Warner Bros. and Monolith will be permanently removing all micro-transactions from Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. This is probably going to have mixed results since it’s six months after release, but it’s still a good change. Especially since EA made similar changes to Star Wars Battlefront II after the game was ruined by loot boxes.
In an update from the studio, they explain that the idea of shoving in micro-transactions and loot boxes to monetize the end-game grind in Act 4 was probably a bad idea.
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.
The game will be getting additional updates when this change rolls out with an update to the Shadow Wars section of the campaign which will include “new narrative elements and streamlined for a more cohesive experience”. The ways in which the campaign slog will be streamlined are unknown, but I hope they work out for the best.
Further changes to the Nemesis system and gear upgrades are incoming to make the game easier as well. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War might be a much more fun game in a few months, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Currently, you can buy allotments of Gold in packages of 500 ($5), 1,050 ($10), and 2,200 ($20). Regarding the timeline, come May 8 you will no longer be able to buy any Gold in Shadow of War. On July 17, Monolith will permanently remove Gold, Warchests, and the Market itself.
The game will credit any existing users that have Gold with a Gold loot chest at the rate of 150 Gold per 1 loot chest. All users with Gold will receive at least one loot chest.