Babbling Fish

Weak Foe Ahead

By Matt Bass · May 04, 2022 ·EXPLANATION

Let us learn together. Art by 澈 (Che)
Let us learn together. Art by 澈 (Che)

Spoiler Warning: The following article contains spoilers about enemies, items, bosses, and areas for Elden Ring by FromSoftware.

Elden Ring was the most successful video game launch outside of the Fifa and Call of Duty Franchises.

One way to measure the current popularity of a game is the concurrent player count, this measures how many people are currently playing. Typically the concurrent player count peaks on launch day. What made the Elden Ring launch exceptional was that the peak concurrent player count on PC occurred a week after launch.

Not only does this show Elden Ring has a remarkably high retention rate, it also means it was spreading through word-of-mouth. As of writing, 30.5% of players have beat Horah Loux (penultimate final boss) on Steam. Having 30% of players complete a 90+ hour game that sold millions of copies has to be some kind of world record.

Chart of Elden Ring concurrent player count for the last three months
Chart of Elden Ring concurrent player count for the last three months
Chart of Halo Infinite (low retention game) concurrent player count for comparison.
Chart of Halo Infinite (low retention game) concurrent player count for comparison.

What I want to talk about is my favorite new feature in the game, the mimic tear. The mimic tear is a spirit summons that creates a copy of your character with all the same equipment.

When I approached the area with the mimic tear I encountered a message that read “Weak Foe Ahead.” They were right. My mimic could not use my Unsheathe ability properly, so they were quite easy to kill by out ranging them.

The mimic tear makes the game easier, making it essentially an accessibility feature. After grinding against Radahn, unlocking Nokron and getting the mimic felt like an awesome reward. The day I unlocked the mimic I went on and defeated 4 of the bosses I had been stuck on! I was finally able to access the late game content.

Against Rykard, the mimic was not impacted by magma interrupt stagger. So they went up into the magma surrounding him and just kept smacking him non stop till he died. It was pretty funny to watch.

Playing with a mimic changes how you play. It’s super helpful when your mimic draws aggro and gives you time to heal or attack. Unless you are running a high vigor and endurance build, your mimic can’t tank that much damage. You have to develop a strategy of drawing aggro away from your mimic to keep it alive. This creates a sort of metagame where you need to learn when to draw aggro.

For my first playthrough, I used the Samurai starting class and was running a bleed build with the katana (early game Uchigatana, mid game Nagakiba, late game Rivers of Blood) mostly with the unsheathe ash of war. I factored the mimic into my build and made sure that our bleed buildup could stack.

The mimic uses whatever weapon is equipped in its right hand when summoned, and they have unlimited arrows. I would switch to my bow with bleed arrows before spawning my mimic so they would keep their distance and stay alive longer. While I closed the distance and engaged with the sword. There are so many opportunities for creative strategies, especially for multiclass builds like spellblade.

I was on my twelfth attempt against Mohg, after dying repeatedly in the second phase. When my mimic and I managed to wipe out his remaining health bar during the 30 second damage window while he was transitioning to phase two. There was something really satisfying when my mimic and I would proc hemorrhage multiple times in quick succession. Hemorrhage takes ten or fifteen percent off the total max health, so used correctly you can absolutely melt bosses with it.

What I love most about this feature is that it gives you someone to play co-op with. Even when the player count was high after launch, it was difficult to find summon signs in specific areas at certain times of day. Over time as player count goes down this issue will only get worse. I have no doubt this feature will be appreciated even more in the future.

Many people (myself included) do not have a group of people to play with. When I came to FromSoft games, they were already well past their launch on PC and there was no one playing online. I have always wanted to be part of a group of people progressing together, helping each other out on hard bosses.

At times the game can be scary. Especially dark areas filled with enemies hiding and waiting to jump out at you.

In the Mogwyn palace, the interior is pitch black and enemies come out of pools of blood on the ground to ambush you. I felt safe with my mimic, they could lock on to enemies before I even saw them. When two enemies spawned, I would take one and they would take the other. Playing with the mimic is like playing with an older sibling (I have two older brothers) as a kid. You have someone with seemingly magic powers to protect you. Now you never have to play alone.

Rest here weary traveler
Rest here weary traveler

Matt Bass

Written by Matt Bass linkedin-in

© 2023