This is the question that’s been ricocheting around the Internet for months now, ever since EA announced (and then aborted) a rather pernicious microtransaction model for Star Wars Battlefront II. Gaming sites, comments sections, podcasts, and forums abound with think pieces and hot takes on the subject. Legislators have even jumped into the fray, with bills regulating randomized rewards being introduced in Hawaii and the Dutch gambling authority taking aim at the practice.
For as long as there have been microtransactions in games, there have been controversies about said transactions. But recent events – such as loot chests in the single-player Shadow of War and the aforementioned EA debacle – along with the general growth of the practice have brought the issue to the fore. In addition to predictable comments about canceled preorders and lamentations for The Way Games Used To Be, the conversation has centered on the question of whether or not loot chests constitute gambling. Everyone seems to agree that this is the key issue; the only debate is whether we should call them chests, crates, or boxes.
Recently, EA announced some of the first specific information about what’s planned for the Star Wars Battlefront DLC campaign. After a few free updates (including two new maps), the first paid expansion will roll out in March, with maps in Tatooine and Sullust, followed by three more expansions over the course of the year that will take the action to Cloud City, the Death Star, and other, as-yet-unknown locations. There’s not much information, but it’s enough to get excited for. And, more importantly, it’s enough to speculate about, which is where the real fun is. So let’s head over to Speculation Corner and see what ideas we can stir up.
We’ve known since the game’s launch that the season pass would give us sixteen maps, four heroes, four new game modes, and “over twenty” weapons, vehicles, and star cards spread over its four expansions. The easiest bit of speculation is to assume that this content stuff will be distributed evenly among the expansions: four maps, one hero, and one mode in each pack, plus, say, one vehicle, two guns, and two or three star cards. Because there’s so much variation in how many maps support each game mode, I could see a scenario where one expansion has three maps and another has five, but for simplicity’s sake let’s assume this isn’t the case. With these safe assumptions and the few clues we have, we can imagine some plausible scenarios for what exactly this DLC is going to look like.
With the release of The Bright Lord on February 24, it would seem that Warner Bros. has finally finished the run of post-release content for Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. This DLC story takes players back to when ring-forging elf Celebrimbor was still alive and follows him as he completes ten missions on the way to a final confrontation with Sauron. And that final battle is, undeniably, the highlight of this add-on. The build-up to this confrontation, though, is a bit underwhelming.
After a pretty enjoyable DLC story in Lord of the Hunt – which had you palling around with the wisecracking dwarf Torvin, stealth-killing uruks with the new caragath, and steering a massive projectile-vomiting graug through packs of enemies – the Bright Lord adventure seems a bit stripped down. Other than some voiceover conversations with Galadriel and Sauron, there are no other characters to interact with besides the orcs you slay. The missions present you with the typical challenges to blank this many blanks, either in blank minutes or without being blanked. (There are also some more fetch quests that reward you with a bit of lore.) The missions are each unique in some small way, and provide ample challenge, but it’s basically more of the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; Shadow of Mordor is a great game, and its basic mechanics and mission templates are a lot of fun to play over and over. Having a new set of missions built on the same framework with just some minor tweaks is a welcome addition. On the other hand, the base game continues to repopulate its world with captains and war chiefs even after you’ve finished it, so if you just want to just keep fighting uruks, you can do that ad infinitum without spending a nickel on DLC.