Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree – Everything You Need to Know

Here's everything you should know about FromSoftware's upcoming hotly anticipated expansion.

Posted By | On 29th, May. 2024

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree – Everything You Need to Know

Even though it’s been only a couple of years since Elden Ring came out, it feels like the wait for its expansion has stretched on forever. FromSoftware’s seminal action RPG took the world by storm back in 2022, and not terribly long afterward, the celebrated developer announced Shadow of the Erdtree. Now, after what feels like an eternity, we’re finally approaching the launch of the expansion. As that milestone draws ever closer, here, we’re going to go over a few key details that you should know about Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.


After having explored The Lands Between in Elden Ring, Shadow of the Erdtree is going to take players to a new location known as the Land of Shadow, which, according to director Hidetaka Miyazaki, “technically occupies the same space as The Lands Between” but has become “physically disconnected from it”. And what exactly will players be doing here? Well, typically enough, FromSoftware is choosing to keep plenty hidden, but one thing that’s abundantly clear is that we’ll be following in the footsteps of Miquella, brother of Malenia. Mentions of Miquella can be spotted frequently throughout Elden Ring itself, though his involvement in the game is minimal, and limited only to an optional section. It looks like he’s going to have a much more prominent role to play in the upcoming expansion, however.


Miquella will be the centerpiece of Shadow of the Erdtree’s story, but what exactly is it that we is doing in the Land of Shadow? Apparently, uncovering the central mystery is the whole point. Several other characters are apparently also going to be on the trail of Miquella, who himself is in the Land of Shadow because he’s following in the footsteps of his mother, Queen Marika. And what exactly his end-goal is here is something that we’re going to slowly put together as we make our way through the expansion.


FromSoftware has shared some select few story-related details for Shadow of the Erdtree so far, but from what little has been revealed, we do know of some characters that are clearly going to be central to the story. Messmer the Impaler is going to be close to the very top of that list, and will seemingly be serving the role of the central antagonist. Supposedly he once destroyed the Land of Shadow with his fiery, destructive powers, and now looks set to lock horns with Miquella. What exactly that will lead to or what will lead to it remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that he’s going to be one of the DLC’s boss fights.


elden ring shadow of the erdtree

World design is something that FromSoftware always excels at, which, of course, was very much the case with Elden Ring as well. So, what can we expect from Shadow of the Erdtree? Well, it’s not going to be small by any means, we can say that much for sure. FromSoftware has confirmed that the new map is going to be even larger than Limgrave in the base game, which is a pretty darn big map, while apparently, the expansion will also feature denser and more intricately designed areas out in the open world itself, rather than such design being limited largely to dungeons, as was the case in the base game.


As mentioned previously, the Land of Shadow, the area where Shadow of the Erdtree is set, is a land that is separated from The Lands Between in a very physical sense, which means that the map won’t be a part of the base game’s world, but rather exist in an entirely separate plane. Following that, any time you’re at a Site of Grace, you’ll be able to fast travel back and forth between the two maps without any restrictions.


Elden Ring was the product of an unexpected collaboration between FromSoftware and A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin, with the former developing the game and its story based on worldbuilding and lore work done by the latter. So, does that mean Martin returned to serve the same role for the expansion? Not quite. Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer, director Hidetaka Miyazaki said that Martin had done no new work for the expansion, but that Shadow of the Erdtree was still based on work that Martin had done for Elden Ring originally but hadn’t been used for the base game.

“As for George Martin’s involvement, essentially it is the same as it was with the base game,” Miyazaki said. “The DLC Shadow of the Erdtree is based on one part of that original mythos that he penned for us. It’s not a brand new mythos that he’s written specifically for Shadow of the Erdtree, he has not created something new which informed the design of the DLC. It’s simply another part of the original story that we thought fit to tell as a new expansion.”


Not all characters that FromSoftware has revealed so far for Shadow of the Erdtree have been named. One in particularly was recently teased by the studio with an image shared on Twitter, showing the character in question holding a gorgeously ornate sword in one hand and an equally majestic helm cradled in the other. Some have speculated that this is the same character we can see kneeling in front of a glowing sigil towards the end of the DLC’s most recent story trailer, though FromSoftware itself has said little on this front.


elden ring shadow of the erdtree

Obviously, bosses are going to be a crucial part of Shadow of the Erdtree, as is the case with anything developed by FromSoftware, and as the studio’s biggest expansion to date, it’s also set to deliver a hea;thy selection of new bosses. Shadow of the Erdtree will allow players to seek out, be slaughtered by, and eventually overcome 10 new bosses. These will include the aforementioned Messmer, the giant with a flaming basket on his head that we’ve seen glimpses of previously, and more.


Many of the expansion’s bosses are likely going to be kept secret ahead of its release (as they should be), though FromSoftware has teased one in particular that we don’t know the name of. Earlier in May, the studio tweeted an image showcasing a horrific, hunched over monstrosity with masked, gilded, horned  head with long strands of white hair, and two muscular arms holding circular blades. What this creature’s role will be in the story and what sort of a boss fight it will be at the center of remains to be seen, but based on the design alone, we’re itching to dive into that encounter.


FromSoftware has stressed a couple of times in the lead-up to Shadow of the Erdtree’s launch that it will be a standalone experience, with neither its ending affecting the base game’s story, nor vice versa. That said, the expansion will still have multiple endings. How many? That much is unclear, though speaking in an interview with publication zhuanlan-zhihu, Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed that Shadow of the Erdtree won’t have as many endings as Elden Ring’s base game.


Given the fact that it’s an expansion, it’s probably safe to assume that the majority of Shadow of the Erdtree’s progression mechanics will be the same as the base game- though it will still introduce some new wrinkles of its own as well. For instance, speaking to Famitsu, Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed that in addition to the base game’s progression systems, the DLC will also feature a new level up system that’ll work similar to how Attack Power did in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, essentially separating your stat upgrades from skill unlocks.


If you’re going into a new FromSoftware game and aren’t hoping or it to absolutely whoop the crap out of you with maddeningly difficulty and spectacularly designed boss fights, you’re doing it wrong. There was no shortage of that in Elden Ring, to say the very least, with optional bosses like Malenia even providing some of the most notoriously and maddeningly difficult challenges that players have ever encounters in any FromSoftware game. Interestingly enough, Shadow of the Erdtree will follow suit. Speaking to IGN, Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed that in the expansion, players will “find optional bosses who have been tuned in a similar way to the likes of Malenia” in terms of difficulty.


elden ring shadow of the erdtree

Exactly how far are you going to have to progress into Elden Ring’s base game to be able to get started with Shadow of the Edtree? It gets unlocked pretty late into the game. You’ll have to defeat two of the base game’s toughest bosses in Starscourge Radahn and Mohg, Lord of Blood, the latter of whom is also likely going to be an important part of the expansion’s story, given his narrative ties to the previously mentioned Miquella. Once you’ve defeated both those bosses, you’ll be able to access the Land of Shadow.


When Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree launches on June 21, though voices will only be included for English language players, the expansion will feature subtitles in fifteen languages, those being Arabic (which is new), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America), and Thai.


The wait for Shadow of the Erdtree has been a long one, though it seems like Elden Ring fans aren’t going to get to wait for any other new content after the expansion is out. FromSoftware has confirmed multiple times now that Shadow of the Erdtree is going to be Elden Ring’s only expansion, but that a sequel is something that the studio “might” consider. Of course, given how well Elden Ring was received and how well it sold, we’d be more than a little surprised if it didn’t get a sequel at some point in the future.

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