If Shadow of the Erdtree Feels Too Hard, Try Playing Like Hidetaka Miyazaki

Summon a friend and ignore the haters.

screenshot from Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
From Software

If you struggled your way through Elden Ring and its new Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, you’re not alone — even the game’s director admits that dealing with the challenge of From Software’s games can be a struggle. More than just reassurance, Hidetaka Miyazaki’s recent comments on how he copes with the difficulty of Elden Ring is good advice for anyone who’s currently on Messmer’s bad side.

“In preparation for Shadow of the Erdtree, I played through the main story of Elden Ring,” Miyazaki told The Guardian. “I want to preface this by saying I absolutely suck at video games, so my approach or play style was to use everything I have at my disposal, all the assistance, every scrap of aid that the game offers, and also all the knowledge that I have as the architect of the game.”

Summon your friends to help with Shadow of the Erdtree. Miyazaki says it’s okay.

From Software

Obviously not everyone has the benefit of Miyazaki’s knowledge as “the architect of the game,” but there’s nothing stopping you from using “every scrap of aid” you can get to overcome Shadow of the Erdtree. And while that might seem obvious, some players don’t seem to be taking advantage of even the basic mechanics that the DLC provides to make the journey easier.

Shadow of the Erdtree introduces a brand new feature in the form of Scadutree Fragments. Hidden around the DLC’s map, these rare items increase how much damage the player character does to enemies while decreasing how much damage they take. Collecting them is the single most important tool you have at your disposal to build up your power, but a lot of players seem to be ignoring them outright.

Since the launch of Shadow of the Erdtree, the DLC has been review bombed on Steam by players upset by its difficulty. Some of that lines up with what critics have said about the game, but it may also be due to players not taking advantage of things that could help them get through easier. Publisher Bandai Namco has resorted to flat-out telling players not to neglect Scadutree Fragments on social media and even posting a guide on how to reach some of them.

Bandai Namco is begging you to stop making things harder for yourself.

Miyazaki’s comments harken back to a debate that’s been raging over From Software games since Demon’s Souls. Though “debate” might not be the right word for what’s essentially an issue of toxic players making things worse for everyone else. Every game in the Souls series — plus Bloodborne and Elden Ring — includes the ability to summon other players into your game to help with particularly tough boss fights, but for as long as the games have been popular, there’s also been a vocal group of players claiming that you haven’t really beaten them if you use that feature.

It’s a transparently silly argument — no one but you can judge whether you’ve played a game the “right” way and anything developers include is obviously meant to be used — but it’s still an attitude that’s gripped the most obnoxious of From Software’s fans from the beginning. Miyazaki’s comments probably won’t get through to them, but if you needed any more confirmation that summoning overtuned co-op players or exploiting cheesy strategies is a legitimate way to play, here it is.

Even the most unassuming Shadow of the Erdtree enemies can be an absolute pain.

From Software

Even using everything Elden Ring has to take the edge off its difficulty, it’s by no means an easy game, and Miyazaki seems set on keeping it that way. In another recent interview, he argued that making it easy enough for anyone to play would “break the game,” addressing a common critique of From Software for not providing difficulty options that could make its games more accessible. That’s frankly a bummer for anyone who’s still being kept from enjoying From Software’s games due to their difficulty, but if you’re playing on PC, there are other ways around that.

From Software isn’t likely to change its stance on difficulty options any time soon, but it’s still refreshing to see Miyazaki himself validate the use of tools that players have been demeaned for using for years. So break out your most overpowered weapons and feel no shame about your magic build from now on. If anyone gives you grief for it, tell them Miyazaki said it’s okay.

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