Dead Uruk

Dead Uruk

Uruk are the most numerous enemy serving the Dark Powers in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. They are a race of sentient beings 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 purpose in Isengard. They were 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.

Early History Edit

Morgoth created Uruk by breeding Elves he had captured and corrupted through torturing and mutilating them. However, the Ent Treebeard tells the Hobbits, Merry and Pippin, that Uruks were an attempt by Morgoth to copy the Elves. However in Lord of the Rings, Treebeard's account may have been his understanding of it, as it contradicts Tolkien's writings in The Silmarillion. A similar interpretation of 'Trolls' was made by Treebeard, informing the Hobbits that they were a failed copy of Ents, although again, this isn't mentioned by any other source.

Uruk were highly dependent of Sauron in multiple ways. When Morgoth was defeated, the Uruk were confused and were easily scattered by their enemies, after which they went into hiding in the Misty Mountains, showing the dependence of Uruk on the Dark Lord.

Only when Sauron regained power did the Uruk become a considerable threat to Middle-earth.

Many Uruk, 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 the Uruk were a mere minor problem, until Morgoth returned and took charge of the Uruk, using them in the First Battle of Beleriand.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Nemesis system

Talion facing a large Uruk

While creating the Uruk, Monolith wanted to avoid fantasy clichés, and aimed to create realistic Uruk that are more interesting and complex than the typical fantasy archetype. Uruk 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 Uruk under Sauron's control. The Uruk 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 the personalities of the Uruk to the extreme, which aids in making the Uruk interesting and memorable villains, while also creating a dynamic sandbox environment. Monolith drew inspiration from various movies, including Tarantino's movies, where the characters are cranked up and taken to an extreme.

A common preconception of Uruk 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 the Uruk do not live by these: they always take the path that gains them the most glory on the short term.[1]

Uruk Enemy Types Edit

In game there are several types of Uruk that are encountered throughout the game

  • Warriors - Most basic types of Uruk: carries a sword or club with one hand. Easily deal with individually. Only a real threat when there are are large numbers of them surrounding their target because it is hard to keep track of all of them.
  • Archers (bow and crossbow) - Basic ranged Uruk: they stand behind melee Uruk as they attempt to shoot their targets. When in melee situations they switch to weapons similar to the warriors.
  • Berserkers - Similar to warriors, but wields two weapons instead of one. Deals much more damage and are capable of throwing their weapons.
  • Uruk Shields - Are able to block frontal attacks with their massive shields. They also carry huge spears of which allows them to attack opponents from a distance. When one is promoted to a captain they always gain an unbreakable metal shield instead of a wooden one.
  • Hunters - Carries javelins to throw at their targets.
  • Worms - Can be dominated to scout and deliver intel on unknown Uruk captains, or deliver death threats to other Nemeses.


  • The word goblin, as used by Tolkien is merely another word for Orc, although in popular culture goblin is often used by readers of Tolkien's works to refer to the smaller breeds of Orcs.
  • Uruk 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.
  • Uruk is 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.



  1. Fallen Fantasy - The Orcs of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
One Wiki to Rule Them All ring
The One Wiki to Rule Them All has an article about: