chrome 2013-01-27 19-37-03-03

Speculation on the Inevitable ESO Pre-order Bonus Items

April 8th, 2013 Posted by Opinion 20 comments

The Elder Scrolls Online may not even have a release date, but I’m already thinking about all the great pre-order bonuses that ZeniMax Online Studios may choose to include with the game. Will there be several editions to choose from? Faction-specific packaging? Bonuses for the first 1,000 orders? The possibilities are endless and exciting, and I thought today I would break down some of the possibilities I’d love to see once the inevitable pre-order is announced, as well as what kind of chance I think they have of actually seeing the light of day.


The first, and most important, item I simply MUST have included in my exclusive, ultimate, mega-fan, limited edition is a physical copy of the soundtrack. Jeremy Soule has been confirmed to be involved, and while we can’t be 100% sure that means he is composing the score, it does mean that it should be simply epic. If it’s anything close to the soundtracks he’s put together for previous Elder Scrolls games, it will be a CD set that doesn’t leave the stereo for months…

It’s likely that there will be digital pre-orders as well, as many games are doing these days, and in this case, I doubt we’ll see a digital version of the soundtrack. Only recently were all of Soule’s past Elder Scrolls works made available on iTunes, as he is one of many artists that still prefers the sound of physical CDs to digitally compressed files (and I can’t blame him). But that makes me think that if there is no physical version to pre-order, we may not get the soundtrack. But I’m convinced there will be a physical version, so don’t fret.

Probability: HIGH

Wow collectors edition box Speculation on the Inevitable ESO Pre order Bonus Items

courtesy of

Another thing I’d love to see in a physical pre-order is faction-specific packaging. I’m thinking big and deluxe, like the World of Warcraft Collector’s Editions, but with your choice of artwork. If you’re hardcore Aldmeri Dominion, your box should be adorned with Queen Aryenn images or crests. If Nord blood runs through you, hopefully you can get a deluxe box brimming with Ebonheart charm. Sure these boxes take up space, but if they could be made to look like an artifact pulled directly from the faction’s archives, it would add to the immersion and excitement that much more.

Probability: HIGH

Many games these days come with behind-the-scenes DVDs featuring documentaries with inside looks at how the game was made. There has never been a game I’ve wanted a behind-the-scenes DVD more for than ESO. I want an inside look at the developers testing ideas, trying out combat, character design, world design, and so much more. I can only hope there has been a secret documentary crew embedded in the ZOS studios all this time, and we’ll get a full-length documentary for being loyal pre-orderers.

Probability: HIGH (maybe not for the full-length documentary, but a documentary of some kind)

Another item I’d want to see included with a physical pre-order is a realistic, cloth type of map of Tamriel. It wouldn’t necessarily be super useful in navigating the world, but that’s not the point. The point would be to have a piece of Tamriel hidden safely in your desk, next to your Queen Aryenn collector’s box, to share with friends and help you get lost in the world. Although with something that epic, I might just frame it and put it above my computer.

Probability: LOW

UE Beautyshot blog Speculation on the Inevitable ESO Pre order Bonus Items

courtesy of

Now let’s talk about digital pre-orders, or items that could be included in the game digitally for pre-ordering. Many games these days are offering incentives to players to jump in by offering experience boosts, increased gold find bonuses, or even increased crafting abilities right out of the gate. Defiance is a recent example of this, where if you pre-ordered on Steam or in a store you could get a variety of bonuses, including extra lock box space, XP boosts, and more. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about these. I don’t feel like ESO is a game that needs experience boosts, gold find boosts, or any other such enhancements that take away from a player’s need to explore the game. This is a game all about realism, practicing, and perfecting your combat/crafting. So I hope they don’t throw in any “increased XP for 30 days” types of things.

I don’t have any problem with increased storage capacity, or even in-game items. Lower level items aren’t going to make too much of an impact in PvP, but something like starting out with a bow (so you don’t have to search for one), or maybe a shield that has a couple slight buffs to it to begin with seems like a good incentive for some players to order early.

What I like even more than is the ability to unlock a special “pre-order skin” for your weapons and armor. For example, let’s say you and a friend are playing ESO together. You pre-ordered, he did not. You both venture out and at the same time find a one-handed sword that is not particularly interesting. But thanks to your pre-order, your sword glows, or shimmers, or has a special hilt that no one else will have unless they pre-ordered. It wouldn’t necessarily provide you any extra damage, but unless you’re willing to pony up and pre-order the game, there will be no other way to get these exclusive kinds of items.

Probability: HIGH

The last item on the list is possible, but also unlikely. Simply because while this idea is certainly possible, there are a lot of back-end logistics and expenses that would go into play that I won’t even pretend to have all figured out. But what I want even more than any of the above items is a service provided only to pre-orderers, where you can have your in-game character created as a miniature statue. Other games have had this ability through various providers in the past, but not to my knowledge has it been available right at launch. But bear with me, I’m not suggesting you get your level one squishy Khajiit immortalized forever.

World of WarCraft statue Speculation on the Inevitable ESO Pre order Bonus Items

courtesy of

What I’m thinking here, is that when you pre-order the game, your account is embedded in a database somewhere. You play the game, taking as much or as little time as you want, and when you finally reach level 50, the database knows it. You are sent you an email asking if you’d like to have your character created in statue form. Your first character would be free (thanks to a more expensive, SUPER exclusive, ultimate, mega-fan, limited edition) but any additional characters would come at a price. You would have the opportunity to gear up your character however you wanted, based on items you had in your inventory, and then send it off to the company to be created. In a few short weeks, a statue of your hero appears that you can display in your home or office to show the world exactly how epic you are.

I’m sure there are a ton of complications with this idea, but certainly it could be done if ZOS wanted to. It would have to be a very open-ended system at first, because many players who hit level 50 aren’t done playing or exploring, so they may not have the gear they want forever displayed on their character yet. But the offer of a free statue would be there waiting for you until you were ready. I believe this service should also be made available to people who did not pre-order, but probably not until quite a while after launch, maybe 6-12 months down the road. And again, they won’t get the opportunity to have a free statue made.

I realize there may be third-party providers who pop up offering to create your statue (like in World of Warcraft), but this option would be the only “official” way to get the Bethesda and ZeniMax artists involved in the creation of your hero statue.

Probability: LOW

Well that’s it, some ideas I expect (or hope) to see as pre-order bonuses and some that probably won’t make it. What would you like to see bundled in with your pre-order? Share your thoughts below, let me know on Twitter, and stay tuned to Elder Scrolls Off the Record for all the latest.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


bram huyghe says:

A pre – character creator like EQ2 would be nice :)

That would be amazing, I wish I’d thought of that! This gets my vote too!

Karaisoke says:

I had the cloth map and pin for Ultima Online and I loved it. It seems so silly to love something so simple, but it was a lot of fun. I agree with everything here. I love “costume” items that say “Na-na-na-na-naaa! I’m special!” at many different things. Being first to do something, or even going to cons. I love those kinds of things.

I totally agree with you, it’s nice to feel like not only are you a part of something special, but you were one if the first ones to be a part of it. I’d really love a cloth map for this game….

Baba Yaga says:

How about allowing pre-orders to login to the launch game several days before players who didn’t pre-order?

Abdurrehman says:

do you think you will have to pay subscription or just once

While I don’t know for sure, my gut says yes. That being said, I could totally see this not being subscription based at all, but we’ll have to see…

J Porter says:

I didn’t know that Bethesda released their payment/funding plans already… ;)

Gavin says:

The soundtrack would be awesome, in the past games you never got the sountrack with the game and above al else I want the music for the Elder Scrolls games! I don’t find it likely you could choose which designs to get on the packaging. There might be a reversable thing to switch them out yourself or perhaps if the box is large each side will have the different groups on them. Behind-the-Scenes dvd I’m sure will be in there, they had one for Skyrim so I’m sure it will be there for this one. For boosts and stuff I find them unlikely but there is a high chance there will exclusive gear like SWTOR. Nothing that makes you OP but maybe better then normal for a short while, early lvls ect. I would love to see the ability to get a statue of your character I loved the idea from WoW but never wanted to get one for that game. Hopefully, since Zenimax has listened to us before we can ask for this to be a possibility because I would love to have a statue of my character when he’s in awesome armor, something similar to the nightingale armor on. I don’t think that would be included in the packaging maybe a statue of some sort like with Skyrim but not one where once you reach 50 you can make one for free. There could be a coupon if they went with such an idea for some off once you got your character to a style you liked. Either way I’m sure some sort of coupon will come with it for a deluxe edition for clothing from their new store at the very least.

leopold says:

I hope I can afford any special editions :P
I really like the map idea though…
btw: another way of inducing jealousy (which is what all these things are for, right? ;)) is with in-game titles…

Daniel says:

I really hope the cloth map comes to fruition, as well as the soundtrack. Also maybe if you pre-order, you would get some sort of discount to micro-transaction items(for a short time), and a discount to the first expansion.
A physical emblem of your preferred faction would be sweet as well.

There are all sorts of possibilities.

There might be something special for closed beta participants also..

Daniel says:

BUT, I really don’t like the store specific pre-order bonuses. It’s annoying to have to make hard decisions about different items of which that I would like all of them but I can only choose one..

If there does happen to be store specific bonuses, I really hope that there are only two, one for brick and mortar stores, and one for online-only stores(like Amazon).
And that’s for world wide. Why should there be different bonuses depending on which country you order from??

Jonathan says:

I haven’t been able to find this but will you have to pay a monthly fee to play this like WOW, or will it be a one time payment? I am really hoping it a onetime payment that is main reason I don’t play WOW, but for Elder Scrolls I think I will be able to do it.

Marco says:

Great article! I agree with most of your points, but I simply can’t agree with two of them.

1. I actually think there will be no item shop / pre-order digital items at all. The problem is obvious: Elder Scrolls is and always was a franchise that did allow you to play the game how you want and – most importantly – allowed you to immerse yourself into the game very deeply. An item shop, where you pay with real money for items in TESO, just is unlikely based on this assumption. I don’t think they will destroy their game with such an addition. These items had to be extremely powerful – which would destroy the balance – or extraordinarily shiny – which would destroy the immersion for *other* players. No, it doesn’t make sense at all. Especially if you want to roleplay.

That does not mean that I don’t think they won’t include any form of microtransaction. I just assume they are not willing to include any vanity or power items this way. We are more likely to see additional character slots to buy, maybe some titles if it suits the lore (there is a fine line between a harmless title and a shiny item) and other stuff. Should they go pay to play that is (which I actually assume as well, but that’s another topic).

2. While I think it is *very* likely for Zenimax to partner with a miniature company, the likelihood of getting one for free when buying the collector’s edition goes towards pure zero. I don’t think it would be an offer that many would – though being cool – actually want to take.

I also think we could really see a map in the collector’s edition. It would be a perfect item to increase immersion and provoke exploration. :)

I thought about stuff they could put in, and I think they might even give us one or two books with the collector’s edition for people interested in the lore (Schick seems to have written a Schickload :D). Although that is probably more wishful thinking than good analysis.

I’m not sure I necessarily meant any kind of cash shop, but I guess by having digital items available, that would sorta have to be the case. Hmmm…. Will be interesting to see if they go that route.

Dolenz says:

Just curious, since you are a big fan of Jeremy Soule (aren’t we all), if you have donated to his Kickstarter campaign yet. $15 bucks will get you an autographed copy of his first symphony.

I absolutely have contributed, and can’t wait!

StevenMcKupkake says:

Brian that statue idea is a great idea i would love to see that in game and i wouldnt be suprise if ZOS added this is as a feature in the game somewhere down the road.

Jubi says:

I used to use the cloth UO map constantly for exploration, pushpins to mark caves for mining and stuff, would love to see one for ESO.

Another option could be access to a preorder only quest line, could be for a faction branded weapon or even just an extra piece of the story you can look back at with revelation later.

On the topic of payment plans, I’m personally fond of monthly plans. I would rather contribute firsthand to the upkeep of the game and avoid some of the self entitled groups I’ve encountered in games that don’t have regular fees.
I’m not saying all F2P fans and bad, but I just don’t generally mix well with them from past encounters.

I personally haven’t had any issues with other players, but I too like contributing to the game’s success. If I like the game, I’m willing to pay a small monthly fee to help keep it great. We may be in the fading majority these days though…

Leave a Reply