Elden Ring DLC: How to Start Shadow of the Erdtree

Here's how to start Elden Ring's DLC and begin your Shadow of the Erdtree adventure.

Shadow of the Erdtree
Photo: Bandai Namco

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree‘s DLC is finally here, and fans are already struggling to figure out how to start the new adventure. Hey, what would a FromSoftware game be if even accessing the DLC wasn’t more difficult than it is in most other games?

Truth be told, starting Elden Ring‘s DLC is a genuinely complex process that many Elden Ring players may not be properly prepared for. Here’s everything you (hopefully) need to know about diving into your Shadow of the Erdtree adventure.

Do I Need to Own the Base Elden Ring Game to Start Shadow of the Erdtree?

Yes, you need to own the base Elden Ring game to play the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. If you don’t already own the base Elden Ring game, you can either purchase it and the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC separately or buy them both as part of one of the special bundle packages Bandai Namco is currently offering. Unless you find a good deal on one or the other, the prices should be about the same. 

Furthermore, there are currently no plans to bring Elden Ring or Shadow of the Erdtree to Xbox Game Pass or any similar subscription services. You can wait for a sale, but you will have to purchase both at some point if you want to play them. 

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Besides, you wouldn’t want to try to jump straight into Shadow of the Erdtree without playing Elden Ring even if you could. Shadow of the Erdtree is a particularly difficult expansion that is largely meant to offer additional endgame content to veteran players. That being said, you don’t technically need to reach Elden Ring’s endgame to play it…

Do You Need to Beat Elden Ring to Start Shadow of the Erdtree?

No, you do not need to beat Elden Ring to play Shadow of the Erdtree. The only requirements to start the DLC (besides purchasing it and the base game) are:

  1. Defeat Starscourge Radahn
  2. Defeat Mohg, Lord Of Blood

Starscourge Radahn is one of the mandatory bosses in Elden Ring and can be encountered through the course of normal play (i.e. playing through the main story). If you need more info about him, though, here’s how you find and defeat him

Mohg is a slightly different story. He was considered an optional boss in the base game, but you do need to beat him to access Shadow of the Erdtree. If you haven’t done so yet, here’s a guide on how to find and beat him

Now, here’s some potentially bad news. At present, Elden Ring measures the progress of your existing playthrough for the purposes of accessing the DLC. So, if you beat those two bosses during your first Elden Ring run, started a New Game+ run, and have not yet beaten them during New Game+, you will not be able to play Shadow of the Erdtree until you’ve beaten them again during your current New Game+ run.

To make matters potentially more difficult, you will also not be able to revert your New Game+ run to the completion progress of your previous playthrough. In other words, you have to defeat Starscourge Radahn and Mohg, Lord Of Blood on your current playthrough and existing character file to access the DLC. 

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What Level Do You Need to Be to Play Shadow of the Erdtree?

There is no mandatory level requirement for Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, but it is recommended that you get your character to between Level 120 and 150 to prepare yourself for the DLC’s increased challenges. 

For more information on why you need to be between those levels, be sure to check out our breakdown of that subject here. If you’re looking for an optimized base game build to take into the DLC, you can find some of the best current builds here

How Do You Start the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC?

Once you’ve completed the prerequisites outlined above, you can start the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC by going to Mohgwyn Palace (where you defeated Mohg, Lord Of Blood). Specifically, you should travel to the Cocoon of the Empyrean Site of Grace in that area. 

If you have purchased and installed the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, you should see a new NPC standing in that area. You can speak to them if you’d like, but to enter the Land of Shadow and properly start the DLC, you’ll need to interact with the withered arm of Miquella that is poking out of the nearby cocoon. Respond “Yes” to the prompt that appears, and you will be transported to the new DLC area. 

Some players have reported not being able to access the DLC despite seemingly being able to do so. In most cases, it seems those players were either trying to access the DLC before it was available in their region or had not let the DLC finish downloading before they went to the Cocoon of the Empyrean Site of Grace.

If you’re still having trouble, your best bet is to restart the game and simply try again. As long as you have purchased the DLC, beaten those two bosses, and have traveled to the right location, you should be able to access the new content. 

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