Having sunk 140 hours into Elden Ring over the last month, I thought I had been pretty thorough in exploring From Software's massive open world RPG. But apparently, I still managed to miss an entire questline surrounding a character encountered near the start of the game. And it seems I'm not the only Tarnished who strolled right past this character, as it turns out that Elden Ring's 1.03 patch has made him considerably easier to find.
Minor spoilers for Elden Ring follow:
The character in question is known as Boc the Seamster, a demi-human who, unlike most of his ilk, is not openly hostile to the player upon encountering him. He initially appears in Limgrave, the game's starting area. But he's incredibly hard to spot because he's disguised as a bush. Like some other side-characters, he does call out to nearby players, but in his original implemenation, you could only hear him if you were practically on top of him anyway. Even then, you might not spot him amid the foliage of Limgrave's forests.
As of last month's 1.03 patch, however, Boc has been made considerably easier to locate. The range of his callout has been significantly increased, while From has also added a rare purple item nearby to lure players toward Boc's hiding place. You can see the changes yourself in the Twitter video below, posted by the Souls-focussed Youtuber Illusory Wall:
But wait, there's more! The distance from which his dialog triggers was massively expanded. Like it wasn't just doubled or tripled, it reaches out MUCH further, allowing you to hear him from the road. pic.twitter.com/c5KRTqyLqWApril 5, 2022
The change speaks to the fine balancing act Elden Ring attempt with its approach to quest design. FromSoft clearly want players to find these characters and quests, but they want them to be found by the player's natural curiosity rather than flagging them with a big exclamation mark, which is tricky to pull off in a world as large as The Lands Between.
It's worth noting that 1.03 also introduced map-markers for characters the player had already found, which in itself was a controversial change, although the map markers are more about helping you remember where all side characters currently are, rather than pointing out where they'll go next.
In any case, it's always worth tracking down Elden Ring's NPCs, not just for the potential rewards (Boc, for example, gives you the ability to alter your gear) but for the strange and melancholy quests that follow. Boc's story is apparently one of the better ones, so be sure to track him down if you're venturing back to Limgrave any time soon.