These tips won’t contain any major spoilers, but hopefully, they’ll help you get past some of the initial hurdles. Don’t feel like you have to grind runes for hours every time you face a brutal boss.
If this is your first FromSoftware game, Elden Ring might confuse you early on. It’s not structured like many other RPGs, and the way you interact with its NPCs and some other elements is definitely not straightforward. The tips below won’t help you get lost – that’s part of the fun – but they will help you find the tools you need to progress.
1. Choose a good starting class
Veteran Souls players will tell you that starting classes don’t really matter. In a sense, this is true: you can develop your stats in any direction, so the starting class is just a handicap, not a choice that locks you into a specific role. This is still true in Elden Ring, but because the game plays out at a relatively slow pace compared to the much shorter and smaller Souls games before it, your starting class has a big impact on your first dozen or so hours.
Use the explain option in the menu (E on the keyboard or Y on the controller by default) to read the stats and choose the one that suits the character based on melee or sorcery. For new Souls players, I would recommend picking a class like Rogue for its balanced starting stats, or Hero for its emphasis on Energy (health) and Strength. If you start the game using a sword and shield and decide early on that you want to use magic, it doesn’t really matter, but it might mean you have to save some enemies or bosses for later until you level up your intelligence. deal with their difficulty.
If you really don’t like the idea of exchanging blows with bosses, choose the Astrologer. Using powerful magic spells from a distance can make some fights a lot easier.
2. Collect everything
Elden Ring is an open game and naturally has a crafting system. As you race through the Lands Between on your Torrent mount, don’t forget to spam the button you use to pick up items as you pass through the bushes and flowers. The world is full of herbs to collect, so you don’t have to get out of the way, but you should get in the habit of clearing a path on your way to your destination. In this way, you will be able to create useful tools such as firebombs, multiplayer summoning items, and arrows.
3. Use stealth
I can’t stress this enough: use a stealth system. Elden Ring’s stealth system seems to be taken straight from Sekiro. Enemies are limited by how far they can hear you when you crouch, and if they do, they will only look for the place where they last saw you. This means you can abuse stealth to reach items that have passed multiple monsters or position yourself for a nasty backstab with high damage.
Some parts of the game almost require stealth as well, so practicing early will give you an advantage when the time is right.
4. Don’t go to the big castles first
This may seem like strange advice given that sticking to the critical path is the easiest way to play many games. But in Elden Ring, don’t go straight to the big castle or buildings located at the end of each major area. It seems natural to aim for something that looks like it will advance the story as soon as possible, but that’s not really how the game is designed. If you want a serious challenge, go for it, but Elden Ring’s structure is more like an MMO. The open world is for exploration, completing side quests, defeating mini-bosses, collecting equipment, and leveling up. Dungeons or castles are more like raids that increase in difficulty and bosses consist of several phases.
You’ll be rewarded for wandering around the world for a bit collecting useful crafting materials to hunt for golden seeds to upgrade your flasks.
5. Prioritize map tile icons
Completing the Elden Ring map is a great way to start exploring a new location. Even if you want the game to guide you to things organically, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the map fragment unlocked in case you need precise directions. When you get to the new section of the Lands Between, open the map and look for the stone tablet icon. This is where the map fragment element will be located. Usually, they are close to the entrance, but sometimes it takes a little effort to get to them.
As soon as you have it, it will dispel the fog on the map, and you can see the main roads. You can ignore the card, but if you die and really want those runes back, it would be nice to have it on hand to help you get back into your body.
6. Make sure you don’t have heavy gear
When you find new weapons and armor, you may want to equip something with better stats than what you had before. This is fine, but pay attention to the “equipment” details in your character’s status column. Your maximum gear load is determined by your stamina stats, and Elden Ring helpfully indicates how light, medium, or heavy your load is based on your equipped armor and weapons.
A light or medium load is good: you will be able to dodge the roll faster and farther with more “invincibility frames” than with a heavy load. Avoid the heavy load: it will stick you in the infamous “fat throw” that will make you slow and a prime target for bosses. as well as uses more stamina with each throw. Invest more points in stamina if you want to carry heavier armor or especially heavy weapons. The mobility of lighter armor is almost always more useful than the defensive stats you get with heavier armor.
7. Don’t be afraid to come back later
The non-linear format of Elden Ring means you’ll face bosses or enemies that are too strong for you right now. In fact, this can happen throughout the game, even with bosses that are in the same area. As with many open-world games, you should get into the habit of leaving difficult encounters or dungeons for later when you get a little stronger.
Unlike past Souls games, Elden Ring allows you to quickly get to a checkpoint from almost anywhere. I played the game for 60 hours for our Elden Ring review and there are still things in the early areas that kick my butt.
8. Help other players defeat bosses and dungeons to farm runes.
Other players can help you complete many challenges in Elden Ring, but if you help them instead, you can earn yourself a bundle of runes without risk. Use the Curled Finger of the Tarnished item near the Grace Spot in the dungeon or right in front of the boss door so that other players can summon you to their realm. While you are there, you will receive runes for every enemy you kill, and the risk is zero: when you die, you will simply return to your game with all the runes you have collected saved.
Letting other players call you is a great way to level up and “safely” explore dungeons and hard fights before engaging in them in your game.
9. Use Spiritual Ash and NPC summons.
The biggest mistake you can make in Elden Ring is to skip the Spirit Ashes. After an hour of work, be sure to find the ruins of the church next to the first Place of Grace (bonfire) after training. Go there at night, meet the lady in the big hat and take the Spirit Bell from her. If you can’t find it, go to the center of the game, the Round Table, and buy it from two dead girls (don’t ask me how this is possible, it’s a FromSoftware game).
Throughout Lands, Between there are bosses and groups of enemies in the open world that are difficult to defeat without very careful play, so it is often much easier to share their attention with AI allies. Whenever you enter a new area or room, check to see if you have a grave icon in the lower left corner of the screen that allows you to summon. You can find and unlock all sorts of deadly companions, including skeletons, archers, and wolves. If you do enough research, you can even upgrade them to deal more damage.
Also, always look for the yellow NPC summon sign near the boss door, especially in the first dungeon, Stormvale Castle. You need to roam the courtyard area until you find a character, but once you do, they will help you fight the area’s final boss. Players can be called in exactly the same way, but when you select a badge, it will have their name on it. It’s up to you if you want to summon Souldierboy420 instead of an NPC.
10. Try bleeding and cold skills against strong enemies.
The giant bosses of Elden Ring are scary just by looking at them, but even more intimidating is the sight of their health bar stretching across the screen and seeing how little it breaks off when you hit them. One way to get rid of this health faster is to use a weapon that causes bleeding. Hit an enemy enough times and you will create an invisible blood loss meter, after which they will lose most of their health. Since Bleed damage is based on a percentage, it can be especially effective against bosses with a lot of health.
You’ll find bleeding skills natively on katanas, daggers, and some other weapons, but you can also add them to weapons with some Ashes of War.
Ice attacks are also extremely useful: if you create enough ice on the enemy, he will get frostbite, which also deals a certain percentage of damage and weakens him, making him take more time damage.
11. Learn how to handle dual weapons
If you equip two of the same weapon in Elden Ring, your character will enter a “power stance” that will give you access to a unique attack using the L1 button. Yes, you have to give up the shield, but in return, you have the opportunity to deal serious damage.
A power stance does not require two identical weapons: they just need to be of the same type, such as two straight swords, two daggers, or two scythes. Equip the right pair and experiment with the L1 attack animation (don’t forget to try jump attacks) to get a feel for combos and range. This is a more aggressive playstyle, but in any case, you’re better off dodging attacks from Elden Ring’s strongest enemies than trying to block them.
12. Experiment with the ashes of war
Elden Ring introduces a new form of weapon skills that often use your blue FP resource. Ashes of War are weapon and shield-related abilities that perform special attacks such as holy projectiles, reflect the magic and increase attack power. They also affect how well your weapon scales with certain stats.
Some enemies and bosses are weak to certain types of damage, so it’s wise to experiment with which Ashes of War you have equipped for each weapon. There are absolutely no drawbacks: you can freely switch between different Ashes of War, and they will never be consumed or bound to weapons.
If you’re running a boss run, try a few different skills and see if you can use them in your rotation. Weapon skills are not meant to replace normal combat, but they can help you take down a particularly tough boss.