How ‘Middle-Earth: Shadow of War’ Doubles Down on the Nemesis System

Nico Faraguna

Veterans from the first Middle-Earth game, Shadow of Mordor, will remember the revolutionary Nemesis System and how it tailored the overall story to each individual player. Each Orc Nemesis had its own personalities, traits, and stories that intertwined with the surrounding landscape to craft a truly unique experience for every player — meaning that every single person who played the game ended up with their own unique stories harrowing Orc battles and Nemeses that hunted them across their playthrough.

To expand on this critically acclaimed feature, Middle-Earth sequel Shadow of War has introduced more facets to the robust Nemesis System to further immerse the player in Orc society.


This should be a piece of cake.

Castles and fortresses were an integral part of the landscape and gameplay in Shadow of Mordor. However, these locations lacked much interaction other than their aesthetics and verticality.

In Shadow of War, each region of Mordor will have its own fortress that will contain Overlords, Warchiefs, and other unique characters.

Fortresses are now an integral part of the Nemesis War Screen. Players can explore a 3D map that illustrates the type, location, difficulty, and the occupants of a specific fortress. The difficulty of a fortress siege is indicated by a level while you’re browsing through regions on the map. Attempting to take down a fortress without the proper assets will result in swift defeat.

Be prepared to fight for your life, as you’ll be pitted against many powerful foes during your siege, especially the aforementioned Overlord of the fortress.

Overlords and Warchiefs

Ur-Hakon clearly has seen some things.

Overlords are a new addition to the Middle-Earth series. A cut above the previous bosses of Shadow of Mordor, Warchiefs, Overlords are the last line of defense for a fortress and the most difficult to defeat.

You’ll need to abuse their weaknesses if you wish to best them in battle and perhaps call on the aid of your own Warchiefs to aid you in dire situations.

Orc races also play a significant role in the grand scheme of Shadow of War. Their race denotes the type of warrior, abilities, and fortress aesthetic. Different types of Orc races have particular pros and cons against others, which is something you’ll want to take advantage of.

Choosing which types of Warchiefs to have on your side can be the difference maker in a battle. Make sure to always strategize in the Nemesis War Screen.

In addition, old friends and foes can await you in Shadow of War: Players have the ability to import their most decorated Warchief and notorious foe from Shadow of Mordor.


Taming a drake will make any siege easier.

Sieges can be broken down into several stages. From preparation to victory, you’ll want to know everything before you get into a hotly contested fight. Let’s look at them in more detail.

First off, you’ll want to take a closer look at the opposition you’re up against. You can investigate a particular fortress and region to know more about its Overlord and Warchiefs. With this information, you can make the necessary preparations to counter the enemy once the siege starts. For example, during this reconnaissance phase, you can plant some spies from your army to infiltrate the ranks of your opposition. Once the battle begins, they’ll aid you in the fight.

Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s on to the preparation phase. Now that you know some of your enemies weaknesses, you’ll want to exploit them by using the proper siege upgrades and bonuses. Certain fortresses have different types of defenses, so it’s best to plan accordingly.

Now comes the fun part: the beginnings of an epic battle. You have a few options as to how to proceed in the opening moments of a siege. You can rush towards one of three capture points to claim ground for your army, or utilize ranged attacks to break down defenses from afar. You’ll have to work your way through a multitude of hordes and Warchiefs, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Once you’ve breached the main hall of the fortress, you’ll encounter the Overlord of the fortress and engage in battle. You can elicit the use of a personal bodyguard to aid you in this fight, but you’ll once again want to pay close attention to your enemy’s weaknesses for you to exploit.

Once you’ve successfully sieged a fortress and lay slain to the Overlord, you’ll be awarded with ownership of it. Your first order of business will be to promote an Overlord to manage the operations of your newly won fortress. This decision will affect many aspects of your gameplay.

New Overlords will dictate the aesthetics and production of your newly conquered fortress. An example would be promoting a Beast Master. This decision will result with creatures in the region attacking the enemy on-sight. You can always change who is the Overlord of your fortress and customize your army and its capabilities.

Thanks to GameStop for sponsoring this video. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War comes out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 10. Preorder now to receive four Legendary Orc Champions.

Nico Faraguna
I enjoy playing PC games, watching motorcycle racing, and eating good grub
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