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Shadow of War XP farming - How to earn 50k experience per hour from Nemesis Missions

How to amount serious amounts of XP from Act 2 onwards.

Shadow of War XP is useful if you want to better your combat abilities and skills, and the bulk of this is done from completing quests.

However, if you want to give yourself an extra edge - or are working towards the game - then learning how to XP farm effectively comes in handy.

If you're interested in other parts of the game - including a run rundown of every main mission - our Shadow of War guide and walkthrough can help.

Digital Foundry takes a look at Shadow of War.

How to get XP in Shadow of War

As with most RPG-style games your combat abilities and skills are governed by your level, increased by gaining XP.

During the main story the bulk of this will come from completing quests and should rack up at just about the right speed to keep you on a par with the enemies you'll encounter, but if you want to be ahead of the curve, or aim for the "true ending" through later Shadow of War sieges or want to complete the Nemesis Missions quest chain, you're going to need to achieve a much higher level than can be achieved just following the story.

As such, some grinding is going to be required to give yourself a fighting chance of getting 100% you'll want to be around level 60 by the time you reach the final final showdown.

Short of buying some XP-doubling bonuses from the store, the best (or rather only) other regular source of XP is by completing the free-roam Nemesis Missions (not to be confused with the Nemesis Missions quests).

Left unsupervised, Orc Captains will have their own petty squabbles, or you can command your own Captains to go out and kill the enemy. You can then intervene to earn anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand XP. The gains are small in comparison to the quantities you'll require, so we'd recommend taking the following approach to get a steady stream.

Need more help? Our Shadow of War guide and walkthrough gives you an overview of everything you need, but if you need something in particular, we have pages on Shadow of War Fortress Sieges, how to earn Mirian in Shadow of War, a guide for how to import your Nemesis and Follower to Shadow of War, collectibles guides like how to get all Shadow of War Legendary Armour and Weapons sets, a list of Lost Artifacts and Web of Fate locations, and Ithildin Door poem solutions and Shadows of the Past, along with how to grind XP in Shadow of War to power through the tricky Shadow Wars endgame and get the true ending. Finally, there's Shadow of War's army building explained and the best skills and how to earn Skill Points.

How to earn 50k experience per hour by farming XP from Nemesis Missions

Note that this method is only available in Act 2 and beyond; in Act 1 you'll have to make do with small XP gains from just killing enemy Captains, which may not be worth the time.

Once you get that far through the story, here's how you can begin farming XP effectively.

  • If you have any Wealth Gems, slot them into your armour and cloak to get an XP boost.
  • Pick a region and complete any XP-earning Nemesis Missions marked on the map.
  • When completing the missions, recruit enough enemy Captains so that roughly half the region is yours, and let the remainder escape or Shame them.
  • If no missions are on the map, use the Army screen to send some of your Captains off to kill enemies by choosing a Captain, selecting "Command", and then highlighting an enemy. Optimally you want to pick lower level Captains to send as they'll gain a few levels out of the mission. It's possible to assign more than one to the same target, but be aware that only the one you assigned first will gain levels from it.
  • Alternatively locate a Worm and use him to send a death threat to an enemy Captain; these can be marginally more profitable for XP and may net you a decent loot drop, but they can also take a little longer to complete.
  • Every time you gain a level, send your lowest level Captains to the Fighting Pit to battle your highest level Captains - this should bump the victors up to your level (or near enough), and will provide slots for more enemy Captains to spawn. Once the field has thinned, use a Haedir Tower to advance time until new Captains become available.
  • Avoid killing enemy Captains if they're not part of a Nemesis Mission - sometimes it's unavoidable as they'll ambush you during a Mission, but the XP gains for a simple kill are lower than from a Mission so it's not time-effective.
  • Every couple of levels, switch region - this will keep your armies more or less balanced and help break up the monotony.
  • If you're in the end-game then keep repeating this process until you've reached a sufficiently high level to take on the next siege, then focus on bolstering your Army in that region.

Using this process we've been able to earn upwards of 50k XP per hour, but bear in mind that the XP requirements to level up increase quite rapidly: it takes 50k XP to go from level 42 to 43, but to go from 52 to 53 the cost has more than doubled to 110k.

Be prepared for the end-game to be a marathon rather than a sprint!

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

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Mat Hall avatar

Mat Hall


Mat has been playing video games since the late 70s, and hopes one day to be good at them. Still believes the Amiga was the greatest computer ever, and is waiting for the current Windows and console fad to pass.