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What to do first in Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree

Here are 7 tips to help you at the start of Shadow Of The Erdtree

A Tarnished looks intimidating as they stand in the moonlit Shadow Realm in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Trying to figure out what to do first in Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree? Elden Ring's giant DLC Shadow Of The Erdtree features a new land to explore and dozens of bosses to fight, many of which make the foes in the base game seem like a walk in the park. The Land of Shadow is intimidating and alien, and if you had to struggle to defeat Mohg in order to even start Shadow Of The Erdtree, there's a good chance that the DLC may seem overwhelming.

In order to make the challenge slightly more surmountable, in this guide we've listed 7 things you should do first to familiarise yourself with Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree.

In this guide:

Learn the new leveling system

A Tarnished rests at a Site of Grace and accesses the Shadow Realm Blessing menu in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.
Without collecting Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes, you're going to remain weak in the Land of Shadow. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Shadow Of The Erdtree utilises a new leveling up system to ensure that the DLC is challenging for returning players. We recommend that you start the DLC between levels 120-150, but even if you hold back until level 170 or so, you'll still have a tricky time until you collect Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes to level up your Tarnished. In short, Scadutree Fragments increase your Tarnished's attack power and damage negation, and can be found via our Scadutree Fragment locations guide. Revered Spirit Ashes boost the attack power and damage negation of your Spirit Ashes and Torrent, and are scattered across the Land of Shadow.

Grab map fragments

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree screenshot of the Abyssal Woods and overlooking the monument which contains the region's Map Fragment.
Look out for these stone markers whenever you enter a new region, as they represent new map fragments. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

There are a total of 5 map fragments in the Land of Shadow that'll uncover the fog on your map and make it much easier to chart your progress. You can find the first not far from your starting area in the Gravesite plain; simply head directly east of your spawn point. The other pieces of the world map are more out-of-the-way, so check out our map fragment locations guide to get your bearings.

Tackle enemies in the Gravesite Plain

Avoiding the Blackgaol Knight's exploding Crossbow bolts in Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree.
The Gravesite Plain is full of hardy enemies to keep you busy for hours, including the Blackgaol Knight. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Remember how you spent a good several hours in Limgrave, the starting region in Elden Ring's base game? While the Gravesite Plain is smaller, you're still going to want to take things slow in this starting area, as there are plenty of worthy foes amongst those fields of eerie tombstones. Our Shadow Of The Erdtree boss locations guide shows several accessible bosses within your starting vicinity, from the relatively easy Logur The Beast Claw to the surprisingly tough Blackgaol Knight. The Blackgaol Knight is an especially great boss to test your might against if your Elden Ring skills are rusty. If he keeps beating you, go and collect some of those Scadutree Fragments and try again.

Acquire new weapons and weapon types

Screenshot of the Tarnished wielding the Backhand Blade whilst overlooking the Gravesite Plains in Shadow Of The Erdtree.
The Backhand Blade may very well serve you through the entire DLC - and it's accessible from the very start. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

8 new weapon types await you in Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree, and several of the finest weapons can be found at the very start of the game. If you're a Katana user, seek out the Great Katana, which is located in the northern Gravesite Plain not far from a Ghostflame Dragon boss. The Dragon-Hunter's Great Katana, an even more powerful variant of this blade, is accessible in the Dragon's Pit mini-dungeon. Milady and the Backhand Blade, two of the best weapons in Shadow Of The Erdtree, can be found in the Smouldering Ruins of the Gravesite Plain and in Castle Ensis. And if you prefer more unorthodox weapons of war, you can obtain Perfume Bottles in the camps outside of Castle Ensis.

Steer clear of Furnace Golems, for now

A Tarnished runs out of the way, narrowly dodging Furnace Golem explosive balls of fire in Shadow of the Erdtree.
The secret to fighting Furnace Golems is to dodge out of the way, attack their faceplates, or just wait until you've acquired Hefty Furnace Pots. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

You'll notice a lumbering Furnace Golem in the distance immediately upon entering the Shadow Realm, and you might be itching to run up and test your luck. But it's best to hold off from tackling these behemoths at first, as they're resistant to all forms of damage unless you manage to chip away at their legs or the faceplates. Unless you really enjoy a test of patience, come back to Furnace Golems once you progress further in the DLC and obtain Hefty Furnace Pots. You can chuck these chonky explosives into the flaming braziers of Furnace Golems from an elevated position, knocking their health bars down to size rapidly. For more on locating and fighting these giants, see our guide to all Furnace Golem locations in Shadow Of The Erdtree.

Head to Belurat, Tower Settlement

A Tarnished enters Belurat, Tower Settlement in Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree
Open to all Tarnished at the very start of the DLC, Belurat is a good legacy dungeon to start getting your feet back into the game. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Shadow Of The Erdtree's legacy dungeons remain as well-designed as those in Elden Ring's base game, and if you're hankering for a more linear dungeon crawling experience instead of open world traversal atop Torrent, head to the Belurat, Tower Settlement Site of Grace, which is located in the expansive castle northwest of the Gravesite Plain. You can enter this dungeon immediately, and it's populated with enemies who aren't too hard to beat, like scorpions and the shadows that litter the Gravesite Plain. At the end of the dungeon lies the Divine Beast Dancing Lion, the first boss we recommend you face in the DLC.

Go through Castle Ensis to reach Scadu Altus

Rellana, Twin Moon Knight, a main boss in Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC, ignites her Twin Blades, one blue with magic and one red with flame.
Rellana awaits you at the end of Castle Ensis, as does the wider world of the Shadow Realm. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

To progress further into the Shadow Realm, you'll need to pass through Castle Ensis to reach the central region of Scadu Altus. Castle Ensis contains a fair few challenges, but none that will test your mettle quite like Rellana, the Twin Moon Knight and one of the hardest bosses you've faced thus far. Once you manage to make it past her, you're definitely ready for the other challenges that Shadow Of The Erdtree has to offer. By the way, once you reach Scadu Altus, be sure to challenge Dryleaf Dane and pick up your first martial arts weapon!

Hopefully these tips have helped make your first few hours in the Shadow Realm an easier experience. For more Elden Ring tips and tricks, check out our best weapons, best armor, Talismans, or best builds guides.

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