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Shadow Of War microtransactions revealed: Pay-To-Avoid-The-Grind

Monolith Productions’ Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War stands to be one of the best — and most controversial games — of the year when it launches on Xbox One, PS4 and PC on October 10.

I saw the game up close and personal at E3, and found it to be one of the best experiences of the show back in June. The recent announcement of additional in-game microtransactions hasn’t really wavered my interest in the game, but it’s understandably caused a bit of angst among the gaming community.

Monolith lifted the lid off its market system for Shadow of War during a livestream yesterday, and, understandably, there are many questions now firmly aimed at the studio and its publisher, Warner Bros Games.

But it’s not so much the game’s microtransactions that have people concerned. After all, the payment method is part and parcel of any big game these days, and so it was to be expected in some way.

No, much of the angst is in relation to the game’s need for a constant internet connection.

Yes, even after countless a furore over games forcing players to connect and stay online while they play, Shadow of War is once again forcing it down players’ throats.

The forced online connectivity relates to Shadow of War‘s new Market system, something Monolith says will allow players to quickly build Talion’s army up. The good news is that an internet is only need if you wish to use the Market.

That has understandably initiated heated debate among the gaming community, as the long grind associated with persuading — and in some cases possessing — enemies to join your army is one closely associated with the first game in Shadow of Mordor‘s critical acclaim.

The gold being introduced in Shadow of War will allow players to speed up their army building process, according to Monolith. The studio says the option is there for “people who appreciate having the option”, but insists that it can be avoided without any negative impact on the game.

“The game is balanced so you can play the game without using the Market,” Monolith says.

Epic and Rare weapons drop with relative frequency, and DON’T need an epic orc to drop. Though as you level up, your common weapons will become more powerful and you’ll switch to your higher level commons.

Legendary ORCS are more rare. However, the number of legendary orcs you meet increases as you play through the game.

The drop rate of common/epic/legendary orcs has nothing to do with the market. We balanced SoW first, so the drop rates there is set for what our designers and research has shown to be the most interesting.

So if you just do the normal game, the game will be balanced for that.

Let’s do a breakdown of the different types of microtransactions you’ll come across in Shadow of War.

Shadow of War microtransactions

War chests: These chests can add a new orc to your army, with different tiers of rarity. There’s also the ability to unlock perks and other abilities.

Loot chests: These, as one might imagine, will offer up gear. XP boosts will also be available.

“Bundles” and XP Bonuses will also be available for purchase on the Market.

It’s understandable that fans may be annoyed at Monolith’s approach here, and we’ve all heard the “it’s not pay-to-win” argument before. Generally what that means is that, no, it’s not compulsory that you pay in order to progress, but you’ll need to fork over cash if you intend on saving the tens or even hundreds of hours to reach the end goal.

What are your thoughts on Monolith’s approach here? Does it change how you feel about Shadow of War? Sound off in the comments below!


Thursday 17th of August 2017

Fingers crossed its all ok. I hate pay to skip style microtransactions.....I hate even having the option, though I've been better in recent times in avoiding it all together.

My problem is I have little time to game these days, so am tempted to skip grinding for a few bucks. In reality I'm better off of course savouring the game and not skipping ahead. I used to not be able to help myself in nba2k etc.

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