When I first saw that Middle-earth: Shadow of War had a deeper loot-based system than its predecessor, I immediately feared the worst. Warner Bros are notorious with their awful business practices, shoehorning microtransactions into games that do not need them. Mortal Kombat X was plagued by all kinds of nonsense such as the Easy Fatalities that you can buy and making the Krypt entirely unlockable through a once-off transaction. Essentially, if there is a way to exploit money out of a game, Warner Bros will do it.
Now it seems Shadow of War will receive the same treatment, as you can buy loot chests which contain items and legendary orcs. There are various chests that you can buy for one of two currencies, Mirian or Gold. Mirian you will get from regular play which can then be used for buying loot chests. or you can buy Gold with money in order to get these chests.
Warner Bros and developers, Monolith, have insisted that these chests do not have an effect on the game and that they can be obtained naturally through regular play. In the post announcing the Market, where these chests will be sold, they tried to justify it within the Q&A section. They stated that Gold can be earned by reaching particular milestones or completing community events, but you can also pay real money to get it.
They have been pretty adamant that this Market won’t have a significant impact on players that choose to play the full-priced single player game without spending any money, but these statements are precarious at best. Until we have the full game in our hands to gauge ourselves, I’d take these statements with a pinch of salt, maybe from the salt pile that I have made after this announcement.
Microtransactions are, undoubtedly, anti-consumer. They only serve to make the publishers money and any manner of justification is rendered moot from the onset. Loot chests didn’t have to exist in Shadow of War. They add nothing, they are worth nothing and they do take away from the core experience, no matter how community managers try and spin it.