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Middle-earth: Shadow of War details microtransactions

A bit unpleasant

As exciting as an expanded Nemesis system and an itsy busty spider might sound for Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site], Warner Bros. had been sitting on a hot, juicy, and thrilling marketing blast. Now they have finally let rip: heck yes Shadow of War will have optional microtransactions to hasten powering-up in this singleplayer game. Come on gang, give me a "Hell yeah!"

I said give me a "Hell yeah!"

No? I thought one of you Willennials would at least do it 'ironically'.

Shadow of War players will have the option to purchase Loot Chests containing random items, War Chests with random followers, and XP boosts, developers Monolith Productions explained in Friday's announcement. These will be sold for 'Mirian', the regular imaginary in-game currency earned by playing, as well as for 'Gold', a microtransaction currency which is awarded "in small amounts" at certain milestones through the game but can also be bought with real cash money.

Which is a bit bum in a £45 singleplayer game. Yes, all of these orcs and items can be earned by playing and without spending an extra penny but:

1) Their mere presence is unpleasant;
2) In games with optional microtransaction, the loot balancing is often titled to nudge people into wanting to skip ahead;
3) If these progression systems are bothersome enough that enough people might want to pay real money to skip them, why are they in the game?

I don't know if point 2 is true for Shadow of War but I don't find this encouraging. While I don't mind paid cosmetic loot crates in multiplayer games (and have bought a few myself), in a £45 singleplayer game I do not want to feel prodded into paying extra for progression.

Monolith suggest it's for people who, er, want to skip the sandbox bits that made Shadow of Mordor fun.

"By simply engaging with the world and playing through Middle-earth: Shadow of War, you earn items like Gear for Talion and unique Orcs for your army. These are the same items that are found in the Market within Loot Chests and War Chests. Gold merely allows you to get your hands on them immediately, cutting down some of the additional time that would have been spent winning more battles, tracking nemeses, completing quests and assaulting fortresses."

Ugh, who would want to do any of that? I'm only in this to meet the sexy spider.

This sort of microtransaction monetisation feels so 2012.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is due on October 10th. Oh hey, and Warner Bros have also just announced that it'll have Metal Gear Solid V-ih base invasions.

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