You’ll Have To Pay Extra To Fight Sauron In Shadow Of Mordor

You’ll Have To Pay Extra To Fight Sauron In Shadow Of Mordor

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor comes out tomorrow. While Tolkien fans will be delighted to finally play a Lord of the Rings game that’s actually really, really good, others might be disappointed that Sauron doesn’t make much of an appearance. Turns out: he’s in Mordor, you just have to pay more to get to him.

With the release of Mordor just hours away, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developer Monolith Productions detailed their excellent new game’s season pass offerings this morning. Most of this is standard stuff — a few extra story missions, bonus trials, and good ol’ fashioned content like runes and alternate skins for player character Talion. But there are two things that stand out to me when I watch this new trailer:

Apparently one of the extra missions involves playing as a very important elf as he a) wields the ring of power and b) fights Sauron.

Hang on. Wielding the ring of power (the one ring that rules them all, I take it, but the language here is a little vague and I don’t want to spoil anything) and fighting Sauron, the most important super-villain in all Lord of the Rings lore? Aren’t those two of the most important things I’d be looking for in a quality LOTR video game? Why are they tucked away as extra downloadable content, for which I need to shell out more cash?

To be fair, I was extremely positive about the base Shadow of Mordor game in my review last week. A big part of what I liked about the new game is that “it doesn’t put much stock in its fiction’s most recognisable set-pieces,” since the main storyline was pretty dull anyways. I don’t mean to imply that players will be getting an incomplete experience if they don’t purchase the Sauron-killing DLC or the full season pass, therefore. I still haven’t tested any of the extra material, so there’s no telling if the Sauron-killing mission is actually interesting or just an added bit of fan-service for those hungry for it. In either case, Shadows of Mordor still feels like a full meal whether or not you choose to spend an additional $US25 for a season pass, or purchase extra goodies at a piecemeal rate.

But still, holding out on giving fans a chance to fight the biggest and baddest bad guy in the Lord of the Rings universe reeks of crass over-commercialization of an otherwise solid product. It’s like getting the next game in the Batman: Arkham series, only to find out that you need to buy an additional chunk of “content” just to be able to fight The Joker.

Lame. Luckily, the rest of the game is so good that I still think it manages to make up for this lapse in judgement.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor comes out tomorrow. Read our review of the game here. Below is a bulleted list of everything included in the game’s season pass taken from WBIE’s press release. The season pass is available for an extra $US25. It includes three new story missions and a handful of different “challenge modes”, collectively known as “The Trials of War:”

  • Guardians of the Flaming Eye Orc Warband Mission: Face Sauron’s elite Defenders before the Black Gate and earn the Rising Flame rune.
  • Lord of the Hunt Story Mission: Players will gain new skills and earn unique epic runes as they hunt and tame legendary monsters of Mordor.
  • The Bright Lord Story Mission: Play as Celebrimbor, the great Elven king of the Second Age, and face Sauron and the might of his forces.
  • Test of Speed Challenge Mode: You can demonstrate your efficiency in battle and earn high scores for Talion’s speed in defeating your foes.
  • Test of Wisdom Challenge Mode: You can prove your strategic abilities, through earning points for skill, speed and efficiency.
  • Endless Challenge Mode: This mode will continually spawn new legions of enemies. The Runes that you will earn will provide powerful upgrades.
  • Access to future content: Including runes, skins and additional add-on content.


  • The Elves had 3 Rings of Power, created in secret by Celebrimbor. Sauron created the “One Ring” to control the other 19 rings. (3 to the Elves, 7 to the Dwarves, 9 to Man.)

    • Yes, this sounds like the battle where Isildur and Gil-galad killed Sauron at the Battle of Dagorlad. Gil-galad probably had one of the Three Rings of Power of the Elves; Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand.

      In any case, the Big Bad in Middle Earth was Melkor/Morgoth, who gets kicked into the Void well before the events of Lord of the Rings. Sauron is small potatoes by comparison – if Morgoth was a deity (Ainur) under the original deity, Eru. Sauron was an angel/demon (Maiar) – as was Gandalf.

      It’s sad that I know this stuff. In my defence I had to look some of it up.

      Fortunately I’m oversupplied with good games at the moment, so I’ll just wait until the GOTY pack with bundled DLC is released. If I want to kill Sauron or Morgoth I can always go back to Angband.

      • It’s always good to see a fellow Loremaster.However,It was Elendil and Gil-galad who destroyed Sauron.Elendil’s son,Isildur cut the ring from Sauron.Also,the battle did not take place on Dagorlad,but on the slopes of Oroduin during a seven year siege where Elendil’s younger son, Anarion was killed.I also feel sad that I know this stuff.Also sadly,I did not need to look it up.

        • I bow to your expertise. I’m no sort of Loremaster (my LOTRO character is a Minstrel…) as you’ve clearly demonstrated…

          I’ll have to pull those volumes out again and maybe get around to reading the whole of the Silmarillion rather than just the interesting-looking bits. 🙂

        • It was Elendil and Gil-galad who destroyed Sauron

          This is apocryphal. We don’t entirely know how Sauron was destroyed other than he lost corporeal form after Isildur cut the ring from his finger. He dueled (and killed) Gil-galad and Elendil which seems to suggest that it was indeed Isildur who can be credited with ‘killing’ him. The film adaptation put its own spin on things by excising and side-lining some characters to have the dramatic scene with the broken Narsil, but it’s all largely speculative.

          • It is certainly true that what I said was apocryphal,I apologise.However,it is not implicitly implied that Isildur destroyed the Dark Lord either.I have always believed that Gil-gald and Elendil,great as they were,brought Sauron down.I’ll give some time to ‘Of the rings of power’ and consider Isildur more closely though…

        • Nope. Sauron was, as the Balrog and the Wizards, a Maiar. The Maiar were basically agents of the Ainur – the nearest equivalent would be angels, demons or djinn. Sauron does hide his true nature by posing as “the Necromancer” on his initial return, but I don’t think the books say whether he’s pretending to be human.

          I don’t recall if this is covered in the appendices for Return of the King but I’m pretty sure it’s in the Silmarillion (which is a basically a collection of prequel material).

          Or you can cheat and look it up in the Lord of the Rings tabletop RPG books, which I have somewhere, although I doubt they’re regarded as canon. At the time of the end of the Third Age, there are very few Maiar left in Middle Earth.

  • Looking at it I think it might be more a telling of a historic event rather than part of the actual game missing which really isn’t much of a problem.

    • Yeah. It reminds me of the Prothean DLC for Mass Effect 3. Everyone just assumed that because finally got to meet a Prothean it must be a huge part of the story that was cut out and turned into DLC, but instead it was actually just a one off side story that had nothing to do with anything. It was more or less a hypothetical ‘what if’ that offered a peak into a time period the games only covered with small snippets of lore.

      • There was some amusing discussion between Javik and Liara though, where he ruined her naive ideals about Protheans, and also on Thessia when you discover that the Protheans visited the Asari millennia ago and were revered as gods.

        Hardly vital to the story, but it fleshed the backstory out a bit.

        • Oh yeah, it was a good story. I’m glad they made it and it was worth buying. It just had about as much impact on the story as Zaeed’s mission in Mass Effect 2. Now The Arrival, that was a vital piece of content. They should have made it the demo for Mass Effect 3.

          • I actually thought Arrival was pretty lame.

            Yeah, it was kind of important to the story, explaining why Shepard is on trial at the start of ME3, but I just didn’t enjoy it much.

            Although I did wait out the “time until arrival” bit at the end, just to see what happened (a bog-standard game over screen).

  • Sorry but the headline and article are a little misleading… The DLC is like a major “What If” scenario as a separate entity from the main campaign rather then like having the ending chopped off which this article seems to think it is doing. The DLC sounds completely irrelevant to the main narrative of the game and this DLC sounds like it is majorly breaking canon which just reinforces the “What If” scenario.

    So a cool little side story addition to a 30+ hour game… Whats wrong again?

    • Steam says something different 😛

      I do feel for retail PC users and console users though 🙁 I am lucky enough that i can run this game on Ultra otherwise i would be in the same boat and either be picking it up on X1/PS4

      • Don’t forget to download the HD texture pack… Head over to the Steam community page for instructions on how to download (it’s pretty straightforward).

  • Gil-Galad had two of the elven rings Narya and Vilya, Galadriel had Nenya. Not sure where this 21st ring of power came from.

  • Haha, this is why i am defs pirating this game. No multiplayer and day 1 DLC / Pass. Get out of here WB

  • A what if is all this could be. Otherwise we’ve all seen enough Lord of the Rings to know where this is going 😛

  • Yeah, game’s released now. Just going to use my PS4 control to play this on Ultra graphics with the early release. Best of both worlds.

  • Yeah, Steam told me it was going to be released in the middle of the night tonight, checked today and it’s already released. 10gb more to download though.

    As for the DLC, I’m not mad. If it’s as good as Freedom Cry for AC4 I’m happy to pay the ~$7 I did for that when it came out. If it’s not good, I won’t buy it. Easy.

  • Sigh. This is the kind of crap also seen in Alien: Isolation. Once again they’re nickle and diming on a sure thing dlc, rather than showing their gratitude and including it for the very people who even care enough to buy the original games in the first place.

  • Never mind the fact that many Tolkien fans will already be vibrating with indignation about the way this games takes nothing more than some of the names from the LotR IP before throwing the rest of the cannon and mythos out a window.

    LotR wraiths do not work that way! Good night!

    • There’s a difference between a “Ring Wraith” and a Wraith. Also,who cares? The game is excellent. And the story/lore they invent is interesting and well done.

  • Picked this up for US$25 yesterday for PC, would have preferred it on PS4 as I’m using controller and sitting on the couch anyway, but the AUD$90 or so price sent me back to the master race :/ anyway only squeezed about 40 mins in and loved it! Game looked fantastic, character is cool and has some pretty bad arse moves, the combat system feel really good and looks like there is fairly large progression system with weapons and abilities/combo’s. Can’t wait to get back to it tonight!

  • I was hesitating and umming and arring over this game. I am excited at the concept, but I couldn’t decide. My concerns rest on my computer not being able to handle it. I’m going to have to turn my overclocking back on methinks to 3.6GHz and I get to see how my r7 260 handles being pushed past the 1GHz mark. But then what about PS4, which desperately needs a game that I don’t already own on PS3. but if I can download tonight and at cheaper than au price, I think my decision is made for me

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