Middle-earth: Shadow of War due endless Shadow Wars

War, I’m told, war never changes – and nor need it end. Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] will add the option to endlessly play Shadow Wars, the fortress-assaulting mode that’s the focus of the game’s fourth act. Leif Johnson told us he grew bored of Shadow Wars before the end of the chapter but hey, if you want to endlessly attack and defend, you will get that option.

“One of the questions we’d seen a lot online is ‘When can we have endless fort defense at the end of Shadow Wars?’ and I just wanted to let you guys know that is absolutely on the way,” a Monolith fella said during a livestream the other day (pointed out by PCGN, ta).

That will launch alongside the first proper paid DLC from the game’s Expansion Pass, the Slaughter Tribe. I’m guessing that new crowd of enemies will be real into guts. No firm word yet on when this will all arrive.

Leif wrote about Shadow Wars while addressing the game’s optional microtransaction loot crates, saying that the crates were unnecessary but ten stages of forts was just too many:

“My main complaint is that the Shadow Wars do go on for too long, even with my easily conceived ‘optimal’ approach. I was already getting weary of them at the end of Stage 8, but I know much of that was the pressure to get through the whole thing with just a week or so before the embargo lifted. Were I to take the experience more leisurely, I may not have felt the same way. Even so, cutting back the Shadow Wars by half or even merely three stages would have made it far more appealing for everyone involved.”

I suppose playing Shadow Wars endlessly would be more like larking about in a sandbox than trying to work through a chore to see the game’s actual ending, mind. A place to revisit and idly cause havoc with the orcen ecosystem. Fancy a crack, gang?

Shadow of Wardor launched earlier this month. It is pretty good, our review Leif’s tell you.


  1. michael_hall24 says:

    Question for people who’ve actually played the game. Is it worth buying? I enjoyed Mordor for the combat, stealth, movement and playing with the Nemesis system (a bit, my “nemesis” at the end was an orc I didn’t remember killing…), but people’s reactions to this one have been so mixed I genuinely can’t tell whether it would be easier just to buy Mordor second hand!

    • Sire says:

      Hell yes. It’s not a game for everyone, but if you liked the first one you will definitely like the second iteration. They have improved everything without making any single element worse. I’m having a (very) bloody great time.

      • The Algerian says:

        I really wouldn’t say they didn’t make anything worse.
        The “adapting” mechanic for instance is pretty annoying when you want to stick to your own playstyle.

        And the fact that now enemies can die from just “too much damage” can make for pretty anti-climactic kills.

        I got one fight with a Captain that I ended with a leg sweep. I’d much rather finish on a clean and stylish execution.

        • spenguin says:

          I think enemies could die from just receiving too much damage in the first game as well.

          • hungrycookpot says:

            They definitely 100% can. I’m playing through the first one right now, and last night I finished off a warchief who started fleeing with an elbow to the face (part of a stun combo) when he was super low on health.

        • subprogram32 says:

          They did yes. The only exceptions were characters who specifically had a ‘hard to kill’ trait that made them execution-only kills.

    • ByrdWhyrm says:

      I’m having a lot of fun with it. The orcs and the nemesis system are even better than the first one, and the combat and stealth elements are as fun as they were in the original. The microtransactions are not too intrusive, which was a major concern. The main issue I have is that the story missions and plot are terrible (even more so than in the first), but past a certain point you can ignore it and then do a mission here or there when you want the XP dump.

    • ZigomatiX says:

      They improved on (imo) the weakest point wich was the boring environnement. Now most of the maps are forteresses with a few smaller camps around, and with great backgrounds. They feel smaller but more organic.
      The new strenghts/weakness of captains forces you to atleast use all your available tools (and even think! in the highest difficulty).
      I just reached the 2nd act were you can start branding (converting) orcs. I Don’t know if it’s due to the difficulty setting or overall balance of the game but it is now more like another standard tool than an game breaking one.

      But there is still some quirks :
      – you can’t jump-climb diagonaly
      – a lot of fights resume in parry fest
      – the camera make me so angry (no lock, long autocenter time, hard to use right stick in the thick of the fight)
      – some captain’s comeback/rise from the dead look more scripted than in SoM, but that may be due to set events in the 1st map/act.
      Also i find it wierd that killing basic Uruks doesn’t grant any XP at all.
      Overall I really enjoy the game, it feels to me like more of the same great formula.

  2. AutonomyLost says:

    I would say if you genuinely enjoyed the first, the second is simply an overall improvement and you’ll be delighted in the purchase. It has an improved engine, much more in the way of aesthetic differentiation in environments and armor, enormous sandboxes for shenanigans, etc. I enjoyed the first but didn’t finish it; with this I will surely be playing through to the end.

  3. Chromatism says:

    A question about combat difficulty for those that have played the game. I’ve heard much about the touted ‘nemesis system’, but I fell squarely into the camp of gamers who never actually experienced it in Mordor because, simply put, I didn’t die and pretty much minced everything. Later I tried a run with greatly reduced power picks and the only stumbling block there was relearning the timing required to counter a Caragor.

    I’ve heard that there is a proper difficulty setting this time around. Is it substantially harder? Or does it just do away with the button prompts such as with most Arkham Combat style games with slightly higher incoming damage? Cheers.

    • Midsjull says:

      I had the same experience in the first part. I put it on max difficulty this time and I really experience it! I die alot because of not knowing weaknesses and getting swamped by loads of uruks. I think you’d enjoy it :)

      • DuncUK says:

        I started on the hardest difficulty and in all honesty I eventually switched down. I was enjoying the challenge but it was taking me too long to make any progress as I kept getting ambushed by 2 or 3 high level Uruks and dying to arrows and spears whilst trying to flee.

        Now I’m on normal I’m finding it a bit too easy having unlocked some of the higher level abilities so I might go back. Freeze is a bit overpowered like its equivalent in the first game as it can effectively gift you 3 decent hits on any Captain (1 knockdown, 1 ground stab and then a final execution) which for many is enough to kill them outright. Killing Orc captains in seconds feels a bit cheap. That said I’m still not seeing Uruks above level 30 yet.

    • ByrdWhyrm says:

      I had the same experience in the first one, where I really had fun with the Nemesis system for the first 2 hours and then was so powerful that I could kill almost any orc I encountered. I’m playing Shadow of War on the hardest difficulty, and am finding that I’m dying a lot more, which is making a lot more interesting stories.

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      Qazinsky says:

      Also, to answer the other question, no, the hardest difficulty do not remove the button prompts (at least not the “Time to counter”-prompts).

      As for the difficulty overall, yes, way harder than the last game, but there’s still times when you meet captains that you can just easily spank to death. What I’m saying is, if you easily dispatch your first captain, don’t worry, you’ll run into berserker captains that adapt to your moves and rogues that flee at 50% health and spray flash bombs behind them while being arrow immune in no time.

      Edit: That last one is my favorite enemy thus far, actually. I was walking around, doing my own thing, when suddendly an orc in a red bandanna shows up and starts waxing lyrically about how glad he was to meet me and the advetures we’ll have together. And then he started running at 50% health. I tried to shoot him to stumble him, but he was immune to arrows. I tried to run up to him but every time I came near, he tossed bombs in my face, stopping me in my track and damaging me. The first orc I actually let escape.