Monday, August 07, 2017

Newest LotR Game Has Microtransactions

Remember when video games didn't have microtransactions and pay-walled content? You could buy the game as it was for $39.99-$49.99, play it right out of the box, and not have to worry about these crazy things called bugs and glitches, or having to buy DLC to get additional content. The game was all right there in front of you. Done.

Dudes, those were good times.

This isn't an older gamer asking for nostalgia. While I appreciate the games of my youth, a selection of today's games are superior to anything I played as a kid. But one thing that I do miss and wish gamers would stop falling for is not having to pay extra after you buy a game.

Microtransactions and DLC's have messed up the gaming market.

WB Games has announced a new "market" system, as they call it, for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the latest in a string of 'The Lord of the Rings' video games. Shadow of War allows players to build their own Orc army and obtain NPC's by exploring the world and meeting these warriors in towns, fellowships, etc. The "market" allows you to buy Orcs with cash so you can skip doing all of that video game stuff. You can also buy XP boxes, gear, and xp boosts for your Orc army.

Even better, there are 2 types of currency in the game: Mirian and Gold. Mirian can be found in the game. Gold you have to purchase with real-world cash, which can be used to get "better" loot boxes. While the FAQ states that buying Gold is not required to advance in the game, and that a person playing without buying Gold will see the same results, we know the reality. If a person has a standard army and plays against a person with a Gold army, we know who's going to win - the one that's equipped with the Gold gear. (Note: the game has no online play; this is just an example.)

The "you don't have to pay extra to play" is a buffer statement every developer is using these days to not drive away core gamers who don't want to, or can't, shell out anything extra after buying the product. And yes, the game doesn't block you behind a pay-wall. That much they have made clear. But if you want certain cool Orc to be in your army? You gotta pay up. Whether that's farming for hours to get Mirian or paying for Gold.

This is our gaming reality. Where we can't have single-player content without the looming nuisance of microtansactions.


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