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Free-to-play The Elder Scrolls: Blades delayed into 2020 on Switch

As Bethesda ditches unpopular chest timers.

Fans of Bethesda-flavoured monetisation nonsense better get their hankies out; the company's free-to-play Elder Scrolls spin-off, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, will not be coming to Switch this year as originally announced, and is now due some time in 2020. That primarily appears to be the result of Bethesda's decision to ditch Blades' unpopular chest timers.

The Elder Scrolls: Blades - which Eurogamer's Robert Purchese declared to be "a bit naff" earlier this year - is a first-person fantasy affair on mobile, in which players can create a character, level it up, chat to NPCs, own a house, buy equipment, and pop off into countryside, away from the hub area, in order to have bite-sized, vaguely interesting adventures.

Regrettably, Robert found Blades to be sluggish and repetitive at launch (it's technically still in early access), and stymied by Bethesda's chosen monetisation methods, including pay-to-win purchasables and timers slathered indiscriminately all over the game.

Players were forced to wait to retrieve mission rewards from chests, for instance, to upgrade equipment, to expand their home, and more - waits that could, of course, be mitigated for the low, low price of as much of your wallet as Bethesda could feasibly tease from your clutches.

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All of which is to say that Switch owners may not have been in a rush to get stuck into The Elder Scrolls: Blades in the first place, although, now, they don't have a choice in the matter.

"We know how eager our players are to dive into Blades on the Nintendo Switch," Bethesda wrote in its latest Blades Town Hall community update, "and we've been hard at work to make it happen. Unfortunately, amidst all the other changes we're making to Blades, we've had to delay our Switch release until early 2020."

What is perhaps more interesting, however, is the reason for the delay. Those "other changes" Bethesda references will arrive as part of Blades' 1.5 update in early December, and will make significant changes to the game's unpopular loot system.

Specifically, Bethesda will finally ditch the timers associated with claiming rewards from mission chests. "Starting with the update," the company explained, "your Chests will open immediately. No longer will you have to wait to see what's inside!"

The update will also increase loot drops from enemy corpses, add bosses to all missions that will deliver "greater rewards than usual", and increase reward-spewing breakables. "Our goal is to make Blades as rewarding to play through as it is fun," wrote Bethesda, "and we think these changes will help us do just that."

Lastly, the update will introduce a new PvP-focussed Arena mode. This will be available to all players at Level 5 and above, and offers one-on-one, best-of-three competitions that reward loot and the possibility of leaderboard supremacy. PvP matches will be cross-platform between the current iOS and Android versions of the game and Switch at launch.

Full details of The Elder Scrolls: Blades update can be found in Bethesda's latest blog post.

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