It seems Middle-earth: Shadow of War is intent on modernizing the venerable Lord of the Rings universe a bit. The game will feature a sexy new Shelob, cringe comedy courtesy of Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani, and introduce Middle-earth to the exciting world of loot boxes and microtransactions.
Yes, Shadow of War will have a new market where you can Loot Chests containing randomized gear for Talion and War Chests that contain extra orc underlings. Wait, is Shadow of War endorsing orc slavery? Brace yourself for some think pieces about that, although don't worry, I'll spare you.
An important aspect of the new Middle-earth: Shadow of War Nemesis System now comes in forging, customizing and leading your own army of unique Orc followers against the fortresses of Mordor. There are different ways to do this, including dominating Orcs by exploring the vast open-world and encountering them as part of Orc society, or players can acquire Orcs and other items through the Market. Through the Market, players can purchase Loot Chests, War Chests, XP Boosts and Bundles:
- Loot Chests contain Gear (weapons and armor) of varying rarity. Equipping and upgrading these weapons and armor enhance Talion's character abilities. Loot Chests can also contain XP Boosts that help level up Talion faster.
- War Chests provide Orc followers of varying rarity to help forge a strong army. They can also contain Training Orders to level up and customize Orc followers.
- XP Boosts are consumables that help level up Talion faster.
- Bundles package up Loot Chests, War Chests and Boosts together at a great value.
To purchase these items, players can spend Mirian or Gold throughout the game as one progresses. Mirian is a type of in-game currency that can be acquired by:
- Defeating Treasure Orcs
- Destroying Gear for Mirian
- Destroying Orc followers for Gear (which can be destroyed for Mirian)
- Finding Mirian stashes throughout the game
Gold is another form of in-game currency that can be used to get higher level Loot Chests, War Chests, Boosts and Bundles of the aforementioned content. Gold can be acquired by:
- Purchasing through the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store or by adding to your Steam Wallet using real money.
- Awarded in small amounts at specific milestones.
- Awarded for participating in community challenges.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was a pretty standard action-adventure game, so it's a bit disappointing to see Shadow of War going all-in on loot boxes and microtransactions, but I suppose this kind of stuff is largely unavoidable in 2017 triple-A games.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War storms onto PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on October 10.