Elden Ring is known for its challenging combat and hazardous exploration, so it’s reasonable to expect its Shadow of the Erdtree expansion to be an ultra-difficult experience. With dozens of hours of new exploration and battle ahead, you’ll want to be certain you’re well-prepared for all of the horrors that await you. As such, you may be asking yourself what level you should be before starting Shadow of the Erdtree.

Safe starting level for Shadow of the Erdtree

Shadow of the Erdtree is on par with Elden Ring’s endgame areas, and reaching it will even require you to tackle a tough endgame boss. Because of this, you’ll want to be sure you’ve maxed out the levels of your favorite weapons, found all of the Golden Seeds to upgrade your flasks, and reached a reasonable character level for taking on this new content.

Much like with other endgame areas in Elden Ring, you’ll be best ready for Shadow of the Erdtree if you’ve reached at least level 120, though we’d recommend even pushing as high as 150 or more to put yourself in the best possible position for taking on all of the new dangers that the DLC provides.

An Elden Ring protagonist stands before the Cocoon that serves as a gateway to the Land of Shadow.

Screenshot: FromSoftware / Kotaku

Being at least level 120 will ensure you can increase your Vigor and main attack stat to at least their soft caps, putting you in good spot when it comes to tackling enemies and bosses that will be putting up quite a fight. However, there’s a bit more to know about your journey through the Land of Shadow…

There’s more to Shadow of the Erdtree than levels

While levels will no doubt help you prepare for Shadow of the Erdtree, they aren’t the only thing that will play a part in the difficulty of your adventure. This new DLC has its own leveling feature by way of Scadutree Fragments, which can be combined at a Site of Grace to increase the damage you do and reduce the damage you take.

These can be found throughout the Land of Shadow and will be a vital part of reducing the difficulty level of your expedition through this dangerous realm. But you should be aware that you can skip this feature altogether if you’d like to maintain a high level of difficulty. The choice is yours to make, tarnished.

How to level up quickly before entering the Land of Shadow

If you’ve reached Elden Ring’s endgame and are looking to level up a bit more before diving into Shadow of the Erdtree, we’ve got a really good spot for you: Palace Approach Ledge-Road Site of Grace in Mohgwyn Palace.

An Elden Ring map screenshot highlights the Palace Approach Ledge-Road

Screenshot: FromSoftware / Kotaku

When you’ve warped to the Palace Approach Ledge-Road Site of Grace, walk forward and look left down a slope. Here, you’ll see a ton of Albinaurics you can take out. Most of these little guys are passive until you attack them, meaning you have plenty of options for taking them out as you see fit.

Your best course of action is to use an AOE spell to destroy them all very quickly, then rush back to the Site of Grace to rest and repeat the process. This will net you thousands upon thousands of runes per run, making this one of the very best rune farming spots in the entire game.

A shrouded Elden Ring protagonist stands in a grassy, rocky environment with several Albinaurics behind them.

Screenshot: FromSoftware / Kotaku

Moreover, if you have the Golden Scarab talisman (found in the Abandoned Cave in Caelid), be sure to equip that as well to further improve the amount of runes you receive per run of this farming method. Efficiency is key, after all!

Feel free to level up as high as you’d like to be before starting Shadow of the Erdtree. There is no wrong answer. Just be aware that you can’t un-level your character, so if you think you’ll regret anything, we still recommend stopping between levels 120-150 to ensure you’re ready for the Land of Shadow without being over-leveled.

Find more Elden Ring tips and other coverage from us here.

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