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Elden Ring: What Did We Discover Through Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC Preview Event?

Posted: Jun 06, 2024

Recently, a lot of Elden Ring fans were invited to Paris for a preview of Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

How can you preview an expansion for what is already one of the largest and most flexible games ever? When what players like and dislike is largely dependent on specific choices in terms of builds, an expansion as massive as Shadow of the Erdtree, coming two years after Elden Ring, only makes things more complicated and impossible to describe with any degree of generality.

Here, we’ll analyze some reports of players’ preview experiences and discuss some of the weapon arts, environments, bosses and difficulty that will be added to the expansion!

Elden Ring: What Did We Discover Through Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC Preview Event?

Before Entering

First, I have to say that it feels almost impossible to effectively preview Shadow of the Erdtree. I’d wager that a large portion of even its most devoted fanbase has yet to personally experience everything that Lands Between has to offer.

For example, the parts of the game that people have experienced, which areas they enjoyed, and what problems they may have had in the base game all depend on countless personal choices made in terms of highly specific builds.

Now, with Shadow of the Erdtree coming on June 21, 2024, we’ve suddenly expanded that initial dilemma: more zones, tougher bosses, more gear to experiment with, and more variables by which your own experience will subtly change. As a result, you might feel that your personal experience is harder to convey to an audience with any real generalizability.

New Content Available For Preview

Anyway, let’s take a look at what’s available in Shadow of the Erdtree preview event.

We have three classes to choose from: Warrior, Knight, and Sorcerer, and each class is set to level 150. The team says this is just an arbitrary number they settled on for the preview, and that you can access the class after defeating Radahn and Mohg, with different stats prioritized differently for different classes.

We have access to two large, separate areas of the huge new world that Erdtree offers: Castle Ensis and Belurat Castle Settlement, and have three hours to do and see what we can.

However, this simplified campaign structure does nothing to prepare players for what’s coming. Add to that the inherent weirdness of any preview, you’re in a strange place, aware that you’re being watched.

The biggest difficulty is how to begin to convey what actually happened in that narrow preview window. So this preview won’t be a completely comprehensive analysis of everything in the expansion, just an accurate recollection of what players experienced and were impressed by. Still, there’s so much to dig into here!

DLC Is Difficult

I think one of the first things you notice when jumping into a DLC is that it’s going to be hard for most players.

Almost every player in Early Access booted up Elden Ring in the first few days, either to get to DLC access points or just to brush up on the control mechanics. If you haven’t already, I recommend doing so to regain muscle memory of Elden Ring’s unique and sometimes unforgiving pace. It’s also worth stocking up on some Elden Ring Runes and consumables in advance.

As we wandered across this vast new plane, it was hard not to be struck by the scenery before us. Ephemeral Graves dotted the landscape, stretching as far as you could see, and the light from the cracks in Erdtree illuminated it. A far cry from the alluring golden glow of the original game, a dreamlike, beautiful, and intimidating picture.

But be careful, because just when you’re enjoying all this, an enemy suddenly appears from nowhere and knocks us down with a single fierce attack.

Players need to bravely fight this new opponent, but there are dangers all around, and some people were killed before they even reached the two custom areas we were allowed to explore.

Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC Renews The Awe And Adventure Of Elden Ring

In short, from the beginning, Shadow of the Erdtree is an experience that requires constant vigilance. The already occasionally unbearable brutality of its base game is increased tenfold, and this brutality has not really weakened in the three-hour preview. Ordinary enemies will increase their own strength and attack you in groups, and the most insignificant enemies will usually punish you quickly because you underestimated them.

Seriously, although you can enter DLC after defeating the two must-kill bosses, if you haven’t raised the vigor level to a reasonable level, you’re dying here.

Even though Warrior class I’ve been using for most of this has been upgraded to level 55, the highest of all the available builds, it’s still tough. And since we’re heading into the full version of New Game+, things will inevitably get more challenging.

New Weapon And Skill Selection

Tougher than any of the enemies, however, is the choice paralysis I felt for a while during the preview. While most spells are obviously limited to Sorcerer, there are a number of new weapons for any build to try, including a variety of Axes, Spears and Swords, as well as a host of weapons that are becoming popular favorites in the form of new Martial Art skills. If used correctly, they can quickly wear down an enemy’s stance.

Beyond that, the new combat options, such as the wealth of new weapon arts, make me feel like any of them could become a new favorite if we had more time to practice. But unfortunately, we had to look at the class requirements of the available content as much as possible before I could thoroughly master all of this stuff.

Given the challenges of the above content, this strategy requires honing in on the builds that work for the time being. For me, that would come in the form of Backhand Blade, as this weapon seems to be the most satisfying choice between damage output, range, and reach, and its associated weapon art, Blind Spot, further enhances this ability.

Plenty Of Areas To Explore

If you only have three hours to see what’s on offer in DLC, efficiency is important, as the two areas we were allowed into look at least as densely populated as some of the larger castle areas in the base game.

Castle Ensis, for example, seems to be the more difficult of the two castles, and it reminded me of Raya Lucaria Academy, with its emphasis on Sorcerers and Magic. The more densely populated Belurat Castle reminded me of the decay and decay of Leyndell.

You’ll be carefully examining every visible nook and cranny before moving on, as you can guarantee there’s something waiting to pounce on you compared to the base game.

Why The New Expansion Is Worth The Wait?

If there’s anything exciting about this preview, it’s not necessarily any single design element, enemy, or gear, but the fact that in a few weeks we’ll suddenly have all new Elden Ring to decipher, a whole new world full of secrets waiting to be uncovered.

FromSoftware really seems to have used the two years since the base game’s release to make this happen. While players have three hours to explore two enormous areas of this world, they definitely haven’t seen everything these two areas have to offer.

By the end of the preview, you’ll realize that these two areas are just a tiny dot on the much larger map of this expansion. There’s so much more that you can’t even imagine, which is incredibly exciting.

What do you think of this new expansion? Are there any other things you’ve discovered that were surprising? Anyway, let’s look forward to Shadow of the Erdtree in a few weeks!

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