ZeniMax Online and Bethesda are trying to seduce players back to The Elder Scrolls Online’s version of Tamriel, specifically old beta participants. If you played in the beta but never purchased the game, you’re due a free weekend starting next week.
The free weekend will run from April 17th until April 20th, and if you’re eligible, you should find an email invitation at the address you registered with.
A lot has changed since beta. It’s The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited now, which just means that it’s free to play after your purchase the game itself. It’s a bit closer to its offline predecessors too, with more interactive objects, theft and NPC murder.
The new additions drew me back in when Unlimited launched, and I last for a couple of days before uninstalling it again. Even with the extra content, it remains utterly banal. Combat without weight, a world without style or personality – it’s a slog to play through.
What it does have is the right idea when it comes to quests. The quests are mostly nonsense, offered by criminally dull NPCs with stories they couldn’t pay a person to care about, but they respect player time and are crafted by designers who remember that it’s a fantasy game, not a grindy treadmill filled with bear skins and wolf tongues. So there are worse ways to spend a weekend.