Well, You Can Sort of Turn Them Off
Microtransactions are an ever-growing aspect of modern gaming that’s in no danger of disappearing anytime soon. Most AAA games are simply going to feature this nickel-and-dime profit model going forward, and Middle Earth: Shadow of War is no exception to this rule. However, there appears to be a way to circumvent this issue, if you’re looking for a less cluttered gameplay experience.
During Shadow of War’s terms of service, there’s a checkbox you can leave blank. Doing so will prompt this warning to appear on the screen:
You will not be able to access any of the online features for Shadow of War until you agree to the data uses described on the prior screen. This includes access to the Market and online gameplay modes. Are you sure you want to continue?
If you say yes, you’re denied access to both multiplayer raiding and those dreaded microtransactions. In other words, you can opt for a pure single-player Shadow of War experience, for better and for worse. One wonders whether or not this particular escape clause works on other modern AAA games. Have we just been agreeing to deal with these tiny pay-to-win roadblocks due to our blindness regarding the terms of service?