Middle-earth: Shadow of War launched back in October of last year, and though we absolutely loved the majority of the game, we felt the game’s microtransaction-based “market” system felt out of place in what is largely a single-player adventure. It appears enough players felt similarly, as Warner Bros. and Monolith Productions have opted to remove microtransactions from the game entirely on July 17.
Previously, players were able to acquire additional orcs for their armies by possessing them in the game through the “Nemesis” system, but they were also available to purchase directly through “war chests” available in the market. The amount of time necessary to get these orcs without paying real money wasn’t particularly daunting, but the ability to do so always hung of players’ heads, creating a sense of cynicism that wasn’t present in the previous game, Shadow of Mordor.
“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 development team said in an update post on the game’s forums. “In order to full restore the core promise of the Nemesis system, we’re be permanently removing gold, war chests, and the market from Shadow of War.”
Anyone who already purchased gold in the marketplace will have a limited amount of time to spend it before its automatically turned into in-game items. You’ll no longer be able to buy gold beginning on May 8, though there’s little reason for you to do so at all at this point.
Along with the removal of the market comes a major change to the “Shadow Wars” stage of endgame content. It’s something of a slog right now, requiring you to defend your fortresses against increasingly difficult groups of enemies in order to see the true ending, but Monolith will be streamlining it and adding more story elements for “a more cohesive experience.” This update will also go into effect on July 17.
The changes made to Middle-earth: Shadow of War are welcome, but as with Electronic Arts and Star Wars: Battlefront II, we have to wonder why it took Warner Bros. so long to implement them in the first place. Hopefully, if a third Middle-earth game gets released, the same mistake won’t be made again.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.