Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Studio Admits Premium Currency Was A Mistake

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Six months after the release of the game, Monolith has announced the removal of all microtransactions in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War as well as rebalancing the game's Shadow Wars feature. 

You can read the full announcement at their official forums. In short, Monolith will be removing the ability to buy chests using the game's virtual currency, gold, which can be purchased with real money. 

Monolith mentioned in the community post that the ability to earn orc followers by purchasing in-game currency conflicts with the game's core system, the Nemesis System:

"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."

The in-game currency gold will no longer be for sale after May 8. Shadow of War players that still have gold has until July 17 to spend it. Remaining unspend gold will be converted into in-game items. Thanks to this big change, Shadow Wars, the endgame content of Shadow of War, will get rebalanced with new improvements to the gameplay, which they will discuss in greater details at a later date.

On release,  Middle-Earth: Shadow of War put players in an icky situation. The sequel's War Chest system was deeply embedded into the game's progression and the game's "true ending" mandated some grinding from players. These loot boxes effectively caused a stir in the player community.

That it took them six months to realize that this wasn't the best implementation of endgame grinding is a bad look and gamers shouldn't be too quick to laud Monolith and WB Games for these changes, as without any refunds offered, both companies are still sitting on the money they made from in-game gold. That being said, Monolith provided a FAQ to explain all the changes coming in July. 

Loot boxes that provide in-game rewards that affect gameplay are not being well received these days. WB Games is not the only offender in this regard, with much attention directed last year at EA thanks to their plans for microtrasactions in Star Wars Battlefront 2. The backlash from that resulted in a complete redesign of Battlefront 2's progression earlier this year

Hopefully, the removal of microtransactions from games by big publishers will only trend upwards in 2018.