Like most subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games, The Elder Scrolls Online includes 30-day free game time with purchase, but in order to access that 30 free days, one first has to set up a subscription and that's got some of the game's players in an uproar.
Tomorrow night at 10PM AEST, players who have purchased The Elder Scrolls Online but have yet to set up a recurring subscription or entered a game time code will no longer have access to the game.
The issue with most players making their objections heard in the Elder Scrolls Online forums over the past couple of days isn't the subscription itself -- the minimum $US14.99 monthly fee comes as no surprise. What is surprising is that Zenimax Online is pre-authorizing users' credit and debit cards the full $US14.99 (or more) fee.
Being a pre-authorisation, the charge briefly appears as a pending item with most North American banks, and won't be counted towards overdraft problems.
To many this is not a big deal. To others, it's a major inconvenience, as one forum-goer explains.
So basically, because I only have about $US12 in my bank (I'm between paydays), I'm not going to be able to play the game I ALREADY PAID FOR until next week when I have enough to cover the authorization?
What kind of nonsense is this!?
Players without credit or debit cards who were planning to pick up prepaid game time cards are running into problems as well, as the cards are not widely available at retail at this point in time. Without some form of electronic payment or a game time card in-hand, they will be out of luck come tomorrow morning.
Zenimax Online is at least working to help players with insufficient funds or those unable to locate time cards stay in the game, according to an update on the official post regarding the pre-authorisation issue.
We want everyone who purchased ESO to have immediate access to the included 30 days ofESO game time. In the event that you enter your payment information for authorization and the transaction cancels due to lack of funds in your account, please contact our Support Team. We'll work with you to ensure you have access to your included 30 days of game time.
It's a strange situation, to be sure. I've been playing MMORPGs for fifteen years, and I've had to enter plenty of credit card numbers, but I've never had a company pre-authorise my card the full amount a month before the subscription is supposed to kick in.
I reached out to Zenimax Online for comment on the billing issues, and will update the post should I receive a response. Hopefully they can get a handle on the situation, and The Elder Scrolls Online won't see a substantial drop in players come tomorrow night.