Shadow of War’s microtransactions exist as “a player choice”

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From what we’ve seen of Shadow of War thus far, it’s an incredible game. Unfortunately, for many there’s a great big blight on the impending action adventure RPG, and that’s the shadow of its mictrotransactions. Unusually for a single player game, Shadow of War will include loot boxes, enabled by microtransactions.

Shadow of War’s in-game market will allow players to buy XP boosts, Orcs, and items to use with the Nemesis system, and loot chests containing random items of varying rarity.

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I’ll always defend a developer’s decision to include cosmetic microtransactions in their games, because if people want to pay for that, that’s their choice. That said, having extra payment options in single player games that could affect the game seems iffy. Speaking to Eurogamer, Shadow of War’s design director Bob Roberts explained how the microtransactions wouldn’t detract from the game.

Responding to questions of whether the game might try to lure players in to the lootbox market with difficulty spikes, Roberts clarified a few “misconceptions.”

“First, the concern about balancing – hopefully when it is out there and people are able to talk about their experiences then the balancing question will be answered, hopefully by people you trust to play through it and see that.

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The other big misconception was whether the game had to be online too – and it’s important for people to understand that no, it’s not required to be online to play the game, and it’s a massive game where you can enjoy the full experience without putting any extra money in.”

If they’re a choice, and optional, why do they exist at all? According to Roberts, it’s all about choice. If you’re struggling or want to level up quickly, you can throw down the cash. Roberts says that just dropping to easy mode doesn’t give the full experience of the Nemesis system, as the game is at its best when you’re dying a lot. There’s a lot more in Eurogamer’s interview, and it seems to me that these sorts of systems are publisher mandated instead of things that the developers are wilfully including in their games.

We’ll have to wait until launch to see if these are as optional as Monolith claims, or if they’re exploitative like the ones in NBA 2K18. Hopefully people can play through the game without once even contemplating throwing down extra cash.

Last Updated: September 26, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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