Shadow of War is single player pay-to-win

Not content with the hype built up by a new nemesis system and the game's expansive trailers and marketing, Warner Bros has decided that game sales alone won't be enough to make its fortunes from the singular Lord of the Rings game. It's now announced the single player experience will offer loot boxes, crates, XP boosts and bundle packages of all of them, purchasable with real and in-game money.

Hurray?

As Warner describes them:

• Loot Chests contain Gear (weapons and armor) of varying rarity. Equipping and upgrading these weapons and armor enhance Talion’s character abilities. Loot Chests can also contain XP Boosts that help level up Talion faster.
• War Chests provide Orc followers of varying rarity to help forge a strong army. They can also contain Training Orders to level up and customize Orc followers.
• XP Boosts are consumables that help level up Talion faster.
• Bundles package up Loot Chests, War Chests and Boosts together at a great value.

While these will all be optional of course, they do provide a tangible benefit to the player, by giving them faster access to higher level equipment and orcs. Essentially, they make it so you don't need to play as much of the game to get to the end. That seems incredibly counter-intuitive for a story-driven RPG.

But no, that's exactly the reason Warner has them in place. So you can skip more of the game.

"Gold merely allows you to get your hands on [orcs and equipment] immediately, cutting down some of the additional time that would have been spent winning more battles, tracking nemeses, completing quests and assaulting fortresses."

It's like a mobile energy mechanic, only for gameplay. Why buy a game to play it when you can just pay more to not?

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