Monolith announced that changes for Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War begins on May 8th, 2018 with the ability to buy in-game gold with real money ceasing, as well as the permanent removal of gold, War chests, and the Market will occur on July 17th, 2018. This news comes with a lengthy letter to fans detailing the reasoning behind these changes which can be found here.
Monolith had a lot to say in regards to this decision to turn off and remove the game’s microtransaction and loot box type system. Check out a portion of the post below from the WB Community site.
“We want to thank all of the Middle-earth: Shadow of War players, as we’ve learned a lot from you. Since we released the game last fall, we’ve been listening to your feedback and continue to update and improve the experience. With that in mind, we’ll be releasing a series of free updates in the coming months to offer current fans and new players the best Shadow of War experience we possibly can.
The core promise of the Nemesis System is the ability to build relationships with your personal allies and enemies in a dynamic open world. While purchasing Orcs in the Market is more immediate and provides additional player options, we have come to realize that providing this choice risked undermining the heart of our game, the Nemesis System. It allows you to miss out on the awesome player stories you would have otherwise created, and it compromises those same stories even if you don’t buy anything. 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. 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. There will be a specific amount of time given for players to utilize their unused Gold. If players have unused Gold by the end of the time allotted to spend it, any remaining Gold will be converted to in-game items.
Additionally, we’ll be updating the Shadow Wars section of the campaign, where players defend their fortresses against Sauron’s repeated counter-attacks. This portion of the game will be improved with new narrative elements and streamlined for a more cohesive experience. For players who choose to continue with these on-going fortress defense missions, the Endless Siege update released last November will still be available. We’ll also be incorporating many other gameplay improvements that will be detailed in future build notes, including Nemesis System updates, new player skins, skill tree additions, gear system upgrades and progression updates, just to name a few that we’re excited about.
Please note that the above updates are free for all Shadow of War owners. The ability to purchase Gold will permanently cease on May 8, 2018. The permanent removal of Gold, War Chests and the Market will take place on July 17, 2018, at the same time as all other updates discussed above.
Thank you again for your support.
This is a strong stance for Monolith to take considering the backlash Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War got for the microtransaction systems that seemed to undercut the entire point of the Nemesis system. Seeing the developer recognize that, admit that it’s true and take a real step towards growth and change is outstanding. This comes with them announcing that future updates would be free, and seek to extend single-player content to those who already own the title and newcomers alike. This feels like a developer attempting to right their wrongs and bring forth the experience they might have intended for the player from the get-go.
This could represent a big change in the gaming landscape. More so than ever, players have come together to protest what they feel are unfair practices towards consumers. 2017 was an especially intense year for this with almost every major release harboring some kind of, spend more money than you already have type tactic. This came to a boiling point with Star Wars Battlefront 2 last year, which recently ended with them ultimately revamping a lot of their systems and having their microtransactions only affect cosmetic items, which is at the very least far improved over what the game had at launch.
Promising free updates and new content, while they remove the ability for players to spend their hard-earned cash on content they already paid once for, is a promising stance for Monolith that will hopefully carry on as an example for other publishers and developers to take note of with future releases.