The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition and the Free Market

Posted Fri, Jan 31, 2014 by Xerin

Imperial Edition

Zenimax just announced the Imperial Collectors Edition which includes the race, the Imperial for The Elder Scrolls Online. For those of you who aren’t following closely, the Imperial is the Human race. To play as a basic Human you will need to purchase, as we are all to understand, the Imperial collector’s edition which is $80 digitally. Oh boy.

The Internet is a sea of fire right now from people raging about this. How dare a game make you buy it then have day one DLC. How dare they put the Imperial race behind a pay gate. How could Zenimax do such horrible things?

I don’t know, I guess it’s the current consumer that supports that behavior? If people didn’t buy DLC, they wouldn’t make it. Just like, for instance, microtransactions to speed up timers wouldn’t be a thing if people didn’t pour money into it. Consumers speak with their dollar, this is one of the basic principles of the free market.

See, in the capitalist society we live in, we all worship this idea that the “free market” is the superior market. The free market is when supply and demand is not controlled by the government, but instead controlled by the market itself. The government does not regulate how much of what is bought and sold for the vast majority of products. Exceptions are made to this, for instance, however political blogs are much more well versed in the discussion of government intervention.

Since there is no regulation, businesses can sell whatever they want. The market “corrects” itself by shedding poorly performing businesses out of the market and strong businesses that are capable of producing a profit remain. In order to constantly make a profit, a business must always be attempting to produce a product that has enough demand to sell enough inventory in order to make back production costs and then make a profit.

So, understanding this, micro-transactions exist because people buy them. Since people keep buying them, they are an attractive product for businesses to sell. If people didn’t want to buy them, they wouldn’t exist.

For a lot of us, we don’t like the idea of day one DLC or paygating content, especially for a game with a subscription. However, at the same time, we all have to understand that this is the reality we live in. People enjoy buying these things and since people vote with their money, they are produced. Do I fault Zenimax for producing something that I disagree with? Of course. Do I understand why they would? Of course. Will I play ESO? Yes, of course.

I do hope that they backpeddle on the “Imperial Edition” and remove the paygate from the Imperial race and maybe provide a special collector’s edition version of the race.

What’s interesting is that the Motley Fool, a big major investment blog, brought up this issue and turned it from day one DLC to the fact that the subscription fees is $224.89. This kind of misinformation is just… it doesn’t settle well with me.

First, we don’t know if there are other discounts for yearly subscriptions. Secondly, subscription based games shouldn’t be extrapolated out so far. We pay for by the month for that month’s entertainment. I don’t want to look at how much I pay per year for the gym or per year for the gas to understand that I want to do these things right now. We can’t judge a game based on its yearly cost, that’s just… odd. You play it for however long you enjoy to and you take a break and don’t pay when you choose to.

Blah, I’m coming off as a major MMO fanboy, but whatever. We’ll keep everyone up to date on ESO’s paywall debate 2014 as information continues to come in.

To be honest, the other nine races are enough... I'm buying the digital Imperial Edition mainly for the early access, but I am happy to play with the races already there. Zenimax have indicated that there is no significant benefit of this extra race, so who really cares??? The racial benefits of the other races should be enough to satisfy most players.

Honestly, there's nothing *that* special about the Imperial. If you want to play a human and don't want the Imperial Edition, there's the Nord and Breton. If you want to play in whatever faction you want, just pre-order it (pre-order bonus is to make any race any faction). Sure, you won't have the pretty white horse or the Imp Ed pet, but those are hardly game-breaking.

If I had a spare hundred to throw around, I would get the Imperial Edition for the statue, box, and map. The playable race wouldn't be the determining factor. But then, even in the single player games I never play a Imperial, so I just don't have any attachment to them like others might. Who knows? Maybe down the road they'll unlock the Imperial for others to access. That would be great, for those who want their Imperials and don't want/can't shell out the $100 for the collector's edition.

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