We pinched ourselves, and this doesn’t appear to be a dream. Eurogamer is reporting that Monolith will be removing the microtransactions, the Market, and loot boxes from Middle-earth: Shadow of War on May 8th. Gamers will no longer be able to use real money to purchase items or orcs, although gold you already have can be spent until July 17th. Loot boxes will only be earned (what an old fashioned idea) through online conquests and vendettas.
This did not happen in a vacuum, and clearly Monolith has heard from unhappy gamers, even if they don’t explicitly mention that. They say that being able to buy orcs in the Market compromised the Nemesis System and undermined “the heart of our game”. That’s putting it mildly. They even created an FAQ to explain.
All of that would be good, but they are taking the divorced dad approach to win back your good will. Free stuff. They will be adding skill trees, skins, gear, Nemesis System updates, and narrative changes. All of these things will be free to anyone who buys the game, and it will be rolled out to all regions.
This is probably a little too late for many people, but it is nice to see our voices can make a difference. Does it mean we will not see microtransactions and loot boxes in the future? No. They will be there, but we are guessing that many companies are rethinking how they add them and whether it is worth the hassle and negative PR.
That’s a win for now.