Patches for the game are constantly being released. These fix bugs within the game which range from Elden Ring's frame rate issues to character questlines. Likewise, weapons, items, spells, and skills can also see balance changes. Since Elden Ring brings back the online component of Dark Souls, the developers have to make sure the entire roster of offensive and defensive options is within an acceptable power level. As of writing, there have been a total of five patches throughout all platforms supporting Elden Ring. Some are bigger than others, but all of them seek the same thing: to provide the best experience for players.
Starting from the beginning, patch 1.02 launched alongside Elden Ring's release. This included multiple bug fixes for textures, frame rate drops, and player controls. While it didn't add or fix anything significant, it gave new players a smoother experience than those who got an advanced copy beforehand. The next patch, 1.02.2, addressed a big issue on PC which prevented Elden Ring players' graphics cards from being used. Patch 1.02.3 that came after it fixed a problem on the same platform that would cause certain controllers to not be recognized. On top of these major issues, minor bug fixes to quests, performance, and overall gameplay were also implemented.
The biggest patch for Elden Ring so far has been patch 1.03, which was released on March 17, 2022. On top of multiple bug fixes, overpowered items like the Mimic Tear Ashes, the Hoarfrost Stomp Ash of War, and the Sword of Night and Flame were adjusted to better balance them with the game's other offensive options. Drop rates for Smithing Stones were increased and the scalings of certain weapons was adjusted to help players improve their builds. Patch 1.03 also saw the addition of an NPC tracker, which helps players keep tabs on certain non-playable characters' locations (though not by much, as they still have to scour the map to look for their icons).
The NPC tracker would feed into the two most important parts of patch 1.03: the continuation of questlines and the addition of a new NPC. Diallos, Kenneth Haight, Gatekeeper Gostoc, and Nepheli Loux were characters in Elden Ring whose stories seemed to end on an abrupt note. Patch 1.03 continues their questlines by moving the characters to new areas and adding new dialogue. The other important part of patch 1.03 is the addition of Jar Bairn, a new NPC who can initially be found in Jarburg. Both of these additions deepen the lore and story, not just of the characters, but of Elden Ring as a whole. These changes and additions are meant to entice players to come back and visit the Lands Between, but they can also dissuade them from doing so.
If players pay close attention to what each new patch has brought, Elden Ring is still very much an evolving game. Performance issues are being ironed out to provide the best possible playing experience. Balances to weapons, spells, and items constantly change the meta. Most important of all, the addition of new NPC and questline threads change players' perception of the game's world and characters. The Elden Ring people will be playing months from now might be completely different from the Elden Ring of today.
To this end, it might be best for aspiring or returning players to wait a couple of months before trying (or going back to) Elden Ring. Not only will the game be smoother to play, but it will be much closer to what From Software imagines the finished product to be. Weapons, spells, and items will be more balanced, questlines for a complete roster of characters will be finished, and the game itself might even be on a discount. Though Elden Ring DLC is very likely, but From Software shows no sight of stopping when it comes to churning out free content and updates for the base game. It's just a matter of choosing when to hop on the Elden Ring bandwagon that determines how complete the experience will be.
Elden Ring is out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.