Microtransactions Removed From Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War In New Update Out Today

You can now hunt down a human version of Shelob without any orcs in a shopping cart. In a sizable update that was added to Middle-earth: Shadow of War today, the market and microtransactions were removed from the game. In a post on PlayStation Blog, Monolith’s vice president of creative Michael de Plater said that his team has had “the Flaming Eye pointed directly at our fantastic community, and we’ve been continually watching, reading and listening to your comments, criticisms and recommendations.”

Describing your development team’s gaze as the evil Flaming Eye might not be the best thing to do, especially since people criticized the microtransactions when the game released, but the right steps have been made, and players can now experience the game without having to enter an immersion-breaking store.

This update also brings a host of tweaks, including the reworking of the post-campaign Shadow Wars. De Plater says this section has been “streamlined and polished to include new narration from Shelob, the Witch-king and Dark Talion.” Spending time in these wars sounds like it will be worth the effort, as players can earn the power to raise the dead, and summon more powerful beasts. You will also add the masks of the Nazgul to your collection.

If you’re not to the end game yet, and are perhaps starting the game for the first time, this update adds more Legendary Orcs to the mix, and they may even bring you gifts from time to time. New skins are also available, such as being able to play as Celebrimbor (pictured above). To accommodate all of the additions, the level cap has been raised to 80, and players can level faster with better XP rewards which are tied to various activities in the game.

Seeing Monolith continue to support this product well after its launch is great, as is seeing another microtransaction system wiped from the face of middle-earth.

Talking Squirrel Companion Coming To Divinity: Original Sin 2

Overwatch apparently started a trend of adding small rodents as heroes. Hammond and his wrecking ball add a different dimension to Overwatch’s character types, and now Divinity: Original Sin 2 players will have the chance to see how a diminutive rodent performs on the battlefield. Bandai Namco and Larian Studios today announced that Sir Lora, the Squirrel Knight, will debut in the definitive edition of Divinity: Original Sin 2 launching on August 31 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Sir Lora is a part of the Knights of Drey, which Bandai Namco describes as an “order of furry knights who believe in the coming of the Great Acorn.” When this new companion is added to your party, you’ll unlock new skill-crafting recipes, and will be put on a quest to unearth the Great Acorn.

For players who are already experiencing Divinity: Original Sin 2 in Xbox One’s Preview program, a new update with 4K and HDR support will be deployed on July 19. This patch also brings better performance, improved AI, and a variety of bug fixes. 

You can take your first look at the menacing Sir Lora and his mount in the video below:

No Man’s Sky Next Adds True Multiplayer And Third-Person Next Week

No Man’s Sky Next is a free update that will add some pretty impressive new content to No Man’s Sky. You can check out the trailer below, which showcases true multiplayer, third-person options, and, for the first time, ringed planets. The game has also received a visual overhaul, bases can be built on any planet, and you will be able to “assemble and upgrade a fleet of frigates and command them from the bridge of your freighter.”

No Man’s Sky Next arrives on PlayStation 4 and PC on July 24. That date also marks the game’s release on Xbox One, which will included all the bonuses of the Next update.

YouTube Channel Game Maker’s Toolkit Debuts Series About Accessibility

Game Maker’s Toolkit, a YouTube channel by games writer Mark Brown, takes deep dives on certain aspects of gaming from level design to music. He explains in detail what works about, say, a dungeon in Zelda and sometimes what doesn’t. Now Brown has launched a new series on the channel, Designing for Disability.

In the inaugural episode, Brown covers how to make games better for gamers who are deaf or hard of hearing, and talks about how some games get subtitles right and how some get it wrong. It’s a useful look at a feature a lot of developers likely ignore, but it can make or break someone’s experience with a game.

“That’s the thing about video game subtitles, it’s more important than any other medium that they’re easy to read, because you’re trying to divide your attention between the subtitles and everything else you need to think about,” Brown says.

Make sure to watch the full video to see Brown’s arguments for why developers should take more care to ensure everyone can enjoy their games.

Hitman’s Marrakesh Level Is Going To Be Free Tomorrow

As Hitman 2 gets closer to release, IO Interactive is making sure players familiarize themselves with the game’s first season. A free Summer DLC pack is releasing tomorrow and the third episode Marrakesh is coming along with it.

Marrakesh is home to civil unrest and seemingly multiple people behind it. Players can use underground tunnels, elite guard units, APC guns, and even falling art to kill their targets.

It is not clear how long the episode will be free to download, but you should be able to download it regardless of what other Hitman content you own. Hitman 2, which is releasing as a single disc and not in episodic format, will be out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 13.