If you are new to the wildly popular MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), you may be wondering how often free trials of the ESO Plus membership program are offered. As a long-time ESO player and expert, let me provide some helpful insights!
The ESO Plus free trials usually come around 2-3 times per year and last for 7 days. They are timed to coincide with major in-game festivals, DLC launches, or milestone celebrations. The trials give new as well as current players full access to the membership benefits temporarily.
In this detailed guide, I will cover everything you need to know about the ESO Plus free trial event including frequency, eligibility, what‘s included, tips to optimize the trial week, and whether the $15 monthly subscription is worth it for you. Let‘s get started!
What is ESO Plus and What Benefits Does it Offer?
ESO Plus is an optional premium membership program for The Elder Scrolls Online. It unlocks several convenience benefits and progression boosting perks, such as:
- Access to all major DLC game packs like Thieves Guild, Clockwork City, Murkmire, etc. There are over 25+ DLCs in all.
- Craft Bag providing unlimited storage for crafting materials
- Double Bank space for extra storage up to 360 slots
- 10% increase to Experience and Inspiration gain rates
- 10% boost to Research, Crafting inspiration, and Gold acquisition
- Double Furnishings and Collectibles space in player housing
- Exclusive ability to dye costumes and outfit styles
- 1500 monthly Crown allowance to spend in ESO Crown Store
- Double Transmute Crystal storage to recall gear sets
- Access to DLC dungeons, zones, quests, and stories
Based on my experience, the Craft Bag and DLC access alone make ESO Plus invaluable. The other progression boosts also add up over time to provide a smoother gameplay experience.
However, ESO Plus is not mandatory to enjoy the base game. You only need to purchase the latest Chapter expansion to unlock the newest zone and story.
Historical Frequency of ESO Plus Free Trials
Now let‘s analyze how often ZeniMax Online Studios (ZOS) has offered free ESO Plus trials in the past few years.
These trials usually run for 7 consecutive days and provide full access to the membership perks. Players can activate only one free trial per account.
Here are the approximate historical frequencies:
- 2015 – 2 trials
- 2016 – 2 trials
- 2017 – 3 trials
- 2018 – 3 trials
- 2019 – 3 trials
- 2020 – 4 trials
- 2021 – 3 trials
- 2022 – 3 trials
Based on the above, we can expect around 2-3 free ESO Plus trial events per year. The spacing between trials can range from 3 months to 6 months.
ZOS tends to schedule these around major game events, DLC announcements, or seasonal in-game festivals.
When Does the ESO Plus Free Trial Usually Occur?
While not guaranteed, some patterns have emerged on when the free trials are likely to happen:
- Jester‘s Festival (March) – coincides with the New Life festival
- ESO Anniversary Event (April) – celebrates launch anniversary
- Summerset Celebration (June) – aligns with Chapter launch
- QuakeCon (August) – hosted annually by Bethesda
- Halloween Events (October/November) – Witches Festival
Here are some other common occasions:
- Major DLC announcements like Blackwood, High Isle, etc.
- Midyear Mayhem PvP Event
- Undaunted events
- New Life Festival
So in summary, keep an eye out for trial announcements during big ESO events in spring, summer, and fall. Winters tend to have less trial activity.
How to Activate the Free ESO Plus Trial
Activating the 7 days free ESO Plus trial is straightforward:
- Log into The Elder Scrolls Online on any platform
- Open the in-game Crown Store
- Select the ESO Plus tab
- Click on the "Free Trial" offer (usually marked by a gift box icon)
- The Free Trial ESO Plus will be instantly added to your account
That‘s it! No payment or credit card details needed. The membership will enable automatically and expire after 7 days.
I recommend claiming it as soon as the trial starts rather than waiting. You can gain maximum benefits by utilizing all 7 days.
What Content is Included in the Free Trial?
During the 7 days ESO Plus free trial period, you gain full access to the following premium content:
DLC Zone Packs
- Clockwork City
- Hew‘s Bane
- Gold Coast
- Southern Elsweyr
- Western Skyrim
- The Deadlands
- High Isle
DLC Dungeon Packs
- Imperial City
- Thieves Guild
- Dark Brotherhood
- Shadows of the Hist
- Horns of the Reach
- Clockwork City
- Dragon Bones
- Flames of Ambition
- Waking Flame
Note: The latest Chapter (High Isle currently) is not fully included. You can access the overland zone but not the dungeons/story.
You can explore these DLC zones, clear dungeons, and complete quest chains fully to maximize enjoyment. The Craft Bag will also enable unlimited material hauling.
How to Optimize the 7 Days ESO Plus Free Trial
To make the most of the short trial duration, I recommend focusing on these key activities:
Complete the main story quests and side quests in your favorite DLC zones for huge XP gains
Discover and clear Delves found in DLC areas like Gold Coast, Clockwork City, and Murkmire
Acquire lucrative furniture recipes, motif pages, and item sets only found in DLC zones
Gather as many crafting materials as you can and deposit in the Craft Bag to keep permanently
Clear DLC dungeons like Imperial City Prison and Fang Lair for Monster Helms
Use daily crafting limits to accelerate Research traits, crafting inspiration, and master writs
Experiment with Warden, Necromancer, and other DLC classes unlocked with trial
Speed up mount training with the 10% faster progression in Riding skills
Farm Transmute Crystals rapidly by clearing dungeons on Veteran difficulty
With the buffs enabled, you can try pushing characters to milestones like CP 160, max crafting, completing zone stories, etc.
Will ESO Plus Auto Renew After the Free Trial Ends?
A common concern is whether ESO Plus will automatically renew and start charging after the free trial.
The answer is NO, the free ESO Plus trial does NOT auto-convert into a paid subscription.
No payment or billing information is required to activate the trial. It simply expires after 7 days. Access to DLC areas, craft bag, etc will halt until you manually purchase ESO Plus membership or another free trial occurs.
You can cancel paid membership anytime without affecting the free trial. It does not lock you in.
Is ESO Plus Worth the $15 Monthly Fee in the Long Run?
While ESO Plus costs $14.99 a month, it may still be worthwhile for committed players based on these pros and cons:
- Access to tons of DLC zones, dungeons, and story content
- Retain accumulated Craft Bag materials indefinitely
- Get 1650 Crowns monthly to spend in Crown Store
- Save countless hours with progression bonuses
- Pause or cancel membership anytime
- Extra recurring subscription fee
- Lose access to DLC areas and Craft Bag if unsubscribed
- Non-subbers miss out on certain rewards and loot
For me, the quality-of-life improvement from the Craft Bag and DLC access alone makes ESO Plus a justifiable expense. But it depends on your play style and priorities.
The free trial gives you the chance to experience ZOS‘s premier service first-hand before deciding on long term membership.
ESO Plus Free Trial – By the Numbers
To summarize the key details about ESO Plus free trial event:
- Frequency: 2-3 trials per year
- Duration: Typically 7 consecutive days
- Announcement: Around major in-game events
- Activation: Via in-game Crown Store
- Content: All major DLC zones, dungeons, classes
- Renewal: Does NOT auto-convert to paid sub
- Optimal Use: Focus on DLC content, craft bag fills
Final Thoughts on ESO‘s Free Trial Offerings
The Elder Scrolls Online Plus free trial is an excellent way for new as well as current players to test drive the membership benefits risk-free.
While not mandatory, ESO Plus unlocks a ton of quality content and convenience perks that markedly improve the overall gameplay experience in my opinion.
The trials are limited to 7 days only, so be sure to plan ahead on how to optimize your time. Focus on DLC zones, dungeons, quests, and cramming your craft bag during the event.
While the $15 monthly fee may seem steep initially, weigh it against the 100s of hours of entertainment and progression boosts unlocked by ESO Plus. For devoted players, the membership can pay for itself over time.
I hope this detailed guide gives you a clearer picture on how often the ESO Plus free trial is available and how you can make the most of it! Let me know if you have any other questions.