Middle-Earth: Shadow of War released a free update Tuesday that added a third mode of online interaction: online fight pits. In online fight pits, players can send their Overlords to fight to the death against the Overlords of players from around the world. If they win, glory, loot and high rank await them. If they don’t, well, scratch one follower.
The fight pits was already a popular part of the Shadow of War experience, as it is as entertaining to watch as it is useful for army building. In ranked online fight pit matches, players can win special loot boxes by building up win streaks with a single Overlord. In friendly matches, players can fight their friends’ Overlords with no rewards or permanent repercussions.
To better illustrate the experience of online fight pits, I sent my Overlord of Seregost, an ugly fellow by the name of Snafú the Ruinous, to see how he would fare in combat. My opponent’s Overlord was a hulking half-troll called Ur-Kalmar Weapon Smith. Let’s see how it went.
— Felagund (@Felagund_Smash) December 7, 2017
As I looked on, the two combatants fought with every move and trait in their unique arsenals, the same as when they face Talion the Ranger in the campaign. It quickly became a battle of size and strength against speed and numbers. Not only does Snafú ride a fearsome Caragor into battle, but he also commands a group of savage warriors.
To counter the numbers, Ur-Kalmar used a smoke pellet and ranged attack to stun my Overlord, killing the Caragor in the confusion. It seemed that the massive brute might triumph as he used his inherent Olog strength to toss Snafú around the pit. Before the battle, however, I had made sure to equip Snafú with fire weapons, and these soon began to come into effect.
Every time Snafú landed a blow, hungry flames slowly ate away at Ur-Kalmar’s health. Late in the battle, the huge brute rallied, using his smoke pellets and signature punch attack to form a deadly combo. In the end, it was not enough. My follower blocked Ur-Kalmar’s last desperate blow, and then… well, you saw the epic execution at the end.
I don’t share this fight to boast about my unkillable Overlord (he died two fights later). I do it to showcase the depth and variety of combat and interactions across the armies of Mordor in Shadow of War. Any change in moves, equipment, or traits in either of the Overlords could have affected the outcome of the battle. And these aren’t even player-characters!
Online fight pits are a great addition to help explore the depth of experiences available in Shadow of War. If you plan to give it a try, make sure your Overlord is ready. Otherwise, he may end up like our friend Ur-Kalmar.
Some of Caleb’s earliest memories involve watching his father battle Ganon in A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo. Since then, his love of gaming has steadily grown, along with a passion for the written word. When not playing games or writing, Caleb can be found watching Doctor Who reruns, finding Star Wars plot elements in everything, or loudly explaining the history of the Elves. They never let him finish…