The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition Will Not Bestow Unfair Advantages
It's a problem that faces any MMO that features limited edition in-game bonuses – do said bonuses confer an unfair advantage to those that receive them? In the case of The Elder Scrolls Online, this was particularly worrisome to many people because the limited edition Imperial Edition actually contains a full race that cannot be chosen by Standard Edition owners.
In an "Ask Us Anything", developer Zenimax assured potential customers that the Imperial Edition does not bestow "an overall gameplay advantage." While the Imperial race does include "a racial skill line that offers unique gameplay opportunities," Zenimax says that choosing Imperial is essentially just an aesthetic decision – there's no significant gameplay impact when compared to other races' unique racial skill lines. For those that have played an Elder Scrolls game previously, that should make sense. In addition, Imperials do not have their own unique starting location, but instead are essentially "un-aligned outcasts" of the alliance they choose.
The other major in-game bonus Imperial Edition owners will enjoy is an Imperial Horse mount. However, the mount travels at the same speed as other horses in the game, so it's really just saving owners in-game gold, not actually providing a clear advantage. Lastly, while Imperials automatically attain the ability to "craft items into the Imperial style," that ability can be learned by all other races.
So while it seems a bit - shall we say, rude? – that there will be a completely developed race upon release that the majority of players will be unable to choose, at least it seems there will be no advantage to those that do choose to roll an Imperial...if Zenimax is to be believed.