In our Middle-earth: Shadow of War review we stated that it's a competent sequel to 2014's Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Nonetheless, we did note that the game's design allows for and enables micro-transactions.You can buy loot chests that let you get better weapons; experience boosts that allow you level up Talion quicker; war chests that grant you more powerful orcs; and bundles containing loot chests, experience boosts, and war chests.
Thankfully, you also have the option to turn all of it off and play the game without the in-game store being accessible at all and yet be online. This is how you do it.
1. When you start the game for the first time you're taken to an end user agreement licensed agreement screen (pictured below).
2. Here you'll be asked to allow WB Games and Warner Bros. Interactive to provide messages in-game, use your device information for analytics, and transfer your data including your PSN ID or Xbox Live ID or Steam ID to the US.
3. Do not confirm this. Instead move your mouse or analogue stick over to the giant Accept section, press X, A, or Enter if you're playing it on the PS4, Xbox One, or PC respectively.
4. The game will state you will be playing in offline mode. This locks out the in-game market and micro-transactions.
Keep in mind that this method also keeps Shadow of War's online modes inaccessible, but considering how irrelevant it is to the core experience, you're not missing much.
If you're worried about getting updates to the game, don't. The game still updates as it should. Something we've experienced with the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Shadow of War before agreeing to WB's service clause.
We discuss Shadow of War's micro-transactions and design on Transition - Gadgets 360's gaming and pop culture podcast. You can subscribe to Transition via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.