Middle-earth: Shadow of War, previously a hot topic of conversation when it came to loot box controversy, will no longer have loot boxes that you can purchase in-game.
This is a bold move that's finally being made, likely to appease players who still feel wronged by the game's dubious usage of microtransactions. Upon Shadow of War's debut, players felt that in order to make it past the more difficult grind later in the game, they were basically forced to purchases Assassin's War Chests to receive rarer Orcs, and thus more powerful allies, to conquer late-stage enemies.
Said boxes, and other War Chests, as well as everything the game associated with them, will be completely removed for good on July 17. This includes the game's Market as well. Any way to actually spend real-world cash on gold will be removed from the game even earlier on May 8.
There will be some special Loot Chests remaining, but you'll only be able to earn them via Online Conquests or Vendettas, making all the goodies you can earn outside of regular gameplay effectively gone from the game for good.
"The core promise of the Nemesis System is the ability to build relationships with your personal allies and enemies in a dynamic open world," Monolith explained in a statement regarding the upcoming game changes. "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's an interesting development that Monolith is deciding to follow through with, especially given the climate surrounding loot boxes and the real-world cash that must be spent on them in various other games right now. Players have been quite upset with the addition and implementation of loot boxes in games like Star Wars Battlefront II, which ultimately led to their removal in that title as well. This newest loot box removal comes six months after Shadow of War originally released.
Going forward, Monolith has announced that it's planning to add narrative elements and other gameplay improvements for free to the game in a bid to improve it beyond simply removing the parts that fans weren't happy with. This is all coming as a series of free updates. There's no release date for them just yet, but it should be coming down the pipeline soon.