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Elden Ring Just Got Way Easier, But There's A Catch

"Elden Ring" offers one of the most rewarding first playthroughs in all of gaming. The world is filled with rich storytelling details and packed to the brim with powerful secret items. Around every corner there's a new enemy who will challenge your skills and reward you for coming out on top. It hurts that we'll never be able to experience "Elden Ring" for the first time again, but "Shadow of the Erdtree" is about to offer a close second-best experience.

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The DLC drops on July 21, and it's going to be totally stuffed with extra features. One of the most exciting new additions to the game is the ability to adjust the game's difficulty on the fly. Of course, it wouldn't be "Elden Ring" without some extra conditions surrounding the new difficulty levels. No, "Elden Ring" isn't adding a traditional difficulty slider, but it is adding two new items that will have a dramatic impact on how hard your first playthrough of "Shadow of the Erdtree" is going to be. 

Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes fit right into the world of "Elden Ring" and the game design ethos of FromSoftware. The items are only going to be found in the DLC's new Land of Shadow, and their effects will only take hold within the DLC's content. Using Scadutree Fragments — which players can find by scouring the map — will increase the damage your character deals out and their overall defensive capabilities, whereas using the newly improved Revered Spirit Ashes will increase the damage of your spirits and the HP for your spirits and Torrent. When the going gets tough, you're now going to have a way to make the game easier.

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FromSoftware always lets you raise the difficulty

Of course, getting stronger was always an option in "Elden Ring," but these two new items were badly needed for "Shadow of the Erdtree." The DLC is designed for high-level characters that no longer receive much benefit by spending runes for stat points. These new items essentially allow FromSoftware to keep the DLC just as difficult as the base game (if not more difficult), even though the players tackling its content are going to have stronger characters.

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"Elden Ring" is hard, but that's what players have come to love about it. The game's immense challenges have spawned legends like Let Me Solo Her, a player who dedicated themselves to helping others beat the hardest boss in the game. Those legends have inspired players in games like "Helldivers 2," and most gamers wouldn't ever want FromSoftware to tone down the difficulty.

The new items are really just creating a new way for seasoned players to challenge themselves. People play the base game as a level one character with no armor, and some will undoubtedly tackle the DLC without ever using Scadutree Fragments or Revered Spirit Ashes. That said, when you remember that over half of "Elden Ring" players can't even get into "Shadow of the Erdtree" yet because they haven't beaten the required boss, you might start to think that the base game needs these new items, too.

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