6 tips you should know before you play ‘Elden Ring’

Six tips to getting started in 'Elden Ring'

It feels weird to type after all these years, but the launch of Elden Ring is finally upon us. Fans of the Souls series will be itching to explore FromSoftware‘s open-world epic, but now is a good time to remind fans that Elden Ring is exactly what they’re likely expecting: a very, very hard game.

Elden Ring is by no means an easy game to jump into. The citizens of the Lands Between are all too eager to send you back to your last Site of Grace empty-handed, and that’s without stepping foot into one of the game’s imposing legacy dungeons.

That being said, we’ve prepared some handy tips that will ensure you start your journey off on the right foot – and if you happen to run into a man named Patches on your journey, maybe don’t take his “hints” too seriously.

Spend your Runes often

Elden Ring
Elden Ring. Credit: FromSoftware.

In Elden Ring, Runes are the currency that will pay for absolutely anything. From levelling up to buying valuable items from traders, Runes are an essential part of getting anywhere in the Lands Between. Though finding them is no problem – every enemy you slay will drop them – actually getting to spend them is another matter entirely.

If your runes are starting to stack up, try not to carry them with you for too long. All it takes is one wrong move to lose them completely – you lose your Runes on death, and although you’ll always get a chance to retrieve them, dying en route will cause them to disappear for good.

To that end, try to spend your Runes as often as possible. In the early game, funnel your Runes into level-ups at every chance you get – the Lands Between’s enemies are more than willing to take your Runes from you, but your character stats are safe and sound – no matter how many times you die.

Don’t be afraid to leave an area that’s too tough

Elden Ring
Elden Ring. Credit: FromSoftware.

The beauty of Elden Ring is that although every nook and cranny is filled with FromSoftware’s notoriously difficult baddies, you’re not forced to throw yourself at the same ones again and again. If you find yourself struggling with a particular boss or area, even if you’ve been levelling up as often as possible, don’t hesitate to take a break and explore another area of the map.

This isn’t just a good way to see the sights and give your brain a chance to reset: in fact, it can be very productive. There are countless optional bosses and treasures to find across the game’s open-world, and these goodies (and baddies) can provide you with stronger gear and, crucially, more Runes to funnell into levelling up.

As a result, taking a break from a certain challenge can often result in eventually coming back to face it stronger – so don’t be afraid to pull a tactical retreat every once in awhiel.

Take a trip to the Third Church of Marika

Elden Ring
Elden Ring. Credit: Fromsoftware.

Your Flasks of Crimson Tears will get you far in Elden Ring, but in those early days, they’re not always enough. There’s nothing worse than surviving a brutal fight, far from your last Site of Grace, and realising you’re all out of the good stuff.

For a bit more help, visit the Third Church of Marika, buried in the Mistwood east of Limgrove. If you find yourself lost, the first trader you encounter in Limgrove can sell you a hint thaThere you’ll find a Flask of Wondrous Physick, which is Elden Ring‘s answer to alchemy – a re-usable flask that you can use to combine different effects. These can range from increasing your damage to healing your health and boosting your maximum stamina.

Unfortunately, I spent tens of hours in Elden Ring before stumbling across a Flask of Wondrous Physick. Needless to say, this item would have likely saved me from several heartbreaking deaths – so try and take time out of your busy adventuring schedule to go and pick up this must-have potion. Speaking of potions…

Explore everything in sight for valuable rewards

Elden Ring jump
Elden Ring. Credit: FromSoftware.

Though Elden Ring‘s open-world can be intimidating to explore, treading from the beaten path guarantees finding heaps of incredibly useful treasure. Though Runes are used to level up, the game demands certain other items to improve things like your weapon, Flasks, and summoning. Most of these resources can only be found by occaissionally disregarding legacy dungeons and wandering wherever takes your fancy, so don’t be afraid to do just that.

One thing in particular that’s worth keeping an eye out for are small, glowing trees. These are where you can find Golden Seeds, which are used to increase your Flask capacity – something that’s invaluable as you delve further into the Lands Between.

Beyond that, there are scores of optional bosses – and even a few hidden traders – tucked away in Elden Ring‘s darkest corners. If discovering invaluable treasure can’t tempt you into exploring, how about a memorable fight? Whatever your reasons, let your feet wander – you’re sure to find something good.

Visit the Roundtable Hold often

Elden Ring
Elden Ring. Credit: FromSoftware.

The Roundtable Hold is your central hub in Elden Ring, where the friendlier citizens of the Lands Between will gather to help you on your quest. As well as being a great place to pick up tidbits of lore, there are merchants within the Roundtable Hold that can help to spend the materials you’ve discovered while exploring.

If you make a habit of revisiting the Hold every so often, you’ll ensure your character stays in tip-top shape. The blacksmith will let you spend your Smithing Stones on making your weapons and armour more effective, while a character you meet fairly early on will upgrade the effectiveness of your Ashes – meaning the spirits you summon are even more powerful.

There are other upgrades to find, and more NPCs will appear in the Roundtable Hold as you discover them across the world, and like Dark Souls, much of the world’s lore develops in these walls – so for story’s sake, check in every so often and see if anything’s changed.

Try out different weapons and builds

Elden Ring battle
Elden Ring. Credit: FromSoftware.

There’s a lot of classes to choose from in Elden Ring, but don’t worry too much about sticking to the gear sets you’re given. Though each class has their own set of character stats, what really affects your effectiveness with different weapons is how you choose to spend your Runes. For lighter weapons such as longswords and katanas, delve into dexterity, while for axes bigger than your entire body, strength is the go-to stat.

Take a look at what each weapon’s skill scaling is to understand what stat it performs best with – the higher its rating, the more damage it will do if you have a higher level in this area.

Elden Ring is a long game that’s filled with varied weapons to use, so it would be a shame to stick to the decisions you make at the very start. Don’t be afraid to dabble with new builds to land on something that works for you.

With these tips, you’ll be far better equipped to handle all of the challenges that Elden Ring throws at you. Sure, you’ll die – a lot – but won’t the gift of knowledge make you feel a little bit better about it? On second thought, don’t answer that.

Elden Ring launches on February 25 for PC, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and PS5. You can read our glowing five-star review of the game here. 

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