Elden Ring DLC: What level should you be for Shadow of the Erdtree?

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What level should you be for the Elden Ring DLC?

Before starting Shadow of the Erdtree, I recommend raising your character up to at least Level 125, and ideally, Level 150. Additionally, you'll also want to make sure that you have at least 50 Vigor, and bumping it up to 60 is a good idea if you don't mind leveling a bit out of the "meta" level range for co-op and PvP.

Go into the DLC with an endgame character

You'll end up on one of these kabobs if you're underleveled for Shadow of the Erdtree. (Image credit: Windows Central)

I recently concluded my very first run through Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, playing the colossal expansion over the course of an entire week for my review. Having now experienced it from start to finish, I can answer one of the most frequent questions I see asked about it online: what level should you be for the DLC?

While it's basically impossible to "overlevel" for Shadow of the Erdtree — between the stat soft caps in Elden Ring and a new scaling system I'll explain below, the return on invested levels severely diminishes — you can definitely be underleveled, which will make the experience even harder than it already is. And given that the DLC's already one of the most difficult pieces of content FromSoftware has ever released, you should steer clear of doing that.

I strongly recommend having your character at at least Level 125 before starting Shadow of the Erdtree, though ideally, you should be about Level 150. This is generally considered to be "endgame level," and since the Elden Ring DLC requirements include killing the endgame Mohg, Lord of Blood boss, you should be in the Level 125-150 ballpark anyway. On top of that, your Vigor (HP) should be at least 50 since enemies in the expansion hit very hard, and if necessary, you may even want to do some extra level ups to raise it to the soft cap of 60.

Just don't level too far beyond Level 150-160 if you care about playing co-op with friends or engaging in PvP invasions, as Level 125-150 is the widely accepted "meta" for these activities. If you go higher, Elden Ring's matchmaking will struggle to find players who can summon you or that you can invade. My entire playthrough was done at Level 150, so if you're endgame level, you'll be fine.

If you're using one of the best Elden Ring builds, you're likely already good to go. If not, though, take advantage of the best Elden Ring rune farm to quickly get some levels, or perhaps respec your stats so you've got enough Vigor for all the dangers you're about to face.

Keep an eye out for this crosses as you explore. There's always a valuable item nearby... (Image credit: Windows Central)

Does the Elden Ring DLC scale with your level?

Shadow of the Erdtree doesn't scale with your level directly, but instead uses a new leveling system to recreate the feeling of progression the base game had. Normal leveling only helps you slightly in the DLC due to stat caps, but by finding Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes throughout the Land of Shadow, you can increase damage dealt and reduce damage taken for both you (with Scadutree Fragments) and your Spirit Ashes (with Revered Spirit Ashes). Both are frequently located near statues, but can be found elsewhere as well; there's always a Scadutree Fragment by each of Miquella's crescent-shaped crosses.

Does the Elden Ring DLC scale with NG+?

I haven't been able to test this myself yet, but it would be weird if Shadow of the Erdtree didn't scale with NG+ cycles in any way. I'd expect them to work just like they do in the base game, with enemies in the DLC likely getting slightly more resilient and powerful with each NG+ cycle you progress through.

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.