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

In this Elden Ring Expansion Checklist Guide, we’re going to be talking about how to prepare for the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. We’ll be asking you the important questions such as what you want to do with your character? Do you want to create a new character? Or would you rather use an existing character when you go into the DLC?

We’ll also discuss why you might want to start New Game Plus, why you might want to start over fresh with a new character, and some of the things you should probably do before you enter the DLC area.

What We Know About the Shadow of the Erdtree Expansion

While we don’t know too much about the content of Shadow of the Erdtree DLC itself, we do know two very important pieces of information that can help you prepare for that journey and get your character ready. The first thing that we’re pretty sure that we know at this point (99% sure), is that the entrance to the DLC will be in the Mohgwyn Palace.

This is of course located after defeating Mohg, Lord of Blood, and we know this from the recent trailer, which showed us the arm on the throne, and talked about touching it to go to the shadow realm.

The second thing that we know is that the difficulty of the expansion is roughly more or less the same as Elden Ring’s current endgame. This is a bit subjective as it depends on what you classify as endgame of Elden Ring, but to me that means a similar difficulty to the Ashen Capital, to the Consecrated Snowfields, and to Miquella’s Haligtree or Crumbling Farum Azula.

In terms of Level, we have a Recommended Level by Location page to give you an idea of how you should be depending on what part of the game you’re on. We expect the expansion will be 120-150.

AreaLevelUpgrade (Somber)
Limgrave West1-15+0-1 (+0)
Stormhill10-20+1-2 (+0-1)
Limgrave East10-20+2 ( +1)
Weeping Peninsula20-30+3 (+1)
Stormveil Castle30-40+3-4 (+1-2)
Liurnia of the Lakes (South)40-50+3-4 (+1-2)
Academy of Raya Lucaria50-60+4-6 (+2-3)
Liurnia of the Lakes (East)50-60+4-6 (+2-3)
Ainsel River50-60+6-8 (+2-3)
Liurnia of the Lakes (West)60-70+8-12 (+3-4)
Siofra River60-70+8-12 (+3-4)
Caelid South60-70+10-14 (+4-5)
Altus Plateau60-70+10-14 (+4-5)
Nokron, Eternal City70-80+15-20 (+6-8)
Siofra Aqueduct70-80+15-20 (+6-8)
Deeproot Depths80-90+15-20 (+6-8)
Capital Outskirts80-90+15-20 (+6-8)
Mt Gelmir80-100+15-20 (+6-8)
Lake of Rot80-100+15-20 (+6-8)
Dragonbarrow90-110+15-20 (+6-8)
Leyndell, Royal Capital90-110+15-20 (+6-8)
Forbidden Lands100-120+20-24 (+8-9)
Mountaintops of the Giants100-120+20-24 (+8-9)
Consecrated Snowfield100-120+20-24 (+8-9)
Mohgwyn Palace110-140+20-24 (+8-9)
Miquella’s Haligtree120-150+20-25 (+8-10)
Crumbling Farum Azula120-150+20-25 (+8-10)
Leyndell, Ashen Capital120-150+25 (+10)
Endings120-150+25 (+10)

Regarding upgrades and builds, Mohg is not an easy boss to defeat by any means, so you can kind of tell if your Build is ready to go to Shadow of the Erdtree or the shadow lands if you can defeat Mohg. If your build can defeat Mohg, then you should be prepared for the difficulties and trials that await you. If you can’t, then maybe you want to work on your Build a bit. Mohg is sort of sitting there as a gatekeeper to the DLC and he’s a way for you to to check if your character is strong enough to be able to handle the difficulty of the DLC.

Pre-DLC Checklist and Recommendations

If you’re looking for a checklist of things to do before playing the Elden Ring Expansion, this section is for you!. Even if you are a returning player, you will want to make sure that you complete enough content so you remember how to play and how the controls work. You will also want to make sure that your character has unlocked enough tools and equipment and your build can adapt to whatever new mechanics the DLC brings.

Elden Ring DLC Checklist

  • Plan your Build with a mind to do endgame content (Lvl 120+)
  • Collect Weapons & Armor that you need
  • Collect Whetstone Knife & Upgrade Materials
  • Find Weapon Skills and upgrade your Ashes of War
  • Unlock talisman slots
  • Collect Spells and Flask Upgrades
  • Advance game until Mogh, Lord of Blood

So let’s begin by talking about Talisman slots. You have 4 Talisman slots, probably on most of your characters, but if you don’t remember, you don’t begin the game with all 4 slots. You only begin the game with 1 and you actually have to do certain things in order to unlock the other 3 slots via Talisman Pouches. So if you beeline it directly to the DLC with a fresh character, you will have 1 Talisman slot, which might make it rather difficult.

The next thing to consider is what Talismans do you actually need for your Build. Are you playing a mage type build? Do you need something like the Magic Scorpion Charm that can take a while to get? Do you need something like Ritual Sword Talisman?

There are a lot of Talismans that might make your Build really good, and they are spread all throughout the game, so this is going to vary from build to build, but you might want some specific Talismans if you go into an endgame equivalent area.


The next thing to consider is what Weapons and Armor are your builds going to use. Have you have been playing Elden Ring all along? Do you have a build that you like? Or are you making a new character? Are you going to be strong enough with the Weapons and Armor that you can acquire quickly if you just beeline it there? Or do you need to seek out specific equipment that you want for your build along with the Talismans?

Then there’s upgrades, magic and buffs. Do you have the Spells you need? Do you have the Weapon Skill or Whetstone Knife you need to change the infusion on your Ash of War? Have you upgraded your Flasks and acquired enough Golden Seeds? Have you upgraded your Weapons and do you have enough Upgrade Materials or the Bell Bearings to purchase them should you need them. These are all things you need to ask yourself before entering the DLC.

You don’t have to have your Flasks completely maxed out. You don’t have to have every Spell in the game. You don’t have to have every crafting material, or every upgrade material in the game unlocked, but if you have the vast majority of them, you have 4 Talisman slots, and you have a good weapon and a good setup, you should be set.


Final Thoughts and Additional Tips

And the last thing I’ll just briefly touch upon before wrapping up this DLC Preparation Guide is whether you should go to NG+ or if should just play with your existing character. I don’t think it’s super important which you do. The difficulty between Journey 1 and Journey 2 isn’t that substantial. However, FromSoftware DLC tends to be harder than the base games in my experience, so if you were new to Elden Ring, if Elden Ring was your first “Souls game” you would probably be much better off going into the DLC in Journey 1.

That being said, I think it’s probably just easier to go into Shadow of the Erdtree in your current play through than go to Journey 2, but if you went to Journey 2 with your character and you’re wondering if that’s fine, it totally is. Realistically, if you went to Journey 2 you probably have a lot of these things I’ve already mentioned unlocked anyway, and even if you don’t, it won’t take you very long to get them unlocked.


So that wraps up our Guide on how to prepare for the Elden Ring DLC. I hope I made a good case for why I don’t think it’s the greatest idea to just head straight to the Shadow of the Erdtree with a fresh character because you’ll probably just get absolutely destroyed. However, if you have an existing character, that’s a good ways into the game, like probably halfway 2/3 or better, you’re probably in a good enough place to attempt the DLC.

And if you feel like doing a new playthrough right before the Shadow of the Erdtree, or are planning to do a fresh run when it launches, I recommend playing a bit earlier than the DLC so you can play through, refamiliarize yourself with the game get some of the gear that I mentioned, and then just go straight into the DLC the day it drops.

So I hope I reminded some of you that haven’t played in a while of what’s important, what you actually unlocked on your character throughout the journey. Maybe you had forgotten some of these things and thought you had them all along the way.

Be sure to check out our Impressions of Shadow of the Erdtree, and also Everything We Know about it so far! And don’t forget to bookmark the Elden Ring Wiki, as you most assuredly will need it!

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