In a major step toward improving the latest Lord of the Rings game, Monolith Productions has announced that it will be removing all micro-transactions from Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. The announcement came just yesterday in a blog post, where the developer addressed a number of long term changes planned for the sequel to Shadow of Mordor.
In this announcement, the developer admitted that the introduction of such elements had proven to be problematic: “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.” The removal of these elements was also specifically cited to “fully restore the core promise of the Nemesis System,” as Monolith felt they had detracted from the experience.
Players will be able to spend gold on in-game purchases until the May 8th, and the market as a whole will be completely shut down by July 17th. The in-game currency of Shadow of War, Mirian, will still be present in the game but it will instead be used to buy gem slots or fortress upgrades.
Monolith also made it clear that this would be the first of a number of free updates to Shadow of War. In their outline they also mentioned that the Nemesis System will see an overhaul to account for the removal of loot boxes and that the Shadow Wars segment will undergo changes a number of changes in service to the story. Specifically that it “will be improved with new narrative elements and streamlined for a more cohesive experience.”
Each of these updates directly addresses a number of the most heavily criticised segments of Shadow of War, as much of the game had seemingly been reworked in service of its lootboxes. The inclusion of these elements heavily influenced the final score of our own review, and even the most positive responses cited them as low points for the game.
This move also follows the severe backlash in-game microtransactions and lootbox systems have faced in recent months. Between Shadow of War and Star Wars: Battlefront II, the system was brought into the political spotlight. This has led to heavy scrutiny and multiple attempts my multiple countries to pass legislations or outright bans.