If Shadow Of War has one constant complaint from players, it’s that the difficulty is usually on the low end. That makes sense in the context of the story, however.
As a ring wraith of incredible power, Talion has few challenges that can’t be utterly annihilated with his broad range of skills, and death is only a mild inconvenience that sometimes even leads to benefits.
Those who are tired of steamrolling every orc Captain out there are getting an early Christmas present! The Gravewalker difficulty has arrived to put you in your place, taking Shadow Of War and basically turning it into Dark Souls: Middle-earth Edition!
This new difficulty setting was just unleashed alongside the Outlaw Tribe DLC, although Gravewalker difficulty is available for everyone regardless of whether you picked up the season pass or just have the base game.
Shadow Of War Gravewalker Difficulty Changes
A host of changes to the base gameplay arrive with Gravewalker that make everything from strolling through Nurnen to sieging a fortress significantly more difficult.
The biggest takeaway is that Last Chance is turned off, meaning essentially that all grunts and Captains have the No Chance skill by default. However, you can still get one Last Chance by picking the Adamant upgrade to the Retaliation skill, which you will absolutely need.
Here is the complete list of difficulty and AI changes to Shadow Of War‘s Gravewalker mode:
- The player gets no Last Chances
- Slightly increased drain time
- Enemies are more perceptive, are able to spot a stealthy player from farther away, and are no longer surprised
- Orcs gain more levels when they kill Talion
- Orcs gain more levels when a Death Threat is sent
- Orcs gain more levels when they become Maniacs due to Shaming
- More Orc Captains are present roaming the world
- Nemesis Missions have one turn duration instead of three turns
- Worms are less frequent, have much better senses, and can drop bombs as they flee
- All enemies deal more damage, particularly grunts
- Players deal less damage to Captains with all weapons
- Explosions deal more damage to Talion and slightly less to enemies
- Captains adapt more quickly to player attacks
- Enemies attack more quickly and are more likely to coordinate attacks
- Enraged Orcs are harder to disrupt
- Retreating enemies adapt to stealth attacks
- Siege Beasts take less damage from their ammo packs exploding
- Followers bleed out more quickly
- Shortened duration of Dazed state triggered by fear and weaknesses
- Poisoning a barrel or using Distract costs Focus
Shadow Of War Gravewalker Difficulty Survival Guide
With all those changes piling on at once, just getting from point A to point B becomes deadly, and that’s before taking on any missions or defending a fortress.
Since everyone else is more dangerous and Talion is more squishy, there’s a much bigger focus on using your followers as a buffer. Bring along a bodyguard, summon your graug or caragor, and take time to dominate enemies who are away from the main body of orcs.
Remaining undetected for as long as possible becomes critical, but you also need to modify your tactics overall for any combat situation. Due to increased drain time, it is no longer viable to drain and dominate enemies during a frenzied melee. Moving away from the horde is a must, but there’s also a big problem there due to the game’s engine.
Honestly, your biggest enemy is the camera or getting stuck rolling on a wall when you intend to climb up it and get to safety. The camera is going to cause your death more frequently than not countering on time, so you need to move melee combat into areas with better overall views and where you are certain you can leap up without getting stuck.
Personally, I accidentally evade in a direction I’m trying to run all the time due to how close the button setup is — which also drains Focus — so I recommend turning that skill off entirely unless it’s critical to your combat style.
In the early stages of the game, green gems will save your life. In the mid to late game, don’t even bother with them, because you will die in one to two hits anyway, so restoring health doesn’t matter.
Anyone with a crossbow is going to annihilate you, especially if you stupidly do something to enrage them, because there’s no way to dodge all those bolts simultaneously, so paying attention to a Captain’s skills is absolutely required.
Always be on the ready for an ambush by a second Captain in absolutely any given situation just as you are about to gain the upper hand, and don’t expect a Savior to appear as you die nearly as often as in the base game.
With those Shadow Of War Gravewalker difficulty tips and strategies in mind, its just a matter of trial and error and figuring out the tactics that work best for you during combat. Talion will still die — repeatedly — but eventually you can hit a groove where those deaths come less frequently if you stay on your guard, kill at range or from stealth whenever possible, and use a Captain’s weaknesses against him.
Still need help completing any other part of the game? Be sure to check out our full list of Shadow Of War guides right here.