So I gave this another shot this weekend, and it has finally started to click. While I still find myself frustrated as hell at times, I'm having far more fun than I was expecting. A couple stupid questions:
1. How do I tell my what my Power level is? The Captains I'm fighting are anywhere from Power level 5 to Power level 20, but I have no idea how that compares with my level.
Talion doesn't really have a Power Level of his own. The closest equivalent would probably be the number of skill points you've put into his trees, except that doesn't take into account the upgrades you've purchased for his weapons or the runes you've equipped.
It's also important to remember that an enemy with a high Power Level isn't necessarily harder to beat. A captain with a weakness for stealth attacks can be slain in one hit whether he's rated as a 5 or a 15, but the higher his level is, the more carefully you'll need to plan your approach.
2. There's one Boss that has killed me multiple times, and has gotten promoted through a number of other events. I've run across him a couple times in the field now, and he's to the point where he can kill me with one shot (and did so twice in the last hour). Am I just better off running like hell every time I see him until I get stronger? Or have I created an unstoppable monster because he's killed me so many times?
An uruk named Brogg the Skinless must have killed Talion seven or eight times in my game, catapulting him from a rank-and-file grunt to an elite body guard for one of the warchiefs. He had the most unnerving habit of showing up at all the worst times. I turned tail and elf-sped my way to safety on more than one occasion -- a cowardice Brogg just *loved* to taunt me about -- and believe me: it made it all the more satisfying when I finally took him down.
No one is unkillable. If you can't take your nemesis now, keep your distance and train for a while until you're ready. Then pick the fight on your own terms, when you can leverage his fears and weaknesses against him.
3. I may have asked this before (apologies if so), but what are the "must have" skills? I have 5-6 skill points saved up because wanted to get some of the skills at the next level, but I can't decide which is the best route to go.
You'll almost certainly have every skill unlocked by the end of the game, so I highly recommend spending your skill points and Mirian on attribute upgrades as soon as possible. Don't forget to "sell" lower-level runes for extra Mirian as you unlock higher level versions, too -- there's no value to keeping a Level 7 "Rain of Arrows" rune if you also have a Level 14 version.
I thought all of the skills were useful throughout the game. A few that stood out to me were:
- the dodge-stun,
allowing Talion to automatically daze an enemy when he rolls over them. This removes them from combat for a few seconds, can easily be chained across multiple enemies in a row, and sets them up for a flurry attack that adds several hits to your combo meter.
- combo multiplier skills,
including the ones that double / triple the benefit of critical hits, and the one that lowers the threshold for special attacks from x8 to x5. All of these allow you to perform executions, group stuns, and fire arrow attacks more frequently.
- the fire arrow,
which turns out to be an invaluable ability for incinerating large crowds of enemies with exploding camp fires. It's also super useful when facing captains with a fear of fire.
- shadow step
and shadow kill,
which teleport Talion to any enemy he can see. You'll be amazed at how much faster stealthy infiltrations are when you can blip from one tower to the next before the guard's corpses hit the floor.
- finally, any abilities that increase your store of elf shot, lengthen your focus timer, or give you new ways to regenerate those resources are worth checking out. I feel like a lot of people underestimate the potency of Mordor's
ranged combat in the middle of a brawl, but stopping time and instantly slaying eight guys turns out to be a great way to win a fight.