Middle-Earth: Shadow of War has loot chests and microtransactions

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Shadow-of-war

You know what’s going to define this generation of gaming? Impatience and publishers insisting on exploiting that flaw in people by allowing them to toss actual cash at loot boxes. It’s the latest fad in a long line of industry ideas, like having 50 shades of brown in a shooter and great big flopping dong physics ala Conan Exiles.

Overwatch may have brought the idea into the public mainstream, but it was too good a concept to just be left to one game. Which is why Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is following the trend with loot chests of its own. In a new stream, developer Monolith detailed how new gear could be unlocked from the following chests:

  • Loot chests – Weapons and armour gear of differing levels of rarity which you can use to increase and enhance Talions various selection of skills.
  • War chests – These will give you Orc buddies of varying skill to aid you in the construction of your army.Or they’ll have Training Orders which can be used to level up your high-ranking Orcs.
  • XP boosts – Pretty much what you expect. Pop an XP boost, level up Talion further.
  • Bundles – Combo deals that include the chests and boosts combined.

Right, tempting stuff then. So how does one get their hands on these chests? You could play the game and earn enough of the Mirian currency from finding stashes of the stuff, recycling your gear and defeating certain Treasure Orcs to build up a decent wallet of the stuff. Or, which I’m guessing Warner Bros. Interactive is hoping players do, you could grab some gold with actual money from the PSN, Steam and Xbox stores.

Now granted, Gold can be earned in-game by accomplishing several challenges, albeit the amount earned will most likely pale in comparison to what you can buy with a credit card. Look, it’s a tricky balance to have with in-game currencies and rewards. You look at another game published by Warner Bros. Interactive this year, Injustice 2, and you see how developer NetherRealm approached the loot box situation.

Currency and boxes are easy enough to earn, with even the highest-grade loot chests popping up regularly in the Multiverse challenges. Where Injustice 2 makes its money, is from appealing to people’s sense of style as the fashionable Source Crystals currency is rarer than hen’s teeth and needs to be bought more often than earned.

I’m hoping that Shadow of War follows that example: Give players plenty of chances to earn gear which actually enhances the experience, while allowing impatient and narcissistic gamers the opportunity to have their credit card exploited. It kind of like a tax on ego when you think about it. I’m of the mind that you’ll always appreciate something more when you earn it, instead of having it given to you.

Last Updated: August 7, 2017

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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