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New Middle-earth: Shadow of War Gameplay Shows Premium Currency, Microstransactions


Monolith showcased today a brand new batch of gameplay of its upcoming open world action-adventure Middle-earth: Shadow of War, focusing on the economy. Although more players will be interested in the loot box system also announced for the game.

According to Warner Brothers, the Marketplace is a crucial element of Middle-earth: Shadow of War‘s Nemesis System, offering players options with regards to how they play the game. Here’s the publishers description of how the Marketplace works in Shadow of War:

“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.”

Gold can be purchased with real money through each platform’s storefronts. Gold will also be available in limited quantity through gameplay unlocks. According to Warner Bros., small amounts of gold will be given out at “specific milestones,” perhaps Shadow of War story progression, and also for “participating in community challenges.” We’re expecting more details about the Gold and Loot boxes systems closer to the launch of Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

Two different loot boxes will be available at launch, XP Boosts can be purchased directly, and then discounted bundles, which include mixes of loot boxes and boosts. Here’s what Warner Bros. says will be available in the Marketplace:

Loot Chests – Weapons, Armor, XP Boosts
War Chests – Orc Followers, Training Orders (Level-Up/Customize Orc Followers)
XP Boosts
Bundles – Loot Chests, War Chests, Boosts

The announcement also showcased the basics of the follower system and how it will affect the players war effort. The player will need to establish and maintain control over various regions, and the followers system will allow followers to be sent to specific regions when needed in the blink of an eye.

Followers can also be trained and personalized. Training will increase their base stats and make them more successful in combat. The personalization angle will likely include cosmetic changes.

All weapons, armor, and Orc followers will have an associated rarity, which will translate to different values of loot boxes which guarantee different rarities of loot. Anything obtained from these chests can be obtained from normal play as well, it’s just that the microtransaction system allows for a more expedient path.

Now lets be honest, the decision to include a loot box system that’s unnecessary in a full-priced singleplayer game is going to make some people angry. And personally, I agree that it’s a sign of the worsening greed and commodification of the AAA industry, or at least that’s the common sentiment these kinds of systems evoke from players.

It remains to be seen how much this system will affect game balance as well, hopefully not too much or it could make the negative reaction even worse.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War releases October 10, 2017 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Check out the gameplay trailer below:

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