Shadow Of The Erdtree Is Impossible Only If You Choose To Make It So

Level up your Scadutree Blessing, or face a more daunting challenge, the decision is yours.

Story Highlights

  • Shadow of the Erdtree is certainly hard, but the unique Blessing system is designed to mitigate that.
  • A brutal difficulty can be selected by ignoring this, or a more forgiving challenge can be opted for.
  • This mechanic encourages you to explore this beautiful world and follow the right course of things.

Souls games and soul-crushing difficulty go hand in hand. In fact, the two terms are even interchangeable as far as gamers are concerned. You want difficulty? You call Miyazaki. The masochistic, brutal design is exactly why we all love FromSoftware.

This is especially true when it comes to the DLCs. That’s why the expectations for Elden Ring’s expansion were off the charts. Seeing this, Miyazaki probably said “So, you guys want difficulty? You got it. Here’s an extra large helping of it, don’t come crying.” Shadow of the Erdtree truly makes you roleplay as the victim, but is it a fair fight? Let’s see.

YouTube video

The Ingenious “Shadow Realm Blessing” Factor

If you’ve already ventured into the Shadow Realm and have got your pride in your strength completely crushed, welcome to the club. Many “Elden Lords” have met their demise in these treacherous lands. Shadow of the Erdtree means business, and it boldly tells you that as its monstrosities jump you mercilessly. But did you know that it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way?

DLC do be like that sometimes
byu/MaatRolo inEldenring

FromSoftware’s masterpiece employs a peculiar mechanic called the Shadow Realm Blessing. Throughout the new realm, you can find two key items, the Scadutree Fragments and Revered Ash Fragments. The former buffs your damage and defenses, while the latter bolsters your spirit summons and Torrent’s stats. The reason you’ve been getting demolished left and right is because of this new scaling.

Use the Blessings mechanic | Source: eXputer
Use the Blessings mechanic | Source: eXputer

The DLC doesn’t take your level and investment as much into consideration. You can be a level 100 Tarnished or a level 500, you’ll be pulverized all the same unless you bolster these arcane boons. Honestly, this is a pretty nifty trick. It makes the expansion fair for all and gives you a fighting chance despite low investment. Whether you’re new or old, Shadow of the Erdtree will judge your skill, not stats.

People are still not using scadutree blessings
byu/Independent-Skill356 inEldenring

Ignore It If You Dare

Now, look at it this way. Leveling your Shadow Realm blessing can take your stats to way beyond their normal values, and thus buff you up to insane heights. On the contrary, choosing to ignore leveling these blessings up will make the DLC a nightmare for you, since it’s designed to cater to this mechanic. Notice where I’m going with this?

Shadow of the Erdtree essentially allows you to calibrate your difficulty as per your needs and just how much you want to get beat up. It gives those thirsty for a new, harder fight the challenge of their lifetime.

This means if you’re a hardcore Souls player who takes pride in killing all bosses hitless at RL1 or some other insane feat like this, you have the option to not level the Blessing meter and get the beating of your life. It lets you enjoy the thrill of a true challenge, and possibly regret your decisions, but hey, it’s your choice. I know I certainly enjoy this kind of brutality.

PutKn boss Hitless with Martial Arts
byu/Ruindows inEldenring

A Punishment For Disregarding This Majestic World

The Shadow Realm Blessing mechanic is not only meant to adjust the difficulty to create a level playing field, but it also influences your exploration incentive in an already awe-inspiring world.

I’ve already expressed it in detail, but FromSoftware truly outdid itself with the level design and sense of discovery this time around. Shadow of the Erdtree is so rich and rewarding that words can’t do it justice. And it’s a damn shame if you just rush from one boss to the other without witnessing every corner of it.

Land of shadow level design be like
byu/piw5056 inEldenring

Many people do so for the sake of “speedrunning,” and that’s where the Blessing mechanic comes into play. It tells you in big red letters (“You Died”) that you need to go out and explore, discover hidden stuff, and strengthen yourself, the boss isn’t going anywhere and neither are you. 

A challenge you'll never forget | Source: Steam
A challenge you’ll never forget | Source: Steam

If you take your time, proceed through this marvelously connected world, discover its secrets, and gather the Scadutree fragments, you’ll find that these lands are a little more forgiving than you initially expected. It serves as both a skill check, as well as a reminder that exploring this beautiful world will do you more good than you think.

Doing co-op in DLC makes you realize that most people just don’t explore for Shadow fragments
byu/Serulean_Cadence inEldenring

The Bonus Is Worth The Trouble

I’ve talked about what happens when you choose to ignore the Shadow Realm Blessing mechanic. Now let’s see what changes when you level it up. Although exploring this beautiful world is not a chore, hunting fragments can be, so is it worth all that?

In short, yes, it certainly is. Leveling your Scadutree and Revered Ash blessings more than doubles your attack and defensive abilities than what they were normally. A weapon that has an ~800 AR in your base game can go to more than 1600 with this buff. A similar case is observed with damage negation values. A 29 Physical negation becomes over 57. 

PSA, each scadutree blessing gives you 4% damage/2% negation. this means at +20 you are 3 times as strong as you are +0. the “overtuned” stats of everything is intended.
byu/Kaydie inEldenring

This applies to everything. Melee weapons deal more damage, spells and incantations become vastly powerful, not to mention all the new stuff waiting in the DLC that you get when you explore. You’ll be amazed just how much you can get beefed up if you go through the trouble.

The massive stat buff | Source: eXputer
The massive stat buff | Source: eXputer

The DLC’s Hard, But Certainly Not Unfair

Ever since the expansion has graced us with its presence, there has been an excessive hate towards its difficulty. The product even fell to a mixed response on Steam, no thanks to the backlash. While I do admit FromSoftware went a little too ballistic on this one, I certainly disagree with the unfair part, especially after learning of the Blessing mechanic.

Elden ring is the only game I’ve played where people say how hard it is but try to actively find ways not to win
byu/xen123456 inEldenring

If you choose to ignore what’s the core foundation of the expansion’s difficulty system and then expect things not to bully you to death, then no offense but you’re the one to blame here. The DLC’s hard, yes, but you anticipated that the moment you landed. Now you can make your life easier with the Scadutree fragments, or lose the right to complain about the difficulty.

All in all, FromSoftware’s streak of brutality continues with a vicious addition, but this time the choice in your hand to make things lenient is much stronger as well. You can explore around and become buff as hell, or test the limits of your ability with a “0 Blessing” run.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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