Gaming

Shadow of the Erdtree’s Difficulty Brings Out the Best and Worst In Players

Sharing the pain of Elden Ring.

screenshot from Shadow of the Erdtree
From Software

The launch of Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC has kicked off another round of difficulty discourse, with some players saying From Software’s latest is too tough for its own good and streamers publicly swearing off the game. But while some of those complaints have tipped over into vitriol predictably hurled at From Software, the game’s reviewers, and other players, the expansion is also showing the best side of Elden Ring’s player base, as some fans have dedicated themselves to making sure everyone gets to experience the brutal new Land of Shadow.

While some players are fighting for their lives in Shadow of the Erdtree, others are offering their services to anyone trying to unlock the DLC. Making your way to the new area requires beating Mohg, a difficult side boss found late in the base game. Before Shadow of the Erdtree’s launch, only 40 percent of players had beaten Mohg. But experienced players are now posting up at important boss encounters and even advertising their services on Reddit so fellow fans can summon them for some jolly cooperation to unlock the DLC.

Shadow of the Erdtree may be the most difficult From Software game yet.

From Software

In order to reach Mohg, players also need to beat Starscourge Radahn, a required boss who opens up the area where you’ll later find Mohg upon defeat. Head to the outside of either Radahn or Mohg’s boss arena in Elden Ring, and you’ll likely see more summon signs than usual, as players are eager to carry their fellow Tarnished through these difficult fights. On top of that, both the EldenRing and BeyondtheFog subreddits are full of posts offering to help carry struggling players through the encounters on demand. Plenty of others say they’ll help players through the tougher parts of the DLC itself, or chip in for “literally any boss,” whether it’s to get into Shadow of the Erdtree or tackle a tough foe in the expansion itself.

As much as From Software’s games have a reputation for their brutal challenge and invasion-based PvP combat, it’s the cooperative aspect of their multiplayer that feel like the heart of the experience. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki famously got the idea for Demon’s Souls’ casual co-op multiplayer from the experience of getting his car stuck on a snowy hill and having a stranger help him out before wordlessly departing. That spirit has continued through to Elden Ring, letting players summon one another for brief moments to help and then disappear.

Elden Ring is full of tough bosses, but players have ways of helping each other through.

From Software

For some players, helping out in co-op is the whole point of the game. A player with the moniker Let Me Solo Her became a hero of the Elden Ring community for creating a character solely to help others through the notoriously difficult boss Malenia, and plenty of unsung players have made it their mission in the game to help others with the trickiest encounters.

The worlds of From Software’s games are incredibly harsh places, but that’s not necessarily true of the games’ fanbases. While there are plenty of toxic players, as there are for any game, the community is much more likely to give each other a hand than stab each other in the back. It’s the nature of the games that they’re all but impossible to complete without some help, whether that means summoning assistance or talking to other players about discoveries of hidden items, boss strategies, or NPC quest lines.

The help of other players may nave never been more vital than it is with Shadow of the Erdtree. Just starting the DLC is a major challenge of its own, and once you’re in, you’ll find a level of difficulty that makes the base game look like a walk in the park. As the less charitable parts of the game’s fanbase insist that players having trouble with the massive difficulty spike only have themselves to blame, the true spirit of the Soulslike community lives on in players ensuring that everyone gets to experience the pain of Shadow of the Erdtree.

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