WB Games’ Nemesis System Should Be Its Focus, Not Live Service

Anything but desecrating the Nemesis system's grave.

Story Highlights

  • Shadow of Mordor introduced the exceptional Nemesis system, giving enemies identities, only for WB to bench it forever.
  • First, WB patented the mechanic to prevent anyone from using it, and now it will possibly ruin it with the Wonder Woman live service game.
  • With WB’s complete focus on live-service games, creative mechanics like the Nemesis system will suffer, and we’ll get predatory microtransactions only.

Even more than the playable character, the enjoyment factor of the gameplay depends more on the adversity in a game. What would you choose, mindless punching bags you can simply flex your superiority on or cunning enemies that can give you a run for your money? I don’t know about you, but I certainly want the latter. It’s no fun when the combat is a one-sided assault, no matter how satisfyingly powerful it makes you feel.

If you’re interested in what I’m saying, give WB’s Nemesis system a try. It was the embodiment of the “making enemies fight back cleverly” concept. Once you experience it, perhaps you can reciprocate my feelings of lamentation and regret. The Middle Earth series mastered the art of creative and cunning enemies, only for WB to use it once and then lock it up, and now possibly ruin it with battle passes in the upcoming Wonder Woman.

YouTube video

The Nemesis System — From A Random Mob To An Overlord

So, what exactly is this Nemesis system I hold in high regard? In simple terms, it gives your enemies a distinct identity instead of just a mindless mob. And the charm lies in the implementation of this concept. Back when Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor came out, this revolutionary system made its debut. In an open-world game, all about exploring the orc-infested lands of Mordor, the Nemesis system made these orcs a force to be reckoned with.

Every time you encounter an orc, he “remembers” you. Your actions leave a permanent impact on the bad-guy society of the game world. This is unique for every player. If I shoot an orc and it survives, it will appear again with an arrow wound. Similarly, if an orc survives an encounter against me, the notorious protagonist, it becomes a pretty big deal and he’s “promoted.” As it should be, surviving my assault is nothing to scoff at. And the opposite is true as well. If an orc kills me, he becomes the new bigshot of the underworld.

Shadows of Mordor: Nemesis System
byu/Wuzseen intruegaming

Do you realize how fun this system is? Not only does it give individual enemies distinct identities, but it gradually and realistically evolves the enemies as well. Foes who “remember” your prior actions learn from their mistakes and incorporate new tactics. The same can be said for the promoted enemies too. They proudly boast how they killed you, and get stronger and obtain more followers as a result of their feats. Honestly, it’s pretty refreshing how you feel the world around you is very much alive, something every game should incorporate.

The Nemesis System gives even random mobs distinct identities.
The Nemesis System gives even random mobs distinct identities.

“We’re Not Using It, But Doesn’t Mean We’ll Let You Use It Either”

Okay, I admit introducing a magnificent mechanic like the Nemesis system and then never using it is frustrating in itself, but you know what’s even more cruel? Stopping anyone else from ever using it too. And that is precisely what WB did. The company patented the Nemesis system, snatching it away from anyone who might’ve had an interest in implementing it. For years WB itself never used it, so why stop the others from doing so?

WB Games’ Nemesis System Patent Was Approved This Week After Multiple Attempts
byu/ninjyte inGames

I understand patenting a concept that is a source of money for you; its creator, but when it’s nothing for you, you’re just being stubborn and ego-centric. It’s like thinking I have no use for it and I know I won’t ever use it, but I will never allow anyone to succeed using my idea. This petty thinking robbed us of ever seeing the legendary Nemesis system in its full glory. We saw a rather toned-down version of it implemented in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and it made the combat quite fun.

However, that’s all we can get, weak imitations. As long as WB holds the patent, no one can use the Nemesis system properly. This is one of the critical problems of the patent system. Being able to patent mechanics means companies can monopolize ideas and kill any creativity in the gaming medium. Oh, and if just locking the Nemesis system wasn’t enough, it seems WB is about to massacre it with its live-service rubbish.

What are your views on filing patents for mechanics in games ?
byu/badpiggy490 ingamedev

Forget Any Creativity, WB Only Cares About Live Service Now

For me, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War were the peak of The Lords of the Rings-based games. It was all downhill from there. Take a look at The Lords of the Rings: Gollum for example, how it butchered the franchise. Wouldn’t it have been better to go with a third Middle Earth game instead? Every time I come across a new WB game, I’m reminded of how the company robbed us of a new Nemesis system game. But now, there’s even more dread approaching.

The only thing WB cares about at this point is how to make the most money. And the best way to do that is with live-service games, no matter how lifeless they are. It even ruined Batman, its strongest franchise for this purpose. Gotham Knights featured not complete but definite traces of GaaS elements, and the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a live service with the most ridiculous concepts. All the unique characters with their versatile arsenal throw it all away to pick up guns? Can’t be more laughable than this.

And you get a gun. And you get a gun
And you get a gun. And you get a gun

And it has no plans of stopping, either. WB has doubled down on pursuing live-service games from here on and will transform its major franchises into live-service. If you had even a sliver of hope for a good WB title again, it’s safe to say it went up in flames. Now all you’ll see is your favorite superheroes and villains in ridiculous live-service games. And knowing its WB, the Nemesis system’s grave will be desecrated too by making it a part of the ridiculous live-service formula.

RIP Rocksteady Studios And Batman Arkham 2009-2015
byu/Farcryfan15 inarkham

Watch WB Ruin The Beloved Mechanic With Its Live-Service Wonder Woman

I was depressed the Nemesis system was never used, but now something even more dreadful approaches, something I have long feared. Back when the Wonder Woman game by Monolith Studio was announced, the possibility of it using the Nemesis system surfaced, and I was pretty optimistic. As years passed, WB steadily became worse and at the back of my mind a thought surfaced that the Wonder Woman game might be a mess.

It seems I was not that far from the truth. Recently, we learned that the game using the Nemesis system is highly probable, but there’s a catch. It is a live service game. This has to be the worst way to revive the Nemesis system. Do you want to unlock enemy leaders and higher tiers in the Nemesis system? Get this $20 Battle pass. We also have this small pack to unlock more enemy types and encounters, just for 10 bucks. All this is giving me nightmares.

A single-player Wonder Woman game with the Nemesis system would have been just perfect. In fact, I’ll do you one better, a Batman game with the mechanic, now that is sublime. Batman is probably the WB-owned franchise the Nemesis system is the most compatible with. The random mobs you take out are no longer nobodies but can become leaders and even crime bosses based on your actions. But no, all WB will do is make you pay for the necessities of the Nemesis system, and ruin any image you had of this beloved mechanic.

A Batman game and Nemesis system crossover, just imagine.
A Batman game and Nemesis system crossover, just imagine.

Live-Service Model Could Suck All Creativity Out Of Modern Gaming

What’s even more dreadful is that it’s not just WB, the gaming industry as a whole has started prioritizing money-making tactics over quality games. Take a look at Sony for example. The industry giant went all in on live service games and so far has no intention of stopping. Square Enix, on the other hand, picked another vile idea to focus on: NFTs. All these cash-grabbing ideas will eventually drain away any remaining creativity in gaming.

WB is a solid example of this. The Nemesis system was a perfectly viable idea. You can build a game around it that is all about the evolving world around you and the impact of your actions. But WB thought why bother, just put it in a live-service game and make as much cash as possible. They even ruined beloved DC characters to pursue this. So what’s next? Superman using guns? A few years ago this might’ve been a joke, but now I truly dread that it might become a reality.

Live service games were a mistake
byu/stanthetulip ingaming

All these points reinforce that the modern gaming industry genuinely needs to change. A few live-service games that back up the model with solid and enjoyable content are not the problem. What’s wrong is every single company implementing the concept in the most blatantly predatory way possible, and thinking only about making money. It pains my heart to see creative gaming concepts like the Nemesis system being used to promote cash-grabbing live service games.

Did you find this article helpful?

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered right to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

Related Articles