How To Play Guide For Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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Information for learning how to play Shadow of War.

New links will be added periodically

Useful Info

Introductory Material:

More Advanced Topics:


Comprehensive Guides and Walk-throughs

Total Newbie Tips That No One Tells You

The game, and many how-to articles, often assume you played the first game. So they don't tell or teach you certain basics

  1. Dying: There's no severe penalty for dying; some even say it's good. You lose nothing. The orc who killed you gets more powerful. Which some say is good...the more you interact with an orc, the more his behavior and dialogue change, to reflect your interaction. It makes the game more custom to you, and more fun. Interaction is the life-blood of the Nemesis System. If you later kill him, he'll drop better gear. If you later Dominate him, he'll be a more powerful [useful] ally. However, if you die a lot, some of your allies may decide you're weak, and rebel.
  2. Escaping a death blow: When your health is down to 0, and the enemy is about to kill you, you generally get a last chance to save yourself from the death blow, via a "Quick Time Event"; details in Last Chance
  3. Running away: Early in the game it tells you how to use Elven Speed (which consumes your Focus Meter). Once you have this, it's easy to run away from pretty much any fight in the game. Either permanently (though Captains may remember they scared you off), or just to get some distance while you recover/gather resources, before heading back to the fray. Remember this. It will be important to run away sometimes. If you're in a crowd, you may have to use jump/roll a lot, until you get a little free path to run.
  4. Sneaking: Orcs are not very observant. You can sneak past large numbers of them easily. Even if, in real life, they would see you. If you arouse suspicion (yellow triangle above head), just get out of that area and don't be seen for a short period, and then you'll be safe.
  5. Climbing: An easy way to climb is, after you've started climbing a wall, just hold the <up> direction, while continuously pressing the climb button. Talion will just keep on climbing. If you're running away from enemies, if you can round a corner (so they don't see you start your climb), and climb something tall, that can be an easy way to escape.
  6. Fast Climbing: Once the story has unlocked for you the Shadow Strider double-jump ability, you can use it while climbing vertically. While climbing, just press the <up> direction and double-tap the climb button, and you'll vault straight-up, a very large distance
  7. Don't Drain/Dominate Olog-hai: Once the story gives you the Domination skill, don't try to Drain/Dominate the giant Olog-hai troops. You will fail, you can't do anything like that until you get the special Olog Lord skill
  8. Custom Waypoints: You can set a waypoint anywhere on the map that you want to. Just click anywhere on the map.
  9. Nemesis missions: The game will periodically generate new, optional "Nemesis missions". Once you control dominated Captains, you can also make missions yourself. You can also send several dominated Captains to assist in a mission. And you can personally intervene in a mission. If you aren't interested in the reward being offered to you, and you don't care about the outcome of the mission, you can ignore it. When the mission runs out of "turns" (they get 3 turns), time's up, and the game will decide what the outcome is. The turn counter only advances when you die, you choose "Advance Time", or when certain missions are completed.
  10. Controlling a region: It isn't really possible to permanently clear-out or control a region. You can't kill all the Captains, because new ones will keep moving in. If you try to Dominate them all, most likely at some point some will betray you
  11. Shame/Shun/Banish: If you Shame or Shun/Banish a Captain, he will usually lose levels. He will run away, and be your enemy. This can be a way to dominate a Captain who is higher-level than you (you'll have to fight him twice). He may gain weaknesses. He might also, infrequently, become a howling, insane "maniac" and become MORE powerful.


  • When was this game released?
  • What are the system requirements for this game?
  • A PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, or a Windows p.c. meeting the system requirements on the linked page.
  • How bad are the microtransactions?
  • There are none. It had them at launch, but they were later removed in a patch. The patch removed the microtransactions, the Market, the for-pay premium game currency (Gold), and the lootboxes (War Chests) that you could buy.
  • Is the DLC integrated with the base game?
  • In some ways. If you buy all the DLC...the 2 new tribes (Slaughter and Outlaw) are fully integrated into the base game, giving you new tribes, new fortresses & outposts, new Epic & Legendary orcs, new Legendary gear, new missions, and new traits in the Nemesis system. The story expansions give you new storylines that you play with new characters/abilities/gear/allies against new enemies. For the base game, the Galadriel DLC adds 8 new Legendary Orcs, a new skin, and new abilities added to the Nemesis System. The Mordor DLC adds a new region, fort, missions, and skin.

See also