Shadow Of War Beginner's Guide: Tips And Tricks
Tips To Survive
With expansive skill trees and a lot of unlockables, Middle-earth: Shadow of War can feel overwhelming. That's why we've put together a beginner's guide focused on helping you through the game's early hours. Put these handy tips into practice and you'll be decapitating Orcs and mounting Caragors in no time.
Shadow of War is out now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It was originally slated to launch in August, only for it to be pushed back to October. A free-to-play strategy RPG version of Middle-earth: Shadow of War for iOS and Android devices launched ahead of the game's release. Don't miss our Shadow of War review.
For a brief rundown on the original game's plot, check out our feature detailing the game's story so far. You can also check out our guides on the 12 Best Skills in Shadow of War, as well as how to get each Legendary gear set. And make sure to check out our other Shadow of War tips, guides, and walkthroughs.
Easy Skill Points
Gaining skill points in Shadow Of War will allow Talion to unlock new abilities and progress into higher tiered move-sets. While there are many opportunities to gain skill points, such as taking out Elite Orcs and clearing Vendetta and Nemesis missions, there are quicker and more efficient ways to earn access to valuable upgrades.
The easiest way to get a skill point early on is to purify all three Haedir towers in each region. Doing so also unlocks a handy fast travel point. After purifying a tower, use it to identify all the collectables in the region. As you're adventuring around the map finishing other tasks, it's worth collecting the Ithildin symbols, Shelob memories, and Gondorian artifacts to net another Skill Point, so don't ignore the collectables in the early game. With Talion's Elven Agility, it shouldn't take you long to run around and grab them all. Plus, you get great bonus abilities and items for collecting the lot.
Moreover, the Shadows of the Past side-missions also offer skill points when completing timed goals along with the bonus objectives.
Make Sure To Read Up On Skills Before You Invest
The Skills menu has a lot of categories and options available, but you'll have to choose wisely. It's worth noting that after unlocking each base skill, you can unlock one of three upgrades for that skill. These provide additional benefits to an already useful skill, but in general, you'll want to focus on the primary abilities first.
Each skill row has a multitude of abilities that will accommodate play-styles ranging from full offensive to stealth-focused. Try to get a feel for what you favor as you play through the missions. But don't sweat it too much, as it's easy to earn more skill points, and you'll end up with a full skill tree before you know it.
Mounted Skills Are Worthwhile
Mounted skills are useful additions to your skill-set. It'll make you a powerful beastmaster capable of riding Caragors, Graugs, and even Drakes. They're a nifty way of getting from A to B, while causing some serious damage along the way.
However, mounted beasts are most effective against Orc captains and their minions. Not only can they help you take on a captain, but they can also trigger some to run away in fear. Don't underestimate the strength of mounted skills; you never know when they can aid you.
Check Your Gear Often
Enemy captains and Nemeses always drop random items upon defeat. Make sure to go into your inventory every so often and check that you've equipped the best gear you've got and applied any available upgrades. There are various armour sets you can collect and wear, like the Bright Lord set you obtain by unlocking all the elven doors.
Deconstruct Your Old Gear
Mirian is one of Shadow of War's most valuable currencies, and while you might feel like you're swimming in riches early on, there are some expensive abilities you'll have to purchase eventually. One of the easiest ways to line your pockets is by breaking down your old equipment. If it's not your highest level piece--and it's not legendary--then it's not worth holding onto.
To break down equipment, go into your inventory and select a piece of gear you're not wearing. You'll see a small button prompt that tells you what to press to dismantle the unnecessary baggage.
Complete Gear Challenges
Each piece of epic and rare gear that you acquire has an associated Challenge, which requires you to complete a certain task. After completing this Challenge, and investing Mirian, you'll unlock an upgrade to your gear. It doesn't give you a whole lot more damage, and you can only upgrade an epic or rare piece once, but the upgrades provide useful buffs. For example, you can acquire an upgrade that increases the chances of an enemy's head exploding upon death, freaking out nearby allies. It's well worth doing, especially for rare equipment, where the challenges can be as easy as getting five headshots or killing three beasts (which you're already doing as part of normal gameplay anyway).
When it comes to legendary gear, Celebrimbor can upgrade it multiple times until it hits max level, so these are worth holding onto. If you have a completed armor set and have equipped everything, look into its gear challenges, as not only will you get the buffs from wearing the full set, but from the upgraded gear too.
Unlock Gem Slots ASAP
Killing captains, pulling down monuments, and causing chaos in Mordor can bag you a gem, which can net you added bonuses. Each piece of gear has a gem slot that you need to unlock by paying 1000 Mirian. This might seem like a lot, but it's worth doing as early as you can. You don't really need Mirian until Act II, when you start doing Fortress Assaults, and by then you should have banked plenty from completing missions and deconstructing old gear.
Pay Attention To Gem Bonuses
You get a preview of what bonuses you'll get if you hover over a gem, and you'll notice that a gem offers different bonuses depending on what it's attached to. This can range from better loot drops, bonus XP, or even a level boost for your followers, so read this and adapt according to what you want. It's also worth noting that if you attach gems to your stuff, removing them later doesn't destroy them, so you can swap them in and out at will.
If you've picked up three of the same type of gem, it's possible to combine them together to create a more powerful one that yields better rewards when attached to gear. Do this often to ensure that you're always equipped with the best Gems possible. And remember that you can unequip gems in order to use them for combining.
How To Easily Defeat Orc Captains
The easiest way to take on captains early on (beside taking advantage of their weaknesses) is to use the environmental hazards to thin the crowds. Shoot the hanging meat, burst the ghul eggs, hit morgul fly nests, poison grog, explode fire pits, and free the cooped up caragors and graugs. Do as much as you can to cause chaos in the outposts, and try to isolate the captain if you can. It'll make your life a lot easier than getting overwhelmed by him and all his lackeys.
And if you do get overwhelmed, the enemy AI is pretty forgiving if you need to run away and recoup for a bit. Orcs have a relatively short attention span so climb somewhere high where they can't see you, wait for them to stop looking for you, and dive right back in. The Captains and Warchiefs don't leave their area, so you can whittle them down bit by bit if you need to.