‘Shadow Of Mordor’ sequel beefs up the Nemesis System

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The Nemesis System was arguably Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s best quality. It let you manipulate battles by working your way through the ranks of the orc army, systematically chopping it off at its head. Judging by a live demonstration of the series’ sequel, Shadow of War, at GDC last week, the team at Monolith Productions is working on an even more compelling Nemesis System.

Olog-hai Overlords and Conquering Fortresses

In Shadow of War, instead of just taking down warchiefs, you’ll be taking on overlords reigning over their fortresses and strongholds, too, in what the developers are calling fort conquest missions. And while you’ll still be killing off uruk-hai forces, you’ll also be tackling a new enemy: the massive olog-hai trolls.

The live demo at GDC started off at the mountain valley of Seregost. Though we were given a glimpse at some tougher fortresses — the ones deeper into Mordor, by Mount Doom — this particular fortress is more entry-level and takes place earlier on in the game. In this game, the Seregost fortress is ruled over by Sauron’s overlord ur-Hakon the Dragon, an olog-hai. Monolith’s Ellie Knapp, helming the controls during this demo, will have to take down several warchiefs before getting to tackle him, though.

Who those warchiefs are will influence (and are influenced by) players’ choice of tactics. In this demo, for instance, Knapp has to face the Storm-Bringer, who has a cursed weapon that will block players’ ring abilities. The Flame of War, the next warchief Knapp has to kill, deals in fire damage. Fortunately, one of her armored, caragor-riding allies is best suited to tackle exactly that kind of scenario. “Warchiefs can actually change [a fortress’s] defenses,” Michael de Plater, VP of creative at Monolith, said while narrating for the demonstration. “So because of his abilities with fire, you’re going to be facing flaming caragors, fire archers, boiling oil.”

Scoping out a fortress to learn more about who you’ll be up against works similarly to scoping out warchiefs in Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System. In Shadow of Mordor, a battle screen popped up that let you zoom in on uruk-hai enemies to assess their weaknesses, ranking, associations, etc. This let you plan your attack accordingly, deciding to go for a frontal approach or maybe deciding to go after the orc’s associates to gather more intel before getting aggressive. Uruk-hai would shift ranks within the Nemesis System if you managed to kill your target, or your target would get more powerful if they managed to escape. More powerful and more pissed off at your existence, that is.

Fortress conquests in Shadow of War are a little more in-depth than that. You still pull up a similar battle screen, but it’ll give you a rundown of the hierarchy in that fortress. You can see all that same information — rankings, special abilities, weaknesses — but there’s an important difference in this demo of the game: there’s a spy, too. In Shadow of War, you can infiltrate fortresses before you attempt to overtake them by placing a spy in the enemy ranks. This particular spy, a former bodyguard-turned-warchief named Deadeye, is a sniper that you managed to shuffle around in the ranks to warchief status by assassinating one of the previous warchiefs within the walls of the fortress.

The Nemesis System Is Now About Your Army, Too

The Nemesis System also now includes followers as well as enemies, which means that personalized gameplay/narrative aspect from Shadow of Mordor now includes more than just stories of death and revenge. Deadeye plants a set of explosives that lets you easily blow a hole through the fortress’s defenses — but he actually saves your life, too. Just as the Storm-Bringer is about to land a strike on you, Deadeye snipes him from a distance. “Now we can have stories of saviours like Deadeye, stories of loyalty, of betrayal and grow to become stories of friendship,” de Plater said.

Capturing a fortress requires players to capture certain points first. “The larger a fortress is, the more garrisons it has and the more warchiefs are defending it, the more of those victory points you’ll need to capture,” de Plater explained in an interview. “It can be two [victory points], [or] it could be as much as six.”

He wouldn’t say exactly whether or not your newly-claimed fortresses could be invaded, but he mentioned you’d be “defending” them, so I can only imagine that will eventually be part of this fortress capture gameplay.

Once you’ve breached the gates and walls, captured points and taken out warchiefs and the overlord reigning over the keep, you’ll be able to empower one of your own warchiefs as the fortress’s new overlord. Doing so will expand your army of followers, give you a base from which to upgrade your army and defenses, give you resources — money, experience, gear — and allow you to affect the fortress’s region based on who your chosen overlord is.

Different Orc Tribes

This leads us to another new feature in Shadow of War: orc tribes. Different orcs belong to different orc cultures, all vying for power against one another in Mordor. Picking an orc to rule over your newly-claimed fortress also means picking a certain culture of orcs and, along with it, their specialties and abilities.

“For example: this overlord is a beast master,” de Plater said, pointing to one of the allied members. “He’s from the feral tribe. They specialize in tracking, hunting, killing and taming beasts and monsters to use as part of their war machine in battle. If we were to go down and explore this part of the world, we’d be encountering some of those hunting groups and those different creatures.” Assigning a feral tribe orc as an overlord would mean having access to those beasts in your army, and would reflect in the ecosystem in that region the fortress presides over, too.

“Each region of the game is bigger than either of the two regions in Shadow of Mordor,” de Plater said. “Each region is controlled by one of these fortresses. Each fortress will represent the variety and personality of the overlord who is ruling through the nemesis system.”

The intent, de Plater said, was to transfer the first game’s idea of having unique personal enemies and stories that players created, and translate that concept into the environment in Shadow of War to create personal worlds, too.

Just like the previous game’s Nemesis System, how you go about these battles — and the friends and enemies you make during them — will change the dynamic of your game. It’s just a little more complex than it was before.

Oh, And You Can Fly A Dragon

Shadow of War will be out on Aug. 22.

This article was sourced from http://newsinhindiup.com