Elden Ring’s DLC Is Massively Huge, But That’s The Only Way It Could Have Worked

Remember when Miyazaki said it'd be as big as Limgrave?

Story Highlights

  • Shadow of the Erdtree is massive, featuring tons of new areas, secrets, and bosses.
  • It’s unheard of for a DLC to be this big, especially nowadays. 
  • Miyazaki has confirmed that the huge size is an intentional design choice the team made.

The size of Elden Ring’s latest expansion, Shadow of the Erdtree, was a topic of speculation among fans. They were especially kicked into high gear when Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game director, mentioned that it’d be about as big as Limgrave. Now, the thing is that while Limgrave is certainly a huge area, for a DLC that cost 40 bucks, that felt a bit underwhelming.

But turns out, this was the case of Miyazaki yet again underselling the game to fans and then overdelivering. Elden Ring’s DLC is big, almost overwhelmingly so. It’s not unusual to find secret zones within secret zones, that’ll make you wonder just how big the expansion truly is. There are entire areas that are locked behind small caves that you can easily miss. 

While this scale might seem absurd to some, especially for a DLC, the fact is that for the game to work, it needed to be this huge. The sheer size of the expansion isn’t just the developers opting for quantity over quality. Instead, it’s an intentional choice made to make sure players are able to relive that feeling of exploring the world of Elden Ring for the first time again. And this little tidbit was shared with us by Miyazaki himself.

  • About the Author: Danish Bukhari is a long-time fan of the Soulslike genre. He specifically loves Elden Ring, having invested over 150 hours in the title. 

Your First Steps A Second Time

There’s no denying that taking your first steps out in Limgrave is nothing short of magical. Any new player who’s just starting in will likely have no clue of the sheer size and scope of the world it is that they’re starting out in. And while no one was expecting something of a similar scale in the DLC, it’s amazing that FromSoftware, to a large extent, has succeeded in recreating that feeling.

This was one of their main goals, as revealed by Miyazaki during an interview with PC Gamer. According to him, despite his earlier estimations, the size of Shadow of the Erdtree is massive. And while it was a huge undertaking, something that is practically unheard of for a DLC, it was something that they simply needed to do. Because the game simply wouldn’t work had it not been huge.  Here’s what Miyazaki had to say:

We wanted that sense of scale for this map, because we wanted an experience for the player that was going to match that of the base game. We wanted them to experience that sense of discovery, and that sense of wonder and exploration again. We needed a map that was going to uphold that and bolster that.”

Quantity And Quality

It’s got to be said that even with how large the size of Shadow of the Erdtree’s map is, it never feels like it’s bloated for the sake of it. In my 30 hours of playing the DLC so far, I’m impressed with how varied these environments are. You’ve got sleepy blue plains and horrifyingly dangerous mountain peaks. There are large underground forges with magma, as well as the traditional catacombs with traps.

There's No Shortage Of Areas To Discover In Shadow Of The Erdtree (via FromSoftware).
There’s No Shortage Of Areas To Discover In Shadow Of The Erdtree (via FromSoftware).

There’s a lot going on in the DLC. And perhaps the best part is that it feels very different from the base experience of Elden Ring. Some areas, like Castle Ensis, are reminiscent of places like Raya Lucaria Academy. But, as a whole, the vibe of the Realm of Shadow is completely unique to the Lands Between. Even going back to the areas of the base game feels a tad weird. Especially after spending so much time in the DLC.

Exploration Is Rewarded

An improved focus on reliving the thrill of exploration is also rewarded. Players can find tons of new bosses, armor sets, and weapons on their journey. Above all, they can come across precious Scadutree fragments, which are directly responsible for upgrading player power in the DLC. So not only is exploration something that’s recommended, I’d say it’s downright essential.

Shadow of the Erdtree is Now the Highest-Rated DLC of All Time
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It’s clear that even when creating something like a DLC, FromSoftware wanted to cultivate an experience that’s almost like making a sequel. You certainly get the vibe that you’re giving another go at Elden Ring. Considering this is a title that’s beloved by millions of people, it’s amazing to see the studio succeed in giving players that feeling once again. 

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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