Tips Before Starting Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree

Welcome back, Tarnished. Here’s how to die slightly less often when you get to the Realm of Shadow.
Real talk: nothing truly prepares you for diving into a Souls game. But even FromSoftware knows a little warning goes a long way. So, from someone who has traversed the World of Shadow and (sorta) lived to tell the tale, here are Tips before starting Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.

You Did Kill Starscourge Radahn and Mohg, Lord of Blood, Already, Right?

FromSoftware has clarified that if you haven’t defeated these two bosses, you’re not going anywhere in the DLC. While optional for the base game’s ending, they’re required for accessing the DLC.

For those who have already taken down Mohg, the entrance to the DLC is in Mohg’s boss room, southeast on the Underground map. The Site of Grace is called Cocoon of the Empyrean. When you’re ready, interact with the arm sticking out of the cocoon and prepare yourself.

And You Did Actually Install the DLC, Right?

It might sound strange, but it’s a common issue. Even if Radahn and Mohg are defeated, there might be no prompt at the cocoon. Shadow of the Erdtree is a separate install from the main game. On PS5 and Xbox, from the main menu, press Start/Options on the tile for Elden Ring, go to Manage Game and check if Shadow of the Erdtree needs to be downloaded. It’s around 16GB.

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Look Out for Miquella’s Crosses

One of the first things you’ll notice when you start in the Gravesite Plain, aside from those wild chakram ninja things kicking your butt, is a new symbol on the road: a golden cross with a crescent moon. These are Miquella’s Crosses. While not all of them have a Site of Grace nearby, the ones that don’t usually have a Scadutree Fragment—Shadow of the Erdtree’s new stat-enhancing items. They typically have an NPC who’ll reveal more about what’s happening in the Realm of Shadow. These NPCs can also be summoned during critical boss fights. Make friends with them; they’re helpful.

These crosses also serve a passive purpose. Interact with them to read the words carved by Miquella. Most will tell you where Miquella abandoned his flesh, but mission-critical areas detail a body part Miquella shed. A new body part means you’ve reached the next story stage, so consider exploring more before moving forward, as what’s next will be even more challenging.

The Enemies Are Going to Hit a Whole Lot Harder

If you’ve beaten Radagon and the Elden Beast at least once, you’re in a good place to tackle the DLC. In terms of levels, I’d recommend being around level 120. My main character was level 157 with the Bull-God armour set and a Dragon Towershield, yet basic enemies in the DLC still clapped me in two hits.

Even at high levels, the new enemies in the Realm of Shadow are tough. The DLC is more about avoiding hits than tanking them. Consider lowering your Equipment Load to maintain a medium roll if you’re a tank. You’ll need it.

Hunt Down All the New Enhancement Items

Shadow of the Erdtree has its own special enhancement items to boost your stats. Scadutree Blessings, found at every Miquella’s Cross and from shadowy enemies with pots on their heads, boost your attack and defense stats. Revered Spirit Ash Blessings, found on statues of Miquella, power up your Spirit Ashes. Both work like Golden Seeds, requiring more as you level up. Explore the Gravesite Plains early on to collect these items and make the initial challenges easier.

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Know What You’re Fighting For

There are various types of minor dungeons in the Realm of Shadow. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Catacombs: You’ll get a Glovewort and a new Spirit Ash.
  • Ruined Forges: Expect weaponry and upgrade resources.
  • Goals: Look for a Hefty Pot.

Go West, Life Is Slightly Less Terrifyingly Violent There

At the start of the DLC, you’ll come to a crossroads: a massive bridge, an imposing castle with a giant scorpion, and a swampy, diseased village. Head west to Belurat first. There’s a Miquella cross for an easy Scadutree Fragment, NPCs to meet, and useful items for all classes. The boss, Dancing Lion, is tough but rewarding, dropping the versatile Divine Beast Head armour.

Look Up (And Down) More

The Realm of Shadow is more vertical than the Lands Between. Objectives are often higher up or lower down than you think. Dexterity reduces fall damage, so consider investing points there. Be cautious, though; new enemies might be waiting at the bottom.

You Don’t Need to Just March Right Into Shadow Keep

After exploring the Gravesite Plains and reaching Scadu Altus, the next big challenge is Shadow Keep. It’s a massive, ruined kingdom with magic, mystery, and giant crabs. It’s so vast it’s almost like a contained overworld. There are multiple entrances and exits, switches, and secrets to unlock. The Scadutree Avatar boss is especially tough, so consider finding alternative ways in and exploring more before tackling it head-on.

These tips should help you navigate the challenging yet rewarding world of Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree. Good luck, Tarnished!

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