With the launch of Elden Ring this week, players unfamiliar with the series will definitely give it a try after its phenomenal critical reception. It is currently on a 97 out of 100 on Metacritic, making it one of the highest-rated games of all time. If you’ve never played a Soulsborne before but are desperate to see what the hype is all about, there are plenty of ways to make your journey through The Lands Between less terrifying.
Here are some tips for surviving the brutal open world of Elden Ring.
Avoid that boss
Elden Ring is huge, and unlike previous entries in the Soulsborne series, you’re almost never stuck with a single area or boss. If something seems too difficult for you, mark it on your map and come back to it later. There is no shame in avoiding a boss who is too defiant. Elden Ring practically encourages it, as the first boss most players will encounter (Tree Sentinel) is unmanageable at an early level.
FromSoftware’s placement of this terrifying boss is probably meant to indicate that players can and should avoid things that seem too difficult to tackle. This remains the case for the rest of the game, with plenty of areas with nightmarish bosses and extra hard enemies that are best dealt with by coming back at a later date. And if you somehow find yourself in a challenging area that you can’t travel quickly from, just run. Run for your life and don’t look back.
How to craft items and upgrade weapons
If you haven’t unlocked the Crafting Kit yet, you can find it at the start of the game. Go to Grace Point “The First Step” and move forward until you see a church in the distance. You’ll see the Tree Sentinel, a huge boss riding around on his horse (unless you’ve already beaten him), so we recommend avoiding him and running into the church. Take the Grace Point and look at your map, you should be in the “Church of Elleh”. If so, talk to the trader ahead and buy the Crafting Kit.
A few steps to the left of this merchant is an anvil where you can upgrade weapons. You can only upgrade to +3 here, and that won’t change until you progress through the game. For this you need Roundtable Hold unlocked and the blacksmith present. To unlock Roundtable Hold, continue to follow the lights on your map from “Church of Elleh”. Once you fight the first boss of Stormveil Castle and sit on nearby Grace Point, you should have the chance to do so. I got to Roundtable Hold by going all the way around Stormveil Castle, so if you’re having trouble with the boss, you can explore the outskirts of the castle until you find a safe path.
How to level up
If you’ve just started the game and are looking for a way to level up your Runes, you can quickly achieve it by rushing to the “Gatefront” Grace Point. This can be found above ‘The First Step’, behind the forest above ‘Church of Elleh’, at the western end of the road from ‘Gatefront Ruins’. If you’re having a hard time finding it, the “The First Step” Grace Point should point directly at it with a glowing light on the map.
Once you are at the “Gatefront” Grace Point, you will receive a short cutscene. After that you can start changing your Runes in levels.
Highlight everything and take notes
Unlike many open world games, Elden Ring does not hold the player’s hand when it comes to the locations of points of interest. If you find an NPC in the world, they will not appear on your map or in any mission log. If a character reveals important information to you, they may never repeat it. If you discover a closed door, it is quite possible that you will forget its existence. If you want to progress in discovering the great secrets in The Lands Between, you’ll need to put in the extra effort to decipher the cryptic nature of this world.
Have you found an NPC in the world or discovered the location of a boss that you can’t fight now? Place a marker on your map. Is a character spouting cryptic nonsense at you? Write down what they say word for word. Have you found a secret path that has nothing to do with the path you are currently walking? Use a marker as a reminder to visit later.
I regretted not doing this during the early moments of Elden Ring. In fact, this regret came back to haunt me when I began a quest somewhere in Limgrave to find a specific item. Much later in the game, I got my hands on that item, but had no idea where that quest giver was. I still haven’t found them, but that could have been easily avoided if I had marked their location on my map.
Go south of Limgrave
While Elden Ring pushes players to the north side of Limgrave, where Stormveil Castle stands, we recommend new players head south once they’ve unlocked the many things we mentioned in the tips above. You have to cross the Bridge of Sacrifice, which can be found under Aheel Lake. Once you’ve done that, you’re on the Weeping Peninsula. While this part of Limgrave isn’t necessarily easy, it offers useful items that will make your trip manageable.
There are three churches scattered throughout the region, each offering a holy tear upon discovery. Sacred Tears increases the amount of HP or FP replenished when consuming a Flask or Crimson/Cerulean Tears. Passing through this area should bring your flasks to +3, which is a huge upgrade. This means life or death to you in The Lands Between, so we highly recommend passing through this region before tackling Stormveil Castle.
Use Ashes during difficult encounters
Elden Ring introduces Ashes for the first time. When one is used, it summons the ghost of a previously encountered character to fight on the side of the player. These are infinitely useful at the expense of focus points and can also be upgraded in the same way you would upgrade a weapon. However, it can only be used once per battle.
While they can’t be used during every part of the game, they’re hugely helpful in tackling tons of enemies in the open world. It can save your life if you can’t handle a challenging boss, although there will be many instances where an Ash cannot be summoned during one. I’ve currently upgraded one of my Ashes to max level, and while I’m trying my best not to use it, it’s been hugely helpful in getting through re-whacked boss fights.
I highly recommend that you always have one with you. Even if it doesn’t do much damage to a boss, it can occasionally distract him and give you time to breathe. It can also break up large groups of enemies and make those battles a bit more manageable.
Grab a buddy
If you ever have trouble in Elden Ring, don’t underestimate the power of friendship. Summoning other players to take on a challenging boss or an area full of ferocious enemies is a great way to decrease the game’s difficulty. Especially if the person you’re playing with is a close friend, the two of you will have a blast exploring The Lands Between together.
The game features the classic Soulsborne summoning system, which means that players must use the Tarnished’s Furled Finger (located in the same room as the “Stranded Grave” Grace Point) to place a board in the world for cooperative play. However, unlike previous games, the Furlcalling Finger Remedy is not a rare item. If you have the Crafting Kit, you can easily make it with two Erdleaf flowers, which can be found all over The Lands Between.
If you plan to play with a friend, go to the game’s menu and select Multiplayer. On the right, you’ll see a menu to set a specific password (make sure your friend enters the same password). When you or your friend place a summoning sign, it will be the only one visible to the player being summoned. However, you need to coordinate where you place your signs.
If you want to summon random players, you need to find a Summoning Pool in the world. These are scattered across most locations, and there is one right next to “The First Step” Grace Point. Walk a few steps east and you should see a small statue with wings. Use the Furlcalling Finger Remedy and a number of characters should appear.
Unfortunately you can’t mount in multiplayer. This can potentially hinder the pace of certain moments, but if you don’t mind running around with a friend, this shouldn’t be the main problem.