Elden Ring DLC: What Level Should You Be For Shadow of the Erdtree?

You don't need to reach Elden Ring's level cap to start the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, but you will probably want a pretty powerful character for the expansion.

Shadow of the Erdtree may “only” be Elden Ring DLC, but early reports suggest it is closer to an Elden Ring sequel in many ways. As players prepare for that massive adventure, many are already starting to ask what level their characters should be at before they take them into the Land of Shadow.

It’s a seemingly simple question that currently lacks an easy answer. Technically, players only need to defeat Starscourge Radahn and Mohg, Lord Of Blood to access the Shadow of the Erdtree content. Given that there are players who have beaten Elden Ring without leveling up once, that means you can technically enter Shadow of the Erdtree with a Level One character. Realistically, though, 99% of players will not be able to do that. They’ll want to enter the DLC with the most powerful character possible.

As such, it’s recommended that your character be at Level 150 for the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. Why 150? Well, that recommendation is largely based on the ways that Elden Ring‘s level cap and stat cap systems work.

Technically, Elden Ring‘s level cap is somewhere around level 710. To be more specific, you reach Elden Ring‘s level cap when you get all of your individual character stats to 99. Given the way that Elden Ring‘s stat distribution and leveling system works, it will likely take you about that many levels to raise all your stats to their maximum possible rating.

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However, there is very little point in spending the time required to reach such high levels. That’s because Elden Ring has a “soft cap” system that greatly diminishes the value of the returns you get from leveling certain stats beyond specific points. Different stats have different soft caps, but there is no soft cap in the game beyond 80 points. Yes, having 99 Intelligence is technically better than having 80 Intelligence, but the difference you see beyond that point will likely not be worth the effort for many.

There is also the matter of builds to consider. A player with a 99 rating in every stat will effectively be able to swap between any builds they happen to have the gear, incantations, and items for. However, the vast majority of players will commit to one build by the time they reach the endgame (and the eventual DLC areas). So, it’s not necessary to level up stats that your build will never (or rarely) make use of at any given time.

Furthermore, there are only so many items in the game that allow you to upgrade the gear that most builds rely on. You can jump into a series of New Game+ runs to greatly increase the number of those items you have access to, but we’re again talking about a style of play meant largely for hardcore experimental players rather than the average Elden Ring player.

By the time you reach Level 150, you should have access to the stats, items, and upgrades most of the best builds will need to optimize their intended strategies. While that specific number is partially based on a matchmaking cap that Elden Ring PvP players recommend to each other, it’s also a nice, round figure that gives players a realistic leveling target. Furthermore, that’s the level that Shadow of the Erdtree’s preview players started at during a recent hands-on session with the game. That’s probably the biggest indication yet that developer FromSoftware at least softly recommends hitting that level before beginning the DLC.

Again, though, Elden Ring‘s entire leveling system is incredibly strange by modern gaming standards and is also partially based on your mechanical abilities and desired personal challenge. So, if you want to start the DLC a bit early and don’t mind things being slightly more difficult, then you can probably jump into the DLC relatively “safely” at Level 120 or so. Basically, if you feel comfortable tackling Elden Ring‘s endgame content at your current level, you should be able to start Shadow of the Erdtree and experience a relatively similar level of difficulty. Things will certainly escalate from there, but the DLC’s new leveling system should allow you to keep up if that’s your desired experience.

However, keep in mind that there is still so much we do not know about Shadow of the Erdtree. The game’s new weapons, new enemies, and new builds will undoubtedly alter the metagame. However, most players with characters between Level 120 and 150 should feel safe jumping into the DLC when it releases on June 21.

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