Elden Ring DLC: Why the best is yet to come
Players will finally get to enter the Colosseum.
The wait for Elden Ring DLC is becoming increasingly agonizing, even after the revelation of the Colosseum update, but there are reasons to be cheerful, as previous FromSoftware expansions have gone on to be even better than the base games.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve now been through multiple Elden Ring New Game+ cycles and have done pretty much everything there is to do in the Lands Between. You’ve likely crafted your ideal build and can take down previously fearsome foes like Malenia and Radahn with relative ease – and you now kill invaders for sport rather than necessity.
You’ve probably seen the three main endings, becoming either Elden Lord, Lord of Frenzied Flame, or ushering in the Age of the Moon. However, you may be keen to see the three other Elden Lord ending variants based on Fia, Goldmask, and Dung Eater’s questlines. The only issue is, you only get seven NG+ cycles per character, meaning the more endings you see, the less time you’re going to have to explore the DLC with your preferred character/build.
Starting the journey again
While this won’t be an issue for those who’re happy to start a new character for the Elden Ring DLC, those who want to tackle it with the character they’ve been building since launch will now have hit a progress wall. A stalemate where it probably makes more sense to take a break from the Lands Between, at least until the DLC drops. Yet those who’ve played Souls DLC before will be more anxious than anyone else – and that’s because Souls DLC changes everything.
Be warned, there are spoilers ahead for various Souls games.
If we take a quick look back at the previous FromSoftware DLC then the significance of Elden Ring’s gets even more acute, especially if it sticks to the established trends. Dark Souls was the first game to receive an expansion, with the Chosen Undead going back in time to explore the legend of Knight Artorias and the Abyss. Not only did this DLC provide a stunning new area to explore and some more epic bosses, but the events also changed everything we knew about the world of Lordran.
Playing Dark Souls 1 with this knowledge makes the quest so much more impactful and adds implications to certain boss encounters that are utterly heartbreaking and will stick with you for years to come. It also changes what we thought we knew about Artorias, his quest, and all of humankind. So much so, that this knowledge could seriously impact your decision to link to the flame at the end of Dark Souls, or to simply walk away and let it fade. In short, the Dark Souls 1 DLC elevated the whole experience.
A new angle to the quest
Dark Souls 2 did something similar but over three separate and distinct DLC packs, each offering a new twisted world to explore that was full of mystery, but more importantly full of answers. Like the Chosen Undead before them, the Bearer of the Curse was also faced with the decision to link the fire or let it fade, only this time, they understood that it was an endless cycle. Even if they build a kingdom based on light or darkness, the cycle will continue regardless.
While Dark Souls 2 ended on a note of futility, the Three Crowns DLC offered a sense of hope – and a third option that went beyond simply linking the flame or walking away. This, coupled with the main quest in Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin, changed everything and offered some tantalizing glimpses into where the series could go next. Finding the Three Crowns and unlocking their power became the story that underpinned DS2’s whole quest, trivializing the original aim of simply journeying to the First Flame.
Let’s also not overlook that the Dark Souls 2 DLC created some boss encounters and environments that were even more memorable than the base game. For some, the DLC redeemed a title that failed to live up to the original or Demon’s Souls. Once again, the DLC had transformed the game into something new and also laid the groundwork for a sequel.
Dark Souls 3 only had two DLC packs, but once again, each made changes to the lore and choices made throughout the original game before neatly tying the whole trilogy together. In fact, the MacGuffin you’re chasing in both Dark Souls 3 DLCs – Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City – offered an entirely separate ending that existed alongside DS3’s as a complement to it, rather than a replacement.
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While optional, this new ending once again changed the whole quest, turning what had previously been a side story into a call to arms that affected the whole world. As a result, every other ending could now be viewed in a new light, and what was once considered an unhappy ending, now had a flicker of hope.
If Elden Ring replicates this pattern, it could create a new wrinkle to the quest, and one that respects the player’s choices without undermining them. At the same time, it could add an entirely new dimension to the game, but on a grander scale than before. As every other major FromSoft story expansion has, we suspect the Elden Ring DLC will add an element to the game that changes and re-informs future playthroughs, making us question everything we thought we knew about the Lands Between.
Changing the game as we know it
Simply being armed with the truth about Knight Artorias, the power of the Three Crowns, or The Painted World in the Dark Souls games fundamentally changed our motivations as a player. It led us down new (metaphorical and literal) paths we may not have taken without this knowledge. Therefore, we expect the Elden Ring DLC will cause us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about the quest to become Elden Lord.
Putting the lore of Miyazaki’s marvelous worlds aside, prior FromSoftware DLC has also sprinkled the base games with quality-of-life changes that enhanced the experience. In Bloodborne’s The Old Hunters, the titular Hunters we retroactively added to the main quest. Not only did this help tie the expansion to the original game, but it also created a richer world and some extra NPCs to summon in most of the game’s boss fights.
Finally, let’s not forget that most FromSoft expansions are just as critically acclaimed as the games they’re being added to – sometimes even more so. Therefore, while we can’t make the wait for Elden Ring DLC any less agonizing, we can be confident that whatever is in store for us is likely to be a transformative experience – and one that may shatter our preconceptions like a golden demigod’s hammer. As Miyazaki has taught us time and time again, the best is yet to come.
If you can’t wait until then, try some of the games mentioned above, as well as the Demon’s Souls remake on PS5. And if you’ve already devoured every other game in FromSoftware’s back catalog then there are some excellent Souls-like games that imitate their formula that you should try.
We’ve also rounded up everything we know about the Elden Ring DLC. Until then, “a fine Dark Soul to you.”