Monolith has announced that it will be "permanently removing Gold, War Chests, and the Market," from Middle-earth: Shadow of War, a decision that will remove microtransactions from the game.
The news came by way of a community post from Warner Bros. that said the studio has come to the realization that microtransactions "risked undermining" the Nemesis System, something the company calls the heart of the game. The changes are set to arrive starting on May 8 with the ability to purchase War Chests ending on July 17.
Right now, Shadow of War's microtransaction system allows players to use Gold (which can be purchased with real-world currency) to purchase Golden War Chests that include high-level Orc followers. The in-game nemesis system allows for the recruitment of Orcs, but obviously with this system players can save time by purchasing high-level variants.
Monolith will replace the War Chest system with "more ways to upgrade Orcs, including recruitment during Online Conquests and Online Vendettas," as well as throwing in more Legendary Orcs into the game.
Our Shadow of War review highlighted the Gold War Chest system calling it a "less than enjoyable experience," and one that feels particularly like a grind. Our deep-dive into Shadow of War's microtransactions highlight in particular how much worse the end game feels with the War Chest system in place.
While Monolith says that this is in service to its core Nemesis System, it's undeniable that loot boxes have come under fire as of late. The controversy kicked up by EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2 has even led EA to remove microtransactions from Battlefront 2 entirely.
Time will tell if other video games will examine their own loot box practices in light of recent controversies, or if this is simply a precautionary step to get ahead of any potential controversies in the future.