Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree: 5 spoiler-free tips

Rise, Tarnished. Your time has come again.

After a long wait, Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree launches tomorrow on PS5 and PS4. With a massive new world to explore, weapons to be found, skills to master and, of course, bosses to face, FromSoftware’s latest expansion could seem like a daunting undertaking. But fear not, Tarnished, as our tips – spoiler-free and covering the first few hours – will help set you on the right path. To begin, a crucial step: what’s required to enter the Shadow Realm.

Entering the Shadow Realm

If you’ve ever played a FromSoftware expansion, you’ll know that gaining access is never a straightforward process. Shadow of the Erdtree continues this tradition. In order to enter the Shadow Realm, you’ll need to complete a few tasks in the base game.

On your journey through the Lands Between, you’ll firstly need to have defeated Starscourge Radahn, a notoriously challenging boss. To face him, traverse Redmane Castle in Caelid during the Radahn Festival and take the elevator down to fight him on the beach.

You’ll also have to have bested Mohg, Lord of Blood. He can be found at Mohgwyn Palace, reached by following Varré’s questline or using a Waygate hidden in the Consecrated Snowfield. Mohg is known for being a particularly tough fight, but other Tarnished have been setting up summon spots next to the battle to help shepherd fighters through and open the DLC.

At the back of the Mohg boss arena you’ll discover Miquella’s cocoon. If both foes have been conquered (and expansion downloaded) a new interaction option will appear when you stand by the cocoon. Accept, and you’ll enter the Shadow Realm and begin your journey into the Shadow of the Erdtree.

Navigating the world

If you put dozens of hours into Elden Ring’s base game, it’s easy to forget that you originally had to collect map fragments in order to build up a picture of the world around you. In Shadow of the Erdtree, this feature returns, meaning when you first enter the Shadow Realm, your map will be blacked out, with one exception; a single bright spot somewhere in the darkness.

One of your first objectives should be to navigate to this point, where you will find a map fragment beneath a tall obelisk. Collecting this will reveal the region’s map, but be warned — Shadow of the Erdtree’s world design uses verticality on a scale unlike almost anything seen in the Lands Between, meaning there is still so much more to be discovered – both above and below – what the map can show you.

This world is dense with secrets, so be sure to explore every nook and cranny. You’ll no doubt be rewarded with weapons, spells and items for your effort.

Making friends and enemies

The starting area of the Shadow Realm is full of friendly (and not-so-friendly) characters who can help fill you in on the story, point you in the direction of hidden areas, send you on missions or challenge you to a duel. 

You’ll come meet warriors, tribesmen, worshipers and devotees among others within your first hour or so of gameplay. Speaking to them, bringing them items they require, or taking the correct action in front of them can help progress their story arc within the overall narrative. And of course, they may reward you with items, join you as companions in battle and more.

Using Shadow Realm Blessings

While you can still level up your character as before, within the Shadow Realm, character progression comes in the form of special blessings. Two new consumables, Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes, can be found around the world and used at a Site of Grace to buff your character and their skills, so seeking them out during your first few hours is a worthwhile endeavor. 

Scadutree Fragments: These increase both damage negation and attack power for your character, meaning you receive less damage from enemy attacks and deal more with your own.

Revered Spirit Ashes: These have a similar purpose but apply to your Spirit Ashes, granting your summons more survivability and power, so you can beef up your Mimic Tear or Black Knife Tiche before facing that next boss. (Other Spirit Ashes are available…)

Note that both of these special blessings only apply to the Shadow Realm, and therefore will have no effect in the base game.

Managing new discoveries

Like all FromSoftware games, Elden Ring is chock-full of items and consumables, some useful, others mysterious. Alongside Shadow of the Erdtree, Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team have introduced a new quality of life feature that allows you to more easily explore the recent commodities you’ve discovered on your adventure.

This new feature, which is turned off as standard, will highlight new pick-ups with a “!” in your inventory, making it easier to survey your collection. It also offers an optional Recent Items Tab, where everything you’ve found recently is collated into one easy-to-understand menu. Both of these features make it simpler to uncover the use of the many new items in Shadow of the Erdtree, but the choice of whether to use them or the original system is entirely yours.

If you wish to turn these features on, they can be found under the Display section of the Settings menu. Here you can turn on either Mark New Items or Show Recent Items Tab, or use both together.

These tips should help you enter the Shadow Realm and make smooth progress during your first few hours. But there is still so much to be discovered when Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree launches tomorrow, June 21.

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