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Elden Ring almost included Dark Souls’ most controversial feature

Elden Ring may have once included a weapon and armor durability system, possibly similar to that used in the Dark Souls series.

The removed Elden Ring mechanic was discovered in a datamine by Twitter user JesterPatches, who found text lines reading “weapon broken”, “armor at risk”, and “armor broken” in the game’s backend files (thanks, PCGN). The messages would have presumably popped up when your equipment had either partially degraded or fully broken.

Such a mechanic never made it into the final game, however. Elden Ring doesn't include a weapon and armor durability system, with your gear remaining effective for as long as you have it. That’s a far cry from the Dark Souls series, in which weapons gradually degraded through “normal”, “at risk”, and “broken” status as they were used, reducing their damage and effectiveness.

It’s unclear how far into Elden Ring’s development the durability system was scrapped, or whether it was developed at all. This datamine includes only text references to the system, rather than any numerical data that would be needed to calculate a degraded weapon’s efficiency.  In the absence of more substantial files, it looks like the feature was only a preliminary idea.

An Elden Ring player squaring off against a boss

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Welcome changes

Many FromSoftware fans were pleased to see weapon durability hadn’t made its way into Elden Ring. While the mechanic has featured in several games across the years – from Breath of the Wild to Prince of Persia: Warrior Within – and is often touted as an effective way of encouraging players to experiment with new gear, it’s not without its critics.

Some Dark Souls players found the system an aggravating slog that prevented them from using their favorite weapon when they wanted it most. Rather than encouraging experimentation, durability systems often seem to have the opposite effect, as players spend more time hunting for a tried-a-tested weapon for fear of losing it again.

It’s not surprising that FromSoftware retired the feature for Elden Ring. While it had appeared in the first Dark Souls game and took on greater importance in Dark Souls 2, it all but vanished in Dark Souls 3. In the third entry in the series, weapons have such high durability, degrade so slowly, and are reset so often that the feature is more of a forgetful add-on than an essential gameplay mechanic.

Many series fans will be hoping FromSoftware continues that trend going forward, keeping weapon durability firmly in the past.

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