Saturday Morning Gaming: Gaming Orc-Controlled Castles
I’m still playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and still having a blast with it.
One of the little things the game has as part of its gameplay is the ability to recruit Orc Captains and level them up through fighting (or through spending accumulated upgrades on them). Once you start capturing castles, you can install the various captains and have them be in charge of the various defensive positions.
And THEN, you can jump online and attack the castles of other people who are also playing the game and who have done the exact same thing.
It’s a sweet little mechanic. There is absolutely no risk to the defender. Sure, you’re likely to defeat his various Orc Captains but they’ll still be in his castle, untouched (as far as he’s concerned). The only risk is to the attacker. When you attack with your preferred Orc Captains, if your Captains die, they die in your regular game as well.
What this means is that you really, really want to collect Orc Captains that are tough BUT, and here’s the rub, if you were able to beat them: Other people will be able to beat them. So, like, if you get an Orc because you’re really good at the over-jump-frost move, well, that means that your Orc is going to be just as easily defeated by attackers. So, ideally, you want an Orc that is impossible to defeat in battle, right? Well, how are you going to capture one of those?
Well, the easiest way to get one of those is to get an Orc that has particular weaknesses that won’t come into play. Like an Orc Captain that is vulnerable to stealth? That is the perfect Orc to put in charge of a castle. When an attacker manages to beat all of the other Orcs on the way to the center, he’ll probably do it by taking advantage of the various weaknesses the Captains have. But in the Throne Room itself? There’s no opportunity for Stealth! (Also: Morgai Flies are a great vulnerability for an Overlord of a castle. Ain’t no hives in the Throne Room! If you somehow manage to get one with both vulnerabilites in your sights, RUN DO NOT WALK and capture him and raise him to max level. You’ll probably need to use Stealth and/or Morgai Flies.)
Anyway, after you’ve gotten your castles built the way you want them and start attacking other castles (and going up the ranks), you’re going to find that there are more or less three groups of castles you’re going to encounter:
- The guy who played through the main story and didn’t really do the online stuff that much. These castles are, more or less, pushovers.
- The guy who played through the main story and got into the online stuff but never got to level 80. So you’re going to deal with the castles that have thoughtful defense but the Castles are pretty beatable if you take them seriously.
- The guy who realized that there is an algorithm that the game uses to match attackers up with defenders… and this algorithm is GAMABLE.
It’s #3 that frustrated me as I went up through the ranks.
The problem is that when you’re level 55 or so, and you’ve been taking the game seriously, you’re going to find yourself going up against a lot of #2 kinda castles that have fully populated castles and your attack rating and their defense rating will be more or less within a handful of points of each other.
But then you go up against a castle that doesn’t have any defensive positions manned at all. You’re really just running through the castle on the way to the throne room… where there is a level 80 Captain who has vulnerabilities only to Morgai Flies and Stealth. And, sure, he’s worth a LOT of defensive points! But if he’s the only guy in the castle defending it, he’s going to be the only thing measured by the algorithm.
Which will match him up quite regularly with people around level 55 or so. On top of that, if you somehow manage to beat the Orc Captain, you can’t even add (a copy of) him to your own garrison because he’s level 80 and you’re not!
And that’s frustrating as heck.
But, as I said, I’m still playing the game and finding it to be an absolute hoot.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is “DSCF0952” by dayglowill. Used under creative commons license.)