Middle Earth - Shadow of War
The US retailer Target can't seem to keep it together. A few days back they managed, again, to leak information about a game which wasn't supposed to become public until March 8th. Many were speculating that next week, Warner Bros and Monolith would reveal the new Batman: Arkham title, but thanks to Target we now know we were wrong. Middle Earth - Shadow of War is the sequel of 2014s Shadow of Mordor, taking place in the time period between LotR and The Hobbit, it will expand on its predecessors formula and will see the light of day in August of this year. But it comes with some ugly surprises...
After Target leaked the cover art for the new Middle Earth game on February 26th and then appearing on NeoGAF, Warner Bros and Monolith immediately released the content of the reveal they had planned for the second week of March, including a 2 minute long cinematic trailer, some vague details about the game and its system requirements and of course information about the different editions that will be available on launch. This game will launch August 22nd 2017, and there are already four (!!) different editions available for pre-order. What the actual fuck...
So here we are, six months before release and a week before we even get the first glance at actual (but probably scripted) gameplay footage and you can already pre-order three different editions plus a collectors edition. Now, I wrote an article about the history of pre-orders back in 2015 and how they've evolved to become extremely anti-consumer, but I've felt that in the last two years the publishers stepped down a little bit with those ugly practices (except Deus Ex - Mankind Divided), and now we get this...
Let's dissect the different editions of Middle Earth - Shadow of War while we enjoy this humongous marketing bullshit being shoved up our behinds.
This is the game. This is the fully priced edition that will set you back the usual $60 for any AAA game, and for that price you'll get the full new Middle Earth experience! If you get your copy in advance, there's also a pre-order bonus; Forge your armies with the Legendary Champions war party and the exclusive Epic Sword of Dominion! My first thought on this concerns the exclusive weapon you can get. It's clearly a piece of equipment either for your character or for your war party, whatever that may be, it has control and domination in its name and it is EPIC. Amazing... until you think about it for more than a second and you realize it will probably be a sword that can be used the first hour of gameplay, it being more powerful that your starting weapon, until you switch it out for something better a few missions later. Either that or it will have some kind of special skill that you can use in some remote situations because it obviously couldn't be almighty, because otherwise, players that didn't pre-order the game would be in a massive disadvantage.
Get ready, because if you pay an additional $20, or a total of $80 for the Silver Edition, you are not only getting the "full" game plus those bonuses if you pre-order, you will also get access to two different orc tribes. Each tribe comes with new enemies, followers, missions, abilities, weapons, fortresses and a MYTHIC GEAR SET. Now please pay close attention on the wording used on their website, they specifically say includes, not something like gives you access, as in the tribes are part of future expansions to which you'll have access as soon as the DLC is released, no. This will be available on launch. No future DLC, no seasons pass, no, ON LAUNCH. They will literally shave off 10% of the enemies, missions, abilities etc., pack them into a separate edition and charge you another 20 bucks for what should have been in the game in the first place.
In case that this still doesn't convince you into buying this amazing edition, you also get a silver war chest! Nobody knows what that means so yay! Feeling that huge marketing dick already? Don't worry, it gets better.
Remember the days when publishers released gold editions about one to two years after the release of a given game and included all the DLCs and patches up to that date and offered it for a cheaper price? Well fuck you because Warner Bros is reinventing this term and making up their own rules. For an amazing, once in a lifetime low price of one HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS, you can get the Gold Edition of a game you haven't even seen gameplay footage of yet. But what does it include? Well let me show you. You know how they shaved off two whole tribes and a bunch of other shit off the game to have an excuse for a silver edition? Well lucky you, they also cut out TWO WHOLE STORY CAMPAIGNS and a playable character which you can now also buy for another $20, of course on top of the 20$ you already paid for the orc tribes.
You lay there on the ground, crying, begging them to stop, until you read that it includes a Gold War Chest... you now realize that not only have they cut out 40% of the game out and sold it to you separately on release day, they also included micro-transactions... please kill me.
...this kind of practice is un-fucking-believable. I am not even going to dive into the Mithril Edition, it's just an overpriced ($300 with at least an additional $50 if you live outside of the US or UK) collectors edition with some additional crap and an unpainted statue which we don't even know what it's made of. Any ways, we are getting pretty used to having to pay for DLC packs either in the form of chargeable add-ons or as a seasons pass (including massively overpriced ones, yes I'm looking at you EA) that includes planned future content, but selling us a fully priced standard edition with hours of missing content for the obvious and blatant attempt of ripping off the customer is absolutely shameless. What even blows my mind is that all this crap is available for purchase two weeks before the first ever gameplay reveal!
We have once again the perfect example of the gaming industry trying to fuck us over and take advantage of the average dumb consumerist gamer, and the worst of all is that they will get away with it, as they always do. As soon as the game gets released you will see it on the top sellers list on the respective platforms, probably even before because everybody is pre-ordering it. What can we do? Well I for once am not going to fucking buy it, it's that easy. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan but still, if you crap on my meal I'm not going to buy it in the hopes that maybe the dessert is enjoyable. Oh wait no, that costs extra forty dollars even though I ALREADY PAID FOR THE WHOLE MENU.