Recommended starting level for Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is higher than you might think

Recommended starting level for Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree is higher than you might think
Images via FromSoftware

Written by 

Harry Boulton


4th Jun 2024 15:00

Difficulty has been at the forefront of most discussions surrounding Elden Ring's new Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, so understanding what your starting level should be can alleviate some unnecessary frustration.

Of course, we're always playing games like Dark Souls for a bit of a challenge, but going in under-levelled usually feels like running into a brick wall, and with the blank slate of the new expansion it's good to have a rough guideline.

What's the recommended level for Shadow of the Erdtree?

Based on my own experience in the preview, I'd recommend that you're at least level 120 when starting the DLC, and you might want to be closer to level 150 for a smoother experience.

The character I used was level 150 exactly, although the stats were more evenly balanced across all attributes to allow me to use a wider selection of items without having to respec. My own character which I've started specifically for the DLC is around level 125 with roughly the same necessary stats, so you could make do with that if you're a fan of min-maxing.

Image of the status screen of a level 189 character in Elden Ring
Click to enlarge

Of course, this is just a guideline, and you can go well over or under this if you wish to. However, with how challenging even the early enemies can be, I'd recommend levelling up as much as you can - even if doing so involves running the best rune farm.

Best stats to prioritise for Shadow of the Erdtree

  • Vigor
  • Endurance
  • Strength or Dexterity
  • Mind

Vigor is hands down the single most important stat that you should level going into the DLC, and the recent conversations surrounding the attribute have cemented that having it at 60 is a must.

Simply put, enemies in the Land of Shadow do far too much damage to not have Vigor at 60, and you're putting yourself at a major disadvantage if you've got anything lower than that. Thankfully 60 is the max that you should set it to as the gains past that point are nominal, but before anything else, you'll want to be sure that you've got enough health.

Image of the level up screen in Elden Ring
Click to enlarge

Endurance isn't as essential in terms of numbers as Vigor or some of the later stats, but you'll need a decent chunk as you'll be rolling a lot or tanking plenty of hits with a shield. 

Part of the difficulty increase in the DLC isn't just the damage numbers, but the extended movesets of enemies, often stretching into lengthy combos. If you don't have enough stamina to roll multiple times and then hit, you'll find yourself outpaced before you can make any real dent into one of the bosses.

The question of Dexterity or Strength depends on what weapon you're using, but some like Bloodhound's Fang can benefit from both being as high as possible. Generally though, due to the abundance of excellent new weapons in the DLC, this won't matter too much as you'll likely want to respec anyway.

Just make sure you've got the points allocated somewhere and it'll sort itself out later on! The same is true for any of the magic-focused attributes like Intelligence, Faith, and Arcane too - and you might even want these to use specific melee weapons.

Finally, while Mind is the least important of the lot, having a decent amount of FP to work with will allow you to use both Spirit Ashes and the ever-important weapon skills. Of course, if you're sticking to Mimic Tear then this won't matter too much, but you'll still want to take advantage of the skills without having to allocate an FP flask.

Don't miss all of the other tips on our Elden Ring homepage so you can stay prepared ahead of Shadow of the Erdtree, including all of the best mods to download, the best Astrologer build, and a rundown of the map fragments.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
28 best Steam Deck & OLED games in 2024, from AAA to indie & more
Best Elden Ring Incantations & spells for Faith builds
Where to find all the map fragments in Elden Ring
All Elden Ring stats explained & how to reset them
17 best Elden Ring mods to download before Shadow of the Erdtree