2. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor General hints and tips


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Best initial upgrades

In this game you have three specific upgrades: Abilities, Attributes and Weapon Upgrades.

Abilities - Specific actions, skills and moves that let you progress through the game easier. Each ability is unlocked with one ability point, which is gained by earning XP for many actions in the game such as killing uruks, completing main missions and side missions, freeing slaves, etc.

In the start of the game you'll have only the Wraith Stun ability unlocked, the image below shows the list of abilities in this game, divided between the Ranger and Wraith abilities (left and right side, respectively).


Abilities marked with a white padlock can be purchased when you have enough ability points. Abilities marked with a yellow padlock will be earned (not needing purchase) only when you progress more in the game by playing main missions, and abilities marked with a red padlock requires that you purchase other abilities first or that you gain enough power points, which are earned by completing Power Struggles and missions.

Each line represents one tier of ability, higher tiers will be unavailable until you unlock abilities from lower tiers and have enough power points, described above.

The best and recommended abilities from tier 1 is described below.

  • Detonate - Shooting camp fires or barrels to cause them to explode with your arrow, and you are immune to damage from these explosions.
  • Strike from Above - Aerial takedowns on unaware targets become lethal. After purchasing this ability you can use this as a takedown with cn_RT + cn_X.
  • Ride Caragors - With this ability you can mount a caragor from above, by pressing cn_RB.
  • Execution - When your Hit Streak is charged (8x consecutive activate the Hit Streak with counter turn red and your sword glowing) press cn_Y + cn_B to execute your target (very useful against "immortal captains", explained in Nemesis System topic).

Other abilities to keep in mind that will be very useful when you unlock specific tiers are:

Tier 2 - Critical Strike and Last Chance Finisher.

Tier 3 - Vault Stun (useful against Uruks with shields) and Swift Finisher.

Tier 4 - Blade Master (very useful because it reduces the streak you need from 8 to 5), Death Threat (a strategic and useful ability latter in the game, will be explained in details in Story Walkthrough), Shadow Mount and Fire Arrow (this last ability is useful for one missable achievement in Lord of the Hunt DLC, so you can unlock this later in the game, since this ability is not mandatory for the specific achievement, explained in details in Lord of the Hunt page).

Tier 5 - Critical Strike 2, Flame of Vengeance and Double Charge.

Attributes - Permanent improvements for your character and takes immediate effect when you purchase them.


You can purchase new attributes by spending Mirian on them, which is the "money" of the game. You earn Mirian by completing missions, optional challenges and finding collectibles.

You will have 6 types of attributes to max out, from left to right in this order: Max Health Up, Max Elf-Shot Up, Max Focus Up, Sword Rune Slot, Bow Rune Slot and Dagger Rune Slot. A useful tip is to max your health first, or at least increase it 2 to 3 points, since dying in this game can be very frustrating and fun too, depending on your point of view (you will see and know why below, in the nemesis system topic), max your elf-shot and focus is useful too but not mandatory, in the first hours of the game, at least.

By unlocking specific numbers of Bow, Sword and Dagger rune slots you can earn three achievements, all of them explained in Miscellaneous page.

Strike True

Unlock 2 Bow Rune slots.

Strike True
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The Cold Light

Unlock 3 Sword Rune slots.

The Cold Light
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Paid in Blood

Unlock 4 Dagger Rune slots.

Paid in Blood
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Weapon Upgrades - Runes that you use in your three weapons to maximize your effectiveness against your enemies. More about runes in the section below.

You can purchase more slots from your weapons (all start with only 1 each but can raise to 5 each) in the Attributes section, Upgrades menu.

Nemesis System

The new and innovative gameplay element created for this game is called the Nemesis System, it's an system where randomly named enemies in Sauron's Army are generated uniquely with their own personality and will rise or fall in the hierarchy of Sauron's Army depending of your actions as the game progresses. Each of these enemies will react differently to Talion's actions. Each dynamically generated enemy remembers the interactions players (and other enemies) have with him and reacts accordingly when they meet again.

This system can produce some enemies that appear to be "immortals". This can happen if you kill him and don't decapitate his head with an execution. Eventually, he will come back from the dead, with some scars that from your previous fights and this Uruk will remember you and try to kill you, again. The tip is to mantain your combo until it hits 8x (or 5x if you your use Blade Master ability), and Talion's sword glows white. You can then perform an Execution, pressing cn_Y + cn_B, and finally remove his head.

Defeating any of these captains (or later on, Warchiefs) will reward you with runes, described below.


Runes are upgrades for your weapons that you earn by defeating captains and warchiefs. The type of rune is related to the weapon you use to kill the Uruk. For example, if you kill an enemy with the sword, you receive a rune that you can use only on your sword.

Each rune has their own value, which depends on the Power level of the Uruk that you killed. If you kill a Captain or Warchief with a higher power level you will receive a powerful rune, possibly an epic rune (epic runes are the most powerful runes of the game, you start with 10 of these to equip in your weapons), which can be distinguished from the others by their gold color.

Thinking about that, in certain moments, is a good idea die for the same enemy over and over, because when you kill this enemy you will, probably, earn an epic rune. Plus, if this rune be at level 25 you will unlock an achievement (detailed tips for this achievement are in Miscellaneous page).

A Mighty Doom

Acquire a level 25 Rune.

A Mighty Doom
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I don't recommend that you use this tip of dying in initial moments of game because your character are weak and don't have much abilities and attributes. Can be painful defeat some enemies in the start hours of the game. After you gain enough power, unlock many abilities, attributes and be confident is a way to go.

You can possibly earn an epic rune by sending a Death Threat to a specific Captain or Warchief and killing them. To do this you'll need the Death Threat ability. You will reward with another achievement by doing this.

Iron of Death

Issue a Death Threat, and then successfully kill the target.

Iron of Death
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More Tips

- Don't be afraid to run. In the starting hours, you will be surrounded by many Uruks, maybe some captains, and the best option can be to run. If you die, the nemesis system, explained above, kicks into play. So it can be painful to face the same enemy and lose many times. Don't be ashamed of running, it's a strategic move.

- Stealth, always use stealth when it's possible. To enter into stealth mode just press cn_RT and, when you approach an enemy, the circle around their body will turn red, that means that you can kill them stealthly by pressing cn_X. You can extend this by attracting some Uruk with cn_RT + cn_Y and killing them from above or from below, if you're on a ledge.

- Your “Batman sense”, or “Eagle vision” version is one of more helpful features of this game, it’s called Wraith World, explained in tutorial of the game, and is activated by pressing cn_LB. You will need use wraith world mode many times, it is very useful for you to plan your strategies before entering into a dangerous area, to identify captains, or even for hunting collectibles and possible herbs nearby.

- Talking about herbs, use them, besides all of them are related to hunting challenges, which gives you an achievement (explained in Challenges page), they replenish your health to 100%. So always use them when you can, even in battles. This will be really helpful especially in the starting hours of the game.

- Always grab intel about captains and warchiefs, this game is not only about killing and smashing buttons, but is a LOT about planning how you kill. Knowing your enemy and their strengths and weaknesses is the best way to get out of a battle alive. It will also provide you with a rune (an epic maybe?) from the enemy that you kill. In the start of the game you will learn how to grab intel, always go looking for a green icons in the map. Once you find a ranked Uruk you can grab, or maybe a document to read, or a slave to free, take advantage.

- Power Struggle missions, do as many as you can (the red icons in the map), because you can weaken Sauron's Army, earning a lot of XP, working in some achievements (explained in Miscellaneous page), etc. Important: if you advance time, pressing cn_Y in a Forge Tower, you will see the Nemesis System work, which means all of the Power struggle missions will finish. All the captains of these missions will be promoted and all the missions will be replaced by other ones, so my tip is: DO NOT advance time, at least in the first 10 to 15 starting hours of the game, when your character is weak. Is better if you fast travel, by pressing cn_X in a Forge Tower, in the map.

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