Emoting at the entrance to the Bonny Gaol in the DLC for Elden Ring.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Does Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC have scaling?

Before the release of the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC for Elden Ring, a lot of players were initially confused by the promise of a new 'scaling' mechanic that would be coming with the DLC.

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While details were initially scarce, now we've been able to get our mitts on the DLC itself, we can answer this question (sort of) definitively for you.

How does Scaling Work in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC?

Emoting in front of the boss gate at Level 131 in the DLC for Elden Ring.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Short answer is... it doesn't. Your level does NOT impact the damage output of enemies, only how much damage you can both dish out, and take in. Now we wouldn't be 'Pro' if we didn't go ahead and do some math for you, and I suck at math, so you're very welcome.

So, I took the save I backed up before going into the DLC (because I'm a smart cookie like that) which is at Level 131. Not a particularly impressive number for a non new game plus save I'm aware, but it was specifically made with the intention of getting to silly ol' Mohg as quickly as possible without having to do what I knew would already be a hard DLC on my new game plus save.

For the testing bully of choice I went with the first DLC boss I imagine many of us were humbled by, the Blackgaol Knight. He only does physical damage with his sword, which is ideal for what I was testing here. For stats, I wanted plenty of health so I could tank the hits to be able to take in the numbers, so it was 70 Vigor, leaving me with a total of 1,959 health. Other stats aren't important, but the overall resistances are, which at Level 131 were at 154 / 0.000. (That's in Physical, VS Strike, VS Slash, and VS Pierce.) Now, of course, it also had to be done naked, for science. That means no armor, no talismans, and no buffs. And in addition to this, there's no Scadutree Blessings on yet, which we'll be covering later.

Naked and afraid, it was time to offer myself forth as a testing dummy. Getting him to get me with the exact same hit every time was a bit of a nightmare, but after many attempts I came away with the three most common damage numbers coming in at 941, 1,243, and 1,489. There were outliers, but these three damage amounts were by far the most common, with 1,489 coming in most often. With the level 131 testing complete, it was time to go out, level up a bit, grab some Scadutree fragments, and come back to it later.

After traveling the DLC areas for a bit collecting runes and killing some of the less scary mobs, grinding some of those poor, poor Albinaurics in Mohgwyn Palace, and generally trying to avoid dying a whole lot, I came back later at Level 150. A solid enough increase, so I went to Rennala back home to reallocate my stats and dump my new extra levels into Mind so it didn't interfere with the testing too much. It should be noted that levelling any stat increases your general resistances (with the most impact coming from stats below the soft cap), so whilst all my other stats (bar Mind) were the same, my physical attack resistances at this level were increased to a whopping 158 / 0.000. All other variables were the same, so I was still naked. (Although I did change my hair and fix my body proportions a bit.)

Standing in front of the boss gate at Level 150 in the DLC for Elden Ring.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

And this time I was thrilled to find that I was getting damage numbers I'd expect, with 935, 1,236, and 1,482 coming in the most often. So it's clear to see that the damage inflicted by the boss did not go up, despite me levelling a total of 19 times. The numbers went marginally down, which is a reflection of that minor increase to my physical resistances.

How do Scadutree Fragments Work in Shadow of the Erdtree?

With the level 150 testing done with, it was time to run back to a Site of Grace and cash in all of those Scadutree Fragments. In total, I was able to redeem enough to get me up to five total levels of the Scadutree Blessing.

One more batch of runs into my now least favourite world boss later, I was able to see a noticeable difference in the amount of damage I was taking. This time he decided to make my life a little bit more difficult by being strangely more consistent with the damage he was throwing out, so this time I only ever got two damage numbers despite running at him at least 15 times. However, thankfully they lined up with the other damage numbers I'd gotten earlier, which was enough for me to do some more napkin math. This time the damage numbers I was getting were 1,185 and 891, with 891 coming in most often by a considerable margin. This of course lines up with the 1,236 and 935 numbers we were getting without the Scadutree blessings, which when converted into percentages showed a 4.2% decrease to 1,236, and a 4.8% decrease to 935.

This means that the Scadutree Fragment Blessings grant you just shy of a 1% damage reduction per level upgraded, which might not seem like a lot, but in this DLC, even something as small as a 5% increase to damage resistance could be the difference between life and death. Now of course it has to be noted (again) that this was all done without any talismans or armor equipped, so in regular gameplay these numbers will differ wildly depending on your build setup.

So, all in all, no the DLC does not scale to your level, however it IS designed specifically to be harder for higher level players, and nigh impossible for lower level ones. All enemies do much higher damage, and have considerably inflated health bars, so whilst you might not be able to over level for the DLC, you can certainly under level for it.

If you've found this guide as helpful as I found it difficult to write, and want some more Elden Ring DLC content from us here at Pro Game Guides, check out our Castle Ensis Walkthrough, or our guide on where to find All Perfume Bottles!

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Connell Watson
Hotline Miami understander, rat aficionado, lover of boomer shooters - Freelance Writer at ProGameGuides.

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Does Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC have scaling?

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