False Consciousness and the Acceptance of Premium Fees

Since the blog title is about me standing in fire, I should probably do it sometime,  so this post will be both opinionated and cynical.

I’m also aware that the information we have about the Premium based RealID cross-realm dungeon feature, is admittedly very scarce. A lot of people argue this feature will be bundled in with the WoW-Remote (2,49£/month), which sounds likely to me, so this will probably end up as an additional subscription fee. but frankly, we don’t know. This post is therefore mostly based on the discussions going around and how the community received these news.

What’s going on?

One thing has come to my mind after seeing more players advocating that they support this premium feature, is why would they support something which essentially will cost them more?

From the con-corner you’ll hear arguments such as “it has already been paid for through our subscription, as with everything else they’ve added to the game (such as ReadID chat, LFD etc), so why should we suddenly pay extra?”

A lot of commenters on the forums seem to believe the probability of Blizzard needing money, and they are apparently willing to “step up” and donate by paying for this. Some also seem to buy the story that it is a “fairly complex service” to develop, so “of course we should pay for it” and “nothing comes for free” (although a subscription isn’t for free either). Some even say that we’ve been lucky they havn’t upped the subscription fee from when WoW came out (gee thanks!…), and some say that they’d rather they upped it than adding premium offers for in-game services. And that’s not even them all, but I’ll end it here.

/sarcasm on

Looking back at WoW’s history, it’s utterly amazing that they were even able to develop the Burning Crusade Expansion! I mean, they only had around 8 million subscribers when BC actually came out, and most of the time less – talking about being poor!

Would have been Nice with Rift on here, but I guess it came out too recently.

Also, comparing to the other MMO’s on the list, WoW really scrapes the bottom, they’ve obviously been struggling for years!

I bet their market share is sucky too!

MMO Market Share april 2008

I knew it! WoW is barely cutting it, they need the extra moolah to develop this super-soaker-crazy-shaper-over-the-top-PREMIUM-feature (if anything deserves to be coined “premium”, it’s definitely this!), which has to be coded from scratch, ’cause it’s clearly not based on already existing content. And where else would they get the money from, if not by microtransactions?

Did I hear someone say “the sub”?

Well, yeah, technically I could get all in-game-features for the sub like I have so far, but I reeeaaaally want to pay more. I just… I just want to throw more money at them, because … because they can do what they want.. or something?!.. and if they want to add more to the premium, that’ll make me out-of-this-world-joyous, I just love paying extra!

/sarcasm off

 -

Well, I don’t want to pay more, I want the goddamn thing for the sub! Even if I don’t need it right now, I might in the future. And even if I might not need it in the future, the next premium-feature perhaps I will need, and when that happens, it’s too late and my only choice is to pay or pout. And even if I might never need it, and that I might never need any future additional premium offers, I am principally against a sub+premium on behalf of the players it does affect, including a potential future me.

But why are players not voting for their own cause?

Why aren’t the forums unanimously booming with people saying “we want it for the sub”, why would anyone actually support it, and on top of it all, come forward and say they want their sub raised? (Was it around today some Rapture was going to happen? – I’m starting to believe it!). Why are people so willing to shrug, pull out their wallet and say “well, they are here to make a profit, so I’ll pay them”.

Maybe I’m weird, but I want the best price I can get! If I can avoid paying a premium, an extra fee, a sub on a sub, then that’s what I’ll do!

Are we unable to see things clearly?

It made me think of an old term called  False Consciousness, and without being overly versed with political history and Marxism, I’ll try and explain what it is.

False Consciousness, which is marxist in it’s origin, originally tried to explain why some workers supported the bourgeois and therefore betrayed their chances to improve their own conditions. As the class struggle debate has cooled down, the term has since been applied to other areas, f. ex. the “happy-hooker myth”, saying that the women who prostitute themselves are under an illusion that’s this doesn’t harm and oppress them. In relation, it’s also been used to explain why some female supporters of fundamental Islam believe their religion is beneficial to them. According to this theory, they all suffer from False Consciousness.

False Consciousness arise when a group in power (originally a class), are able to conceal the actual conditions and mislead others to believe that whatever dogma they tell them, is in everyone’s best interest. It’s about people being kept from seeing the oppression that they are enduring, for what it is.

I wouldn’t say p(l)ayers are oppressed, but I would claim there’s some misleading going on, especially in the words the Blues use. We’re not led to see the whole picture.

Neo being able to actually 'see' the collective False Consciousness (The Matrix)

The concept of False Consciousness therefore goes against what individuals actually experience, as it claims that what you believe is what you’ve been led to believe, and it’s not  even for your own good, basically you’ve been cheated.

Are we being cheated? 

Are we being cheated when they try to justify a fee by making it sound expensive to develop?

Are we being cheated when they say it’s a service? – what in the game is not a service?

Are we being cheated when they tag it “premium” – does it live up to what you would call premium?  Just because someone calls a biscuit a Black Forest Gateau, doesn’t make it any less a sad birthday cake.

Are we being cheated when they want to charge extra besides the subscription fee for it?

When reading forums and some blogs, it made me wish players were more critical of Blizzard/Activision and whatever comes out in blue text, especially when it’s in the players’ own interest to not just wag their tail, roll over and point to the silverware.

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10 responses to “False Consciousness and the Acceptance of Premium Fees

  1. The really hilarious (or sad) part is that players spend so much time and effort to discuss and debate and whine about minor changes in the game, buffs and nerfs and whatnot. But when Blizzard really try to implement something worth being frustrated about, people think it’s ok? (Which isn’t entirely true, most people think it’s a bad idea afaik). Some people work in mysterious ways…

  2. I’m rather apathetic about the whole thing. I look at it as a bonus feature, that is, something new and extra that we don’t have right now. I’m not paying for it, so it really won’t negatively affect me at all. It’s just like when Blizz buffs a class that isn’t mine. I don’t complain and say Rogues (or whatever) are OP, where are my buffs, wah wah, because…it doesn’t matter to me? Rogues got buffed? Shrug, they’ll be happy I guess?

    Would I like this feature to be free? Of course, sure. But I’m not actually losing anything if they implement it with a cost. Now, if they suddenly changed something that I already HAVE and make it premium, well then I’d be upset. In my opinion it’s no different than the Mobile Auction House. If you really like the feature, it’s worth paying extra for. And if you don’t feel it’s necessary, by all means, continue playing the game as you always have. In fact, you wouldn’t even notice any difference.

  3. I am so 100% with you on this one Ironyca, and have been watching the forums with great interest over this one. I couldn’t believe it when a few people started saying Blizz should up the subs (as they have been so good to us over the years and – what about inflation?) Quite a lot of people seem to think that is a great idea – lol.

    I am so much of a conspiracy theorist that I’m actually starting to wonder if this is the outcome Blizz actually desired when they announced that this feature would be a premium service. Get the customer’s to protest it as a premium service, and introduce the idea that we haven’t ever increased the subs & ‘inflation’. Every price for everything goes up with inflation – right?. The sheep will do the rest by seeing that this is their best logical outcome for a level playing field and clamour for a subs increase instead.

    I am reminded of the saying by Goethe – “No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.” We truly are living in the matrix – lol.
    Maybe I watch too much David Icke.

  4. Like Rades, I’ve pretty much ignored it as I wouldn’t be paying for it. Like the Mobile Auction House it seems like a nice addition for those who want it but it’s of no interest to me. What would get my attention would be upping my sub to pay for these. This would get my ancient nerd rage going. Oddly though I would be more angry that they are deflecting their time and effort from coming up with a better expansion than Cata to waste it on another money making scheme than I would be about the actual money.

    I’d like to think that their main commitment is to the quality of their game. I know it’s a business and they want/need to make money but even us sheep will catch on if the quality of expansions make it obvious that to them it’s just a lure to sell us Sparkle Ponies.

    • I just hope people are aware that our subs more than cover for the development/patching/expanding of WoW.

      Our subs are, besides the above, being used to fund other Blizzard projects, such as Titan and Diablo III. It’s been like that for years and I’m fine with status quo, it was an accountable system.

      But I don’t know how people would feel about knowing that the extra premium fees they are adding are not to improve on WoW, but gets invested into other games that a lot of us will never play.

  5. Here bloody here! I chose WoW because I want to play with friends and it’s affordable. Couple of weeks later, “HEY! Did you know that soon you can play with friends for just a little extra money?!” Oh hey, great, thanks for dangling a carrot in front of our noses and trying to make us pay for it. Put forward my opinions on the Variant Avatar post. But yeah.

    Pretty sure people were outraged and speaking up on the forums, and those threads kept being locked. Tis what I was told.

    Terrible idea though.. terrible.. We wanted a cross server friends list for ages. It must be doable, but carrots!

  6. I see this as if you are buying a car, you can get the leather seats, but you don’t need the leather seats, but you may want the leather seats. Fact is the leather seats don’t stop the car from going from point A to point B. But if you want the premium feature of leather seats you are going to pay a bit extra. Same with this feature. I personally like the feature, but am I going to pay for it? Not sure, I have a ton of twitter friends as my real ID friends (if you want to become real ID and know me on twitter DM me), anyway so I am thinking maybe I will pay a bit extra for this. If I don’t it doesn’t hurt my gaming experience.

    Now if they said this feature will allow you access to special 5 man with epic loot, now that is where I think they have gone to far. As Jaedia mentioned on my latest post Blizzard and the Rise of Premium Features then you get into the habit of the “have” and the “have nots” which isn’t what the game should be about.

    In the end Blizzard is a company, and their goal as a company is to make money, finding new ways to offer products and services that users will want. So I can’t blame them for taking a look at a feature that a lot of folks have said they wanted and saying, lets see if we pour additional time and resources into it, it will cost us X amount over what we have budgeted for this year, so to make back X amount and turn a profit we will need to charge Y per month.

    Would I like it to be free, of course! Do I expect it to be, no.

    • I guess the point of my post was not “are you going to pay or not”, but more “consider if/why you, as a consumer, are arguing the cause of the company and not your own”.

      Them coming out and calling being able to play cross server with your friends “premium”, is what I call a marketing strategy.

  7. Pingback: Real ID Friend Parties for Free! | Ironyca Stood in the Fire

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