Elden Ring has been continually polished via a regular flow of updates. These updates often include bug fixes, weapon balancing, and general improvements to the gameplay. FromSoftware’s latest update featured a good amount of quality of life fixes that were explained in the developer’s patch notes.
There were, however, a few changes made through the update that did not get listed in the official notes. In true FromSoftware fashion, the developers chose to keep some things a secret that players could only discover by continuing to play Elden Ring after the update.
Meteor Crash After Defeating Radahn
The biggest and most useful story-driven change from the update involves the cinematic that plays after the player defeats Starscourge Radahn. As his name implies, Radahn has been keeping the stars and cosmos at bay, and after the player defeats him, the stars begin to move again along with a meteor that crashes into the Lands Between. This meteor creates a giant hole in the ground that the player is instructed to enter by Blaidd, Ranni’s companion.
The hole created by the meteor allows the player to gain access to an area known as Nokron, Eternal City. Though this area is completely optional, it is a unique and interesting underground landscape that is required to complete Ranni’s questline, which is why Blaidd implores the player to continue to the city.
The issue with this quest is that, before the update, players were not told exactly where the meteor crashed. The general direction to travel is implied by watching the cutscene, but it is entirely possible to miss this important event. Even if players followed the direction of the crash, it takes some exploration to discover the entrance to Nokron.
Elden Ring’s latest update fixed this issue by now creating a map marker for the crash site after players defeat Radahn. The map in Elden Ring has received a few updates since launch because it started off as minimal as possible, but developers soon discovered that certain markers are necessary and greatly benefit the flow of the game. Creating a map marker for the entrance to Nokron will cause less frustration and help players seamlessly continue Ranni’s questline.
The leveling system in Soulsborne games has always required a type of currency that could be obtained by defeating enemies and using items but could also be lost if the player dies before being able to reach their previous point of death. Elden Ring’s version of this commodity came in the form of runes. Golden Runes are usable items with a variety of different values that players could use to immediately gain a number of runes.
Before the newest update, players would not know exactly how many runes they would gain from using a specific Golden Rune. This came as no surprise to Soulsborne veterans who are used to item descriptions only providing vague quantities such as “a large amount” or a “vast amount”. Nevertheless, it is frustrating for players to have to guess how many Golden Runes they need to use before they are able to purchase an item or upgrade levels.
FromSoftware has finally answered players’ concerns with Golden Runes by now including the exact amount of runes gained from each different Golden Rune. Instead of claiming to provide players with an unspecific number of runes, the item description now tells an exact number. Developers likely withheld the exact amount of runes to provide further mystery and challenge, but even in previous games, it has always been more of a chore or a mild inconvenience.
The Road that Led to Jarburg
Jarburg is an optional, easy-to-miss area that features some unique characters. Many Elden Ring fans are familiar with Iron Fist Alexander, the giant jar character who often finds himself in need of assistance from the player, but there are other sentient and friendly jars who reside in an area that is just east of Liurnia of the Lakes.
The side quest for Jar-Bairn can be started at Jarburg, but players will find that it is not an easy place to access. The best way to enter Jarburg is by jumping off a cliff near the Carian Study Hall, near the second encounter with Alexander, and descending the cliff side until reaching the small city.
The original map for Elden Ring featured a road from the main path that led directly to Jarburg. However, if players attempted to take this road, they would find that the road did not actually exist. Update 1.05 fixed this error with the map and has now removed the nonexistent road to Jarburg.
Fans of FromSoftware love to theorize hidden meanings in each game since the developers love to hide secret paths and withhold information. So many attempted to dissect what the road that did not exist meant or what it could imply for Elden Ring's potential DLC. In this case, however, it seems that the road was just a mistake on the map, possibly left from a previous version of the game that actually did have a road leading to Jarburg.
The Benefit of Secret Changes
Elden Ring is FromSoftware’s most ambitious game thus far, and yet, it is also one of the most approachable and has piqued the interest of people who have never played a Soulsborne game before. For that reason, it is important for FromSoftware to continue to provide quality of life changes in Elden Ring, ensuring that the wider audience that is attempting Elden Ring is able to ease into the expansive, open world without too much frustration.
Patch Notes that detail changes that come with an update are important because they divulge to the player exactly what bugs are getting fixed or what features are being adjusted, but adding secret quality of life changes can be just as important because they can provide small, sometimes hard-to-notice changes that can make a game’s experience more seamless. Subtly adding map markers or details in item descriptions takes away the frustration that could come from the unknown, and instead allows players focus solely on Elden Ring's challenging enemies and bosses.
Elden Ring is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.