Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced a new update for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, including the elimination of the microtransaction Market which had been the ire of many players for the months following the game’s release. While personally I never found the market to be nearly as detrimental to the actual gameplay as a ‘pay-to-win’ formula, other players cited an unfair imbalance created by allowing players to purchase their orcs to create stronger garrisons and assault forces.
The update was released across all platforms yesterday, and features a host of new enhancements and content for both existing players and newcomers, in addition to the removal of microtransactions. The update brings together a multitude of different elements, including a richer campaign experience, streamlined post-game Epilogue, and new player skins and Legendary gear, in addition to hundreds of other improvements to gameplay and minor fixes. Below is a short list of the latest changes.
- Removal of the Market: The market and microtransactions have been completely removed from Shadow of War. Orcs recruited through Online Vendettas and Ranked Conquests will now be stored in the Garrison, and in-game Mirian can now be used to train, upgrade and customize your personal Orc army.
- Changes to the Shadow Wars: Renamed the Epilogue, the post-campaign has been vastly streamlined to include new narration from Shelob, the Witch-king and Dark Talion. Victory in the Epilogue rewards players with the Masks of the Nazgûl, unlocks powerful new abilities to raise the dead, curse enemies and summons more powerful monsters. And players also have the option to continue upgrading and defending their fortresses and army in Mordor after the final credits conclude.
- More Ways to Customize & Build Your Character: The follower level cap has now been increased to 80 and the enemy Captain level cap has been increased to 85. Plus, players can level up faster with greater XP rewards for Nemesis Missions, defeating Captains and Online Conquests. New Prestige Skills are available and offer incremental upgrades to skills. Players can also spend Mirian to upgrade gear to current levels by completing the upgrade challenge, and these gear upgrades now allow players to re-roll abilities for the perfect combo.
- Nemesis Improvements: There are more Legendary Orcs to encounter, more ways to get Training Orders (incl. Legendary Training Orders) and followers can now surprise players with the occasional gift. And if any followers are too keen to help out and have been stealing kills, there is now the option to turn off the Savior feature in the menu.
- New Player Skins: Players can now take the fight to Sauron as Celebrimbor, reliving the first War for Mordor, or battle as Dark Eltariel and Baranor.
It’s these types of updates that really allow a game like Shadow of War to survive long past its initial release window, and I’m impressed that Warner Brothers not only has continued to support the game with these types of free updates, but has taken player feedback into consideration and completely scrapped the microtransactions. It’s just a shame that the move comes almost a year after the game’s initial release, as an earlier turnaround may have helped to sustain the original player base.
You can check out all of the new features and changes at the WB Community Page.