Middle-Earth: Shadow of War has finally arrived, making the orc slaying fun that Monolith first introduced in 2014, even better. No matter how skillful of a player you are, the amount of orcs coming against you are going to be overwhelming, and unless you have an army of your own backing you up, then you’re going to want to know how to build an army and gain followers in Shadow of War.

How to Build an Army

Building an army in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is going to be an important part of your playthrough, even though you won’t be able to actually make use of your army until you reach Act II of the game. For most players, it will take around 10 hours to reach this mark, assuming that you spend a majority of your time pursuing the game’s different side missions, and not just simply powering through the main campaign storyline. Once you reach Act II, and make your way to the mission called The Fall, you’ll unlock the ability to dominate enemies, which allows you to make them your follower, forcing them to fight for you in battle.

This dominate skill is the basis of the entire system that allows you to gain followers and build up an army in Shadow of War. However, it isn’t exactly an easy thing to master, and you won’t be able to just run up to a Captain and dominate them at will. Instead, you’ll have to unlock the Dominate Captain skill from your story tree, which you can only unlock after you complete the Ring of Power story mission that becomes available after you enter Act II. When you’ve unlocked this skill, you can then start dominating Captains once they are broken. Once they are broken, use the Dominate skill to claim their loyalty—so long as you are a high enough level to do so.

How to Dominate Enemies

Dominating enemies is extremely easy once you understand how it works. First, you’ll need to decide which enemy you want to dominate, and then you’ll need to hurt them until they reach a certain threshold of health. When this happens, you can get close to them and hold the same button that you would hold to drain an enemy. This will also allow you to dominate them, allowing you to basically take control of their mind, and force them to fight for you.

Army Management

The domination process doesn’t stop when you dominate a Captain, though, and as you start to progress forward into the game, and dominate more Captains, you’ll need to take note of a few things. Firstly, you can’t simply dominate any Captain that you see or attack. Depending on how much higher their level is than yours, you may need to shame them first. You can shame a Captain by making him look bad in front of his lackeys. Do this by playing on his weaknesses, and making him look like cannon fodder.

Once you have shamed a Captain (it will appear over his head like the word broken does with beasts of the land), you can then dominate him. Once you’ve dominated a few Captains, and have reached the point of building up your Army, you’re going to need to learn how to prepare for the Siege gameplay that makes up the fortress attacks included in Shadow of War.

Siege attacks are large-scale attacks on the Fortresses of each region, and you’ll need to recruit plenty of Captains and build up your army if you want to be strong enough to take on the fortress and come out on top. Not only will you need plenty of followers to build up your Army, but you’ll also need to make sure you are completing Training Missions—which can be activated from the Siege Menu—to build up your Captain’s strengths, that way they won’t die as easily in battle.

 

Another cool feature of the Siege Menu is the ability to set a personal bodyguard for each region that you’re in. This will allow you to have some back-up always on hand, which can be very useful for getting yourself out of sticky situations. You should always make sure you are keeping your Army trained and leveling up, as the Captains that you’ll face in battle on the field are always progressing and leveling up, especially if they manage to kill you.

Now that you know how to dominate enemies, as well as how to start building up an army and gaining followers, be sure to head back over to our Shadow of War guide for even more helpful assistance in the game, including an in-depth explanation of how to get a mount and more.