Middle-earth: Shadow of War's in-game loot can be acquired using real world money, developer Monolith has announced.
Over the weekend, Monolith divulged that loot boxes containing weapons, armour, XP boosts, and Orc followers can all be bought via microtransactions in the upcoming full-price single-player action game.
As you'd expect, all items are unlockable via gameplay as well, but it's likely the inclusion of microtransactions will have an effect on the grind required to unlock things, because, as Jim Sterling noted in a 2015 video about microtransactions in Metal Gear Solid V:
"No company makes microtransactions optional because they don't want you to buy them… free to play games are psychologically manipulative by design. They're structured in a way to entice you to spend money, exploiting the player's impatience… they're designed to fight you. It doesn't matter how iron your will and resolve, what matters is your will and resolve are being tested."
Monolith may have done the announcing, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Warner Bros. is behind the microtransactions – publishers always are, and WB has a history of this sort of behaviour, recently forcing microtransactions into Mortal Kombat X for easy fatalities and Krypt items.
The publisher was also in hot water four years ago at the launch of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, when it paid thousands of dollars for endorsements for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor from the likes of PewDiePie, without requiring disclosure of the payment.
Last year, it reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the charges that followed.