Latest Elden Ring Update Brings New NPC Features And Big Balance Changes

If you've been elbow-deep in "Elden Ring" for the last few weeks, you'll be pleased to hear that Bandai Namco has just announced a new patch for the game, available on March 17. Since its launch, the game has already received a couple of patches, but they were composed of less-than-exciting (but still very needed) "Elden Ring" performance fixes. This time around, Bandai Namco and FromSoftware are serving up some thrilling improvements, including new quests, balance changes, and a long list of bug fixes. The patch is available to users across all platforms, including Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. This update brings the game up to version 1.03, marking a larger patch than the one it has received previously. This time around, Bandai Namco has shared a full list of changes on its website, and it's definitely packed full of changes.

In order to get the patch, make sure you're connected to the internet on your platform of choice and allow it to download the new update. This is a sizeable patch, requiring 1.63GB of disk space for PC users, so best start downloading it soon lest it cut into your next gaming session. Let's take a look at what "Elden Ring" has in store for us today.

Major gameplay changes and additions in Elden Ring patch V1.03

In the first part of the patch notes, Bandai Namco goes over some major changes that are being added to the game, as opposed to just being updates of already existing content. Some of these are quality-of-life changes, but some affect actual gameplay and will give you more content to play through. Topping off the list is a small, but welcome update — new background music for nighttime in some zones.

From now on, when you encounter a non-player character (NPC) in the game, you will be able to record an icon and the name of that NPC on your map. This is going to be very helpful for questing, as in the vast open world of "Elden Ring," it's all too easy to forget where certain NPCs reside. A new NPC is also being added, going by the name of Jar-Bairn, though there's no mention as to what it will be doing in the game. Multiple new NPCs have been added as summonable helpers for various situations.

New quest phases have been added for four NPCs, expanding the content in the game by a fair amount. This applies to Diallos, Kenneth Haight, Gatekeeper Gostoc, and Nepheli Loux. Lastly, one item gets a buff: Mimic's Veil will let you imitate more objects from now on.

Bug fixes? Plenty of them

When it comes to bug fixes, the list is huge, and no wonder. Although "Elden Ring" has been receiving excellent reviews, it certainly has its fair share of issues, and players have been complaining about frame rate drops, freezes, and screen tearing. Bandai Namco seems to have addressed that to an extent, stating a vague, "Fixed hang-ups in certain occasions." Although some of the fixes are tied to game performance, a lot of them address problems with the content of the game itself.

As such, summoned NPCs will now properly take damage during boss battles, and you will be sure to receive loot after defeating a boss. Bandai Namco has also addressed some scaling issues for magic and certain weapons. Certain Ash of War skills received fixes as well. Additionally, an entire armor set, the Ragged set, has been deleted from the game in its entirety. This is an interesting choice, because the set does not seem to be overpowered, so removing it seems unnecessary. Unfortunately, Bandai Namco doesn't elaborate on this.

Casters rejoice -- buffs are here

The list of balance changes is equally long and brings some interesting updates. If you're playing a caster, you'll be pleased, because certain sorceries receive noticeable upgrades. Some might argue that sorceries are already powerful enough in the end-game to not require a buff, but for those early-game woes, this could prove to be good.

There is a number of quality-of-life updates on the Balance Changes list. Smithing Stones have been added to various early-game shops and will now drop more frequently from enemies. Healing your mount, Torrent, will now be easier thanks to increased HP gains from several items. Shields will be more effective and will mitigate more damage. Some weapon skills and Ash of War skills have received damage reductions, as well as timing and cost adjustments.

The entire patch is huge and seems to pack a lot of changes many players have been looking forward to. The question remains as to whether all the various "Elden Ring" performance issues have been addressed. If not, we can probably expect a new patch soon enough.