The Elder Scrolls Online launches week-long free weekend


If the news outside of the game-o-sphere wasn’t enough to convince you we’re living in a post-truth world, then maybe this will change your mind. The Elder Scrolls Online is launching a free weekend that starts from today and ends on December 6th, but apparently that doesn’t mean you can take every day until Wednesday as a day off. I’ve checked.

TESO was pretty shonky when it released, but three years of updates might have brought it to the point where it’s worth giving a go. The Elder Scrolls VI isn’t coming out any time soon, after all.

The trial will available be both through Steam and standalone. Free download links aren’t up quite yet but should be soon.

If you’re on the fence, you might be interested to hear that the One Tamriel update last year changed how levelling works so that the enemies in whichever area you’re in scale to your level. Richard Cobbett will tell you that the game is still too bland to bother with, mind, though Alec had a bit more fun in the Morrowind expansion. Just bear in mind that isn’t included in the free trial, nor are any of the other expansions.

If you do decide to hop back into Tamriel, ZeniMax will give you 500 crowns to spend in the in-game store for your trouble. You can spend those on useful things like potions, XP Scrolls or food, or eschew those functional earthly desires for a haircut or tattoo. But ignore all that, because you should obviously just buy a dog.

Any progress you make in the trial will carry over if you buy the game, which is half price at £7.49/$9.99/€9.99 on Steam until December 7th.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    But when do we get a fallout-4-styled TES? With settlement building, and four dialog choices?

  2. Pogs says:

    Does it still have that crappy way of selling and buying things? You had to spend ages running from vendor to vendor trying to find something. If you do join a guild no body talks because its just a way to sell stuff.

    Completely put me off why they did it that way.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Unless something has changed in the last half year or so, yep, it’s still that way. A UI mod called “AwesomeGuildStore” goes quite a long way toward fixing the tedium, but one still has to go around pressing E on individual guild merchants. Other mods help similarly with price checking and crafting and such.

      On the topic of guilds, there are plenty of others not dedicated to selling stuff, but my minimal experience with those who are was about the same as yours, sounds like.

      • Jman3456 says:

        There is a new addon gaining popularity called NirnAuctionHouse which provides a one-stop anywhere service for all your buying and selling needs and removes the running around. Just need some more people to download and use it so there are more items on it. Also, i’ve been in multiple trade guilds some with with low sales requirements (or none) and some with high. The communities were always awesome in my experience ! I’ve made lots of good friends in the trade guilds i’ve joined. But I am also a rather social person i say things to start conversation instead of just waiting for others to start one :P There are also what they call “Social Guilds” so most people will join a “Raid Guild” , a “PvP Guild , a “Social Guild” and a “Trade Guild” and have 1 other guild slot for whatever they want :)

        • Jman3456 says:

          This was meant for the OP i’m sorry

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            How dare you respond to my comment in a highly (yet coincidentally?) relevant manner! I now return the favor by responding several days after the fact.

            That mod sounds pretty nice, actually – I’ll have to keep it in mind if someone asks me about such things. It’s amazing what modders can come up with sometimes…

            My own experience in 3 social guilds (two pve, one pvp) was quite nice, really, and I didn’t mind the trading guild being quiet since I was one of those awful people who simply wanted a place to dump stuff others want. :)

    • CronoRay says:

      Yeah I agree, as much as I enjoy the rest of the game, the way you have to join a trading guild to actually make a real profit to sell stuff because you can only make a lot of gold by selling in a guild store is stupid. A lot of the guilds will kick you out also for being in active for to long.

      • Someoldguy says:

        Ah snap. Then it’s a no from me. I was undecided when they said it would lack all the expansion material, but this settles it.

      • Unclepauly says:

        How long were you in active for? Also how does one go about getting inside an active? One last q… :D (what’s an active?) :D

      • Jman3456 says:

        You don’t have to join a trade guild to make money :) You can farm nodes and set items and sell stuff in zone chat easily, or you can thieve from NPC’s and sell the green->purple loot. You can also download NirnAuctionHouse and sell stuff for free without a guild trader :D

        EDIT: The reason you get kicked from a trade guild for inactivity is because they have to bid millions of gold on the store spot every week and if too many players are inactive and not contributing to the guild it makes it much harder to hold the spot for your guild mates.

    • napoleonic says:

      There are plenty of social guilds around, as well as raiding guilds. The pure trading guilds advertise themselves as being as such.

  3. wombat191 says:

    I actually picked up the game a couple of days ago. It’s weird visiting Morrowind again and it reminded me why I hate Vivec city.
    I’d give it a 7/10 ok but not a masterpiece

  4. CronoRay says:

    It is not a free weekend if it goes for a whole week….. just say it how it is, it is free for one week!

    • AngoraFish says:

      It’s almost as if The Elder Scrolls Online launches a free week.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Cyphran says:

    The dog is discontinued Matt! Why tease me like that…

  6. Blackcompany says:

    Pity its still just a reskinned WoW clone at heart, with the terrible, clunky combat, cartoon graphics and static, insta-respawning MMO world that implies.

    Could really have been something to have the coop/multi-player TES Sandbox game a lot of us wanted. But this theme park, is not that game. And this engine is REALLY showing its age.

    • ludde says:

      Hopefully someday some of these publishers starts to take some risks again and dare try something new. Until then it’s all sequels and copied formulas.

      • Hohumm4sh3d says:

        EQ devs (Daybreak right?) bottled it and canned their new EQ Next. No one’s taking any risk now by the looks of things.

        For £7.49 and no subscription you definitely get your moneys worth out of ESO though.

    • heystreethawk says:

      Well, I don’t know about that; I think it’s got better combat than any of the SP TES games, and better combat than any other MMO I’ve played. It’s visceral, it feels like your character is actually fighting, instead of doing the standard MMO “hold in place and cast a spell for a few seconds”.

    • Jman3456 says:

      When was the last time you played and for how long? lol I played WoW lots and can say this game is different enough in comparison to stand on it’s own. Every single MMO on the market is going to take at least a small portion from other large MMO’s like WoW and Guild Wars 2. Because they work. You’re sounding like one of those salty people who “just wanted a co-op Skyrim” and will chew apart every aspect of this game no matter what Bethesda does because you’re mad they didn’t release another 1st person RPG.

  7. Unclepauly says:

    “The Elder Scrolls VI isn’t coming out any time soon, after all.”
    Should I or shouldn’t I?

    You won again.

  8. Pizzzahut says:

    Ah, great. So if I start downloading today, I should have it by the 7th.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Yeah. 66.6 GB. Steam’s currently telling me that the game should be ready in 1 day 7 hours, assuming that I leave the computer on overnight and don’t Netflix at any stage.

  9. malkav11 says:

    It’s really one of the best of the crop of MMOs out there. Nice big world benefiting from all the decades of Elder Scrolls lore backing it up and getting to see parts of that world they’ll take more decades to get to in the singleplayer games, if they ever do. Plus more active combat than usual for MMOs and a much better skill system than any of the actual proper Elder Scrolls games. It’s still an MMO, of course, so it’s unable to do things like full physics object simulation or letting your actions have a real, singular and permanent impact on the game world, and thus it will never fully substitute for the singleplayer games. But it’s worth checking out for free.

    • SaintAn says:

      It’s not an MMO except in the PVP area. And it’s really one of the worst. It’s just a scam that prays on the weak minded and ignorant non-gamers.

      • malkav11 says:

        According to your weirdo definition of MMO that no one else shares and doesn’t describe 98% of the actual genre, maybe it’s not an MMO. I don’t think there’s the slightest basis for calling it a scam, though.

      • Jman3456 says:

        Can create a unique character with my own backstory -> Check
        Can do lots of fun questing and learn about lore -> Check
        Can play with all my friends anywhere in the game world -> Check
        Can run dungeons with varying difficulty and better my toon -> Check
        Can eventually gather end-game gear and run tougher trials -> Check

        Hmmmm… sure sounds like an MMO to me XD and a very entertaining one at that if you’re not jumping on this hateful bandwagon lol. I highly recommend after 3000 hours and countless wonderous times i’ve had in game

  10. SaintAn says:

    Yeah, don’t support this cheap scam garbage. And especially don’t support Bethesda, they not only ruin their games, but they ruin modding and gaming in general.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Go on, tell us the real reason the game makes you all bitter and twisted. Let me guess, the Elder Scrolls Online stole your puppy, didn’t it?

      • Guzzleguts says:

        Well one lesser known thing they did is block a reboot of Armageddon Empires because apparently they own the whole post apocalypse genre now.

    • Jman3456 says:

      Do you need a cookie? lol You sound a little upset. You should give more reasoning behind your sh*t-posting and not just make claims without basis.

  11. Hyperion says:

    Oh, thats nice. *continues to wait for TES 6*

  12. tomimt says:

    When I played Skyrim I thought it could have been a fun MMO, as it felt like one but with not so many MMO annoyances.

    The I played Online and thought how in the hell they managed to turn it into a run in the mill MMORPG that doesn’t even try.

  13. Vacuity729 says:

    The free play period is six days, not just the weekend, but it’s an 81GB download, so… well, let’s say I’m glad it’s not just a weekend. If it was just the weekend I wouldn’t bother. For a week, yeah, maybe. I was hoping to play the new Rome II campaign this week/weekend though. I played the beta of ES Online and wasn’t hugely impressed. I rather doubt this will change my mind.

    Hmm… I can’t decide, and I really don’t want to download 81GB of data and barely play it.

  14. Zhiroc says:

    I’ve just had my 4th go at this: 1st was the beta, and I didn’t even feel like finishing the weekend after the first day. Then I was re-invited to the 2nd round, and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember a thing about the story line. About a week or so after, they sent a survey, and I couldn’t even remember what faction I had played. I then tried it again for a free week(-end?), then I bought a used copy for PS4, and just recently, got it as a game in the HumbleBundle sub. And I played a couple of weeks, and have now dropped it again. The story is just… well, boring to me.

    Some things really irk me, particularly crafting. Having the free bag space if you sub is really crappy. Next, your crafting skills compete with your profession ones for skill points. Also, you need to be at crafting stations to do anything, making it not even something you can do while waiting around somewhere. And lastly, gathering is another pain, and having to open a bazillion crates and barrels and sacks sucks.

    And I don’t really like the combat system. I hate games where you pour effort into buying and leveling skills that end up being unusable later on, since you can only slot 5+1 skills onto two bars at once. That and you have to be constantly centering your target–all that spinning around gives me a headache at times, and that was for a ranged class. I’d hate to play a melee one…

  15. yoggesothothe says:

    Mildly surprised at the amount of negative comments here, but then I suppose I shouldn’t be.

    ESO is pretty great as far as pay to play MMOs go (or MMOs in general for that matter). But this opinion comes from someone who plays MMOs in an introverted fashion.

    Substantially balanced and interesting character build mechanics (any class and do any role well); easy to queue pug dungeons; self-crafting that actually produces genuinely useful gear early in the curve; accessibility in regards to de rigueur gear; combat in which manual skill matters as much as proper gearing–there’s a lot it has going for it.

    It just gets the balance right on pretty much everything (except the bag space, which, yes, that can be a mild pain without a subscription.) And that’s what really strikes me about this game. It is thoroughly well-balanced.

    Just thought I’d provide a counter-perspective.

    • yoggesothothe says:

      As a side note, yes, the storylines are rather bland. Actual questing isn’t as interesting as dungeon running and character building. Of the hundreds of hours I have in this game, I’ve only ever bothered going through the main storyline once. I suppose that’s where all the ‘generic mmo’ comments are coming from, as, in that regard, that charge is more or less true. Luckily (depending on your perspective), all of that can be entirely ignored. It’s great as an action rpg.

    • Jman3456 says:

      I love this post. Probably the first genuine post i’ve seen in this thread. From somebody who actually played the game for more than 10 hours lol. I agree with every point you made and can support this post with 3000 hours of gameplay since Beta.

      I am captivated by the diversity of each class and the ability to build a character how i want and still have it perform well. After levelling 6 characters to level 50 and gathering 780 champion points every moment of playing this game has been fun. I’ve made many friends and had so mamy good times questing together along the way. I don’t know where these comments of “bland quests” come in EVERY MMO has a couple “bland quests” that’s just part of the massive scale of the game. Do more than 3 starter zone quests and not have a biased opinion and you’d know that. The Rivenspire questline in particular has had a lot of love from players.

      A message to others: Don’t listen to all the haters jumping on the bandwagon together with 10 hours gameplay or less and try it for yourself ! Form your own opinions.