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10/7/17 Correction: It was discovered that Legendary orcs can be obtained in Mirian loot boxes, meaning Legendary level characters and gear are possible outside of the paywall on the Shadow of War store.

News of this finding came from Gamespot, who made an addendum in their early review of the title. According to Gamespot, Legendary level orcs occur less frequently than Epic tier orcs, meaning it is a possible, but rare occurrence with lower tier loot boxes.

No one is exactly sure what the chances are for gaining a Legendary orc when using Mirian. This also changes the overall perception of the loot boxes found in Shadow of War, although the marketplace still encourages players to buy guaranteed Legendary Orcs with microtransactions.

Original Article Continues Below.


Monolith Productions Middle-Earth: Shadow of War has been somewhat controversial, to say the least in regards to recent revelations regarding the in-game currency store.

For those not aware, Shadow of War will contain an in-game marketplace designed for real-life currency, offering a series of loot boxes mostly containing one of the biggest in-game items for the player to use: orcs. There will be two types of boxes available, loot chests that will contain armor and weapons of varying quality, and war chests which will contain a mix of different orc types. A full breakdown of what was promised can be found here by TechRaptor writer Don Parsons.

The catch, however, is that “Legendary” tier Orcs and weapons would be only purchasable through the use of real-life microtransactions of gold currency, instead of the in-game currency of Mirian.

Recent reviews published by sites such as Polygon and Gamespot confirm this to be the case, although there are varying opinions on the final implementation. Gamespot’s Justin Haywald noted that the in-game store felt like an “unnecessary addition” stating that the quality between Legendary and Epic orcs, the highest available tier for Mirian, is negligible. Polygon’s Phil Kollar, however, argues the inclusion of the microtransaction store is close to being predatory, noting that the game doesn’t force the player to buy loot chests, but is a major grind without them.

Of particular note is the end-game of Shadow of War, which both sites hint at being excessively grindy after the bulk of the main campaign is finished. This also throws a major wrench into the game’s design, namely do you continue to play in the post-game after all other content, save fortress defense missions, is complete by grinding, or by buying loot boxes.

The gist of the situation follows this in the end based on the reviews: Legendary tier orcs and weapons are found in real-world cash boxes, while Epic tier and below are readily available for in-game Mirian. Players will have a chance to earn Legendary tier orcs in-game, but it would require a ton of grinding to do so while the in-game market can provide random ones for purchase quickly. The jury is out if you need Legendary tier orcs or not to really beat the game, but due to the design of how the orcs and weapons work- the higher their tier, the more abilities they have – so ultimately it is up to the player whether or not they will spend real-life money for in-game orcs.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is the sequel to the acclaimed Shadow of Mordor, and will be released on October 10th for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.


Quick Take

This is one of those instances where I would say Shadow of War is locking too much content behind a paywall. WB Interactive and Monolith Productions have created what appears to be an unnecessary addition to the game that ultimately cheapens the whole experience, and makes the microtransactions here, while still optional, feel almost necessary for much of the end-game. You may be able to get away without needing to buy your orc army, but otherwise the game will provide a lot of time to grind in its wake, which is close to a free-to-play model if I ever saw one. This is a bad addition if you ask me.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this a good or bad move for Shadow of War? Leave your comments below. 


Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.