The world of Middle-Earth as envisioned by Tolkien is absolutely enormous, and Shadow of War does a pretty good job of getting that vision across: it's expansive in scope and with so much to do that it runs the risk of actually becoming a little intimidating. Though this feeling wears off after a while it's certainly very present early on, and it's no surprise to see and hear a lot of players feeling a little overwhelmed in the early parts of the game.
Some things that on paper might sound obvious actually aren't so clear-cut in Shadow of War, and to avoid any confusion we figured it'd be best to clear up some of those topics here on the site. Some people are unsure of what to expect in terms of level cap, for instance, while others aren't quite sure of what's going on with the gameplay systems.We also figured it'd be good to outline the game structure so you can plan ahead, too - and we've got some advice for how to best tackle the story. Let's get to it...
Want more Middle-Earth: Shadow of War help? Check out our other guides:
- Shadow of War Domination Guide: all about the nemesis system and dominating orcs
- Shadow of War Ithildin Poem Guide - how to get the Bright Lord gear
- Shadow of War Legendary Sets and Gear: how to find the best gear in the game
- Shadow of War Best Skills Guide: our picks for the best upgrades
- Shadow of War Siege Upgrades - attacking and defending fortresses explained
- How to destroy Monuments in Shadow of War
How to Save in Shadow of War, and how auto-save works
This is a bit of a basic beginners' problem, but it's one that we've noticed a few people have been running into: how exactly do you save your game in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War? The game doesn't exactly make it clear, and once you've completed the first few objectives in Minas Ithil and opened up the first truly open world segment chances are you'll want to break for a cup of coffee or just to give yourself a breathing. But... how do you do it?
Well - this is just a case of poor design, honestly. Shadow of War uses an auto-save system but is extraordinarily poor at actually informing you that it's auto-saved. There's actually no way to force the game to manually save either, and so while the auto-save is actually pretty generous you can never be fully sure of when it last saved your game.
There is a way around this, however: you can use the game's fast travel option. Shadow of War always saves game when you fast travel, so if you need to head off down to the shops or your partner is calling you for something the quickest thing to do is pop open the map, fast travel, and then once the game fully loads in (with the sword icon that indicates loading gone) you should be able to turn off the console without the risk of losing any progress. This is the only way to manually save in the game. Generally speaking you should avoid quitting mid-quest, as quest progress seems to save at certain milestones and quitting while half-finished may mean you'll have to redo certain objectives.
Shadow of War Max Level - what's the level cap?
Just to avoid any confusion, the maximum level for Talion is level 60, and this is more than enough levels to top out your skill tree - though skill points can also be earned in other ways. Level 60 is also the level cap for your orc captains.
How many chapters is Shadow of War? How long is it?
This is a fairly frequently-asked question, so let's address it: Shadow of War is esentially a three-act game, but there's more to it than that. The main story is split into five chunks: the Prologue, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3 and Act 4: The Shadow Wars. The main bulk of the story takes place in Act 1-3, and you should really consider Act 4 a 'post-game' in a typical RPG sense, although one that leads to a final, 'true' ending of the game.
As mentioned earlier in this guide, we'd recommend finishing off the main story, aka acts one to three, right off the bat as quickly as you can. Once this is done you can focus on guide content and preparing yourself for the post-game Shadow Wars content - because that is some really difficult, challenging stuff. Good luck!
While we're at it... Consider focusing on Shadow of War's story at first
While Shadow of War's story is one of its weaker elements, it does have a lot going for it in the form of some excellent characters like Bruz and some strong story-based rewards for Talion. For our money, the best way to play Shadow of War is to play the bulk of the main story first before then focusing on side content, building your army and conquering Middle-Earth.
If you do this, you'll have access to a wider variety of skills and the game will reward you one set of Epic Gear for reaching the third act, too, and there's an easy-to-get set of Bright Lord armor attached to completing the Ithildin Poems, too. This makes for a strong jumping-off point for then getting into the nitty gritty of Shadow of War's systems and mechanics.