Is Elder Scrolls Online Pay To Win?

Elder Scrolls Online has a diverse in-game microtransaction system, where players can choose from a plethora of in-game items to purchase. Because of this microtransaction system, many players claim the game is pay-to-win. But is that true? Here is a complete explanation of whether Elder Scrolls Online is pay-to-win.

Key Takeaways

  • Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) features an extensive microtransaction system allowing players to purchase in-game items, prompting debates about whether the game qualifies as pay-to-win.
  • Pay-to-win refers to games where players can gain significant advantages by purchasing items with real money that give them an edge over those who don’t pay.
  • ESO offers various purchasable items, such as Skill Line boosts, Skyshards, Crown Riding Lessons, and summonable NPCs. Some argue these items provide convenience, but not a significant gameplay advantage.
  • The pay-to-win items in ESO mainly save players time by offering convenience features. While some players dislike the system’s effects on game integrity, no item provides an insurmountable advantage over others.
  • The gaming community remains divided on whether the ability to pay for advantages undermines fair competition. Despite convenience items, ESO’s core gameplay can still be experienced without purchasing microtransactions.

What is Pay To Win?

The term pay-to-win lies in a Gray area within the gaming community. However, the literal definition of pay-to-win refers to video games that allow players to purchase in-game items that give them a significant and unfair advantage over players who don’t pay.

The Pay To Win Elements in Elder Scrolls Online

ESO has a plethora of in-game items you can purchase through real cash. However, only some can be classified as pay-to-win.

First up, let’s talk about the Skill Lines. Players can pay to instantly level up Skill Lines to the maximum rank. However, to be able to purchase a Skill Line, you must have already completed at least one on your own.

Up next, we have the Skyshards. Skyshards are used to gain skill points instantly. However, they are also scattered around the map, so you can acquire them for free.

The third pay-to-win item on our list includes the Crown Riding Lessons. You can instantly increase your mount’s speed, stamina, or inventory capacity by purchasing these lessons. Each lesson costs 1000 crowns and grants one unit of upgrade.

Finally, we have the Merchant and Banker. These summonable NPCs allow you to access your bank and merchant services without physically traveling to them in the game world, saving a ton of your time.

Besides the items discussed above, there are several other items that you can purchase in ESO that some might consider pay-to-win.

Is Elder Scrolls Online a Pay To Win Game?

As discussed, most of the pay-to-win items in ESO only provide convenience. The most benefit they provide to players is saving their time grinding through the game. For example, accessing your bank and merchant services without traveling to them in the game world.

No in-game item in ESO provides you a significant advantage over other players. For instance, who would be affected even if you reach a certain level faster than another player? Only you. Other players won’t have to deal with that.

Plus, everything you can purchase in ESO can also be earned by playing the game. Of course, except for content and DLCs. But they aren’t pay-to-win. Therefore, we can conclude that Elder Scrolls Online is not pay-to-win.

However, a large portion of the gaming community still hates that some player can pay their way toward progressing faster. This system affects the integrity of the game negatively.


Considering how little the pay-to-win elements impact the experience of players who don’t pay for those in-game items, ESO is not pay-to-win. While there are purchasable in-game items in ESO that might provide time convenience, players who don’t pay can get to the same level as the ones who pay by investing time.


Is Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) considered pay-to-win?

The article delves into the question of whether ESO can be labeled as pay-to-win. It explores the in-game microtransactions and their impact on gameplay, ultimately concluding that while there are convenience items available for purchase, no item gives players a significant unfair advantage.

What is the definition of pay-to-win in gaming?

The article provides a clear definition of pay-to-win, describing it as the situation where players can gain an unfair advantage by purchasing in-game items using real money.

What are the pay-to-win elements in ESO?

The article lists and explains several items in ESO that can be considered pay-to-win elements. These include Skill Line boosts, Skyshards, Crown Riding Lessons, and summonable NPCs.

How do these pay-to-win items affect gameplay?

The article discusses the impact of pay-to-win items on gameplay, highlighting that most of these items offer convenience and time-saving benefits. It argues that these items don’t provide a significant advantage over players who choose not to purchase them.

Are there other items in ESO that might be considered pay-to-win?

While the article covers the main pay-to-win elements, it acknowledges the existence of other items that might also be perceived as providing advantages. However, these are not detailed in the article.

Do pay-to-win items in ESO affect the integrity of the game?

Yes, the article acknowledges the negative impact some players perceive regarding the integrity of the game due to the availability of pay-to-win items. It discusses how the ability to progress faster through purchases can be seen as unfair by some players.

Can players achieve the same level of progression without purchasing these items?

Yes, the article emphasizes that all items purchasable in ESO can also be earned by playing the game. While purchasing convenience items might save time, players who invest time in the game can reach the same level of progression as those who make purchases.

Are downloadable content (DLCs) considered pay-to-win in ESO?

The article briefly touches on this by stating that content and DLCs are not pay-to-win elements. However, it doesn’t provide an in-depth discussion about the role of DLCs in the pay-to-win debate.

Is there a possibility of Elder Scrolls Online becoming pay-to-win in the future?

The article does not directly address the future possibilities of ESO adopting more pay-to-win elements, focusing instead on the current state of the game’s microtransaction system.

How does the gaming community perceive the microtransaction system in ESO?

The article acknowledges that a segment of the gaming community dislikes the concept of paying for advantages. It discusses the perspective that this can negatively impact the integrity of the game and competitive spirit.

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