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

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree just got its first Gameplay Trailer and a release date of June 21st, 2024. We have been anticipating this would be the release window, so now we get several months to catch everyone up on gameplay mechanics for the current game, and enjoy the slow drip of hype and news until the expansion release.

In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at everything revealed with the new DLC trailer, as well as all the information spread around on the official site, official interviews, and more.

Shadow of the Erdtree: Just How Big is It?

The length of development has been fueling a lot of speculation surrounding the size of the expansion. In addition, the Steam page for the game lists requirements as 60GB, which is 25% larger than the base game, leaving many wondering what that means for content itself.

Fans of FromSoftware will know that their DLC content is usually packed into small and pre-prepared DLC installments, such as the three crowns of Dark Souls 2 or the 2 DLCs of Dark Souls 3. Bloodborne and Dark Souls, however, had individual expansions that featured new areas, enemies and weapons or magic types.

Map Size and Contention

Elden Ring is taking the expansion approach, but game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has indeed confirmed that Shadow of the Erdtree is the “biggest expansion FromSoftware has ever worked on”. This was followed up with a comment to Eurogamer that players can expect an area “Larger than Limgrave” in terms of surface. This specific point has now created some confusion or even a mild controversy online, as many players were expecting the expansion to be much larger than just one zone of the base game. Let’s dive into this.

First of all, it’s important to note that many interviews are notably wrong or misleading in the early stages of preview and promotion. This is the result of the developer being guarded on the information provided, the aim to “underpromise and overdeliver” and, sometimes, translation. For the specific comment regarding Limgrave, my takeaway is that the expansion will operate much like Dark Souls and Bloodborne and simply add a new “zone” which will have sub-areas and dungeons within it.

Vast Maps

The official website emphasizes area size in both the English and Japanese versions of the game, calling them “Vast Maps”. They also go on to emphasize “seamless” transition from Dungeon to Field, and “intricate” world design. Reading between the lines, I think this means that we won’t be getting empty vast spaces but rather a more focused approach to a very carefully designed area with a wealth of content. This would be a similar approach to Bloodborne, that added only 4 new “areas” but almost doubled the in-game trick weapons, giving players new ways to approach the whole game. The Eurogamer interview reinforces this perspective, stating that the expansion difficulty would be comparable with endgame, which means that the developer is expecting you will pick up the new tools and builds and move on to NG+ with them.

What’s the New Content in the Elden Ring DLC

The Trailer revealed several characters, boss encounters, enemies, and showed off some new equipment and skills. Let’s break it down.

Boss Fights

We know from the developer interview that there will be more than 10 new Boss Fights. We do not know if these are simply field bosses, which could be quite underwhelming in terms of boss encounters for FromSoftware, or if Miyazaki was thinking of the harshest of boss fights. In this instance, I’m inclined to believe he meant serious boss fights, as Limgrave has something like 30 boss encounters when including Field Bosses, so if we’re looking at something of comparable size, with Legacy Dungeons and more “density” there’s no way they only fit in 10 or so fights.

New Weapons Categories

Feeling quite excited by the thought that it’s 10 new main fights and who knows how many smaller ones, the biggest game-changer for me is going to be the 8 new Weapon Categories to be added to the game. This is a MASSIVE increase, similar to Bloodborne, as there are currently 31 categories and 8 more represent a 25.8% increase! The easiest guess here is that we’re getting some new types of magic with their own weapon type, new melee equipment options, and some new ranged options.

On this specific point, as I mentioned on the Trailer Impressions video, there’s a line that mentions “Take on these threats with the new powers you can acquire”. This could be related to the weapons, but it can also mean we may get some specific new abilities such as those from the Great Runes. I would really like to see something like this that is more impactful and have it affect gameplay radically, so hoping I’m reading this right.

Content Overview

In terms of other content, and going by how previous expansions have worked, we can expect to see a whole set of new enemies and a complement of new Skills, Ashes of War, Talismans and Armor. If we stick to the numbers from Limgrave, this could mean over 18 NPCs, 40 wildlife creatures and enemies, plus over 100 unique Items, ashes, keys, magic and equipment. To give you some perspective, the Artorias of the Abyss expansion for Dark Souls added 5 spells, 5 NPCs, 4 bosses, and 33 total mix of items, weapons and armor.

The conclusion I am drawing here is that we’re going to get the Bloodborne treatment of an expansion area that is not vast in size versus the total game, but has depth of content and mechanics that will radically change how you approach and feel about the whole game. Now onto the specific additions revealed by the trailer, let’s have a frame by frame look!

Gameplay Trailer Breakdown

The first pans of the Shadowlands has the character and Torrent speeding down a road, literally following Miquella’s path as shown in the previous teaser art, where Torrent and Miquella navigate this same field. The area is littered by graves that we can presume are from the Cleansing, and in the background we see what I’ll call the “Shadow Tree”, a withered and smoldering version of the familiar Erdtree of the base game, that is almost “behind the veil” and may well signal this is a purgatory land or what lies beyond.

As the scene expands, you can observe the roots embedded into the landscape, reminding me of Deathroot and reinforcing the grave and blight theme of the area.

New Armor

You’re next up treated to a close-up of a new armor set which we can presume will be rather heavy and is a bit similar to the Carian Knight Set, and importantly a symbol of what looks like a crescent with a cross or star. This could be the DLC version of “guidance by grace”, but it’s most likely a Great Rune, as the symbol looks like a tweaked version of the Great Rune of the Unborn.

New armor resembles a heavy set similar to the Carian Knight Set

The next scene depicts a different landscape, this time with a reddish sky and sunset glow, and yet another new armor set and large greatsword, with the armor draped in what looks to be fur not unlike Blaidd’s. This is most likely an NPC set. Further along, the sky changes again to a blueish tinge, and showcases yet another armor set that looks extremely heavy and maybe ceramic. Could it be Pot-related? and reminds me of one of the Sentinels from the base game somewhat. It is holding a giant version of a Firepot, later on in the trailer we’ll see these are new throwable items.

We Meet Again

Now things get interesting, showing another new set with a zoom into a white-masked figure laying on a bed of flowers similar to those you see around Malenia, Blade of Miquella. This is yet another new armor set and a small environment reveal. Could this character lying here be a masked Miquella?

The next area is a large and destroyed audience room with purple-flame braziers and eerie blue candles. At the throne of this room sits a regal NPC with regalia somewhat reminiscent of Rennala’s style, a shorter hat and a large exuberant collared robe. This is another armor you will most likely be able to obtain.

The pace changes to show the Tarnished riding through a blighted swamp, with dead trees, roots and what seems to be a poisoned but smoldering ground. We know Miyazaki confirmed that he loves doing swamps, and seemed to imply there would be more than one, so this confirms the first look.

The Portrait of the Couple

A portrait is shown that depicts a lordly couple, with the woman touching her stomach and placing a hand on the man. It would be logical to assume this is the “mother” referenced by the voiceover of the trailer, but there’s too many ways this could go to be definitive. This could be Fia and her late husband.

As we continue, the Tarnished is seen exploring an underground area with large pots and low visibility, requiring a torch. Could this be where the Pots are from or created? This is most likely a legacy dungeon or an exploration dungeon within the new region, and the segway to a very interesting view that took me right to Volcano Manner from the base game.

Themes of Fire But No Ice

A magma area with a large chained platform is seen. Since the theme of the DLC seems to have a lot to do with “fire” and “cleansing”, and the tree in the area is indeed smoldering, it’s possible this area is actually near or within that tree.

After that peek, we are shown what is most likely one of the main Legacy Dungeons of the DLC, a quite beautiful fortress with white walls and beautiful pillars. The top of the fortress is, however disintegrating and disappearing to ashes, likely due to the fading of the tree.

Reinforcing the “Fire” theme, a giant construct of iron and fire is seen standing up, which is most likely the opening cutscene for a boss fight similar to that of the Fire Giant in the base game, and including large AoE fire attacks.

More Enemies

More enemies are shown, including a repugnant worm-like creature and a surprising boss fight with a pseudo Chinese Dragon using massive lightning attacks and death blight, that actually made me think of the Wu-Kong trailer we highlighted about a little while back. The foot of this character looks strikingly similar to the foot of Margit from the base game, indicating this is possible an Omen or related to him in someway.

The trailer returns to now show the main antagonist of the expansion, Messmer the Impaler, who seems to summon fire magic that has some effects akin to blood, aka bloodflame. The brief glimpse of this character segways into action, showing dual-wielding attacks with a new paired weapon against new enemies in an underground area with grass and water, and showcasing a specific dash.

A nighttime scene is also shown, where a tarnished uses a new throwing knives skill and potentially another new paired weapon against a new type of enemy that uses a large cleaver. The trailer then crescendos to the full-blown animation of an entirely new magic, pink-colored and with lots of butterfly effects, which may mean it has a connection to Miquella and could be Messmer magic.

New Skills

Next up we see full-on martial arts with some sort of skill that enables the tarnished to create flying kicks Mortal Kombat style against yet another new enemy type that’s wielding a new twinblade. Then we can see a tarnished using a new armor set and a new ranged weapon that fires several projectiles in quick succession, and some sort of new Beast’s Roar similar to the Dragon Magic we know from the base game, but with a bear’s head.

Another area is then revealed, featuring a samurai facing off against what looks like one of Milicent’s Sisters, in a night field with blue flowers and fireflies. This is another armor set and weapon reveal, as these are not in the base game.

New Bosses

Another boss is shown, this time a knight mounting a large boar and using a purple lightning-enchanted Lance. This is a new kind of magic not currently in the game, and probably another armor set we can obtain.

Another boss is shown, such as a large hippo-beast crawling across shallow water and summoning large protective spikes around its head, before returning to an underground area with suspicious flowers to show a large Albinauric boss with a broken steed wielding a massive curved club that can be thrown like a disk or boomerang.

As the trailer nears its end, another possible boss is shown, a creature clad in aged yellow robes and impaled by golden shards, followed by more details on the fight with Messmer, showcasing some of his moves and some sort of Twinblade-Shield combo weapon that we’ve never seen before.

It closes off with a glimpse of Miquella.

With all this content, you know what this means, I’m about to add another 100 builds to our Builds collection, and another 8 “Best Weapon of Elden Ring” to our series. I’ll of course be aiming to finish the current series by June, so feel free to drop ideas or suggestions in the comments.

The Story of the Elden Ring DLC

Another aspect that is reinforced throughout the promotion materials is “Freedom”. Freedom to make your character, your build, your progression, your choices. In this sense, we can expect that the expansion difficulty will be on par with the base game where the most challenging encounters were optional to completion, but Miyazaki also hinted that they wanted to make the Expansion possible to access and exit.

From this, I would assume that the entry point to the Shadowlands will be relatively early in the game. Given the DLC story follows Miquella, I assume the most obvious place would be Mohg’s Palace by “Touch the withered Arm and travel to the realm of shadow.”, but it’s possible there may also be an entrance from the Rose Church in Liurnia or a simple gateway unlocked by some NPC interaction or special item.

The plot itself is clearly laid out: Miquella set off to the Land of Shadow, discarding divinity, body and golden power. These lands were scorched by Messmer in a “cleansing” after a holy war, which seems to refer to the Crucible. I don’t want to go too deeply into this, but we have a whole series of Lore Shorts and a Lore page on the wiki that can really help piece together the background leading to this expansion.

It is important to note that while there are clues and many theories to be had, often surrounding deathblight, Melina, smoldering butterflies, graves and blood, the official materials clearly state “A story never told before”, so the expansion is going to be filling in blanks and adding context to the existing game, not repeating what you already know.

The Editions and Price of Shadow of the Erdtree

With the gameplay and release date, so came preorders. You can now preorder Shadow of the Erdtree for 39.99 as an upgrade to your base game. There’s also a Premium Edition, priced 49.99, and shockingly a full Collector’s Edition that includes a figure of Messmer for 249.99 USD.


By preordering any of the available editions for Shadow of the Erdtree, players will be able to obtain a special gesture called Ring of Miquella.

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There are two available editions for players to purchase :

  • The standard edition of Shadow of the Erdtree, which contains a copy of the DLC
  • The Premium Bundle edition of Shadow of the Erdtree, which contains a copy of the DLC, a Digital Artbook and the Original Soundtrack
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From Software is also releasing a physical Collector’s Edition for Shadow of the Erdtree, which contains the following:

  • Shadow of the Erdtree Voucher Code
  • Official Soundtrack
  • 40 Page Hard-Cover Artbook
  • A 46-cm statue of Messmer the Impaler
shadow of the erdtree premium edition565px

And that’s all we have for this video analyzing the Elden Ring DLC Gameplay Trailer. But we’d love to hear your thoughts and theories! Will you be playing the game in anticipation of the DLC? Is there any content you’d like to see before June? What are you most excited about for the expansion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you’re eager to begin exploring the depth of the Land of Shadows, head to our wiki. Check out info on Weapons, Builds, Locations, Magic Spells and more.

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