3 Things Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Can Learn From FromSoft’s Previous DLC


    Time is passing very slowly as the Shadow of the Erdtree release date approaches and I for one couldn’t be more excited. Not just because it’s more of that aggressively sad FromSoft writing that I love so much, set in an incredibly interesting new world space, but because I think Shadow of the Erdtree will be the end of an era.

    What does Shadow of the Erdtree mean for Elden Ring?

    Shadow of the Erdtree will be the only DLC Elden Ring receives, rightly so in my opinion. But that means that whatever FromSoft works on next will likely be another new IP. With Dark Souls long gone and Elden Ring set to come to an end, perhaps FromSoftware’s fantasy era is too.

    Screenshot from ProGameGuides

    All my existential panic about the end of my formative years aside, having only one DLC means FromSoft needs to get Shadow of the Erdtree. goodSo let’s take a look at some of the developer’s older DLC and see what worked, what didn’t, and what Shadow of the Erdtree could do differently.


    Elden Ring is already off to an exceptional start in this regard, as this has always been one of the main problems with all of FromSoft’s previous DLCs. In previous games, FromSoft has always chosen to simply have any DLC released outright. more difficult than anything in the base game, and it’s understandable why. There is a clear difficulty in releasing DLC ​​for games like these, as FromSoft has to be ready for players who have long since finished the base game’s content. especially the same goes for Elden Ring.

    In previous games, starting with Dark Souls, FromSoft’s response was to simply make the DLC much harder than anything in the base game, meaning that a high-level character still had to In fact strive to overcome it. However, this was always more of a botched solution than anything truly meaningful, and it might seem like a disappointment seeing the many hours you spent getting a perfect build, upgrading your weapons, and spending all that candy. Sweet souls are wasted the moment you face the Sanctuary Guardian in the original Dark Souls DLC. This also meant that you couldn’t interact with any DLC you had until you were strong enough, which was a shame for players who maybe couldn’t put in as much time as I did when I was an unemployed teenager.

    Screenshot from ProGameGuides

    However, FromSoft has heard this common complaint and Shadow of the Erdtree will be their first DLC to actively include a feature for the sole purpose of solving this problem. Details on how this feature will work are still murky, but what we do know is that Shadow of the Erdtree will implement something called ‘Attack Power’ which Miyazaki discussed in a interview with famitsu, something that has already been confirmed to be inspired by another of the developer’s titles, Sekiro. In Sekiro (which has a very different formula to the ‘Soulsborne’ games we know and love) the only way to significantly upgrade your character is by defeating bosses; Doing so would increase your health, stance, and other stats in the absence of traditional levels or equipment.

    While we don’t know exactly how this new system will work, the core concept is that no matter how high or low your level is, the DLC will give you a decent challenge without making you feel too weak or too strong. You won’t be able to just farm runes for hours, get a +25 and call it a day; You will have to progress in the new way that the DLC intends.


    Please put down your pitchforks and torches, I’m not going to say what think I’m going to say. (Plus, other lovely people have already figured out how to make Elden Ring a little easier.)

    What I mean by accessibility is not how easy the DLC should be, but how easy it should be to access it to begin with. I’m sorry, but no one can sit there and tell me that going to Darkroot Basin, killing a Hydra, talking to an NPC, and then doing a good chunk of the rest of the base game to get the Lord Vessel, go. to the Duke’s Archives to find and kill a single crystal golem (of many in the area) to get a broken pendant, then go back Going to Darkroot Basin to interact with a portal that is hidden to the side is somehow normal or intuitive.

    Screenshot from ProGameGuides

    And while yes, you can of course just “search for it”, I’ve never been much of a fan of Googling something I’d rather have discovered in the game on my own. Fortunately, due to my love of the story and my many hours in Elden Ring, I and many others already know where the DLC expansion will be and what you need to do to access it. But I don’t think you should already know or look for it, I just think there should be a clue.

    I also don’t think it needs to be a big expository scene, or a wall of text saying ‘GO HERE AND DO THIS’, as neither of those would be in line with that subtle storytelling that FromSoft has always favored; but maybe a few notes sprinkled in there, even some new NPC voice lines. (Maybe even the new boss’s dialogue, looking at you Malenia). Anything to give a new player who wants to figure things out on their own a way to do so.

    As a fun anecdote, when I first played Dark Souls 3, I played it well after release and all the DLC had already been released. I finished the game, beat The Ringed City, and thought, “That’s weird, I could have sworn there were two pieces of DLC for this.” Lo and behold, I had already done Ashes of Ariandel, I just had no idea. At the time, I just assumed I’d accidentally stumbled upon a higher-level area (especially considering my experiences with The Painted World of Ariamis in Dark Souls 1, in which he appears in the base game) and made my way through it. .

    that boss

    You know exactly what I’m talking about with this one.

    Artorias of the Abyss, Sir Alonne, the Slave Knight Gael, Ludwig the Holy Sword.

    Shadow of the Erdtree has to have that one boss that stands head and shoulders above anything else available, not only in terms of difficulty, but in terms of that surprise factor always present in almost all FromSoft bosses. Each of the bosses listed above had a bit of magic.

    Image via Bandai Namco Entertainment

    From Artorias with its exceptional history, its connection to Sif and its outstanding design.

    Sir Alonne had his beautiful sand, and Slave Knight Gael had that ever-present sadness of watching the world you have loved for so many years turn to dust before your very eyes.

    And Ludwig the Holy Blade, with perhaps the greatest piece of music ever directed for a video game providing an epic soundtrack for your boss fight.

    Elden Ring already has its fair share of absolutely outstanding bosses, and FromSoft poured its years of practice into an already exceptional base game. I for one firmly believe that Malenia, Blade of Miquella, is the most beautiful boss they’ve ever designed, not to mention the most difficult by far.

    So they have a lot of work ahead of them with Shadow of the Erdtree, but if the The trailer is anything to start with, we have some highlights to look forward to.

    All in all, it’s hard to really give credit to FromSoft for a potential improvement, because by its very design, Elden Ring was created to right so many old wrongs. But hopefully, with some scaling adjustments, more accessibility for the DLC, and just one cooler boss, Shadow of the Erdtree will be the crowning achievement in FromSoftware’s incredible legacy.

    If you’re looking for more Elden Ring content and trying to prepare something for the new DLC, check out our guide on where to find Somber Smithing Stone 7 here on ProGameGuides.

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