Something amazing happened to Shadow of War a year after its debut. Monolith and Warner Bros. decided to change everything. It went into the game to completely remove the parts asking people to keep coughing up money and improve elements to add longevity. This all happened without asking, mind you. It brings up a thought. Should we be returning to these games that might not have been immediate sensations or 100% perfect at launch? Are we being too judgmental too soon about titles and not giving them the opportunity to make things right?
Let’s talk about Shadow of War for a while. The July 2018 free update is huge. It makes changes people wanted and might not have known they wanted back when the game launched. All the microtransactions have been removed. The things people used to be able to buy are unlocked in the Garrison through gameplay instead. There is no reason to pay more for anything. And, when you get to that post-game content, it is going to feel better. Instead of being the Shadow Wars, they are an Epilogue with new narration, Masks of Nazgul rewards, and new abilities. We get skins that let you look like characters like Celebrimbor. Even the Nemesis system is better, since we have more Training Order options, more Legendary Orcs, and followers who actually give us gifts. It really is a lot.
And it changes the game as a result. While a lot of the Shadow of War changes are designed for returning players, as evidenced by the new Epilogue and option to start a new game or return to our current one after the real end, many of these changes are quality of life adjustments that make it more timeless. We have more orcs! We don’t have to spend more money. Things are more self-contained and substantial. It makes things feel much different than it did before, especially in regards to the post-game.
No Man’s Sky is in a similar position. When Hello Games launched it in 2016, it came nowhere near the hype and expectations that had been built up. There was not a level of interactivity people expected. A lot was missing, like story, lore, and interactions with others. Now, with the Xbox One version on the way, everything is changing. The Next iteration launches in July 2018 and brings with it multiplayer options with parties, more complex colonies, improved base building options, visual updates that make the textures look better, and even an option to have a fleet of frigates. Again, it is a similarly huge update.
So No Man’s Sky finds itself in the same position as Shadow of War. It may still not be what was promised ahead of launch, but substantial improvements have been made. There are more options to build and grow on planets. We finally have a way to really connect with other players in the game. It is like a game that originally offered little reason to keep coming back to explore. Now, with a galaxy that is more populated and is getting further updates, things are looking up.
We could even say this has happened with Fortnite. Back before its Battle Royale element was released, it was a paid early access game. The Save the World mode portion was all that existed. There were even physical copies released in stores by Gearbox. It only caught fire when the free-to-play, Battle Royale aspect of it launched in September 2017. And even now, if someone does go to get the paid campaign portion the price tends to be 50% of what it was when that launched in early 2017. It is rare to see it cost more than $20. Well, unless you are going for one of those now rare physical copies. Those go for about $450 on the secondhand market.
It is time to consider going back to games that might not have been perfect. There are too many titles now that have gotten substantial updates. Creators have gone back to make a difference and fix what is wrong. They are trying to make them both better and more timeless. Instead of being quick to judge, people should be willing to give them a second chance a year or two later.