a purchasable crafting or trait line would be in order! Once again, it could be treated like the skyshards or skill lines. If a woodworker line has been maxed out, make it purchasable for another character. If a trait has been unlocked, that could be a cash shop option as well. It’s a convenience that some crafters might be more than happy to pay in order to bolster their crafting army.
Unlimited crafting bag
Something that absolutely, positively will not happen any time soon is the appearance of the unlimited craft bag as a purchasable item. But wouldn’t it be nice? The crafting bag is a bottomless storage bag for all of the crafting materials on your account. It’s probably the best convenience item in the game and is available only to ESO Plus subscribers. It’s so good that many players have stated that they would subscribe to ESO Plus even if the crafting bag were the only perk. That’s pretty high praise!
But it’s also the reason that we’ll never see this in the cash shop. That steady subscriber income stream is something that ZeniMax counts on to keep the game going. Removing the number one reason that people become ESO Plus members would not be a savvy business move.
What have we missed? Are there convenience items that you’d like to see available for purchase in the ESO crown store? Or have we already gone too far into pay-to-win territory with our musings as it stands?
Thanks to Minuetpro and CrazyMrRed on Discord and @Kermudgen on Twitter for their idea contributions!