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Shadow of War guide and walkthrough: Tips for surviving every mission in Middle-earth

How to tackle the sprawling Middle-earth adventure.

Shadow of War builds upon the storyline and many mechanics of 2014's surprise hit Shadow of Mordor, introducing a greater Middle-earth storyline and the return of a dynamic Nemesis system.

Our Shadow of War walkthrough, guide and tips explain how progression works in this sprawling open-world adventure, amass an army and tackle Fortresses, and hunt down the many kinds of collectibles.

Shadow of War walkthrough

The game is split into four Acts - a beginning, a middle, an end, and an epilogue - each driven by character-specific plot lines, and your progression through the first Act is largely determined for you.

Once Act II has opened up the path you take is much more under your control, and at any given time you may have four or five quests available to you so for simplicity we've covered the quests in the order you'll find them in the menu rather than the order we played them - your experience may vary markedly from ours.


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While it's up to you which available quests you tackle at any given time, it's worth noting that once you reach Act 2 the Eltariel quests are essentially the "story". Some of the other questlines contain prerequisites required to unlock more of Eltariel's quests, but it's possible to finish the game without doing everything so if you don't want to miss anything we'd recommend leaving Eltariel until last.

Shadow of War guides

Outside of the core missions above, there are a number of other systems and mechanics to get your head around. These include:

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More coming soon!

Shadow of War tips

There are a number of things you should know before starting Shadow of War:

  • Treat the combat system gently. Mashing the attack button will work but a measured approach to fighting is far more reliable.
  • You don't have to kill everything you see. Apart from defeating Captains combat earns you no XP, so fighting for the sake of fighting serves no purpose. Treasure Orcs may drop something of note, but the rest of them you may as well leave in peace.
  • It's OK to run away. Sometimes Orcs like to gang up on you, and if a couple of Captains decided to show up at the same time and bring their militias with them you may find yourself going from "totally in control of the situation" to "aaaaaaagh!" very quickly, at which point a quick retreat is no shame - the Nemesis system thrives on defeat and retreat, and you will get an opportunity for revenge later.
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  • Know your Orcs. Interrogate Worms whenever you find them to learn more about the Captains in the area - finding out they're scared of spiders or get enraged by fire can be the difference between winning and losing.
  • Play with new skills. Whenever you unlock a skill upgrade spend some time learning how it works, getting a feel for its restrictions, and sizing up when it's most useful. You'll unlock quite a lot of skills as you go, and if you don't use them it's easy to forget they're there.

How the world works

The map is split into five regions that, once unlocked, you can freely travel between using fast travel points.

Once you gain access to a region we'd recommend unlocking the fast travel points as early as you can, partly to cut down on the amount of walking you have to do, and partly in order to reveal the location of the games collectibles.

Each region contains a fortress that will need conquering once the Siege missions become available, a variety of smaller encampments that you can clear to make travel easier, a host of collectibles, and a number of Captains to kill, humiliate, or bend to your will.

Additional reporting by Chris Tapsell and Matthew Reynolds.