Monolith Productions, developer of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, has announced that it will be removing all microtransactions from the game, seven months after launch. Shadow of War was heavily lambasted for what many critics deemed unnecessary and gratuitous loot boxes, allowing players to purchase orcs for their armies. Something the developer now agrees removes a lot of the fun of its celebrated Nemesis system.
“The core promise of the Nemesis System is the ability to build relationships with your personal allies and enemies in a dynamic open world,” says Monolith community admin ‘MonolithMark’ in a blog post. “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. This means the option to purchase Gold with real-world money and the ability to gain Orc Followers from War Chests will be removed. There will be a specific amount of time given for players to utilize their unused Gold. If players have unused Gold by the end of the time allotted to spend it, any remaining Gold will be converted to in-game items.”
The removal of in-game microtransactions comes as the studio adds updates to some of Shadow of War’s late game campaign. New narrative elements will be added and the entire section of the game will be streamlined. There will also be “many other gameplay improvements that will be detailed in future build notes, including Nemesis System updates, new player skins, skill tree additions, gear system upgrades and progression updates”. All of these updates will be free for all players.
Purchases of in-game currency will cease on May 8th, with all elements of the loot box and monetisation system being removed entirely on July 17th. Just two months shy of the game’s first birthday.