Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War’s initial announcement was met with great excitement from fans and critics alike but somewhere down the line, things went wrong. During a pre-release livestream the developers introduced players to their micro-transaction model, and the response was – well, pitchforks and torches would not have been out of place.
Let me begin by explaining my personal standpoint on micro-transactions, specifically the loot crate kind. I’m not a fan. I feel it takes advantage of a demographic not legally responsible enough to gamble in a casino, instead exposing them to an unregulated market and a level of gambling addiction that we’ve otherwise not seen before. I’m a victim myself. I’ve lost count of the money I’ve spent trying to pack the ultimate player on FIFA. I’m an idiot, what can I say?
My problem is with the concept, the initial ideas. However, the large majority of controversy surrounding Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War’s micro-transactions is how they are featured – not necessarily because it’s yet another game with loot boxes. Search any of the big name websites and the vast majority of them have pieces prior to release slating the developers for implementing such a feature but let’s be honest here. Like it or not, they make money, they are not going anywhere.
My initial reaction was similar to that of the masses. I didn’t want to be struggling to progress in a single player campaign due to my lack of willingness to sink yet more money into a fully priced AAA release. However, I waited to share my thoughts until I had played through the game. I’ve not quite finished it yet. I’m about 40 hours in and approaching the end. I’ve had an absolute blast and have very little negative things to say about the game, especially in regards to the loot boxes.
Loot boxes can be purchased with premium currency or normal in-game currency – although the more lucrative boxes are premium exclusive. They can contain Orcs to bolster your armies, free levels and training tools that give your Orcs new perks. All cool stuff, but none of it necessary to enjoy the game to its fullest. There are also daily tasks that offer premium currency as rewards so even that stuff can be obtained without spending a dime.
In short, it’s there. They are present. Never once are they forced down your throat. There are still plenty of fantastic Uruk characters to recruit to your cause. It sucks that gaming has resorted to milking games for every penny they are worth but in this current climate, it’s not going anywhere fast.
I am not defending the micro-transaction loot crate mess that gaming has become. But I will defend the fact that many developers have forced this on players using methods far worse than anything present in Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War. They are unobtrusive, not required and nothing more than a quicker path to victory or a few special Orcs.
Let the haters hate but you’re missing out if you don’t dive into this one. Review will be live later today.