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Shadows of Mordor's Sequel, Gaming and Gambling

Shadow of Mordor 2

So the sequel to the popular Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor has micro-transactions. They are loot boxes; for folks who may not know, they are randomized rewards. You have no control over what you'll get. Now you'll find opinions, fact articles and many other thoughts on the sequel in general and micro-transactions. Yet here I want to talk about gambling. No matter your stance on gambling, I feel this will slowly become a more prevalent thing in mainstream gaming, adding random loot box prizes or card packs. So here we are going to talk about gambling from a faith based and business perspective.

Luke 12:15: Take heed and beware of covetousness - for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. It is this quote that fits gambling best I would say. Too often people associate gambling to the slot machines and roulette wheels only. Remember, no matter your stance on gambling, it will lead to covetousness: you will want that skin, that rare card. Those who delve into this vice will risk becoming enveloped in the sins of envy and greed. Do not write it off as a phase just because it's not gambling for money.

Whether you feel gambling is a vile thing or not, understand that activities that involve playing the odds in anything requires a certain amount of mental toughness. If you let yourself get addicted to gambling, you won't have any medicines or physical therapies you can do to get it out of your mind. Gambling is a very strong addiction if you let it become one. Yet whatever's making money is going to follow in business. These game publishers know people will pay to make a game faster and they will exploit that without a care about someone's risk to gambling addiction. On record I’ll say that I am against loot box style micro-transactions in retail priced products that are not cosmetic only. These randomized rewards are usually designed into the game to test the gamers patience in earning them by grinding in game. Also on record, keep in mind whether you hate gambling or not, casinos are regulated in many ways including age restriction and government regulation to make sure the casino isnt cheating folks out of their money. The exploitation of those who will spend money to take a gamble at getting that "legendary" prize will most likely become more common in the games industry.

However, if you're a parent with a little gamer, keep these things in mind if they are spending that allowance on any loot box micro-transaction no matter the game.

Talk to your kids about the odds and reality: teach them that unlike buying a in-game skin or toy directly, they might not get what they want if they take the risk. Tell them if they spend their whole allowance on a loot box or card pack and they don't get what they want, that's on them. Don't let them expect an extra twenty if they didn't get the prize they wanted. Make sure they understand as well, unlike a investment or solid item, if the game shuts down, all that money they invest in randomized digital items gets flushed down the toilet.

Consider monitoring what your kids are spending money on: hey, I get kids need a little bit of room and trust, especially when learning the value of a dollar, yet if you know your little gamer has a bit of a self-control problem, keep watch on what they are buying. If they are spending a bit too fast on loot boxes or card packs, intervene as necessary.

Teach them about the tough sides to the value of a dollar early: tell your kid that if they spend their allowance fast they lose out on a lot. This can be things such as not having enough for a bag of chips on the way home from school or missing out on a sale. They are out of luck, aren't they? If they learn fast then responsibility will surely follow. Some people may find this a bit mean, but tough love can work.

So while a lot of discussion is already going on about the Shadow of Mordor sequel or loot boxes in general, please at least keep in mind that one way or another any randomized micro-transaction is still gambling. No matter your stance on if it's OK to spend money on these things or not. Please be responsible. After all if you can't provide for your family, according to Timothy 5:8, maybe that makes you worse than a non believer? Even if you're not a person of faith, sure would stink if you couldn't eat that day because you spent your money to try and get some "legendary" equipment or a skin in-game, right?

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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