Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has been back on gamer's radars for the last month or so, in part because of its hotly anticipated upcoming sequel, Shadow of War, and in part because of its $3.99 price tag during the now-ended Steam Summer Sale. Those who purchased the game recently also got a bonus surprise when Monolith Productions announced that you can import your biggest Nemesis and your greatest Follower from Shadow of Mordor to your next playthrough in Shadow of War.
What Monolith didn't tell us is that the Nemesis Forge system is much more complicated than meets the eye, and it certainly takes a bit more care than to just click an import/export button from the main menu. In this guide we'll go over what the Nemesis Forge is and how to use it.
It's a Whole New Game Mode
In fairness to all the outlets that reported the Nemesis Forge as just a way to import characters from one game to another, the advertising for the Nemesis Forge update seemed to suggest little else. The video above even appears to go directly from the main menu to a Nemesis and Follower selection screen, as though it were just another menu option available without launching the actual game. But this isn't the case. The Nemesis Forge is its own unique game mode. When you click on the Nemesis Forge button in the main menu, it will actually take you in-game to this screen.
The map you find in this game mode will be entirely empty of anything except for these Nemesis Encounters. From there, you can interact with Nemeses and gain Followers. Upon the release of Shadow of War, your most-hated Nemesis and your most loyal follower will be imported to your Shadow of War playthrough (assuming its on the same platform).
You will be presented with a similar menu as shown in the trailer. It will have 25 Uruks, who are all potential Nemeses/Followers, all of whom you can interact with in-game. If you've already completed the main campaign of Shadow of Mordor, this menu will contain the Nemeses you interacted with the most, in order from left to right and top to bottom. If you haven't completed the campaign, you will be given 25 random Uruks as potential Nemeses. Uruks from the main story and form the DLC will not be included on this list, and dead nemeses will usually not be included either (although some players have reported this as a possibility).
How To Choose Your Nemeses
So, the Nemesis System in Shadow of Mordor was actually lacking in a few areas. For one, higher-skilled players wouldn't get the opportunity to get to know these Nemeses and build a story because they would just appear as one-off enemies who are quickly dispatched. That same problem exists in the Nemesis Forge system.
The Nemesis Forge system tracks the enemies you "interact" with the most, but it doesn't necessarily tell you what that means. In Shadow of Mordor, interacting with a potential Nemesis consists of fighting against them, making them retreat, dying to them, sending death threats and marking them as a target, in addition to a few other potential interactions. But, if you never die to them, never let them escape when trying to retreat, and kill them, these interactions will be all for naught, as a dead Nemesis is no Nemesis at all.
But, there are a few workarounds. For one, you can use Worms to send death threats to Captain, which gives them a considerable boost to their power. If you want to go the more exploitative way, though, you can simply mark a desired Uruk as a target, unmark them and mark them again, repeating this process until that target is your Nemesis. Each time you mark an Uruk as a target, it increases its power, and it doesn't decrease by unmarking that Uruk, so you can pretty easily choose whichever one you want. Keep in mind, that this is only a small boost to power, so the Uruks lower on the list can require dozens and dozens of marks in order to actually become your nemesis.
Before finishing out the Nemesis Forge system, it's important that you think hard about which Follower and which Uruk you want to bring to your Shadow of War playthrough as your Nemesis. Their abilities and their weaknesses will play a big part in Shadow of War, with the game's new Fortress Assault system, which injects a healthy dose of tactics into what was once a near-mindless hack-and-slash.
Your Nemesis will likely become a leader of a fortress in Shadow of War, which means that killing him will become a primary goal in the course of your playthrough. That means you'll want to pick one with a set of weaknesses that are vulnerable your strengths and a set of strengths that won't expose your weaknesses. For example, if you rely on combat finishers, make sure you don't land on a Nemesis that is strong against combat finishers. Likewise, your Follower will likely fight alongside you in the course of these new Fortress Assaults, so you want to make sure he has a set of strengths that will be formidable in battle.
Fortunately, if the Nemesis Forge, you already have all the intel you need on all of the potential Nemeses/Followers, so you can see all their strengths and weaknesses. You can still lean on Worms to send death threats to Nemeses and further increase their rank.