Everything We Know About Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Everything you need to know about Middle-earth: Shadow of War

By Grayshadow, Posted 24 Sep 2017

Middle-earth: Shadow of War releases in a few short weeks and our goal is to round up all the crucial information in one place just for you. This includes DLC, gameplay, and enemy details. Developer Monolith has stated that Shadow of War is 4 times bigger than Shadow of Mordor, so you can expect to sacrifice much more of your time creating the perfect army.

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Shadow of War Summary

Shadow of War is a sequel to Shadow of Mordor and features third-person action within an open world. Building on the previous game's Nemesis System player's take control of Talion and Celebrimbor once again and he attempts to build an army against Sauron.

Monolith has confirmed that the world of Shadow of War is 4x bigger than Shadow of Mordor with multiple regions each with unique environments and distinct Overlords, Warchiefs, Captains, Followers, Strongholds, Missions, and much more. The known regions are:

Cirith Ungol
Minas Morgul

Under the new name of The Bright Lord and using the Ring of Power combined with Talion's combat training and Celebrimbor's supernatural powers, you'll lead an Orc army, capture territories, and lead the charge against Sauron. Sounds impossible but then again you did come back from death, multiple times.

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Nemesis System

The Nemesis System gives each enemy and allies unique personalities that sets the edifice for their entire combat persona. This molds the story creating new developments unique to each player's experience. Some allies may betray you and gain abilities over the course of the adventure or vice versa. This creates a powerful dynamic that encourages player's to think what relationships are worth forging, keeping, and dissolving. 

Monolith has confirmed that 7 Orc tribes have been added to the Nemesis system. All of them will be in use when you finally take on one of the many Nemesis Fortresses. These large structures house important resources paramount to the war effort. The tribes include:


According to Monolith the Overlord, the leader of each Nemesis Fortress, will be unique with their own set of skills and a customized throne room to suit their style of combat. Spies have been added that can aid in infiltrating and aid Talion during the most difficult battles, such as raiding these Nemesis Fortresses. The Nemesis System allows followers to build their own stories that change the game, this includes attacking in the game's world at random or aiding Talion in the midst of battle.

The Army Screen allows the player to review all their followers and enemies. When a fortress is conquered appointing a follower as Overlord will yield benefits unique to that follower's persona. 

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New Skills and Skill Tree Changes

Talion has changes since the first game and adapted new skills and Wraith abilities. This includes a new Predator tree which focuses on stealth, faster climbing with the Eleven Agility, and poisoning barrels of grog from afar using his bow and arrow. Double jumping was also shown.

Skill Tree: Story 

  • Drain Skill: Hold [B / Circle] to recover health by draining orcs.
    • Upgrades:
      • Domination: Drained orcs will fight for you when activated. This works during combat or stealth drains — press [D-Pad Up] to activate dominated orcs.
      • Bright Lord’s Wrath: Recover full health and refill Wrath
      • Quiver of Souls: Draining an opponent recovers elf-shot.
  • Spectral Glaive Skill: Hold [X / Square] to unleash a strong sweep attack.
    • Upgrades:
      • Deadly Striker: Double-charge your Glaive for fast sword-combo follow-up attacks.
      • Mighty Swing: [Unknown.]
  • Elven Rage Skill: Fill your Wrath meter (earned after each kill) to unleash Elven Rage. Time is slowed, and all melee attacks are instantly lethal executions.
    • Upgrades:
      • Freezing Burst: All nearby enemies are affected by a frost explosion after Elven Rage ends.
      • Final Blaze: All nearby enemies are affected by a fire explosion after Elven Rage ends.
      • Poisonous Wrath: All nearby enemies are affected by a poison explosion after Elven Rage ends.
  • Shadow Strider Skill: Allows Talion to double-jump mid-air — cross wider gaps or change direction mid-jump.
    • Upgrades:
      • Waters of Lorien: Upgraded dodge that blinks through enemies. Consumes Focus.
      • Hammer of Eregion: [Unknown.]
      • Eagle’s Eyrie: [Unknown.]
  • Call Followers Skill: Talion can summon a group of warriors to fight. Use the [D-Pad] to order followers to attack a target, or dismiss.
    • Upgrades:
      • Bodyguard: In the Army Menu, Talion can assign a Captain to be your bodyguard in addition to the followers.
      • Cluster of Spiders: Summons a cluster of spiders with your followers. Spiders cause the poison effect.
      • Iron Guard: Summoned followers can withstand more damage.
  • Dominate Captain Skill: Allows Talion to dominate a Captain of equal or lower level.
    • Upgrades:
      • Destroy Followers: [Unknown.]
      • Enrage Followers: [Unknown.]
      • Lifeblood: [Unknown.]

Skill Tree: Combat

  • Execution Skill: Press [Y / Triangle] + [B / Circle] to instantly kill an enemy when Might is full.
    • Upgrades:
      • Fatal Might: Uninterrupted sword combos greatly increase Might earned.
      • Secret Might: Gain Might from stealth kills.
      • Grim Resolve: Gain Might from taking damage in combat.
  • Ground Finisher Skill: Kill grounded opponents — press [RT / R2] + [X / Square]
    • Upgrades:
      • Fury: Increases the speed of ground finishers.
      • Wraith Shield: Your Wraith can counter while you’re finishing opponents on the ground.
      • Ground Drain: Use Wraith Drain on grounded opponents.
  • Perfect Counter Skill: When the prompt flashes blue, counter to knock down enemies.
    • Upgrades: 
      • Fatal Counter: Perfect Counters instantly kill enemy grunts.
      • Rain of Arrows: Perfect Counters replenish one elf-shot.
      • Mighty Reversal: Might gained from counters.
  • Critical Strike Skill: Chance for Critical Hits with melee attacks, increasing damage.
    • Upgrades:
      • Reprisal: [Unknown.]
      • Elven Precision: Attack just as a strike is about to land to greatly increase critical chance.
      • Unstoppable: Hitstreak above 30 to greatly increase critical chance.
  • Brutal Aggression Skill: Allows Talion to unleash Brutal Executions, which cause opponents to flee in terror.
    • Upgrades:
      • Wraith Execution: Might can be double-charged. [Unknown.]
      • Ceaseless Might: Skills that require Might no longer deplete Might.
  • Retaliation Skill: Time Last Chance perfectly to instantly kill enemy grunts targeting Talion.
    • Upgrades:
      • Adamant: [Unknown.]
      • Burst of Might: Refills Might on a perfectly timed Last Chance.
      • Vengeful Drain: Instantly drains the grunt targeting Talion.

Skill Tree: Predator

  • Elven Agility Skill: Press [A / Cross] for a burst of speed when vaulting, landing, or climbing.
    • Upgrades:
      • Silent Runner: [Unknown.]
      • Spectral Dash: While crouched, tap [A / Cross] to blink short distances. Uses Focus.
  • Wraith Chain Skill: Blink to an additional targeted enemy during a stealth kill. Uses Focus.
    • Upgrades:
      • Shadow Blade: First additional Wraith Chain kill consumes no focus.
      • Monster Hunter: [Unknown.]
  • Brutalize Skill: Hold [RT / R2] + [Y / Triangle] to perform a brutal stealth kill that terrifies nearby grunts.
    • Upgrades:
      • Unyielding Ferocity: [Unknown.]
      • Reckless Hate: More enemies retreat from brutal stealth kills.
  • Deadly Specter Skill: Hold [Y / Triangle] when using Attract to summon a Wraith that kills the grunt target.
    • Upgrades:
      • Spirit Drain: The summoned Wraith will drain the target.
      • Terrifying Presence: [Unknown.]
  • Poison Tendril Skill: Poison grog barrels at long-rage.
    • Upgrades:
      • Bursting Toxin: [Unknown.]
      • Proximity Trigger: [Unknown.]
      • Contagion: Poisoned grunts will go berserk and attack nearby orcs, spreading the poison effect.
  • Death Threat Skill: Send a message to an orc captain, improving loot dropped by the threatened captain after they’re killed.
    • Upgrades:
      • Vow of Violence: [Unknown.]
      • Worse than Death: [Unknown.]

Skill Tree: Wraith

  • Brace of Daggers Skill: Tap [LT / L2] to quick-throw a dagger that slightly damages / staggers enemies.
    • Upgrades: 
      • Serrated Edge: Chance to inflict a Critical Strike with a thrown dagger.
      • Rain of Blades: Throw five daggers at once in an arc.
      • Swift Barrage: Tap quickly to throw three quick daggers in succession.
  • Elven Light Skill: Stun nearby enemies with a blast of light when your Might is full.
    • Upgrades:
      • Cleansing Blaze: Elven Light skill causes affected enemies to burn.
      • Poison Blast: Elven Light skill poisons affected enemies.
      • Winter’s Breath: Elven Light applies frost to affect enemies.
  • Ice Storm Skill: Allows Talion to freeze enemies and unleash a fast sword-combo on the affected opponent.
    • Upgrades:
      • Frostbite: Ice Storm Finishers are always critical.
      • Shower of Ice: Shoots an arc blast that freezes all enemies in front of Talion. The area of effect increases with a higher Hitstreak.
      • Shattering Blow: Ice Storm Finishers inflict terror on nearby enemies.
  • Consume Skill: Press [A / Cross] + [B / Circle] to instantly drain an enemy in combat. Requires full Might.
    • Upgrades:
      • Chain of Souls: While draining, target another opponent to continue the drain chain. Uses Focus for each additional drain.
      • Olog Lord: Consume affects Ologs.
      • Lord of Wrath: Increases Wrath earned when using Consume.
  • Treasure Hunter Skill: Automatically collects loot from defeated enemies.
    • Upgrades:
      • Prospector: Increases the chances you’ll find better quality Gems.
      • Mind Breaker: Domination ability is faster.
      • Discerning Eye: Increases the chances Captains will drop higher quality loot.

Skill Tree: Ranged

  • Mighty Shot Skill: When Might is full, press [RB / R1] to launch an explosive elf-shot.
    • Upgrades:
      • Freeze Blast: Mighty Shot is enhanced with frost that slows enemies.
      • Firestorm: Mighty Shot is enhanced with fire that burns enemies.
      • Venom: Mighty Shot is enhanced with poison.
  • Shadow Strike Skill: Instantly blink to an enemy target for a stealth kill / knock out. Consumes elf-shot.
    • Upgrades:
      • Shadow Strike Pull: Pull a targeted enemy to Talion instead of blinking to them.
      • Chain of Shadows: [Unknown.]
      • Shadow Dominate: Instantly Shadow Strike and dominate an enemy grunt.
  • Detonate Skill: Allows Talion to Shadow Strike any firepit, causing it to detonate and burn any nearby orcs.
    • Upgrades:
      • Spider Song: Using the Detonate skill causes spiders to swarm the area.
      • Bursting Arrows: [Unknown.]
      • Matron’s Scent: [Unknown.]
  • Freeze Pin Skill: Target a grunt’s food to freeze your opponent in place.
    • Upgrades:
      • Savage Ice: The Freeze Pin skill will also affect beasts & Olog-Hai.
      • Brutal Cold: [Unknown.]
      • Deep Freeze: [Unknown.]
  • Bird of Prey Skill: Hold [LT / L2] to slow time while falling, making it easy to land precision shots.
    • Upgrades:
      • Talon Strike: [Unknown.]
      • Eagle Sight: [Unknown.]

Skill Tree: Mounted

  • Caragor Rider Skill: Talion can dominate and mount a broken Caragor.
    • Upgrades:
      • Bestial Rage: Perform executions or summon Caragors without full Might — damages your mount’s health instead.
      • Pounce: [Unknown.]
  • Graug Rider Skill: Talion can dominate and mount a broken Graug.
    • Upgrades:
      • Enduring Fury: Basic attacks with the Graug gain more Might.
      • Devouring Force: [Unknown.]
  • Dragon Rider Skill: Talion can dominate and mount a Drake.
    • Upgrades:
      • Scales of Iron: The Drake takes less damage from attacks.
      • Soaring Rage: Use the Drake’s fireball attack even without full Might — damages your mount’s health instead.
  • Call Mount Skill: Talion can summon a Dominated Caragor, command it to attack targets on its own, or dismiss it.
    • Upgrades:
      • Graug Call: Allows Talion to summon a Graug.
      • Dragon Song: Allots Talion to summon a Drake.
      • Dire Caragor: Allows Talion to summon a Dire Caragor.
  • Shadow Mount Skill: Instantly mount a Broken Caragor, Graug or Drake with Shadow Strike.
    • Upgrades:
      • Caragor Breaker: [Unknown.]
      • Pack Master: When Shadow Mounting a Caragor, Talion instantly dominates any nearby Caragor.

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Shelob - Unlike other portrayals of Shelob she'll take human form in the game and grant visions to Talion. While the trailer introducing Shelob doesn't confirm her to be an absolute ally, with you attacking her, but it's likely she'll play a role in the Nemesis system.

The Agonizer - Perhaps one of the most uncertain Orcs you'll meet. Actor Kumail Nanjiani who portrays The Agonizer stated that "he wants to be bad-ass and he wants to be cool but he really second guesses himself and he overthinks everything". Maybe I won't kill him, maybe.

Returning Orcs - As part of the Nemesis Forge System those with files from the Shadow of Mordor can import their worst enemies from the original game.

We can expect more characters when the game releases.

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Returning are the mix between stealth and open-combat. As a former Ranger Talion is equipped to handle any situation and with Celebrimbor's powers the supernatural advantages give the seasoned warrior a leg up on everyone else.

Like in Shadow of Mordor players can build and link combos together. Doing so will allow Talion to perform deadly attacks. Basically, it's the same system with new attacks discussed in the skill tree section.

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Shadow of War has expanded the creatures you can ride. You can still ride Caragors but why ride something like that when you can ride a drake!? Unlike Skyrim, you can actually control this epic beast.

Graug (Ice and Fire)
New creatures pending

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Like Shadow of Mordor Talion can equip new armor and weapons collected throughout the journey. This includes the main hand, off hand, bow, chest, head, and accessory pieces. Each piece of equipment is based on a rarity chart with colors showcasing the rareness of each item.

Each item can be further reinforced using gems. Like equipment, these must be found and earned.

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Standard Edition - PC, PS4, or Xbox One

Silver Edition (digital only) - the base game, plus the preorder bonuses above, plus the Slaughter Tribe Nemesis Expansion, Outlaw Tribe Nemesis Expansion, and a Silver War Chest

Gold Edition - note that the UK Gold Edition on PS4, PC, and Xbox One, and US Gold Edition on PS4 and Xbox One are separate. Includes all of the above, plus the two-story expansions and a Gold War Chest.

Mithril Edition - The UK Mithril Edition on PS4, PC, and Xbox One and US Mithril Edition on PS4 and Xbox One are separate. They include all of the above, plus Limited Edition 12" Tar-Goroth Balrog vs. Carnan Drake Statue; collection of exclusive Lithographs; premium case with magnetic Ring of Power; exclusive Steelcase; official game music soundtrack; a cloth map of Mordor; a Tribes Sticker Pack; and a Mithril War Chest.

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4 Legendary Orc Champions
Epic Sword of Dominion


The Blade of Galadriel
The Desolation of Mordor

Loot Boxes

The Market will sell Orcs and other items for use in the game's Nemesis System. You can buy loot chests, war chests, XP boosts, and bundles. The loot chests contain gear with varying rarity and XP boost. War chests provide Orc followers varying on rarity and training orders to level up and customize your Orc.

You can spend Mirian, the game's currency earned by playing the game, or Gold, which is purchased with real-world money. Gold can be earned by reaching milestones or participating in community challenges.

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Online Mode

Shadow of War will have an online ranked mode where you can capture Fortresses. Social Conquest has you taking a Fortress from other players or setting your own with an Overlord and defenses. You can then put it online for other players to attack. The player must take all the capture points and kill the Overlord within the time limit and once completed you're ranked and given currency based on your performance. Branding enemy captains will earn you temporary allies for the mission but will not be added to your army. In addition, how fast you capture a point is based on how many allies are in the area. 

2 categories exist in Shadow of War's online mode, friendly and ranked. Friendly doesn't risk your own army while ranked gives you points, allows you to take on harder challenges, and puts your army at danger. If one of your captain's dies they're gone for good. Completely a conquest will earn you points and spoils for the campaign.

Vendetta will return with changes. Unlike Shadow of Mordor where the enemy teleports to your location this time you must travel to the Orc, a player has put a contract on. This also means you're teleported to the other player's world and their Nemesis System configuration. Also instead of just going for the kill, you'll have to work for it. This means killing lesser Orcs to draw out the target. Completing the Vendetta will earn the player a Vendetta Chest and the contracted player spoils but failure means your target is lost forever. 

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End Game

After you've completed the game a new endgame mode is unlocked called the Shadow Wars. Here Sauron's army attempts to take back territories and you must play defense. While the enemies come in waves they don't stop, meaning you have to kill as quickly as possible before the next wave hits. If you lose the fortress the region is taken over by the Orc that killed you and they take over as Overlord. To regain it you must kill the Overlord and choose whether to mount a rescue mission for your Overlord who is now held captive.

PC Requirements

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Minimum System Requirements

OS: Windows 7 64-bit 

CPU: Intel Core i5-2550K 3.4 GHz or AMD FX-8320 3.5 GHz

RAM: 8 GB System Memory

GPU RAM: 2GB Video Memory

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 or AMD Radeon HD 7950

DX: DirectX 11

HDD: 60 GB available space

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Recommended System Requirements

OS: Windows 10 64-bit

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.40 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz

RAM: 16 GB System Memory

GPU RAM: 4GB Video Memory

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB

DX: DirectX 11

HDD: 60 GB available space 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War launches on October 10th for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It'll also be part of Xbox's Play Anywhere program. Purchase the game digitally on Xbox One or Windows 10 and you'll get a copy for the other platform but it must be linked to the same profile.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One
Publisher(s): WB Games
Developer(s): Monolith Productions
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Dark Fantasy
Release Date: 2017-09-27

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