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Dead Uruk

The result of failing the Dark Lord...

Uruks, also known as the Great Orcs, are a type of enemy in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Uruks form the bulk of Sauron's Army. They are the elite breed of Orcs bred by Morgoth during the time of the Great Darkness in the First Age. The Dark Lord Sauron also bred them in the Second Age, and the wizard, Saruman the White later bred these foul creatures to serve his purposes in Isengard. They are creatures of malice and cruelty, and thus were sent by their masters to destroy and cause chaos among the free people of Middle-earth and Beleriand.

In-game Description Edit

The Uruk is the elite of all the Orc breeds. They are grown in huge vats as a leadership caste and are taller, stronger, better able to withstand daylight, and more ill-tempered than the other lesser Orcs. They are Captains and Commanders, bred for war and determined to take back their homeland for the Dark Lord Sauron.
They impose their will with brute force; they hate beautiful things, will not admit to any fears, revel in slaughter, and enslave any who stand in their path. They are certain their Dark Lord has returned to lead them to their destiny as the rulers of Middle-earth.

Society Edit

Uruks are bred for war, thus is their society.

Hierarchy Edit

Uruks can also be classified by rank, or chain of command:

have certain Traits (strengths and weaknesses) that can be discovered by interrogating Worms and other intel sources

  • Warchiefs - Uruk Warchiefs are the elite. They kill their way to the top, and defend their position with absolute ferocity. They gather a squad of Bodyguards to serve under them and protect them from the constant threats to their authority (and their lives). These Bodyguards are loyal as long as they fear their Master, and will defend him - but the Warchief is always on guard against the knife in the back.
    As such, Warchiefs generally avoid being seen, and only emerge after being drawn out into combat by a powerful foe. To refuse combat from such a foe would be a sign of weakness, and spell doom for a Warchief.

    Warchiefs can only be challenged through special missions, and they must be drawn out by accomplishing certain criteria. They will always be surrounded by a group of bodyguards, including one or more Captains (indicated by the link to their Warchief in the "Sauron's Army" screen). These Captains will take the place of the Warchief if he is killed. In the instance of there being two or more linked Captains, the one with the highest Power will become Warchief.
  • Captains - Uruk Captains oversee Sauron's Army. They enforce construction and demolition projects, craft battle plans, and administer descipline to their underlings.
    The Uruk hierarchy is combative; Captains win their place by slaughtering those above them, and keep power by destroying underlings who might oppose them. This ensures endless competition among the Uruks, and winning the rank of Captain means an Uruk is one of the strongest, deadliest, and most devious of their kind.
    As a measure of their status, Captains often carry the best weapons and armor pried from the corpses of the foes they have killed, and bear the scars from the battles they have fought.

    Uruks can be promoted to Captain rank if they kill Talion or by other means.
  • Soldiers - The most common Uruk that Talion meets in the land of Mordor. If one accomplishes some great feat, such as killing Talion, killing a Captain (can be used to make a pre-branded captain), or is an opportunist, i.e. taking up the empty position of a recently deceased Captain, they will enter the System as a Captain. Any Soldier is capable of becoming a Captain, so this may be useful for players to exploit if they need new Captains to dominate by getting killed by regular Soldiers.
    • Worms - Worms can be dominated to get information on nemeses. They are equipped with weapons of other enemy types, and can be any of the five aforementioned types of Uruk. They will appear as a green diamond indicator on the minimap and over their head in the world, and also glow green in Wraith Sight.

Enemy Types Edit

Uruks can be broadly categorized based on their type of armament and general fighting style, though nemeses can vary greatly in strength and power level depending on their rank, compared to ordinary soldiers:

  • Warrior - Most frequently encountered type of Uruk soldier. They vary from scrawny sized to large, and everything in between. They carry a one-handed weapon, typically a sword or club of some kind. They also posses throwing weapons that they can use against targets some distance away. Generally the most common type of fighter that can be dealt with easily using basic combat tactics.
  • Archer (crossbow) - Basic ranged Uruk. They are more scrawny than the other Uruks. Usually found on higher ground, to be safe from attackers as well as having a better vantage point to shoot from, otherwise are found usually alone on higher ground or behind melee Uruks. Arrows cannot be countered but can be dodged. As they have lower toughness than other melee-oriented Uruks, they are easily dealt with once Talion engages them, or they can be eliminated from a distance with the bow Azkâr.
  • Berserker - Similar to warriors, but wield two weapons instead of one. Always the larger of the Uruks with faces smeared in warpaint. Deal much more damage and are capable of throwing their weapons. Can be countered like Warriors, although they sometimes perform a whirlwind attack that cannot be countered but can be dodged, which will flash a red warning marker on the screen before the attack starts. Cannot be attacked head on with low-streak sword attacks, since they will counter the attack, though can be attacked freely from the back. If chosen to be attacked head on, the Berserkers must be Wraith Stunned before any attacks can land on them. However, when Talion has a Hit Counter of 15x or greater, his sword attacks have greater speed and force, and he can perform sword attacks on Berserkers normally from the front, without being countered.
  • Defender - Uruks that are able to block frontal attacks with their massive shields and carry huge spears that are slow, but have good reach. They are usually the largest of the Uruks encountered, since they wield massive shields and spears. Their attacks cannot be countered but can be dodged, and show a red warning marker to indicate they are uncounterable. Jumping over them and attacking them from behind is the best tactic. The ghostly arrows from Azkar also pass straight through their shields. These shields can also be destroyed after sustaining enough damage, after which they will also drop their spears, draw a sword, and become regular Warriors (though of the bigger variety). When Talion's Hit Counter is at 15x or greater, his sword attacks are more forceful, and will smash a Defender's shield in one hit.
  • Hunter - Hunters throw spears at their targets, and deal extra damage to beasts. These Uruks are smaller compared to the other classes, but can look threatening with all the spears and javelins they carry on their back. They tend to stand at range, behind other melee Uruks, strafing to get a better shot at their target. Like Archers, they can't take near as much punishment as melee-oriented fighters.

Other Edit

  • Executioners - Brutal Executioners serve to keep Uruk society from crumbling into an endless spiral of revenge, murder, and slaughter for slaughter's sake. The Uruks have few rules and fewer punishments to enforce their bloody sense of order.
    When the Executioner is called to settle a dispute, heads roll, and the matter is concluded. In Mordor, the Executioners have expanded roles to including the punishing of unruly creatures and slaves. They excel in administering discipline, and their lessons never need repeating.
  • Beastmasters - Beastmasters are spawned for the job no Uruk would rightly volunteer for; taming and slaughtering the wild beasts of Mordor. They are ideal for their dual role as hunter and killer.
    Mordor is a place of wild beasts requiring domination. Beastmasters track and capture the creatures required to service the Dark Lord's army, and they exterminate the monsters that might impede its progress. They're the ones who trap Caragors and pen them, or bring down the enormous great beasts to be used as cargo carriers.
    Beastmasters also clear campsites and outposts, destroying the native Ghuls, Ungol, and rats, so as to make the sites usable for their brethren.
  • Slavers - Labor moves Mordor, and the Slavers move the labor. They are the ones who process captured humans, and dispatch their chattel to sites across Mordor via the Black Road.
    The Uruks realize slave labor has freed them to focus on foraging the Dark Lord's great war machine, and are looking beyond Mordor for more captives. There are whispers they are being aided on this front by a mysterious figure, a "Dwarf of the Coin".
  • Sawbones - As with Elves, Uruks excel at war, do not seem to age or sicken, and rarely die naturally. But when they do need healing they call for the Sawbones. These Uruks are imbued with a basic knowledge of herb lore and anatomy, allowing them to perform rudimentary medical treatment, which generally involves some form of amputation.
    Given their propensity for hacking meat, they often moonlight as cooks, and brew the putrid and flammable Orc-grog that keeps the Uruk army on its feet.

Behind the Scenes Edit

Nemesis system

Talion facing a large Uruk.

While creating the Uruks, Monolith wanted to avoid fantasy clichés, and aimed to create realistic Orcs that are more interesting and complex than the typical fantasy archetype. Orcs in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor aren't the typical highly aggressive, unintelligent creatures that they are often portrayed as, but are instead what human beings become when they are driven by fear, domination and power. Monolith draws a comparison with the Great War, where the situation of soldiers in the trenches are similar to those of the Uruks under Sauron's control. The Uruks are pushed to the extreme, to the point where their society is ruled by power and fighting, a society where every Uruk wants to prove their dominance.

This allows Monolith to push Uruk personalities to the extreme, which aids in making them interesting and memorable villains, while also creating a dynamic environment. Monolith drew inspiration from various movies, particularly Quentin Tarantino films, where the characters are cranked up and taken to an extreme.

A common preconception of Orcs, in The Lord of the Rings, is that they are highly unintelligent. While there's only six lines of Uruk dialogue in the entirety of The Lord of the Rings, these lines do show a sense of morality and convictions, but they do not live by these: Uruks always take the path that leads to glory.[1]

Lore Edit

Morgoth created Uruks by breeding Elves he had captured and corrupted through torturing and mutilating them. In Lord of the Rings, the Ent Treebeard tells the Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, that Uruks were an attempt by Morgoth to copy the Elves. A similar interpretation of 'Trolls' was made by Treebeard, informing the Hobbits that they were a failed copy of Ents.

Uruks were highly dependent on their leaders in multiple ways. When Morgoth was defeated, the Uruks were confused and easily scattered by their enemies, after which they went into hiding in the Misty Mountains, showing how much they depend on the Dark Lord. Only when Sauron regained power did the Uruks become a considerable threat to Middle-earth.

Many Uruks, as well as other servants of Melkor, lived in the deep caves and tunnels of the fortresses of Utumno and Angband. They reproduced and spread throughout the entirety of northern Middle-earth. For many centuries, Uruks were a mere minor problem, until Morgoth returned, using them in the First Battle of Beleriand.

Trivia Edit

  • As Uruks are Orcs, they are commonly confused as being different from Goblins. However, Goblins are Orcs also. "Uruk" is simply the Black Speech word for" Orc". Christopher Tolkien describes Orcs as the truncation for Uruk-hai and can be used interchangeably. Orc is to Man as Uruk-hai is to Man-kind. This terminology is also described by J.R.R Tolkien in The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.
  • Uruks often fought alongside large armoured trolls in their battles, especially during the last days of the War of the Ring. These Olog-hai were a fierce and more violent breed of Trolls.



  1. Fallen Fantasy - The Orcs of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
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