How to prepare for Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC

How to prepare for Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC

Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is just around the corner, which means time’s running out to get ready for its arrival.

Shadow of the Erdtree is set to be absolutely massive; according to director Hidetaka Miyazaki, the addition will be approximately the size of Elden Ring’s starting area, Limgrave. In other words, you’ll have a lot to dig into come June 21, including finding out what happened to the game’s most mysterious demigod — but only if you’re prepared for it.

If you’re not sure how to prepare for the expansion or simply haven’t played the base game in ages, don’t worry. Here’s everything you need to do in Elden Ring before Shadow of the Erdtree.

Reach and defeat Mohg to gain access

A screenshot of Mohg, Lord of Blood in his mausoleum as he is about to attack the player in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

While you don’t have to beat the game to take on Shadow of the Erdtree, you do need to attain a certain amount of progress before you can jump in. FromSoftware has said that the upcoming content will exist on a brand-new map that’s separate from the main game. Based on info released thus far, you’ll access that region via Mohg’s palace (and, to that end, by defeating Mohg).

After all, we know that Mohg has kidnapped Miquella, one of the main protagonists of the DLC. In the base game, Miquella is housed in an egg that you can interact with once you beat Mohg. Currently, the mummy-like remains don’t do anything, but Shadow of the Erdtree’s single trailer shows Miquella’s egg seemingly coming to life.

[embedded content]

Beyond its lore importance, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Mohg’s palace before the DLC drops. For one thing, the cliffside area preceding the blood-soaked map features Albinaurics who drop a startling amount of XP. Likely, Mohg was using them as fodder for his blood god. If you stock up on items that boost your Runes, like the Gold Pickled Fowl Foot and the Gold Scarab talisman, you can use these enemies to power-level in no time.

It’s possible to gain dozens of levels in minutes if you farm the enemies repeatedly. Fortunately, you can fast travel to the start of the level once you kill the Albinaurics to force the game to respawn them all. Make sure to snipe the bird roaming the blood lake that’s visible from the cliff — it can’t really hurt you, and it’s a great source of XP as well.

Catch up on Miquella’s lore

[embedded content]

Miquella is mentioned heavily throughout Elden Ring, but you never actually see or speak to the fair-headed Empyryan. And like most Souls games, all the storytelling is fairly subtle, so it’s entirely possible to not know what’s going on with Miquella — or to miss the smaller details that will likely be fleshed out in the DLC. Watching lore videos (like the one above from the popular FromSoftware content creator VaatiVidya) is a good way of remedying this issue.

Explore Volcano Manor

Tanith at Volcano Manor in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

One of the major themes for Shadow of the Erdtree seems to be blasphemy. The Erdtree, after all, is associated with light, and you’ll be wading in the shadows, potentially after the Erdtree’s destruction. The main antagonist of the DLC appears to be connected to snakes, which the base game repeatedly associates with enemies of the faith.

Chances seem high, then, that Shadow of the Erdtree will make some callbacks to Volcano Manor. The manor is home to Ryckard, a demigod who betrayed the Golden Order by allowing himself to be devoured by a powerful snake. It seems that Shadow of the Erdtree’s big bad follows a similar path; in the trailer, he asks an unnamed mother if she would truly sanction someone as accursed as he is. While the jury’s out on whether or not this villain is actually another Miquella half-sibling who fell out of favor with his family, Volcano Manor’s tie to blasphemous snakes is enough reason to check it out. We may be dealing with the same outer god in the DLC.

Plus, Volcano Manor features a string of unusual quests where you hunt down other Tarnished. Not only can Volcano Manor get you in the right mindset for what you’re about to see in Shadow of the Erdtree, it’s a great change of pace from the rest of the game — provided, of course, you’re willing to be a little evil.

Complete optional dungeons

Elden Ring screenshot showing the snowy Castle Sol and a Wandering Mausoleum in the Mountaintops of the Giants. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

You’ll also want to take on dungeons that aren’t on the game’s golden path, like Castle Sol — an area that’s entirely themed around the eclipse that’s taken over in Shadow of the Erdtree. There, you’ll learn a bit about Miquella’s followers and their apparent attempt to resurrect him, tidbits that will likely make a return in the expansion.

Just be warned: Castle Sol is one of the toughest areas in the game. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself visiting Mohg’s palace to beef your character up first, because even the basic enemies in this area are intense.

Get the best gear

An Elden Ring player with Moonveil Image: From Software via Polygon

What classifies as “best” will depend heavily on what build you’re running and your play preferences, but we have a few suggestions for you.

  • For Intelligence builds, the Rock Sling sorcery and its anti-gravity properties pair wonderfully with things like the Moonveil Katana or Wing of Astel. (For the former, check out our guide on how to get the Moonveil Katana.)
  • Strength builds have a bevy of options, but I’m fond of the Great Stars, which heals you with every hit, though the classic Greatsword is also a good bet.
  • Faith devotees are in agreement that the best weapon is the Blasphemous Blade, a greatsword that can deal additional fire damage.
  • Dexterity builds, meanwhile, have two strong options that are available near the start of the game: Bloodhounds Fang and Uchigatana.
  • Those of you trying out an Arcane build might want to check out the Naginata, which can pair well with bleed effects, or the Star Fists.

As for armor, your choices will depend on your weight class of choice. If you gravitate toward light armor, you’ll be happy with choices like the Godskin Noble set or the Ronin set, both of which have strong stats. If you use medium armor, look into the Gelmir Knight set, or a Knight set in general. And if you prefer heavy armor, you can use what’s considered one of the most broken pieces of gear in the game: the Bull-Goat set, gear so powerful that it’s a mainstay in PVP.

Granted, weapons and armor aren’t the only things you can equip in Elden Ring — but for everything else, it really depends on how you like to play. One thing that’s true for everyone, though: the Mimic Tear, which populates a CPU version of your character, kicks ass.

And if you’re really looking to get powerful as quickly as possible, consult our Elden Ring rune farming guide.

Defeat Malenia

Malenia the Severed defender of Miquella hovering in the air with large, breathtaking wings made of gnarled red and black rot. She is wearing arm and leg armor, and is otherwise unclothed, with smooth doll-like skin. Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco

You’ll definitely want to defeat Malenia, the optional boss who resides in Miquella’s hidden kingdom. While Malenia is notoriously difficult, she’s also Miquella’s twin, so you’ll want to soak in as much as you can about her. The trailer also features a water dancer who looks suspiciously like the character mentioned in Malenia-related gear.

That said, she’s one of the toughest bosses in the game; most players save her for the latter segments of their playthroughs for good reason. If you’re struggling, our guide on how to defeat Malenia in Elden Ring can help.

Beat the game

Elden Ring’s Fire Giant in the Mountaintops of the Giants Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

This might seem obvious, but then again, we’re talking about a Soulslike game. It’s easy to get stuck on a boss somewhere, or to give up before you’ve satisfied the requirements for one of Elden Ring’s esoteric endings. Beyond meeting major characters who might have a role in the expansion, clearing the game may ensure that your character is strong enough to take on whatever new threats Elden Ring throws your way.

Try out new game plus

Elden Ring player standing in front of a glowing table inside Roundtable Hold Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

New game plus doesn’t have any obvious connection to Shadow of the Erdtree: the mode simply makes the game harder in exchange for bigger rewards, should you survive. But if you’ve already done everything there is to do in Elden Ring, it might not be a bad idea to check NG+ out: if nothing else, it can help you get back into the groove of the game. We’ve been waiting a long time for Shadow of the Erdtree, which means your muscle memory may need a refresher. The good news is that you’ll keep many of your non-quest related items and runes, so you won’t have to hunt down your preferred gear again.