Elden Ring DLC gets 1.12.3 balance patch update that nerfs broken Perfume Bottles, buffs its worst weapon, and makes two bosses less annoying

Elden Ring
A Tarnished champion rides their spectral steed into the Land of Shadow. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

What you need to know

  • A little over a week after FromSoftware released the 1.12.2 Calibration Update for Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, the studio has put out a second, much larger balance patch for the game.
  • The biggest changes in the update include nerfs and fixes for broken Elden Ring DLC weapons and Ashes of War, including the damage of Lightning Perfume Bottle and Frenzyflame Perfume Bottle weapons, the effectiveness of the Rolling Sparks and Swift Slash skills, and the hitstun of the Fire Knight's Greatsword.
  • Thrusting Shields got a nerf to their blocking capabilities as well, while the Carian Sorcery Sword — one of Shadow of the Erdtree's worst weapons — got an Intelligence scaling buff.
  • The Commander Gaius and Golden Hippopotamus bosses have received a few changes, too, with both now appearing farther away from the fog wall on repeat attempts and the Golden Hippopotamus' bite attack getting a nerf to its active frames.  

A little over a week after developer FromSoftware updated the Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC with a major Calibration Update, another much larger patch has been released for the expansion to the studio's award-winning open world ARPG. The 1.12.3 update is now available to download on all of Elden Ring's platforms, and is required if you plan to play online.

The most significant changes in the patch are nerfs to several of the most broken and overpowered weapons players have been using since the DLC's June 21 launch. These include adjustments and fixes for the Rolling Sparks Ash of War as well as the Lightning Perfume Bottle and Frenzyflame Perfume Bottle weapons it's usable on that allowed players to nearly one-shot many bosses, the damage and animation length of the Backhand Blades-exclusive Swift Slash skill that was completely busted and almost impossible to counter in PvP, a bug that caused the Bloodfiend's Arm to get higher scaling and Bleed buildup than intended when given an Arcane infusion, and an issue that allowed the Fire Knight's Greatsword to stunlock other players.

Thrusting Shields — one of Shadow of the Erdtree's powerful new weapon types — also got a fix that nerfs their effectiveness. Previously, incoming attacks blocked while thrusting with these consumed less stamina than intended, effectively allowing players to endlessly stab bosses while easily defending against non-grab moves; this has now been resolved, forcing players to be more careful with the timing of their offense.

A Tarnished wielding the Elden Ring DLC's new Dryleaf Arts hand-to-hand weapon against a Messmer Soldier. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Indeed, most of the update consists of nerfs, though there is one weapon that got a much-needed buff: the Carian Sorcery Sword. This Thrusting Sword is a one-of-a-kind armament because it's the only one in Elden Ring capable of being used to cast sorcery spells, but its disappointing Intelligence scaling made it the worst new weapon from the DLC. This update has improved it significantly, however (and reduced its base damage very slightly to help keep that balanced), so hopefully the Carian Sorcery Sword is far more viable now than it was before the patch.

Some other notable tweaks include a few adjustments to two bosses — Commander Gaius and the Golden Hippopotamus — that will undoubtedly make them much less annoying to fight. Specifically, in their arenas, both bosses will now be located where they were the first time you started the fight with them instead of in new positions closer to the fog wall, giving you more time to react to their aggressive charging attacks. The Golden Hippopotamus' bite attack has also gotten a nerf, as before, it "would connect with players more easily than intended."

The rest of the patch is largely just some additional bug fixes and minor changes, which you can read about in the full patch notes section below. Notably, FromSoftware also has recommendations for players encountering performance problems, with the developer recommending PS5 players to use the Rebuild Database option while using the console in Safe Mode and PC players to make sure Elden Ring's Ray Tracing isn't toggled on if they typically play with it off.

Analysis: Amazing patch, with two big outliers

I'm absolutely shocked that the Impenetrable Thorns sorcery didn't get nerfed. (Image credit: Windows Central)

I was hoping FromSoftware would quickly address ridiculously busted weapons like Perfume Bottles and the Fire Knight's Greatsword as well as Ashes of War like Rolling Sparks and Swift Slash, so I was incredibly happy to see fixes come just a few weeks after Shadow of the Erdtree's launch. Both PvE and PvP should now be in a much more balanced state, which is the goal at the end of the day.

With that said, there are two things I'm surprised to see weren't adjusted with 1.12.3: the Impenetrable Thorns sorcery and the DLC's final boss fight. The former is unquestionably overpowered in PvE with its ability to delete bosses in just a few casts thanks to its insane Bleed buildup, while the latter has one specific melee combo that's not fully avoidable without the use of shields, certain defensive Ashes of War, or the Deflecting Hardtear. I figured these would get tuned in the first major update for Shadow of the Erdtree, and am disappointed to see that they weren't; hopefully fixes come in a follow-up patch soon.

Elden Ring Update 1.12.3: Patch notes

The Tarnished and Melina rest at a Site of Grace beneath the starry night sky. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Here are the official patch notes for the 1.12.3 update, taken directly from Bandai Namco's official website.

PvP-exclusive balance adjustments

  • Decreased the damage and damage animation of the shearing vacuum effect of the “Swift Slash” Skill.

General balance adjustments

  • Increased the Intelligence scaling of the Carian Sorcery Sword and slightly decreased the base damage.
  • Extended the throwing attacks range for the following weapons:
  • Smithscript Dagger / Smithscript Cirque
  • Changed the placement of the bosses in the re-fight against the Golden Hippopotamus and Commander Gaius bosses to be in the same position as in the first fight.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug that caused the Rolling Sparks Skill to deal more damage than expected.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Rolling Sparks and Wall of Sparks Skills to deal no damage while some special effects were applied to the player.
  • Fixed a bug where some special effects of a right-handed weapon would also be applied to the following Weapon Skills when cast with the left hand:
    • Feeble Lord's Frenzied Flame
    • Discus Hurl
  • Fixed a bug where successfully guarding while attacking using the Thrusting Shield weapon type would consume less stamina than intended.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented players from cancelling the attack recovery of two-handed strong attacks by rolling for certain weapons of the Backhand Blades weapon type.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Lightning Perfume Bottle and Frenzyflame Perfume Bottle weapons to deal double damage under certain circumstances.
  • Fixed a bug where the Arcane scaling of the Bloodfiend's Arm weapon was higher than intended when setting an affinity. The status buildup of the heavy attack was also reduced.
  • Fixed a bug where the Faith scaling of the Gazing Finger weapon was not being applied correctly.
  • Fixed a bug where the damage animation of some attacks of the Fire Knight's Greatsword against players was different than expected.
  • Fixed a bug where the attack affinity of some attacks of the Fire Knight's Greatsword were different than expected.
  • Fixed a bug that caused some affinities for the following weapons to be higher than intended:
    • Smithscript Dagger
    • Smithscript Cirque
    • Smithscript Axe
    • Smithscript Greathammer
    • Smithscript Spear
    • Golem Fist
    • Smithscript Shield
  • Fixed a bug that caused enemies to heal when the Maximum HP reduction gradual HP reduction effect  applied by Black Knife Tiche wore off.
  • Fixed a bug that caused summoned NPCs to behave differently than expected under certain circumstances.
  • Fixed a bug that where the unblockable bite attack of the Golden Hippopotamus boss would connect with players more easily than intended.
  • Fixed a bug that caused text to display differently than expected.
  • Several other performance improvements and bug fixes.

Possible unstable performance fixes

  • For the PS5 version of the game, unstable framerate may be improved by using the "Rebuild Database" option from the device’s safe mode.
  • In some PC versions, Ray Tracing may be unintentionally enabled and cause unstable performance. Please check the Ray Tracing setting in the "System" > "Graphics Settings" > "Raytracing Quality" from the title screen or in-game menu.
  • In the PC Version, the message "Inappropriate activity detected" may appear without cheating.
  • To fix this issue, please verify the integrity of the game's files before restarting the game.
  • In the PC version, unstable framerate may be caused by third party applications that control mouse behavior. Deactivating these third party applications may improve performance.

In PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions, Regulation files can be downloaded by logging in to the server.

If the Regulation Ver. listed in the lower right corner of the title screen is not 1.12.4, please select LOGIN and apply the latest regulation before enjoying the game.

Online play requires the player to apply this update.

Further updates will be distributed in the future for you to continue to enjoy ELDEN RING more comfortably.

Please stay tuned for more news by following our social channels or joining us on the official ELDEN RING Discord server here.

The Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is finally here, and it makes one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of all time even better. It's out now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Windows PC for $39.99.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Shadow of the Erdtree is Elden Ring at its most refined, with the base game's overly formulaic elements cut away and some of FromSoftware's best boss fights. The result is a 40-hour-long masterpiece of a DLC that's an absolute must-play for any Soulsborne fan.

Also see: Shadow of the Erdtree (PC, $37.09) | Deluxe Edition (PC, $90.89)

Collector's Edition: Bandai Namco Store (€249.99)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.