Elden Ring director says Shadow of the Erdtree will have a Sekiro-like leveling system so you can’t just steamroll it

Max level Elden Ring characters won’t be able to breeze through Shadow of the Erdtree when it arrives in June. The DLC will use a separate leveling system borrowed from Sekiro, according to director Hidetaka Miyazaki.

In an interview with Famitsu (translated by Reddit user theangryfurlong), Miyazaki said in addition to the normal rune-based leveling system, you’ll also have a Sekiro-like “attack power” stat unique to the DLC areas. Presumably, raising it will make you do more damage on top of the stats you already have.

Miyazaki said the system was added to replicate the freedom you had in the base game to explore and level up before tackling the bosses, and he specifically says it’ll allow you to “more easily experience this even in the high-level range.”

That last bit suggests that you won’t be able to steamroll through the new area with a maxed-out character. You’ll need to raise this new attack power stat to make a dent in the health bars of its new bosses, a few of whom will be equal to Malenia in difficulty. And if it’s truly like Sekiro, you’ll probably gain the resources to increase your attack power off of the bosses you can actually defeat.

It’s too early to tell how significant the attack power system will be compared to your character level, which still seems to play a role. Miyazaki went on to say that you can mostly ignore it to “experience this challenge at a lower level,” so I doubt it’ll be required if you’re one of those FromSoft ascetics who discards all material possessions like weapons and armor. 

Everything about Shadows of the Erdtree seems self-contained so anyone who is far enough in the game to defeat the two required bosses, Radahn and Mohg, can handle it. In the same interview, Miyazaki said the DLC won’t affect the main story, so whatever happens in the shadow realm stays in the shadow realm.

I can’t think of a better way to balance the challenge of the DLC than a system like this. While it might be fun to blast through it with a maxed-out character, it would kind of ruin the point of having all the new weapon types and enemies if you could just use your perfected build. And making it somewhat optional opens the door for YouTube videos where people boast about killing Messmer with zero attack power, no armor, fists only, and an electric guitar.

It’s time to start theorycrafting so you’re prepared for Shadow of the Erdtree when it drops on June 21.

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