The Elden Ring DLC just got a major 'Calibration Update' to balance Shadow of the Erdtree difficulty, and its patch notes say another is on the way

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is a massive DLC add-on for FromSoftware's Game of the Year-winning 2022 action RPG that came out last week.
  • Though it launched with rave reviews from critics, many players have voiced concerns that the expansion is too difficult. The DLC has had a "Mixed" review score on Steam since launch because of this.
  • The developers have now released a "Calibration Update" for Shadow of the Erdtree that makes earlier upgrades made through its Shadow Realm Blessings system stronger than later ones, giving players larger amounts of extra damage and damage negation faster. Additionally, the patch also makes the last of these upgrades you can get slightly more impactful.
  • The patch notes say "other balance adjustments as well as bug fixes are also planned for a future patch," so more changes are on the way.

The long-awaited Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC has been in everyone's hands for a little under a week now, and while the expansion arrived with glowing reviews from critics — as I wrote in mine, it's the easiest 10/10 I've ever given — it's proven to be a far more controversial release with the action RPG's wider fanbase. Though it's on the cusp of "Mostly Positive" now, the DLC actually launched with a "Mixed" reception as players bemoaned its brutal difficulty (PC performance problems, too, but most negative reviews zero in on the balancing). 

I've been wondering if developer FromSoftware would tweak the experience these past few days, and now I've got my answer: a new "Calibration Update" balance patch for the Elden Ring DLC just came out, and it's made some sizable adjustments to the expansion's Shadow Realm Blessings progression system.

Specifically, there have been two changes. First, the strength of the attack and defense buffs you get from Scadutree Fragments (for you) and Revered Spirit Ashes (for your Spirit Ashes) has been buffed for the first half of the upgrades you can get, with the second half of these enhancements now providing smaller boosts. Secondly, the final Shadow Realm Blessings you can acquire will now give a slightly larger improvement to your stats.

These adjustments should make some of the DLC's early bosses like Rellana easier to take down. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Essentially, these adjustments make earlier Shadow Realm Blessing upgrades more impactful than later ones, while also rewarding resolute explorers that find every Scadutree Fragment and Revered Spirit Ash with marginally better damage and damage negation bonuses.

This is technically a very minor nerf to the DLC's final zones — a few of the items you need for that capstone boost are in them, so you can't take advantage of it before you reach them — though it's far better to think of the patch as a rebalance for Shadow of the Erdtree's overall progression system. Now players won't have to hunt down as many Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes as they did before to get meaningful benefits, which will undoubtedly help Tarnished having a hard time finding these items (and also folks who simply don't want to explore the expansion's open world).

It'll be interesting to see where community opinion settles on these tweaks in the next several days, but personally, I like the sound of them. Making Shadow Realm Blessings stronger earlier in the DLC will hopefully alleviate player frustrations, and I think it's fine to give adventurers who take the time to find every upgrade item a slight bonus.

You'll always find a Scadutree Fragment by Miquella's Crosses in the Land of Shadow, so keep that in mind. (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's worth noting that the patch notes (they're included in the section below) mention that "other balance adjustments as well as bug fixes are also planned for a future patch," so these aren't the only changes the Elden Ring DLC is getting. It's not yet known what those future changes will actually be, but we'll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, head back to the Land of Shadow and see how things go if you've been having an exceptionally difficult time before this update. At the end of the day, this is a FromSoftware release, so it's going to be hard no matter what; with that said, the experience should now be more forgiving to folks who haven't tracked down lots of upgrades.

I should also mention the best Elden Ring DLC tip I have, which is that you'll fare a lot better against Shadow of the Erdtree's bosses and enemies if you play aggressively, dodge through their attacks, and stay in their face instead of roll and sprint away from them all the time. By doing this, you'll be able to exploit windows of opportunity between boss attacks far easier, which will help you deal consistent damage and end fights quicker.

Elden Ring Calibration Update 1.12.2: Patch notes

Milady, a new Light Greatsword in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Here are the patch notes for the 1.12.2 Calibration Update, taken directly from publisher Bandai Namco's official website.

Thank you kindly for playing ELDEN RING SHADOW OF THE ERDTREE.

To adjust the Expansion’s balance, a calibration update has been released.

Calibration Update 1.12.2 change list

Attack and damage negation curve scaling of the Shadow Realm Blessings have been revised.

  • The attack and damage negation has been increased for the first half of the maximum amount of Blessing enhancements, and the second half will now be more gradual.
  • The attack and damage negation granted by the final level of Blessing enhancements has been slightly increased.

The calibration update can be applied by logging into the multiplayer server. If the Calibration Ver. listed at the bottom right of the title menu is not "1.12.2", then select LOGIN and apply the latest regulations before enjoying the game.

About graphics settings (PC version only)

We have confirmed a bug where the raytracing settings are automatically enabled if you have previously loaded saved data from previous game versions.

If your framerate is unstable, please check in the 'SYSTEM' > 'Graphics Settings' > 'Raytracing Quality' settings from the title menu or in-game menu to check if it has been unintentionally set to 'ON'. Once set to 'OFF', Ray Tracing will no longer be automatically enabled.

Other balance adjustments as well as bug fixes are also planned for a future patch.

Thank you for your continued support of ELDEN RING.

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.