Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War Removes Microtransactions
Six months after release, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War has removed microtransactions and rebalanced Shadow Wars, citing feedback over their use.
In an announcement on their community forums, Monolith confirmed that the ability to buy any and all chests in the game is being removed in a future update. The chests themselves are still in the game, but they can no longer be purchased with the game's virtual currency, gold.
"The core promise of the Nemesis System is the ability to build relationships with your personal allies and enemies in a dynamic open world," the community post reads. "While purchasing Orcs in the Market is more immediate and provides additional player options, we have come to realize that providing this choice risked undermining the heart of our game, the Nemesis System. It allows you to miss out on the awesome player stories you would have otherwise created, and it compromises those same stories even if you don’t buy anything. Simply being aware that they are available for purchase reduces the immersion in the world and takes away from the challenge of building your personal army and your fortresses. In order to fully restore the core promise of the Nemesis System, we’ll be permanently removing Gold, War Chests and the Market from Shadow of War."
Players who currently have gold have until July 17 to spend it, when chests will no longer be on sale. Gold itself will no longer be for sale after May 8. Additionally, the post mentions that Shadow Wars, the post-game fortress defense campaign, will be updated with new narrative elements, and be streamlined with new improvements to the gameplay that will be detailed later.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War infamously helped to start 2017's lootbox controversy when players felt that they were encouraged to either grind for lootboxes to see the game's true ending or pony up cash to simply pay for them. The game was originally released in September 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
This is absolutely a good thing, but the long delay since release makes me wonder if DLC isn't selling very well or they are preparing to announce a Game of the Year edition later this year. I'm also curious if they're rebalancing the main game at all, as just removing the ability to buy it doesn't really make the grind any better. Let's see what the updates do when they come out, though.