Shadow of the Erdtree’s new perfume weapons are seriously broken and seriously fun

2024-07-02 15:30

Entertainment


A screenshot from Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image: Bandai Namco

Imagine if those aggressive salespeople at the Macy’s perfume counter were shoving napalm in your face instead of Chanel No. 5: that’s what it feels like playing with the new perfume bottle weapons in Shadow of the Erdtree.

The early days after any Souls game release are always some of the best. The speedrunners and content creators have found the best / most busted builds, while the developers haven’t had the time to nerf them yet. People post all kinds of wild videos of bosses melting within seconds, going down so fast they don’t even have time to trigger their second or third phases. It happened in vanilla Elden Ring with Hoarfrost Stomp, and it’s happening again with Erdtree’s perfume bottles.

Screenshot from Shadow of the Erdtree featuring a player using the lighting perfume bottle attack. Image: FromSoftware
Erdtree’s lightning perfume bottle weapon in action.

I’m typically not one to go after gimmicky builds. I like how I’ve built my character — using a mix of glintstone sorceries, dragon incantations, and melee weapons whose attack power scales with my high intelligence. Such a build was good enough to get me through the base game, so it should be good enough to get me through the DLC. But it’s not, or at least not enough for my patience level. And herein lies some of the problem with Erdtree’s difficulty.

In the base game, bosses were resistant to certain attacks and weak to others, but nothing so much that they couldn’t be beaten no matter what your build was. Rennala didn’t phase me even though she was highly resistant to magic damage; I could still smack her to death with my sword instead of my staff. But it doesn’t feel like that same philosophy has carried over to Erdtree. In the expansion, some bosses feel like they’ve been overtuned to resist certain builds no matter what, forcing players to either completely respec or keep throwing themselves at the boss in hopes of a lucky break. That’s what happened with me and Rellana, Twin Moon Knight.

She, like her similarly named counterpart from the base game, has a high magic defense. But she’s also resistant to slashing damage, which completely shuts down both my main sources of damage and, in turn, totally negates the way I’ve chosen to play. For a game like Elden Ring — with all of its classes, weapons, spells, and equipment to choose from — every build should be viable when combined with learning the patterns of a boss. I’d feel totally different if, while trying to take her down, I felt I was still making progress against her. But even with a fair number of upgrades to my attack power and finding a combination of weapons and spells that should have worked against her resistances, I still could barely put a dent in her health bar.

Enough.

I’d heard that the perfume bottles were broken in Erdtree. I even had one in my inventory after making my way through one of the harrowing gaol dungeons that has some unfortunate implications for our dear pot warrior friend Iron Fist Alexander. So I gave it a shot, figuring I’d use it for this one boss and respec back to my original build.

I picked up the lightning perfume bottle and the Rolling Sparks Ash of War and changed my stats to fit them just like I had seen in videos. For a test run, I snuck up on one of those huge armored knights with the big shields and massive hammers — enemies I just run from because, like most elite enemies in Erdtree, they’re too deadly for the scant rewards you earn from killing them. I aimed at his feet, unleashed Rolling Sparks, and... it was like the finger of god reached into the game’s code and hit “delete” on this guy. He just disappeared. Here’s what that looks like in action.

With my trial successful, it was time for the real test: Rellana.

Needless to say, it worked.

I can’t go back now. I don’t want to go back. Having this kind of power at my disposal has completely changed my approach to Erdtree. I do not have to slink around, fearful of every dark corner, or run past anything larger than an electric sheep.

But I’m not totally fearless. A good sneak attack or recklessness with a boss will take me out. I’m also not all-powerful. I still tend to avoid the uterus monsters and the big flame golems — I don’t want the smoke, you see. The build is also very temperamental. To do the kind of face-melting numbers seen in videos, I can’t lock on in order to aim at my opponent’s feet while praying they don’t move too much. Even though this build is pure grade-A uncut cheese, I don’t feel like I’m cheating. (Besides, according to game director Hidetaka Miyazaki, I’m supposed to use everything at my disposal anyway.) I still have to play Erdtree with the same healthy respect for strategy and my enemies that I did in the base game.

I know this won’t last. Just like with Hoarfrost Stomp, I’m reasonably assured the perfume build will be depowered to the point of uselessness and I will have to return to my original build.

But for now, I am deeply enjoying being a walking tactical nuke who smells amazing.


Source: https://www.theverge.com/2024/7/2/24190898/elden-ring-shadow-of-the-erdtree-perfume-weapon-rolling-sparks