In context: While gamers are patiently waiting for further details about the recently announced Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, Elden Ring developer FromSoftware has just released a new patch bringing ray tracing effects and many balance adjustments to its award-winning action-RPG.
The much-awaited ray tracing update for Elden Ring is finally here, as Japanese developer FromSoftware has released patch 1.09 on all supported platforms. The new lighting effects are only available on recent gaming consoles (PS5, Xbox Series X) and PC, FromSoftware said, and users can expect a significant impact on the game's performance as support for upscaling algorithms isn't available yet.
The new ray tracing feature can be enabled in the Settings menu, and early tests are confirming that the performance impact is indeed pretty noticeable. Despite the steep FPS drop, ray tracing illumination seems to be very limited (with no ray traced reflections) while the overall effect on graphics fidelity is very subtle. The ray tracing update weighs 200 megabytes on PC and 5 gigabytes on PS5, likely due to precompiled shaders included in the console release.
Despite the uninspiring results, ray tracing effects are asking for new minimum and recommended system requirements as listed in the patch 1.09 notes. To get a (slightly) better illumination in 1080p (Low quality, Low Ray Tracing), players need a Core i5-10600K or Ryzen 5 3600XT CPU, 16GB of RAM and a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB or Radeon RX 6700 XT 12 GB. Recommended specs for high-quality ray tracing in 1080p include Windows 11, a Core i7-10700K or Ryzen 7 3800XT, and a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8 GB or Radeon RX 6900 XT 16 GB.
Improved graphics aside, patch 1.09 also brings a huge amount of balance adjustments to Elden Ring gameplay, weapons, skills and spells. Some of those balance tweaks are just for PvP games, where they mainly decrease the effectiveness of certain skills and spells, but do not affect single player or co-op games. Furthermore, the developers are still fixing bugs and bringing "several performance improvements" on all supported platforms.
After winning big at the Game Awards event in 2022, Elden Ring also led at the 23rd Annual Game Developer Choice Awards. The poster child of the Soulsborne formula brought FromSoftware three more awards in the peer-based event held in San Francisco, winning in the Best Visual Art, Best Design, and Game of the Year categories.
During the aforementioned Game Awards, Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki said his team was still working hard to bring new stories, experiences and cryptic in-game conversations to the Lands Between. Shadow of the Erdtree is the recently announced first expansion for Elden Ring, even though no further details are provided apart from artwork depicting demigod Miquella riding in a spectral, decaying environment.