Leave a Comment

An army builds in Shadow of War.

Monolith Games has announced some big changes coming to Middle-earth: Shadow of War, including updated systems, new gear and the like. The biggest change, though, will be the permanent removal of microtransactions and systems tied to real-world currency.

This news comes to us from the Shadow of War blog, where the team announced an overview of the changes heading to the game later this year.

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. This means the option to purchase Gold with real-world money and the ability to gain Orc Followers from War Chests will be removed.

Shadow of War first launched in late September of 2017, with the game's microtransactions, loot crates, the in-game market and purchasable allies earning quite a bit of flak from critics and fans alike. From day one, folks argued that these systems pretty much defeated the purpose of the game's trademark Nemesis System, which is all about besting enemies in combat, earning their loyalty and sending them out into the field to fight for your own cause. Things like War Chests allowed players to simply buy new allies, which Monolith now admits completely undermined the game's core system.

As noted in the announcement, players who forked over extra cash to acquire allies never had to bother with recruitment. Similarly, players who didn't go the premium route still had to play the game knowing there was an option to just buy an army instead, which puts you in a less-than-stellar mindset.

What's interesting is that Shadow of War launched a couple months before Battlefront II, a game that received far greater negative attention for similar practices. The main difference here was that Battlefront II's premium market actually affected online play, which was just enough extra push to create a whirlwind of bad publicity for EA and their Star Wars game.

Also worth noting is the fact that Battlefront II recently received an update that walked back pretty much all of those terrible design decisions, turning the game into a much-improved experience that fans were expecting in the first place. In other words, it's probably a good sign that Warner Bros. and Monolith are doing the exact same thing for Shadow of War, patching the game so that the core systems are once again given a chance to shine. Unfortunately, that update isn't due out until July 17, so we've still got some time to wait before the game is made markedly less gross.

Even more important, though, is what this might mean for the future. If two major games are being retooled to get rid of these types of systems, maybe fewer games will be developed with them included in the first place.