Meet the boys of Shadow Of War’s Desolation Of Mordor

A new cinematic trailer for the second (and final?) story expansion for Middle-earth: Shadow Of War introduces the brothers who’ll stab orcs into a sandy new land. They’re off to the land of Lithlad, which sounds like the name of an electro-powered superhero’s sidekick. Here, watch the new Desolation Of Mordor trailer.

They certainly seem more interesting than Johnny Stabman and his ghostpal Aiden. I’m up for their adventure.

WB explain a little more about the two and their trailer:

“The new video spotlights Baranor, the Captain of Minas Ithil, who has escaped the fallen city’s demise and is now reunited with his lost brother, Serka. Together, the two warriors must hire an army of human mercenaries to combat a new Orc threat to the East, endure the harsh desert region of Lithlad and ultimately conquer the imposing Marauder fortress of Shindrâm.”

As for what it’s actually like, check out this recent dev livestream:

Desolation of Mordor will arrive next Tuesday, May 8th, priced at £16 by itself or coming in the £20 story expansion pass or £33 full expansion pass.

Two months after that, in July, the game will remove its maligned paid lootboxes. The microtransactions made the game worse for all players whether they bought ’em or not, see, either irritating with their presence or seeing players skip over rivalries – one of the game’s more interesting parts. A winning idea, those lootboxes.


  1. Squermit says:

    I still will not buy this game on principle.

  2. falcon2001 says:

    I was originally in the camp of ‘I liked this game and the DLC doesn’t detract that much’, but ultimately I moved into the ‘wow, this game would be better without it’. Planning on replaying when they remove it, the core game’s pretty fun.

  3. Gordon Shock says:

    Isn’t Lord of the Rings prejudice in the sense that Caucasians are the good guys and from Gondor and the bad guys are the Haradrim and are black/middle eastern men? Even Jackson portray it so in the films.

    I am not at all for that and it actually sucks but still, revisionism?

    • Lightningproof says:

      Seems relatively minor compared to sexy Shelob and A New Ring of Power, tbf.

    • gi_ty says:

      Given that it was written shortly after WW1 I believe that yes there is underlying predjudice if you wish to interpret it that way. Taking a different view I wouldn’t expect a huge amount of ethnic diversity in different regions. Travel would take a long time and be very dangerous, so much like societies before the advent of easy safe travel in the real world.
      It is lame that the “good guys” are caucasian for the most part, but given its roots in Britain it makes sense. Could some revisionism correct this? Certainly! The point is though that it isn’t neccessarily prejudice by default, just because of where it came from. We don’t complain when the majority of characters are only Black, Asian or Arabic in media that arises in these regions.

    • Lawlcopt0r says:

      Well you’re kinda overstating that. In one of the few scenes that feature the Haradrim Sam wonders about a fallen soldier what lies and pressures made him go to war in the name of Sauron. Yes the dark skinned people is one that is fighting for the evil side, but none of the human groups are portrayed as inherently good or inherently evil, hell even the Gondorians only live in Gondor because the “chosen people” started to listen to Sauron and the gods destroyed their homeland as punishment. It follows that the Haradrim listening to Sauron doesn’t really make them inferior, they just haven’t learned that lesson yet.

      Oh and after Sauron falls they are mentioned to surrender honourably which kinda makes them redeemable (the orcs just go crazy and jump into chasms etc)

    • Creeping Death says:

      There are only a few instances in LotR in which Tolkien even remotely hints at skin colour. Frodo is described as being “lighter than usual” for a Shire Hobbit due to his Fallohide ancestry and Concerning Hobbits describes Harfoots, the most common of Hobbit as “browner of skin, smaller and shorter”. Anything else is entirely outside sources interpretation.

      Peter Jackson is hardly an expert in Tolkien’s work.

    • shde2e says:

      If they’re going to rewrite something, might as well be this.

      Also, even Tolkien noted that they weren’t completely chaotic evil like the Orcs were. The Good Guys showed the Evil humans considerably more grace and honour than to the Orcs, including burying them after a battle (while the Orcs get thrown on a pile and burned).

      • Gomer_Pyle says:

        IIRC in the books, Aragorn also makes peace with them after he becomes king. Well at least the ones who accept his peace offers.

    • ChiefOfBeef says:

      It’s not allegory and Tolkien clearly expressed this as well as the issues he has with allegory in fiction more generally in the preface to later editions of The Fellowship of The Ring. He points to several important changes he would have made to the story had he intended it to be allegorical.

      What the stories of Middle-Earth do have though is ‘sign-posting’. The Men of the West and their allies are broadly the good guys, all of whom happen to be light-skinned. The followers of Morgoth and Sauron though are not, except for the traitors. This is not meant to take a certain point of view from real-life and express it through fiction though, but build a world which has it’s own rules which must make sense and must be stuck to. In every depiction of a feudal society, where you have outsiders among a mono-ethnic and mono-cultural people, their presence must at least explicable even if it isn’t outright explained. There are no non-white Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Numenor-descended Men because Tolkien did not see why it would matter.

      • Gordon Shock says:

        See, that’s why I love this site so much. I merely put a question out there and people only had thoughtful and constructive things to say about it.

        My post anywhere else and, well….

      • LexW1 says:

        “There are no non-white Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Numenor-descended Men because Tolkien did not see why it would matter.”

        Well that’s a slightly strange thing to say, because there are no white Hobbits or Dwarves either, and it’s arguable as to whether Elves are close enough to human to count (probably they are). Certainly elves are fair of skin, but what little we known from Tolkien suggests Hobbits are darker-skinned than “white people” (from context, probably tanned-looking on average), as are dwarves. Frodo’s lightness is probably to connect him to the elves by ancestry.

        “It’s not allegory and Tolkien clearly expressed this as well as the issues he has with allegory in fiction more generally in the preface to later editions of The Fellowship of The Ring.”

        This however is very true. But I think I would dispute:

        “did not see why it would matter”

        I think Tolkien CAME to see how it would matter, and that’s part of why he became so very insistent it was not allegory. I’m not suggesting he was being anything less than truthful – I don’t think he ever consciously intended it as allegory, despite the tons of stuff people read into it (Tom Bombadil = hippies, whole hippy movement, Sauron = Hitler or Stalin, etc. etc.), but I think he did certainly become conscious that it might be a bit off to have only dark-skinned human baddies. But there are few human baddies actually shown in LotR at all, and in the greater LotR universe it seems like there have been countless awful humans who were from the paler-skinned lines (though we still know little about the other areas).

    • Greg Wild says:

      Ultimately this is a problem with the way in which Tolkien (and thus, all derivative western fantasy) basically just modelled his fantasy world on a distorted version of Earth. The most obvious problem is that Middle Earth is portrayed in significantly more detail than other parts of the world. Even to the extent it’s geographically much larger in proportion to the rest of the world. I don’t necessarily blame Tolkien. He grew up in elite education in the heart of a racist Imperial empire. Even if it wasn’t malicious, the fractal he viewed the world view distorted his ability to see the rest of the world.

      Modern fantasy authors have no such excuse, though it’s a little tricky with licensed works.

      • klops says:

        I’d say that’s not a problem of portraying a fantasy world. That’s how humans usually portray the world.

        Ask people (also outside elitistic, imperial cultures) to draw a world map and it’s very likely they’ll make the region they live much bigger and detailed compared to the rest of the map.

        I also don’t see why a fantasy story should have an entire, realistic world built around it to support some usually naive and badly-written story. Tolkien was really, really into/obsessed with worldbuilding, languages and genealogies, and did that stuff for his enjoyment, if I remember that part correctly. Still, the result is a “medieval society” that does not really evolve during thousands of years and is not really close to anything to real world.

        So briefly, if you want to make a story (in case of fantasy, very often a generic and naive story) why would you waste years of your life into building a believable world around it? You wouldn’t do that for nonfiction in the real world either. Limiting/constraining your work is usually good for your work.

        If I wanted to make a story happening on 1200th century Ireland, why should I start to look into what happened in Southeast Asia, South America and Australia during those days? Of course, if it worked it would be great, but it’s much more likely that it didn’t. Not covering everything isn’t the same thing as having a distorted view on the world.

        So of course the main area of the book is covered in significantly more detail than the rest of the world.

        • LexW1 says:

          Tolkien is why fantasy worlds have a whole, realistic world, so it’s a bit funny to say you “don’t see why” in this context.

          There’s tons of great fantasy that does little/no world-building, and tons that does really thorough world-building, too.

          As for 12th-century Ireland, well, you kind of cheated didn’t you?

          You intentionally picked areas not even in slight contact with Ireland in that period, which is not what we’re discussing. It would be more like “The Mediterranean” or “North Africa” to be comparable to this example, and yeah actually you probably should research what was going on in those places if you’re trying to write a good book, because they absolutely were in contact with Ireland in the 1100s.

          As for Tolkien, he is a great writer, but denying he had a distorted view of the world isn’t helpful or truthful. He did, certainly at the age when he was writing LotR.

          • klops says:

            I already said that Tolkien din’t have a whole, realistic world. Couple millenia era of middle ages is nothing but. Even if Tolkien had a realistic world, I still see no reason why you should build an entire world around a certain story if the entire world isn’t part of the story.

            Let’s make the Ireland example less cheaty then. If I made a story in 2018 Ireland, why should I tell about Southeast Asia, South America, Australia, Mediterranean or even UK next door if there wasn’t a reason? All those places would be faster to reach than Dublin from a small village couple hundred miles away during the 13th century.

            Why should Tolkien tell about Easterling’s daily life no more than why Haruki Murakami, Toni Morrison or Leo Tolstoy should start to write about Korea, Mexico or Poland while writing their stories in Japan, USA or Russia (sure, they could have, I haven’t read all their works)? Are their world views distorted or are they writing working stories? Should we discuss about Burma in this comment section or are our views just too distorted?

            If you pick up _any_ book, you have to agree that certain area is covered in much more detail than others. Denying that isn’t helpful or truthful.

    • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

      After seeing black soldier in a nazi uniform, nothing will ever surprise in modern gaming.

      Though it’s nice to see Monolith still banking on solid dialog writing that constantly keeps characters in active interaction between each other and very above the average voice acting that can drive any narrative through the bumpiest roads of uncanny valley of realtime rendering.

  4. yabonn says:

    Cool acting. Is it Michael Mando?

    • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

      One of the actors is Ike Amadi. Don’t know the one that chewed through the whole scenery (including the boom operator), but it’s definitely not Michael Mando.

  5. doodler says:

    I picked up the first one’s GOTY for $10 and don’t plan on spending more than that on this one. I had wanted to make it up to them when this was announced by making this a day one purchase but then the announcement of microtransactions came out and it was immediately shelved. The last Deus Ex rubbed me the wrong way even though I got some things free since it was a preorder it really bothered me that they could literally only be used once. Not once per character, once. For someone who played the first game to death(I have the no kills for the entire game achievement and I also knocked everyone unconscious while doing it) I barely scratched the surface before I realized how much those transactions rubbed me the wrong way.

    I’m glad they took the microtransactions out of this but I’ll wait to get it in a humblebundle in a few months.

  6. Scelous says:

    I definitely enjoyed Shadow of War and thought it was worth every penny. I enjoyed the story DLC so far, and am eagerly awaiting the release of this next one.

    I get why people are opposed to games that have microtransactions. For multiplayer games, I am too. But I do think Shadow of War is being treated very unfairly.

    I wish the best for the SoW dev team, as I’ve been enjoying Monolith Productions work since I played Blood in high school.