Shadow of War director defends its microtransactions


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Last month’s news that the hotly anticipated Middle-Earth: Shadow of War would be yet another game to contain single-player microtransactions came as a disappointment to many. Now, game design director Bob Roberts has assured people that using real-world money to buy loot chests and XP boosts simply allows players to achieve skills, perks, and items faster.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Roberts said that microtransactions "will not distract from the rest of [the game]." He added that they do not result in pay-to-win scenarios where using real cash is encouraged. He also noted how Shadow of War’s playtesting phase didn’t include loot boxes.

"We're working our tails off to make this massive game and as a designer—the design director—I focus on balancing it," he said. "We do a ton of playtesting and make sure it is tuned to a setting where people can enjoy it. 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.”

Essentially, the microtransactions don’t offer anything you can’t get just by playing the game — you’ll just move through it faster if you spend extra money. In Roberts’ words, the option is better suited for those "protective of their spare time."

In addition to confirming that Shadow of War doesn’t require a constant internet connection, Roberts lamented the fact that so many consumers disliked paid-for loot boxes in single-player titles.

"You put your 60 bucks in for a big game like ours upfront and our focus is that its initial purchase price is more than worth it," he said. "You want people to be pleasantly surprised by how much stuff is in it. There's so much complexity to it [...] but the conversation keeps coming back to that [loot boxes].”

"It's interesting to see the discussion but we want to get people's opinions on more than just that […] Obviously we have tuned our game so it works without those things and that including them does not distract from the rest of it."

Middle-earth: Shadow of War will release on October 10. Check out the “interactive trailer” below.

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Posts: 8,645   +3,281
Why the long winded, round-about pile of unbelievable BS? Why not just come right out and tell the straightforward truth which is, "It's human nature to shortcut everything as much as possible, even when playing computer games, and MOST importantly, it makes us* a pile of dough.
* = me
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Anyone who might be interested in this debate should watch Jim Sterling's Shadow of War coverage - he goes into detail on why microtransactions shouldn't be in singleplayer games, and his reasoning behind it. Very good stuff.

Naturally, I'm against this sort of thing. I feel it encourages companies to hamstring the player's experience in other areas of the game to encourage them to purchase the "War Chests" (loot boxes), so I won't be purchasing Shadow of War upon release - a shame since it looked quite good.


Posts: 169   +51
Middle Wallet - Shadow of Profit......... would be a more apt name for this game

When I buy a game to play I don't want the company who made it to be wanting to keep dipping into my pocket just so I can play it because you all know some weaners in their mums basement will max out their credit card just so they can get to the top as quickly as possible
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"Essentially, the microtransactions don’t offer anything you can’t get just by playing the game — you’ll just move through it faster if you spend extra money."
Or in other words, the mere presence of micro-transactions encourages devs to "nudge" the gameplay into being a little more grindy than it would have been had the MT's not been present. It's one of those things that's becoming so obvious that "the microtransactions haven't change the gameplay" is just the new version of "we haven't dumbed our game down, merely simplified it for the 'casual' audience..."
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Posts: 852   +39
I used to be an avid video game player. But then these companies started up with microtransactions. Now there are very few games I play online anymore. The only games that get my money now are games that don't have microtransactions. I refuse to buy a game and then have to keep paying in order to win. Upgrades to weapons and armor used to be a reward for beating a level. Man I miss those days. I suppose it's for the better. Less video game playing has led to more time with my music, lol.


Posts: 92   +46
Another one looking forward to playing this but I won't because of microtransactions.

Unfortunately there's 1000s of people who will pay to win and this makes up for people like us who don't so companies will continue to implement this until there is a blanket stance on not buying games with microtransactions.

Brock Kane

Wow, this was one of the games I was looking forward to playing this year. Can't believe $60 is not enough to these developers. As it is they're trying to gouge us with the Silver and Gold editions as well. $80 and $100 respectively. Seems to be an ugly trend lately. We, the consumers, need to just say no, no more. Stop purchasing these microtransactions. They will stop this practice, but it's up to us!

I think now I will wait till a big Steam sale. I have over 200 games in my library now anyway. Maybe take my wife out to dinner at Applebee's and spend my $60 there.
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,441   +2,339
What actually worried me was his saying that all the testing was done with the "loot boxes" turned off.... Which means they have no real idea of how this feature will unbalance the game once it is enabled!!!

Of course, as it doesn't require an internet connection and is single-player only, it's only a matter of time before the microtransactions are hacked by someone and you can simply "buy" the loot boxes for free...
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I don't like his logic but as someone with little time to spare I must admit that pay to move faster is not the ideal option but I can live with it... It spoil the game a little, but I got kids to raise.
Anyway in the end you pay with your time or with your money.
Damn I think the average IQ of gamers is going downhill just judging by the amount of ignorant and misinformed comments so here's a quick summary for those with a limited level of comprehension:

1) It's a singleplayer game so there is literally no reason to feel jealous and complain since you are not interacting in a multiplayer setting so nobody is going to 'own' you for having worse gear and if you enjoy the game, just earn the gear yourself like any reasonable gamer.

2) Microtransactions for people with money and not time means they get it quicker but ultimately they miss out on the experience of playing the game and feeling a sense of satisfaction from earning the loot. See point 1.

3) Monolith are industry veterans, not massive AAA so much any more but not indie and know what they are doing and make fun games.


"Varying rarity" is the keyword here. You're not just going to open one box and have the best orc, weapon, armour or anything else and it's designed this way so you spend more money but if you have limited time and more money than sense you can buy a bunch of boxes and play the digital equivalent of gambling.

This isn't necessary but also does not affect players who just want to play the game.

Should be looking at other games for your justification for 'pay to win', such as free to play games such as Blacklight Retribution which if you oodles of money you can buy the best guns and equipment and just roll over everybody.
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"You put your 60 bucks in for a big game like ours upfront and our focus is that its initial purchase price is more than worth it,"

This is where Im put off. They think the base game is worth MORE than 60.

Meanwhile CDPR have been charging $25 for the Witcher 3 and all DLC. Making good profit off a great game.

To me, adding microtransactions to a single player game is just the devs saying they are not creative enough to come up with an in-game challenge to get those ultra-rares. Something like an extreme contract.

This is just the devs saying they are not creative enough to make a great game that sells itself and in order to reach their profit goal for this game we need to add microtransactions.