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We reported in April that Warner Bros and Monolith will be removing the highly controversial microtransactions and lootboxes from Uruk friendship builder, Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

Warner Bros today released a free update for Middle-earth: Shadow of War that removes the market entirely, as well as add a slew of improvements such as richer campaign experience, streamlined post-game Epilogue, new player skins and Legendary gear.

We reviewed SoW a while back and the presence of an end-game to enforce the use of microtransactions certainly added to our judgement. You can view the review here.

Here are the some of the changes brought forward by this update:

Market & Shadow Wars

  • The market and microtransactions have been completely removed from Shadow of War. Orcs recruited through Online Vendettas and Ranked Conquests will now be stored in the Garrison, and in-game Mirian can now be used to train, upgrade and customize your personal Orc army.

• Reduced the number of stages and missions required for 100% completion of the Shadow Wars.
• Additional narrative elements:
Progression Improvements:
• You can now reach level 80. Continuing to earn XP after reaching level 80 earns you additional skill points.
• Enemy Orcs can now reach level 85.
• New Prestige Skills, accessible after Act III, allow you to customize your character build. Each Prestige Skill can be purchased multiple times.
• You can now spend Mirian to raise the level of a piece of gear to match Talion’s current level. You must complete any upgrade challenges on the gear before you can raise its level.
• You can now spend perfect gems to re-roll secondary traits on gear. You must complete any upgrade challenges on the gear before you can re-roll.
New Player Skins:
• You can now choose to appear as Celebrimbor and Dark Eltariel.

User Interface (UI):
• Enraged By banners will now display in the HUD when watching Pit Fights.
• Added mission start points in Minas Morgul (The Blade of Galadriel) and Lithlad (The Desolation of Mordor) that facilitate switching between Shadow of War campaigns.
• Dynamic Resolution Scaling is now turned off by default.

Nemesis System:
• You can now apply a Training Order to a Follower, even if they are currently on a mission. Prisoners are still ineligible.
• Necromancers may now occasionally raise themselves from the dead before your eyes.
• Added a toggle in the Options menu to disable Saviors.
• The Slaughter and Outlaw Invasion missions will now unlock sequentially, instead of all at once.
• Your Followers can now surprise you and deliver a gift Worm to interrogate.

• Increased the overall spawn rates for Legendary Orcs.
• Rebalanced XP rewards and costs above level 30.
o Nemesis Missions and Captain kills now give much more XP.
o Online Fort Assault missions now award XP.
o Reduced XP reward on missions much higher level than the player, reducing the likelihood that a high-level fortress siege/defense will grant more than three levels of experience.

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