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But of course Middle-earth: Shadow of War will have paid in-game loot boxes

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In a not-so-surprising move, Warner Bros. Games has announced that their upcoming Lord of the Rings title, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, will indeed have in-game purchases which will revolve around loot boxes and a gear system. On the WBGames blog, the Community Specialist highlighted the overall plan for this system, which the developers are calling the “Market”. Before touching on the details of these in-game purchases, they did cushion the blow by giving us some inside information on why this system will be important to the game and overall Shadow of War experience. 

The innovative Nemesis System created unique personal stories through procedurally-generated enemies who remember every encounter and are differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Middle-earth: Shadow of War expands this innovation with the introduction of followers who bring about entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal and revenge. The Nemesis System is also expanded to create a unique personal world through Nemesis fortresses, which allows players to utilize different strategies to conquer dynamic strongholds and create personalized worlds with their unique Orc army.

An important aspect of the Nemesis System now comes in forging, customizing and leading your own army of unique Orc followers against the fortresses of Mordor. There are different ways to do this, including dominating Orcs by exploring the vast open-world and encountering them as part of Orc society, or players can acquire Orcs and other items through the Market (in-game store).

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It goes on to explain that the Market will be the place where players can purchase Loot Chests, War Chests, XP Boots and bundles with all these in one pack. Loot Chests contain Gear of different rarity, which once equipped will grant you new enhancements on Talion's abilities. These boxes also contain XP Boosts which will let you level up faster. War Chests will contain Orc followers of different rarity and help you craft a strong army. These boxes will also contain Training Orders to level up and customize Orc followers. You will also be able to buy a bundle with all three packs in one.

Now as fantastic as it sounds, this is where the nightmare comes in. In order to purchase these boxes, you can buy them using Mirian or Gold which you obtain in the game. Mirian is obtained by defeating Treasure Orcs, destroying your Gear which you have obtained, destroying Orc followers for Gear, and lastly, Mirian can be found in Mirian stashes. 

When it comes to the Gold in the game, this is where you will have to get your wallet out as this currency is not as easily obtained as Mirian. Gold can be purchased through the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, or adding funds to your Steam wallet by using real money. However, you can also obtain Gold in small quantities by reaching specific milestones in the game and participating in community challenges. 

While the blog post goes on to state that this system is in no way gating players behind Gold, it then mentions that Gold will speed up some of the processes which you would have to take the time to do in the game itself. 

What do you mean when you say Gold can save time?

  • 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.

Does Gold give me an advantage in the game?

  • No, Gold does not give you any advantage over other players. A player who invests enough time can progress the same amount and have access to the same content as a player who purchases Gold. Gold is not required to progress or advance in the game at all.

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Basically Gold will let you obtain items faster than other players and cut down the time it takes to get them, but in “NO WAY” gives you an advantage. Sounds like a modern game gimmick to me. While this is normal these days, at least we are not paying full price for the game and then are expected to sit with these in-game purchases dangling in front of us. Oh, wait, my bad. 

First, a mobile game which no one asked for, and then in-game purchases which, well, no one asked for either. Sounds like 2015 all over again. I will be avoiding these purchases as much as I can, but what do you think of this system? Let us know in the comments below.

Shadow of War releases on 10 October for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 

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