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Bethesda dig into The Elder Scrolls Online's Crown Store "philosophy"

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The Elder Scrolls Online

The latest edition of The Elder Scrolls Online "Road Ahead" details a pair of unique loyalty rewards for long-time subscribers, and also delves into the developer's approach to the Crown Store, where players will be able to exchange the new virtual currency for "customization and convenience" items.

TESO players who have subscribed for nine months or more between April 2014 and the launch of Tamriel Unlimited in March will be granted the Mask of Cheerful Slaughter, a unique costume that "channels the chaos of Sheogorath," the Daedric Prince of Madness. Sounds like it's going to be a big look.

Those who have been with the game "from the beginning"—more specifically, active subscribers at the time of transition to Tamriel Unlimited with at least 300 days of subscription time (not necessarily consecutive) prior to March 16—will also get the Striped Senche mount, which is basically a tiger with a cool hat.

The update also dug into the "philosophy" behind the Crown Store, which will offer potions, costumes, mounts, pets, and other such fantasy RPG bric-a-brac. Game Director Matt Firor explained that the base game will maintain "the same levelling pace, experience point gain, [and] user interface" it always has, and promised that it won't be made more difficult to play for those who don't spring for real-money items.

"An item in the Crown Store serves one of two purposes: It either provides a visual upgrade or distinction for your character, or it provides a way to save time at the expense of spending Crowns," he wrote. "When it comes to this second category of items, we will generally make in-game variants of similar items available either as drops or as player-craftable items as well."

Citing potions as an example, he said those that can be purchased with crowns will be very similar to those offered by in-game vendors, and are actually weaker than the ones players can craft for themselves. He also confirmed that experience-boosting items will "almost certainly" be offered at some point, and noted that discussions about which convenience items will be offered for purchase with in-game gold rather than just crowns are still underway.

The Elder Scrolls Online will switch over to the subscription-optional Tamriel Unlimited on March 17.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.