The release of Elden Ring’s Patch 1.03 saw the removal of game breaking exploits and the weakening of overpowered setups. To the joy of fans, FromSoftware has seemingly listened to the community. You can find the full patch notes here.
But have the changes actually had any noticeable effects?
What’s nerfed (weakened)
Moonveil – Survives
This nerf was part of the unlisted changes under the “Other enemy and weapon balance changes” in the patch notes. Players have found that the Intelligence scaling katana, Moonveil was doing less attack damage and less Poise damage.
Players heavily abused this weapon in gameplay for its ability to quickly burst down bosses and leave enemies vulnerable to critical attacks.
As mentioned in this video, the weapon no longer is able to stagger enemies and the actual blade attack in the weapon art deals less damage. Even so, the weapon will still see prevalent usage but its effectiveness is now more tied FP (force points) management.
In PvP, it still hits like a truck unfortunately. My advice is to time your dodges carefully instead of repeatedly hitting the dodge button in hopes that you’ll escape (panic rolling). Moving sideways and maintaining some distance also helps against the powerful yet linear weapon skill.
Hoarfrost Stomp – Dies
This weapon skill that was highly abused by players at both low and high level, being used in every speedrun of the game to trivialise boss fights. It could be used in rapid succession, had wide range and dealt high damage from the Frostbite effect; all with minimal investment.
Frostbite in particular, deals damage, reduces the target’s damage negation and stamina reduction. In PvP, this would often result in one-hit kills and diffcult matchups in tight corridors.
In its current state, it no longer has the explosive damage (even with my high Intelligence stat) but still retains its ability to apply high frost build-up. It is now a utility attack that is designed for weakening enemies.
In PvP, it’s longer cast and delay means that you need to be more tactical with its usage; a poorly spaced cast will leave you very vulnerable. However it is useful in spacing yourself from opponents, punishing poorly timed rolls and excessive sidestepping.
Bloody Slash – Survives (somewhat)
Commonly seen at low levels due to its high damage and low FP cost, Bloody Slash was a bit too overpowered. Its only downside was that on use, you also had to pay a health point cost.
Even then, the cost was so minor there were no problems with continuously using it.
Although this skill does less damage, it is still respectable, dealing 438 damage to a Leyndell knight with a mere 13 Arcane points. However, it now takes around 11% health per cast, meaning you need to pay more attention to your health when using it.
The intent was probably to reserve the high damage for players who invest into the Arcane stat, rather than just anybody who happened to have the Weapon Ash. As it stands, this has seen less usage in PvP but may see niche usage in early PvE gameplay.
Sword of Night and Flame – Survives (Somewhat)
Infamous for its one-shot kill weapon skills, this weapon had the ability to trivialize boss fights, killing them before they even had the chance to react.
Given how early and easily you can pick up this sword, it made sense to reduce its damage to bring it more in line with other weapons you can obtain around the same time.
Courtesy of u/Jrff_K on reddit
Its damage is still respectable and is still a threat to most bosses. However, sturdier enemies will survive the lengthy cast and will happily crush players that poorly position themselves.
In PvP, the weapons skill’s lower damage no longer outweighs its risky cast time; you have been warned.
Mimic Tear – Survives
This spirit ash is summon that was able to copy your character in its entirety. Not only did it copy your weapons, armour and spells, but it also would have extra health! This meant you could summon it, sit back and let the mimic fight the boss for you.
Image courtesy of Eurogamer
This of course, was unacceptable as it discouraged gameplay itself. The patch reduced the Mimic Tear’s damage and changed its behaviour to be more defensive. It will now actively try to avoid attacks, instead of trading damage at no risk to its master.
It is still the best summon in the game, dealing the best damage with the best health pool, but now you have to actually fight as well. Imagine that! Playing a game you bought! Insanity!
What’s buffed (strengthened)
Arcane Bleed Weapons – Thrives
On launch, weapons that scaled with the Arcane stat did not work properly. Regardless of how high your Arcane stat was, the weapon would not gain any damage from it.
Despite this, players still used Arcane weapons that applied bleed, since the status effect alone was capable of eviscerating opponents.
Now it seems the weapons are too strong. Arcane not only increases weapon damage as intended, but it also increases the amount of bleed build-up per attack. This has resulted in ludicrously fast kill times. You’ll find that the first couple of hits from these weapons reduce your health halfway, only to be finished off by explosive bleed damage.
Combined with the ability to apply the effect through shields, the only defensive option seems to be a well timed parry or killing the user before they have a chance to attack you.
Comet Sorceries- Thrives
Generally speaking, a lot of sorcery users found that using glintstone pebble, was the only spell worth using. Despite being the first spell you ever obtain in the game, it was the most efficient in terms of FP cost to damage and cast time.
This meant that interesting spells you obtain mid-game were useless, which discouraged experimentation and made playing a mage very stale.
With the FP cost reduction and damage increase of Glintstone Cometshard, Comet and Night Comet, Sorcerers are now spoilt for choice. Although these spells are still not quite as FP efficient as Glintstone Pebble, they now have a niche for high burst damage in exchange.
Glintstone Cometshard is essentially the equivalent of magic magnum that tears through boss HP, whilst Comet and Night Comet are quick spells that are hard to evade. The latter are best used in PvP to mix up timings. Notably, Night Comet is actually partially invisible and so can be used to sneak in some unexpected damage.
Collapsing Stars/Crystal Barrage – Thrives
Previously, these spells were only useful in specific situations. Collapsing Stars was mostly useful for its homing capabilities and Crystal Barrage was only effective if the user had an extremely high Intelligence stat.
As such, these spells were mostly left to the wayside due to their high FP cost and mediocre effects.
As of patch 1.03, these spells have seen a significant damage increase, vastly improving their viability in combat. Collapsing Stars sees more usage now as a more FP efficient albeit slower Glintstone Pebble, that is capable of pulling hostiles off ledges or towards yourself, whilst dealing powerful damage.
Crystal Barrage sees less usage at low level due to poor scaling and enemy spell resistance. However, at high level, it is an excellent option for shredding bosses. One user called it a “glintstone minigun”.
Even with all the exploit fixes that came with this patch, players have still found ways to abuse the game’s code. If you ever encounter a player who does any of the below, I weep for you.
Carian Retaliation Instant Kill
A result of the improved shield performance that came with this patch, players have found that Carian Retaliation magic swords are now invisible and the damage scales far too much.
The shield weapon ash originally was intended to parry spells and fire magic swords as a counter attack. Unfortunately, it has now become an almost instant-kill attack.
Image courtesy of Reddit user BrightSkyFire
Players suspect that a desync in animation and the game’s netcode is causing the swords to malfunction. The swords fly towards the enemy on the users screen, but the recipient does not see this. Instead, they are instantly hit from seemingly out of nowhere.
A telltale sign that a player is using this, is if they use glintstone scrap to create small balls of magic and they suddenly swipe it with their shield.
In this scenario, either try to gain distance away from your enemy and use a ballista to attack them safely, or starting rolling until you think you’ve dodged the swords. In short, good luck.
Instant dragon incantations – featuring incantation combos
Players have discovered a hidden technique that allows you to skip the initial cast animation of slower incantations. This is done by using a quick “chain” incantation and then switching to the slower one straight after the first cast.
As explained in the video, this seems intentional and was to give weaker but faster incantations some utility; the ability to skip the initial starting animation of much longer incantations. What is not intentional is the animation not appearing at all.
Be wary of those who use Rock Sling and Catch Fire, as they appear to be the main spells that are used for this exploit. Maintain distance and use dodge attacks to approach these players to avoid getting hit.
The state of the game
Prior to the patch, sorcery was the most dominant playstyle in the game due to its high damage and long range. This has not changed and you will still see many mages, especially after the sorcery buff.
However, there is now a resurgence in Arcane Bleed users due to the Arcane stat fix. Many players have been using this build to great effect and it is almost just as popular as the infamous Moonveil katana.
There is certainly more variety in builds now, but there is no doubt that more traditional and grounded playstyles still struggle. If you’re wondering what builds you should play, check out my previous article of 6 Formidable Elden Ring Class Builds You Must Try!
Do you agree with my analysis of the game’s meta? Are there things you would still like to see changed? Go wild with your thoughts down the comment box! Also, join our Discord and discuss all things gaming and entertainment with the All Maverick team and community!