Yes, the time has finally come for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War‘s microtransactions to be completely eradicated.
Monolith, the development studio behind Shadow of War, has officially removed any, and all traces of an in-game market from the game. Subsequently, a number of game improvements have accompanied the update to balance everything out.
Orcs previously recruited through Online Vendettas or Ranked Conquests are now to be unlocked via the Garrison. Of course those orcs can still undergo any training and the player is still allowed to customize them, but all the unlocks must now be done with the in-game currency, Mirian.
The lack of microtransactions has also allowed Monolith to add new prestige skills to the game and the follower level cap has been increased to 80. Nemesis Missions, defeating Captains, and doing Online Conquests, offer larger amounts of XP than seen previously, making leveling up faster than it has ever been. New skins are also available for players to take advantage of and include, Celebrimbor, Dark Eltariel, and Baranor.
The Nemesis system has seen an update as well. The Savior feature can now be turned off and followers can now surprise the player with gifts (because who doesn’t love gifts?). There are even more ways to obtain Training Orders and there are more even more Legendary Orcs for you to slay and conquer.
Finally, the not-very-entertaining post-game Shadow Wars section has been renamed “Epilogue” and includes new narration from Shelob, the Witch-king, and Dark Talion. Beating the epilogue rewards players with the Masks of Nazgul and some new combat abilities. Once the epilogue has been completed, the player is allowed to jump right back into their game and keep defending fortresses instead of having to immediately start a new campaign. This should also make getting the Platinum Trophy less frustrating.
Warner Bros. cut loot boxes out of the game earlier this year with the promise that all microtransactions would follow suit. It’s not hard to see why, as more and more publishers and developers have learned from the mistakes of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II loot box debacle, and are cutting out many greedy and anti-player money systems within their games. Hopefully, this trend will continue far into the future.