Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will have a loot box microtransaction system along with an obligatory multiplayer invasion-like vendetta mode and a similar social conquest mode for fortress assaults, because otherwise microtransactions wouldn't make any sense or money.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War will feature a loot box system with a microtransaction scheme. The industry as a whole, and WB and Monolith in particular, haven't forgotten how to make games and money without mutliplayer and microtransactions, they are just trying to help players out who simply can't find the time to play their game's more grindy bits. Then why not replace the grindy bits with a more thoughtfully designed progression curve you ask? I wouldn't know.
"Gold is a form of in-game currency awarded in small amounts at specific milestones and for participating in community challenges. It can also be purchased for real money through the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store and by adding funds to your Steam Wallet. Along with Mirian, Gold can be used to purchase Loot Chests, War Chests and Boosts from the Market", the official announcement from WB explains.
Essentially, anything you can get with gold, is available in-game anyway, with some extra effort. Seems fair, right?
What is extra fishy about the system is how WB and Monolith are reaching impressive levels of duplicity through the way in which players will be able to acquire extra currency in-game. To get more stuff faster, players are given the option of taking part in social conquest and vendetta missions. These are basically the game's multiplayer component.
The player, by participating in these, is generating value and content for other players. By creating a fortress for other players to conquer or conquering one themselves, or by interacting with other players via vendetta missions, the player is also generating value and content for WB as well.
So if WB can't get you to pay for loot boxes with money, they will make sure to get something out of the deal that they can use - the player's time and attention aren't free or useless. Those are some Zynga tier design ideas.
We will know exactly how the system is designed, whether it can be safely ignored without hampering gameplay, and if it was shoved into the game for making some money on the fly when the game finally launches 10 October 2017.