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If you thought you were getting through Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC unscathed because you have a 200-hour file and an NG+ character, Hidetaka Miyazaki has recently assured you’ve got another thing coming. Speaking to Famitsu, whose interview was translated via Reddit and reported by GamesRadar, Miyazaki confirmed that areas within the expansion would restrain player’s attack power akin to a progression system last seen in 2019’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in order to juice the difficulty for new and veteran players alike.

Speaking to Famitsu, Miyazaki said:

“This was introduced in order to give freedom to meet the threats mentioned earlier, so you can do something like exploring other areas before going back to challenge bosses that were too strong the first time, allowing you to more easily experience this even in the high-level range.On the other hand, by keeping your attack power low, you can also experience this challenge at a lower level.”

In Sekiro, players weren’t able to level in the traditional way that FromSoftware games often allow. Instead of collecting a resource that acts as both in-game currency t and XP to level up, they’d fight their way through the game and collect prayer beads from major bosses. Upon collecting four beads, the player character was able to level up, but it’d only raise their HP and attack power. Essentially, the strength and vitality stats would grow parallel to opponents, but everything else was more or less locked in place, meaning that players had to become more skilled to progress through Sekiro rather than brute force it by grinding.

From the sounds of it, going into the shadow lands of the Erdtree where the expansion takes place, will lock the player’s ability to level up a similar stat, like strength or dexterity, or nullify the effects of it and ascribe a whole new stat that overrides them, which will serve as the attack power for the DLC. At the moment, it’s unclear how exactly Elden Ring will handle it, but Miyazaki explicitly invoking Sekiro’s system certainly provides a blueprint. Perhaps you’ll take on bosses and dungeons in a non-linear fashion, collect whatever Elden Ring’s equivalent to the prayer beads are, and level via those until the expansion is beaten. I suspect that stronger gear found in this area will not necessarily scale based off of stats other than the attack power until players are back in the base game’s version of the Lands Between, at which point they can wreck shop again.

The new leveling system sounds like a great way to account for the massive amount of time I know folks have dumped into Elden Ring while still providing the experience that hooked them in the first place. I, for one, love how small the game often made me feel, and will relish Shadow of the Erdtree trying to recapture that feeling. Here’s hoping the end result remains difficult, but within reason.

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