By now I’m sure everyone has heard about Warner Bros.’ decision to include micro-transactions in their new upcoming AAA Title, Shadow of War.
The issue isn’t with micro-transactions in AAA titles, we have begun to see more and more of that as players demand more variety in the games they play. However, up until now, we have seen these micro-transactions be in the form of cosmetic upgrades that just change the over all look of your character or weapons. Shadow of War looks to change that model by letting players buy all the end game content minutes into the game.
Sadly, as a gamer, this new update to the highly anticipated release has taken the wind out of my sails. When you download a free to play game, its expected that micro-transactions will be a part of that. You pay to beef up your characters, creatures, or towns and give you an edge over the players that refuse to pay money for such things. That’s fine, because we didn’t pay anything for it in the first place. So, if that’s how you want to spend you money, by all means, go for it. BUT, when I buy my new AAA title, the last thing I’m expecting is to be asked if I want to buy the things I’m going to get in the game anyways.
Uhm excuse me, Warner Bros.? Yea, I just wanted to let you know your greed is showing.
It’s insulting, really. Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way, maybe I’m being too sensitive, and if so I apologise. The issue is that this is NOT a business model that a AAA studio should follow or ever have to resort to. You’re a AAA STUDIO!! You make millions of dollars on game releases, you shit gold! Why are you asking players to purchase content they will eventually end up with in the game anyways? Do you not want us to experience your game? What purpose are we going to have to explore this rich world you’ve created when you’re practically telling us to skip it??
Now, I know I am not the only one caught off guard by this announcement. Yes the purchases are completely by choice. Yes you will eventually end up with this late game gear and allies if you work your way through the game naturally. The issue is why the hell is Warner Bros. asking us to make this decision in the first place?!
It has become common in today’s gaming society where we buy a game and expect to pay for post release content at some point. DLC’s are a common part of experiencing video games now, but WHY does it seem like Warner Bros. and Monolith want us to skip parts of their base game??
“By simply engaging with the world and playing through Middle-earth: Shadow of War, you earn items like Gear for Talion and unique Orcs for your army. These are the same items that are found in the Market within Loot Chests and War Chests. Gold merely allows you to get your hands on them immediately, cutting down some of the additional time that would have been spent winning more battles, tracking nemeses, completing quests and assaulting fortresses.”
That’s great, but isn’t all of that stuff a bulk of the gameplay we expect from a Middle-Earth game? It’s puzzling why a game studio would give us the option to skip a majority of the game they have been working so hard on. Quite frankly its a bit alarming. Do they not think they have a strong enough title that they feel the need to give us the option to bypass a chunk of it? When you charge for cosmetics that’s one thing. When you ask players to buy content you’re going to get anyways just so they can skip that part of the game later on is something totally different.
The biggest issue for Monolith and Warner Bros. now is getting this game to sell well. The sequel has already been pushed back to October, and now they’re asking fans to pay so they can skip what THEY think might be tedious side quests and missions? Lets not forget this game will now be releasing amidst other huge AAA titles like the new Assassins Creed! This whole decision is honestly just baffling. Again, yes this stuff is optional, but when it comes to a AAA studio the option shouldn’t BE THERE. You should want players to explore your game to its fullest, not give us an easy way out.
Microsoft tried this when the Xbox One was building up hype before it’s release. They wanted us to pay to share games. That killed enthusiasm for a good chunk of players and probably hurt their sales. We know now that that decision was later overturned before release, but it hurt them badly. We all know there is money to be made in the gaming industry, but when you blatantly show your lust for money instead of selling the games you make on your passion for WANTING to make good games, you’re going to lose every time.
It is yet to be seen how this will all play out, but sadly it looks like Monolith and Warner Bros. may have set themselves up for failure with this one.