In a new trailer, we see Talion and Celebrimbor's first meeting with Eltariel, the Blade of Galadriel. Amidst some bitter tension and sad discoveries, there's a few moments of hilarity: the rather academic way Eltariel inquires about the process of Talion's Resurrective Immortality (having been the one who killed him this time) for one, but most especially the surprise written across Celebrimbor's spectral visage when it is revealed that she can SEE his independent spirit-form. Only those who wield or wielded Rings of Power can, like Sauron or Gollum.note In the source material, powerful or older Elves could also see into the Wraith-World. The Light of Galadriel is why she can see him, so it's fairly certain Galadriel herself enchanted it with very old magic.
Bruz: The point is, Shadow of War is epic! The story is epic! The characters are epic! The open world is epic! And if you think I'm saying "epic" too much, you're dead wrong, mate. It's not enough!
It's been confirmed that in this game, your Dominated Minions can Return from the dead as well. What should have been a Moment of Awesome / Heartwarming Moment announcement at the preview presentation got flubbed pretty badly when the Olog the devs had coded to have a guaranteed Return to demonstrate this wound up letting himself get decapitated. He came back anyway, but showed up still missing his head, not that he let that hamper his cavalier reintroduction in anyway.
Ur-Lasu Pain Seeker(Somehow speaking through the giant hole in the air where his face should be): I am not in fact dead. I will take that expression to mean "welcome back." Thank you.
Brûz the Chopper, an Olog-hai who, from the looks of it, is the new Ratbag albeit without the cowardice. After Talion dominates him, he stands there with an aggressive snarl on his face, before he grins and cracks a joke.
Brûz: Bright Lord? Dark Lord? Same thing, really. End result's me ripping spines out, which I like to do anyway, so either way's a win.
We're first introduced to Brûz when Talion and Celebrimbor witness him duel a rival that can be summed up as "Brûz clubs him in the head, breaks his neck, and unceremoniously tears his head off." Celebrimbor is instantly sold with almost uncharacteristic enthusiasm.
Celebrimbor: I like him!
When explaining the bodyguard mechanic:
Brûz: Anyone looking to carve his way across Mordor needs a guard or two. ...I mean, I don't. Obviously. Pah, if it ever got to the point where I needed a hand on the battlefield, I'd cut my own throat. ...But you? You should have some added muscle. No shame in it.
At the Siege:
Brûz: My Black Speech is a little rusty (actually, I don't know a single word, the language is a pain the the arse!), but, to hazard a guess, he said "You're all going to die, horribly." (chuckles) My kind of bloke! Talion: Well, I will handle the Overlord. You focus on the defenders. Brûz:(beat) Define "focus".
The fact that his name is "Bruz", and has a thick, hilariously out of place Australian accent, and has very point teeth, and a snout a bit like a shark...
Ratbag is back, and is every bit as hilariously incompetent as before.
Ratbag: Ranger! So much to catch up on! Where do I start?
The giant Olog mook, Ranger, that Ratbag keeps as his bodyguard after they busted out of an Orc prison together gets in a few good jabs, aided by the fact that given he only talks in Black Speech, Ratbag can't understand a word he's saying.
Talion and Celebrimbor sharing a mutual eye roll when having to listen to Bruz and Ratbag arguing over which one of them gets to be Overlord of the fortress.
How did Ratbag and Ranger wind up as a fortress's Overlords? He claims that it's a long story, only to immediately say what players already suspected: Ranger killed the last Overlord.
After Bruz betrays Talion, he is perhaps the most visibly, audibly annoyed that he's been in the games. Ratbag gleefully (and rather characteristically, for an Orc) going on about how Bruz killed Talion in front of the orcs after a seige earns him a Death Glare, and eventually a snarled, "Quiet!" Characteristic banter between Ratbag and Talion is very sarcastic on Talion's end during the following rescue mission.
Ratbag: So far so good. There are two more prisoners.
Talion: Yes. You said three and we've got one. I can count.
Ratbag: Oh! Well, that'll come in handy...
While explaining the problems that Bruz rebelling would cause, Ratbag imitates Celebrimbor's "Suffer me now!" quote while pointing out the implications of Bruz breaking the brand. It's... significantly less imposing when he does it.
Eltariel pointing out that she's gotten rather good at rescuing Talion from danger, and Talion grumpily pointing out that her idea of "rescue" is killing him to prevent the Ringwraiths from capturing him.
This lighter moment:
Talion: Baranor! How did you find me? Baranor: It was easy — I just followed the trail of dead Orcs.
Even before that, Talion slams Baranor to the ground by the throat - thinking he was an Orc - before realizing it's actually him. Baranor's only reply is an unfazed, even mild "Ho there."
During the siege of Minas Ithil you'll have to take control of the siege beasts and use them against the incoming army, the orcs are a bit confused by the situation.
As our heroes "meet" Carnan the first time, Talion has a brief discussion with Celebrimbor while dodging a Drake made of bark. He wonders if these beasts qualify as nature, and as Celebrimbor notes that they do, Talion just casually asks if Celebrimbor can tell it (nature itself) to stop, indicating that Talion sees these magnificent creatures as a minor annoyance at best, while just minutes earlier Celebrimbor was shown to be nervous around Carnan.
"The Fall" shows us that the Nazgûl can be surprisingly emotive for beings without visible faces. The three Nazgûl present when Talion finally falls over after Eltariel "killed" him seem to just go "Well shrakh, there he goes", and you can practically see Sûladan roll his non-existant eyes when he easily dodges Eltariel's attack later.
Celebrimbor's reaction to Eltariel seeing him is basically "Well, this is new" as he glances to Talion.
One of the post-patch Shadow War defense missions has almost all attackers looking identical. Their names also follow a trend, such as "X the One and Only", "Y the Other One", "Z the Selfsame one" etc.
When Talion finds a drake scale, Talion wonders if it's a dragon scale or a drake scale. Celebrimbor says it's a drake scale because dragons take better care of their scales. At leastonedidn't.
The developers went meta with one new power - you know the representation of the Wraith you leave when you attract an enemy, indicating your last known location? You can weaponize it now, by ordering the wraith to wait on its location and kill the inspecting enemy.
Some Uruks do not actually introduce themselves - rather, a completely random henchmen shoves his way into the middle of the fight to announce his boss to Talion, while the actual Nemesis stands there, silently badass (or perhaps just flabbergasted).
When you conquer a Stronghold, all of your allies celebrate — including spiders if you summoned them!
One possible encounter is an uruk accompanied by an entourage who says his piece before fighting you... before another one jumps out from behind him and says "and i'm gonna help!" with the biggest smile plastered on his face.
The Agonizer: I am going to have your head... I don't know what I'll do when I have it, but I'll have it! The Agonizer:I AM GOING TO PUT YOUR HEAD ON A PIKE!... which I think is another word for spear, they may be slightly different but I'm not sure, but anyway it sounds better than spear so... yeah. HEAD ON A PIKE! The Agonizer: Why would a Gondorian come here and try to murder ALL the Orcs? Maybe you have a problem with ONE Orc, maybe a hundred. But ALL of us? Maybe the problem is with YOU. The Agonizer:(when grabbed) Are we at least going somewhere interesting?
Ologs in combat will occasionally pick up and throw their own Uruk Mooks at you.
Some Uruk soldiers have this to say to you should they kill you.
Uruk: Looks like I killed you Tark, 'suppose that makes me a Tark killer, no... Tark slayer! Hmm, I quite like the sound of that. Tark slayer! From now on I will be known as The Tark Slayer!
And if you were wondering, yes, his captain title is "The Tark Slayer".
Even better is when you find him again and succeed in killing him this time.
Tark Slayer: You killed me, Tark! I guess that makes you the Tark Slayer (beat) slayer?
Similarily, a grunt that kills you may mention that after he ran away from a battle just once, everyone calls him "The Coward", and he hopes that they'll stop now since he killed the Gravewalker. When the game reveals the orc's new title in the army screen, it's... The Coward.
You have a chance to encounter Uruks with Diprosopus. Not only are they like grotesque, orcish versions of Janus cats, he's actually quite happy to share with you why bearing two faces is an advantage for him.
Skak the Twins: Murk and I are more than head twins. We are two halves of the same orc! That's why they said we were special! Right out of the vat, they said it. Twice the intellectual prowess, twice the cunning, and twice the intimidating, yet noble visage.
Two words: Uruk. Minstrels. They speak and behave exactly like the Singers from the first game, but take the spectacle Up to Eleven by insisting on fighting using lutes with axe-blades glued their bottoms. And yes, they do strum a tune whenever they speak in a singsong tone. Heck, on their Strengths/Weaknesses screen, they're humming.
On a less funny note, it was inspired by Mike Forgey, who had his own band on the side, wielding his own "axe." Forgey passed away in 2016 and a minstrel named Forthog was created based on him.
For added hilarity, whenever a Minstrel attacks and strikes something with their "axe", it will make an amusing "clong" sound. It's like you're getting into a swordfight with El Kabong.
On a similar vein, some uruks only speak in rhymes.
Snafu the Rhymer: Your fate just went from bad to worse. / You face an Orc who speaks in verse!
The developers seem to be aware of the unfortunate Uruk names from the last game, because they've added more. Along with fan-favorites Dûsh and Kâka, we now have Fûbar, Snâfu, Bork, Shag, and more. And yes, the names are still voiced like always.
One Uruk Captain title is "TheObsessed" and bearers of this title are deeply and disturbingly in love with Talion, capable of swiftly switching gears between openly flirting with the Ranger to admitting that he could stare at Talion's corpse for hours. Some of his battle cries even include "Lover, lover, like no other!" And just as one more example of how crazy these ones are, here's one of their responses to Talion killing another Captain.
The Obsessed: I saw you with that other Orc! Don't deny it! Pressed him to your breast in that loving embrace! Don't deny it! You lie! You DIE!
Another Uruk Captain Title is "The Inscrutable". Think Mickey from Snatch. as an Orc, speaking so fast not even the subtitles can keep up. You'll know you're in for it when you hear someone calling out "Oooh Taaaarkiiiie!" somewhere nearby.
An Uruk with the the title "The Knower" will simply say I Knew It! over and over again.
The Sweet: Sweet, sweet, very sweet! Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet!
It's even funnier if you imagine that their manic personalities come from eating too much sugar.
Then there's "The Tasty", who says, you guessed it, nothing but "Tasty!" If you're profoundly lucky, "The Sweet" and "Tasty" will have a duel, and they'll yell at each other how sweet or tasty they think the other is.
If you manage to Dominate all of a Warchief's bodyguards then do a betrayal, he may come up with this winning line:
Sometimes there are Uruk Captains with the title 'Tasty' who say, what else, the word 'tasty' over and over again, or words leading up to it. Followed by manic laughter. Or more cries of 'tasty'. Fittingly enough, most of their grapple attacks involve biting chunks out of Talion or beating him with their fists.
Captain upon walking around any corner: Tasty! Tasty, tasty! It is so fantastically tasty!
Captain upon spotting Talion or fleeing: (Squeals in demented joy) It's so tasty!
Captain upon being shamed: T-tasty! Tasty! Tasty!
The game is also a font of Comedic Sociopathy. Talion can have the ability to now poison grog barrels from afar, and cause everyone to drink from it to explode, which comes as bad news to unfortunate Uruks who are investigating the mess of dead bodies around the barrel!
Thanks to some of the random nature, you can have this exchange:
One-Word: Hmmm? Hmm. Hmmm? Uncomplicated. Enemy Captain:I've had enough for your gab! TIME TO SHUT YOU UP FOREVER!
Shaming a boss has more lasting effects than a simple level-down. Due to the honorbound obligation to hunt you down and settle the score, repeatedly shaming them over and over can make them go from insulted, to enraged, to desperate, to brain-damaged.
Shaming orcs tends to be horrific and depressing most of the time. Having said that, sometimes the results can be amusing.
Zûgor:My face! Look at my face!
Another quote from a Orc that has been shamed one too many times and tries to... Well, give you a list of things he hates about you.
Orc Captain: I'm losing my mind and it's all your fault! I blame your flesh! Your bones! Your Scalp! Your Blade! Your Boots! Especially your boots!!!
Sometimes when switching from one region to another, an Uruk from the previous region will track you down and ambush you. They will then proceed to complain about how far they had to travel to find you.
Some orcs really don't want to stay down. An uruk coming back after dying is awesome. However, an uruk who keeps coming back despite losing a new limb in 7 different battles ambushing you when you move on to a new area, and finally becoming the overlord of said area offscreen is just hilariously determined on killing Talion.
Behold, StakugatheUnkillable.note He started out as Stakuga the Taunter, jumping out from bushes, taunting the player "like the worlds worst cereal mascot", and then dropping a smoke bomb and running away. Then he managed to kill off the player by surprising him while engaged in a duel with another Captain, only for the player to kill him back during his victory celebration and cut off his leg. Stakuga then came back as "the Unkillable" and with a peg leg. Then he got killed, came back, got killed again with both arms and the peg leg amputated, came back again with them reattached, fought the player multiple times (at some point he somehow acquired full immunity to any non-ranged attack), got his head shot full of arrows, burned to death due to the Nazgul's dragon's breath, came back AGAIN with iron bands keeping his own skull together Jagi-style, tanked the player's mind control attempt due to his Iron Will ability, got cleaved in half, was resurrected by Zog, and was decapitated. Then the player killed Zog for good measure... and Zog has sworn he will come back. Zog is a story character and does in fact come back.
Then there are Orcs who are decapitated, and come back with their head stitched back on, sometimes talking about how lucky they were to have someone nearby to save them from permadeath.
If you're lucky enough to encounter an orc with the title "The Mad", you are likely to encounter some incredible dialogue that will probably distract you from the battle.
The Mad: "Oink!" said the willow tree! Oink oink!
After being Dominated: "Moon buckets!"
When respawning after being killed, this little gem may show up.
Celebrimbor: "Next time we should-"
This line from Talion can best sum up the frustration of having to deal with so many Orcs, more so if you died to one and respawned.
Talion: "Damn these Orcs. Damn all of Mordor."
Occasionally a captain will show up out of nowhere even if they're not an Assassin if you happen to be doing something related to their quirk. For example, a captain with the surname Grog-Maker will show up to attack you if you keep blowing up the grog he spent so much time making. Or a captain with the surname Poisoner will show up if you keep poisoning orcs to criticise your technique.
The Poisoner: "That's not how you do it! Amateur. That's four times the dose you need! Ever heard of supersaturation?"
Warchiefs will sometimes send their captains to threaten you, but not fight. The captains will sometimes gripe about this, including wondering why they dont get off their lazy ass to do it themselves.
Betrayals can be troublesome, especially when they're frequent, but this Let's Play (in French) has the Olog betray Talion less than three minutes after being branded (and is the first one he branded after Brûz, the tutorial about dominating orcs wasn't even over). The player is rightfully pissed and calls out Celebrimbor for boasting about the Ring being able to dominate their army.
Bob Lennon:Bravo, Celebrimbor! Congratulations, Celebrimbor! (voice gains a reverberation to imitate the elf) "I made that ring, Talion. With it, we'll surpass the Dark Lord, Talion. I need to get my ring back Talion, with it we'll get an army, Talion. My ring, Talion. Talion, Talion, Talion." And what the hell is this shit?!
The Uruk names can remain quite amusing. While Dûsh makes a return in this game, there are now also Uruks with the name of Shag. Sounds unassuming enough, until you end up with "Shag the Singer".
Originally, Talion didn't have his own domination lines when he was on his own in Act 4, so every time he recruited an Uruk, it was with nothing more than a grunt. The February 2018 update gave Talion some new domination lines of his own, but the grunts still play every so often for the players who liked them.
The game can also forget to give Celebrimbor or Dark Talion their speech when you take over a fort from a Overlord, leading to him just staring at his army for ten to fifteen seconds before suddenly slamming down his glave.
The Graug hunt event starts with the captain telling his crew to get ready as the prey arrives, cue the orc used as bait with the Graug on his tail.
A downed Olog may mention that he has killed 312 orcs, and wonders if you can even remember your kill count. If you link your account and check your profile on the official forums, you can find this number on your stats; and if you've played long enough, you might have ridiculously high numbers, such as 26 379. So yes, Mr. Olog, I know my kill count. You don't want to hear it.
A Olog Captain with the title of "the Suspicious" will think all of his battles with Talion are just tests, Who set them up? Well...
The funny thing is come Act 4, this Olog might not be wrong with some of his statements.
Shelob's game over screens when you die are normally occupied by her saying something ominous and spooky, but there is a screen where she simply laughs (not a sinister, Evil Laugh, a genuinely amused one) and then sarcastically say "It's not you. I promise." If there's anything guaranteed to make a player really feel that they've just died in a particularly humiliating way, it's hearing the fate-weaving Eldritch Abomination laughing at them too.
After completing the Bruz questline and leaving Bruz a shell of an Orc who can do little more than state that he doesn't want the fort, you can recruit him back into your army after finding him again, then assign him to act as overlord of the region. He spends the entire boss fight bitching about how much he doesn't want the fort, even as he fights to defend it. Laser-Guided Karma has never been more hilarious!
As this video shows, you can get Orc captains that have the "Overwhelming Awe" Mortal Weakness. What does it do? It's the same thing as the "Fear of the Gravewalker" Weakness in the last game, meaning the moment they see you, they start running for their lives. It's even funnier if they ambush you, leading to a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
One of the possible upgrades for strongholds is spiked walls, which prevents the enemy from climbing them. A player who purchases the upgrade and then goes to fight the besieging forces might be in for a rude awakening: the walls will be unclimbable for Talion, too!
Of course the archer towers that connect the walls are in fact climbable so that you're not completely blocked from that option but that just begs the question: Why don't the Orcs who invade your fort climb those towers too, since none of them have functional matriculations for firing straight down.
If driven insane, orcs with the title "Dwarf-hater" gain the hate trigger "Enraged by Dwarves" and believe Talion is a dwarf. There are no actual dwarves in the entire gamenote Except for Torvin in the second DLC story, but he is unreachable by orcs, and Baranor can't drive orcs insane anyway, meaning that the devs created an unique rage trigger that exists only as a joke.
The February 2018 update added expressions to photo mode. They range from "weird" to "ridiculous", and are so over-the-top it's hard to take them seriously.
The same update added "stickers", which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However, other than game-related icons and such, they also include party hats, sunglasses and beards. If you ever wanted to know what young Celebrimbor would have looked like with a handlebar mustache, you can now find out.
If you activate the Eltariel skin in the main game, Talion's character model and movement/idle animations are changed to Eltariel's... but Celebrimbor keeps his model. His wraith looks like he is stuck in a full elevator as the game tries to match its skeleton with Eltariel's, his animations are switched to Eltariel's more feminine ones, and his shoulder pads become sentient and sometimes readjust themselves. This is likely a glitch, since if you already have Dark Talion his wraith is replaced by a green version of Eltariel's own.
"My dreams reveal secrets, futures. I see the living and the dead. I see my Vat Keeper... but he's naked..."
An orc grabbed by a drake may just scream in disbelief: "Just my luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!"
Orcs who have cheated death can have some gruesome physical scars, ranging from having their heads stitched back on to entire limbs replaced with machine parts. One of them swings back to funny: an orc with an ax lodged in his head. He pays it no attention at all.
There are drunk orcs in the game and they can become overlords. Usually, overlords give speeches to intimidate the masses before the invasion, here? The drunk overlords have slurred speech and are too drunk to even know what's going on.
Skûn the Drunk: Wait, what is... How's that?
When orcs become deranged, they are reduced to sputtering utter nonsense. Taking the cake, perhaps, are ologs who are reduced to saying nothing but "Woo woo woo woo!"
Finding the Númenorian helmet artifact prompts Celebrimbor, as he often does being a craftsman himself, to critique the make of it. This is one of the few times he isn't a snob about it simply because it's not Elvish leaving Talion genuinely surprised.
Celebrimbor: A helment of Númenor. Adequate craftsmanship, given the materials available. Talion: That is the closest you've come to respecting a fellow craftsman.
Blade of Galadriel
Elteriel can overhear an orc declaring there are two kinds of Orcs in the world: those who do it for the killing, and those who do it for the power. Another Orc will pipe up, saying there are some Orcs who do it for the grog and meat. The first orc will sigh and mutter, "Why do you have to be so difficult?"
Eltariel's introduction to Akoth Slayer of the Dead, Talion's Number Two, which showcases just how bad the Uruks are at keeping a stable fortress. It all comes across like a Black ComedyHumiliation Conga, especially from this awkward Uruk who is nervous about Talion's possible reaction.
Akoth: Az-Rans departed a week ago to avenge his blood brother. Took his Drakes with him. We have not heard from him since. Yesterday, Thrak... was poisoned. (beat) He confronted Ar-Hissu who denied responsibility. Thrak, perhaps deranged by poison, stabbed Ar-Hissu. Who then bled. To death.note This is precisely what happens when Talion poisons a grog barrel. The orcs start accusing each other of poisoning the other.
The Enchanted is absolutely Adorkable in his admiration of Eltariel. When she kills someone, he says, "Ooh, I love the way you kill, my sweet!" and when she picks up Life gems, he says that nothing is too good for her. What makes it heartwarming is that he's not like The Obsessed: he genuinely respects her, and asks for nothing in return, even if she doesn't return the favor.
When he first introduces himself and expresses his love, Eltariel's first reaction is a wary, sighing, "Oh..."
Maku the Fixer, the mysterious assassin with the intimidating white skull mask who possesses a toxin capable of singlehandedly bringing down entire fortresses...is afraid of heights.
During his recruitment mission, Golm the Digger will state that no orc likes ghuls... "except Ghul-Lover. He's a weirdo."
Serka points out that it's a bit difficult to be a captain if you don't have any troops.
During the conquest of Shindram, Baranor orders his men to stay outside while he confronts the overlord, and Serka agrees. After the overlord's trash talk, Baranor turns to find Serka standing next to him. YMMV on whether this is funny, awesome, or maybe even heartwarming - until Serka opens his mouth and places the moment firmly in the Funny category.
Serka (to Baranor): I got bored out there!
After capturing Lithlad's fort, Serka suggests several titles to Baranor. including "Baranor the Man-bird". Baranor actually likes "Baranor the Conqueror".
Serka: Baranor the Man-bird it is!
Torvin reveals a big twist at the end... The Rumbler, a were-wyrm the size of a skyscraper, is a girl. He checked.
A lot of the orc chatter about being Lithlad. For example, one Uruk complains he's always thirsty. His partner snarks back, "That's because we're in a shrahkin' desert!"