Monolith Studios and Warner Bros. have garnered a lot of criticism for the introduction of loot boxes and microtransactions in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. But Bob Roberts, the game’s design director, says those microtransactions won’t be an important part of the game.
We spent an hour with Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Here's what we thought.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Roberts says Shadow of War wasn’t tested with those microtransactions in mind. "We kept all of the loot boxes and the economy of real world money turned off in playtesting so we know we are balancing around an experience which is rewarding without any of that stuff," he says.
Roberts also suggests that the game won’t contain any difficulty spikes that might point players towards microtransactions. If it’s true that the game is totally balanced away from having to pay real money, it sounds like it will be a very personal, situational choice as to whether or not to use them. Roberts looks to clarify that, suggesting that he hopes that when the game comes out people will discover that you won’t have to use microtransactions, and that “you can enjoy the full experience without putting any extra money in,” and that “the systems are tuned [...] so that you don’t need another option” to the normal resource gather rates.
Roberts even goes on to say that he will “just let the systems feed me the rewards as we’ve balanced them.” He makes it sounds as though microtransactions are a shortcut, rather than the full experience of the game. Middle-earth: Shadow of War will release on October 10.