Cosplay And Runes In Free Shadow of Mordor DLC


If you’ve been playing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for a while, you’re probably thinking “Hey! Why did Johnny Stabman here stop being so angsty? I miss that angst! When will he be angsty again?” Well, my friend, you’re in luck. Warner Bros. yesterday released a free little DLC pack with a costume that lets you dress like a… I was thinking like a black metal lifestyler, but look how chipper and delightful the Vegan Black Metal Chef is. Why can’t Johnny Stabman be more like him?

Perhaps the free Epic-level runes the pack gives you too might cheer him up.

Technically the new outfit you get to wear is the Black Hand of Sauron. Gasp! Yes — the very chap whose murders who turned John Knives into Johnny Stabman in the first place! Dressing up as the murderer of your wife and child while slaughtering hundreds of orcs is a weird way to grieve, but I suppose we all do it differently.

Perhaps more appealing is a bundle of three fancy runes for your murdertools. Our John (Walker, not Knives) very kindly snapped screenshots for me of Elven Grace for your sword, Ascendant for a bow, and One With Nature to slap onto your stabbing stick.

The ‘Power of Shadow’ DLC is free on Steam. It’s an odd little thing, reminding me of retailer-exclusive pre-order bonus DLC packs, but hey, it’s a freebie!


  1. MuscleHorse says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this, but was a little confused by everyone saying how difficult it was. If you’ve had any experience with the Arkham games the fighting is a cinch. I was slaughtering orcs right out of the gate, and found the endgame far too easy. I only really had to resort to stealth for specific captains with especially troublesome traits. I would love for them to add a hard mode for my inevitable replay.

    • Luringen says:

      Found it a bit too easy as well, the only challenge being commanders with poison arrows.

      • welverin says:

        What about explosive arrows? Those occasionally got me. There were a number of times I’d be beating up some schmucks and then BOOM! I was down half my life.

        Mostly though I only had trouble later on when I got in a big in a big brawl and didn’t pay attention to my health.

    • noom says:

      I thought so too, though as you say that may just have been down to experience with the Batman games. It could’ve done with some more challenging enemies in the second half I feel.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeah, I was surprised by just how much I am enjoying the game. I was very sceptical before release but it’s wonderful.

      But I do wish there was a harder difficulty because it is quite easy. I often find myself purposefully wading into a brawl with low health just for a bit of danger.

      My absolute favourite thing bout the game, however, is the photo mode which is pure genius

    • Shooop says:

      The difficulty curve is inverted for this game. It’s hardest at the beginning. When you have the ability to insta-kill two orcs with one combo to get the more troublesome ones (defenders and berserkers) out of the picture quickly and understand how to exploit weaknesses better it gets much easier.

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    I’m starting a petition to replace all instances of ‘perhaps’ with ‘mayhaps.’

  3. CKScientist says:

    Er, those runes look a bit over powered. Reduce damage received by 25%? 2x duration bullet time? Immunity to poison (one of the biggest threats, I found)?

    I think players would be better off without this DLC.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I agree. Those runes are HUGELY powerful. Still, they might be good for a less experienced player who is just starting out.

      • AshRolls says:

        I’m a compulsive min-max-er and wouldn’t be able to resist equipping these even though they would damage the game for me. Luckily I’ve already completed and uninstalled it, so I don’t have to face that dilemma.

    • PoulWrist says:

      It’s reduce by 50%. And seems like yes, something that would be in a specific preorder package or something. One of those things that ruins the game when you start with them, but for some people it could be fun later.

      • Cleave says:

        Yeah but it’s 50% reduction 50% of the time, so 25% on average.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Yeah, way way OP.
      Did anyone actually even care about runes by the end? About half way or so I stopped bothering with them completely and just sold the ones I had.

      • Snidesworth says:

        A few runes can drastically alter how you play. Get a high level rune that gives you health on drain/brand actions, get the combat drain skill and your survivability in big brawls increases massively. It meant I could make comebacks after getting battered rather than having to turn tail and run. Overall, however, I found that the utility of runes varied massively. Those that only give you a percentage chance of something happening are asking to be stacked or ignored, while others give you guaranteed returns that only grow in power at higher levels. There are also some runes that have a chance of regenerating 5 or 10 health points when you perform a specific action while others give you a whole 20%+ of your max health back for an equivalent one.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Runes combination can be as powerful as giving you almost unlimited “Legolas Mode” as long as you keep headshotting, which is easy even on a gamepad when stuff moves so slow.

        When your arrows are depleted you have enough chain points to combat brand something, and you can do it twice with the right talent, which replenishes a lot of your stock as the above post suggests.

        Rinse and repeat, start shooting heads again with your focus still on 100% since that’s how you left it after your last arrow from before.

        Yes, it’s sort of broken.

      • zentropy says:

        Yeah, I find the runes generally quite uninspiring. Although I am having fun stacking stuff and achieving what TNP mentions above. :)

    • yogibbear says:

      These runes are ALREADY in the game. The DLC just gives them to you straight away rather than forcing you to hunt for the epic runes in the game. i.e. DLC is broken more so than the runes themselves are broken. I already have Elven Grace myself and it isn’t that powerful.

      • Bobtree says:

        Thanks Yogi, that’s exactly what I needed to know. I don’t need a DLC for costume + cheats.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    No smiling allowed in games |:(

    Those runes have some pretty awful black metal names, awful because they’re the kind of names that get taken by bands who use keyboards and/or have folk tendencies and get signed to Century Media or Nuclear Blast *shudder*

  5. Tuhalu says:

    I suspect the rune for the sword is supposed to be Elven Grace (because that’s what the linked picture says). Elven Grave does sound a little less like it might prance though.

    • Monggerel says:

      I think there was a weapon named “Elfsplitter” in Skyrim. It was the weapon of the very first white man in Elder Scrolls history.
      He was extremely xenophobic, you see.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        …He was also rich and straight.

      • zentropy says:

        Haha, didn’t know that. Awesome name! Would however fit better on a massive Battleaxe or something similar. :3

        • Monggerel says:

          I must apologize, that weapon was just called “Ysgramor’s Axe” after the Whitest Of Them All.

          On the other hand, it actually has an enchantment on it that makes it deal double damage to all elves (the enchantment I think is called “Elf Hater”).
          Holy shit this is even better.

  6. udat says:

    I am pretty sure I already found that “One with Nature” rune in the game after a death threat on a warchief. It is handy for large brawls where there are loads of dudes with poison weapons.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    Vegan Black Metal Chef uses a suicidal amount of salt… Which I guess is canonical.

    • Golden Pantaloons says:

      His biggest sin is all the tinned crap though. Chop some fresh garlic, dammit.

  8. Crimsoneer says:

    I’m a little t orn on getting the Season Pass for this. Loved the game, and would love more, but once you’ve “finished” the game, there is little incentive to grow back other than to farm more lv20 warchiefs, which gets old awful quick.

  9. Noxman says:

    Wait a tick. Is that actually how you appear in-game with the costume? So it’s not dressing like the Black Hand but literally changing models with the Black Hand. Or am I seeing it wrong? Like, that just seems pretty damn lazy, i’m sure you could replace the characters model with just about any of the models in-game since most of them are humanoids of similar height (almost certainly mostly using the same skeletons).

    Personally I think it’s a little fishy referencing stuff like this as DLC. It seems companies love to do this, but we should be wary. Free stuff is great and you should be thankful for it but don’t let them consider it in the same ilk as something you might pay for. There is a significant trend of paid DLC currently for smaller and smaller amounts of content which we nurture at our peril. I just feel like letting them call this DLC as if its the equivalent of paid content makes things too easy for large companies, they get excessive goodwill as a result.

    I can understand that for many people DLC just means stuff you can download and whether it is paid for or not is irrelevant but lets not pretend. DLC is overwhelmingly used to reference content you pay for. This is all aside from season passes, not really pertinent here but man season passes. What depths of corporate Hades came up with that one.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It doesn’t look like the same model to me, the overall body shape still looks like Talion and a lot of details are adapted to his loadout, let alone the fact that the armor itself seems less bulky.

      I’m also pretty sure that the Black Hand dude was far more slender and taller.