Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a massive improvement on its predecessor Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor in several ways. If you’re looking for a reason to journey back into the games either to check out the lore or to make some new orc friends, you should absolutely jump into the game and give it a try, but not without checking out our review first.
It’s not the overall quality of the game players seem to be upset about, however. It’s the microtransactions featured in-game, stemming from some misinformation that’s being spread about the internet regarding their importance.
It’s important to know that microtransactions are not required for you to complete the game in any way, shape, or form — not even to get the so-called “true” ending you may have seen talk about around the internet. You can complete the entire game without once purchasing a single loot crate, and the “grind” you may have read about is nowhere near as austere as you might have imagined.
To make things abundantly clear, know that yes, there are indeed microtransactions that take the form of chests. You can purchase them with both currency you buy with real money, Gold, or Mirian, which is earned in-game. You may purchase chests that can guarantee you Legendary orcs, but at no point during the game are you required to do so. You may also purchase boosts that assist you in earning XP if you’d like to level up quicker, but you level up at a pretty brisk clip without these additional trappings.
In fact, WB has stated in the past that Gold, the in-game currency you can purchase, is even awarded in small amounts during the game, which I can confirm. Everything, WB has explained, that you can purchase with Gold can also be earned in-game “over time” for free, with Gold allowing players to jump past this and get some instant gratification.
Having reviewed the game during a time before the Gold was actually available, I was unable to purchase any of the in-game currency. But I wouldn’t have needed to anyway, given that Legendary orcs did indeed spawn during my time in-game. I met quite a few, actually, that quickly became some of the orcs I went to most when filling up slots on my team. However, I found that, quite often, run-of-the-mill orcs often had more interesting personalities and were more useful to me than some of the Legendary orcs I was able to procure during my play through.
If you’re looking to pick up Middle-earth: Shadow of War, keep these things in mind rather than letting the rumor mill cloud your judgement.