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Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree tips and tricks: how to survive in the Shadow Realm

As you embark on a new adventure in Elden Ring's DLC, here are tips for your first few hours in Shadow of the Erdtree.

A warrior stands facing the camera against a red sky backdrop with a large twisted tree in the distance in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The time has finally come to start Shadow of the Erdtree, Elden Ring's enormous DLC expansion. Of course, it might have been a while since you actually last played Elden Ring, and that all-important muscle memory on how to survive might have worn away to nothing in the intervening months (if not years). But worry not, for help is at hand.

Below, we've listed some useful Shadow of the Erdtree tips and tricks to help you survive your first few hours in the Shadow Realm as you get back into the swing of things, based on our own experience playing the game. As tempting as it is to race off towards the first legacy dungeon, Belurat, Tower Settlement (not to mention its boss, the Divine Beast Dancing Lion), you'll probably want to take things nice and slowly at first so you can reacquaint yourself with this epic RPG. So here are our tried and tested survival tips for making it through Shadow of the Erdtree's early hours.

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Turn on the new inventory features

As part of an update for all Elden Ring players, FromSoftware has added new inventory features. The first adds a new Recent Items tab to the inventory, the second adds an exclamation mark to recently acquired items, but both options need to be switched on in the System Menu under Display.

These options are essential, ensuring you can easily view new items to see what they do - be that new crafting materials, cookbooks, talismans, or key items. If your inventory is pretty full after playing through the base game, these options mean you won’t need to scroll through your whole inventory hunting to read an item description. It’s a lifesaver!

Consider respeccing

Shadow of the Erdtree features plenty of new weapon types you may want to try out, but perhaps don’t have the necessary stats. Maybe you played the base game as a mage, but are keen to continue on with a new melee weapon such as the Great Katana instead?

In that case, consider respeccing. This goes for the base game too of course, but it requires a Larval Tear and a visit to Rennala in the Raya Lucaria Academy. We’ve got a full guide here on how to respec, as well as Larval Tear locations if you’re in need.

Find the first Map Fragment

An obvious one, but navigation will be far easier with a map rather than a brown splurge. Look carefully and you’ll see a small symbol indicating where the Gravesite Plain Map Fragment can be found (this goes for all major overworld areas), but we’ve got a screenshot below too:

Armoured character looking at map fragment stele in Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.
Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree gravesite plain map fragment location circled on the map.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

With a map in hand it’ll be a lot easier to find points of interest - just be aware of a pretty strong enemy nearby who can take you by surprise.

Stay away from the Furnace Golem

You may remember the golden Tree Sentinel from the beginning of the base game who’s considered too hard to beat for beginners, until you return levelled up with better gear. This is the game teaching you that running away is ok!

The Furnace Golem in the opening area serves a similar purpose. A couple of blasts of fire is enough to kill you and they’re tough to beat, so we’d recommend steering clear until you’re stronger. Or don’t! You may get lucky. For similar reasons, the Western Nameless Mausoleum has a tough boss - the Blackgaol Knight - who’s worth coming back to later on. If you do beat him, he drops the Solitude armour set and greatsword for strength/tank players.

The words YOU DIED appear above a flaming Furnace Golem in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
If you're swept up into the Furnace Golem's flaming wicker basket, it's instant death. | Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

Collect as many Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes as you can

Scadutree Fragments are the new form of character progression in Shadow of the Erdtree only available during the DLC. Collecting these fragments will give your attack and defence a buff, with an increasing number of fragments required each time. Similarly, Revered Spirit Ashes allow for spirit summons to be buffed.

Thankfully, there’s an easily acquired pair of Scadutree Fragments in a church to the east of the starting point guarded by an easily dispatched enemy (or just swoop in on your mount), which will give you your first stat boost. There’s also a Revered Spirit Ash on a cliff overlooking the church that’s unguarded.

A map screen from Shadow of the Erdtree showing the location of the Church of Consolation
Here's the location of the first Scadutree Fragments.
A screenshot of the east of Scorched Ruins Revered Spirit Ashes location on the Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree map.
Here's where you'll find your first Revered Spirit Ash.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

Follow Miquella's Crosses

You may have spotted golden symbols in the game’s story trailer - these are actually Miquella’s Crosses, depicting his journey through The Land of Shadow. Essentially, these mark your progres and they nearly always have a Scadutree Fragment with them, so it’s important to find these in order to boost your stats.

Chat with the NPC Hornsent next to the first cross you find north of the starting point and he’ll provide you with a map indicating three more cross locations in the nearby area. Collecting these first will put you in good stead for the first main legacy dungeon, Belurat, Tower Settlement.

A warrior talks with the Hornsent in Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

Kill the Ghostflame Dragon in the lake

Dragons make a return in Shadow of the Erdtree, but as always they have the same moveset as before, which you should be familiar with from the base game. As such, they make for a fairly easy kill despite their imposing nature and hand out a good chunk of runes if you’re in need of an early level up. There’s one such dragon in a lake north of the first Miquella’s Cross who makes for an ideal target - just watch out for the ghost breath. These Ghostflame Dragons are also the main way of obtaining Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones in Shadow of the Erdtree, so keep an eye out for them as you travel through Scadu Altus and the Southern Shore later on.

Need more help? Improve your stats by finding all of Shadow of the Erdtree's Scadutree Fragment locations and Revered Spirit Ash locations. Alternatively, see which Erdtree bosses you've still got left to beat, and track down some great new early weapons to help you on your adventure.

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