FromSoftware’s fabled title has arrived after what feels like years and years of waiting…oh wait that happened! Now that it’s here we have the same problems that we have whenever a new souls-borne game hits the shelves, how do you get into a good groove? What do you do once you press start and get thrown into the world? Well as a souls-like lover and a man who wears the 100% completion for 2 souls’ games (Yes, I’m going to brag). I think it’s a good time to discuss some things that a new player should do when being thrust into the shiny world of Elden Ring.
The first piece of advice I’d give is before you even start the game when you’re deciding your character's class and Keepsakes. Souls games always start with a gift option that can give you an edge early, in the form of a usable item. There are 3 items here that are very useful, so I’ll write them in order of importance –
Golden Seed – allows you to add a healing/magical flask to your inventory
Stonesword Key – opens specific doors throughout the world (costs 2000 runes)
Lands Between Rune – Allows for a quick level up early on
Choosing any of these items will give you a better time at the start, but don’t worry if you’re up for a challenge, all these items can be obtained in bulk throughout the game.
After you create your character and enter the overworld you will encounter a strange beast with multiple swords, and by encounter, I mean they will more than likely kill you. If you can overcome this fight then to be frank you don’t need to read this, but if not keep reading death buddy.
Once death comes you will awaken in a cave with the camera panning towards a door, this is not the only path you can take. There is a cavern to the right of the door that leads to a tutorial area that will guide you through games mechanics.
This isn’t challenging but can contain vital information for new players and I highly recommend taking it. This covers new techniques such as guard counters or stealth and can be rewarding for a player trying to find their feet. This should only take about 5-10 minutes and will lead you back to the starting room allowing you to leave the cave once you’re in your groove.
Study your foe
Any returning souls’ fans will know that the strong foes require study in both fighting patterns and phase changing. These games are designed for players to learn through failure, so you should never go into any fight expecting to win the first time.
The first enemy that you come across after the tutorial is the Tree Sentinel, a hulking behemoth hoisting a halberd and a shield, all on horseback. This guy is the splitter for pride and tactics in this game, as if you run headfirst into this fight there is a good chance he will destroy you.
It goes without saying the easier path is to come back once you’ve grown stronger, however, there is a lesson here that you will inevitably learn later. Every boss has a pattern in some way shape or form, they have tells for attacks or audio cues for devastating stun-lock barrages. Learning this lesson can take many deaths, but there are some who have overcome this challenge through study and skill.
This leads to another point.
Know when to quit
Elden Ring is a little bit different from its brothers in the Souls world, allowing for more exploration and freedom between the gruelling deaths. So when you hit a wall in the world, or more than likely a strong boss that you just can’t beat, don’t be afraid to take a step back and go explore elsewhere.
There are so many caves, mines and low-level bosses that are sprinkled around this world, and all are opportunities to get stronger. There isn’t a scenario where you can’t do anything to progress, and even if it seems hopeless and you feel like you just suck, you don’t. You can just go get stronger and come back later, this is where the fun of Elden ring truly lies.
Don’t skimp on the basics
After you see that golden sky and spy the hulking horse-man 400 yards ahead, whether you fight or flee, there is a friend waiting in the broken church atop the hill. Kale is a merchant who offers a few items as you enter the big scary world, the most useful of his stock being the crafting gear and a torch.
Crafting which is a new feature within the Soulsborne franchise is crucial in Elden Ring. You will find more and more recipe books to craft impressive and useful items, but to start off the crafting menu allows you the necessity of healing Torrent the spirit steed.
The torch is also useful as there are numerous dark areas to explore, and although this does take up space in your offhand weapon slot, it is more than worth it. Kale does have some other wares as well for those with ample runes, but these two objects will be the most useful.
Summons are your new best friend
Sometimes an enemy will refuse to leave you alone, and this can make it difficult to catch your breath in the heat of battle. There is always the age-old method of summoning a friend or a stranger to help in combat and this is still on offer here. However, as the Tarnished there is a new method offered, thanks to the help of a mysterious mage called Renna. Once you have naturally unlocked Torrent the spirit steed, she will appear at the church of Ellah where our merchant friend was and offer the spirit calling bell.
This object will allow you to summon your own AI creatures to battle with you, a feature I can only call a godsend. There are numerous spirit ashes that you can find within the overworld and within dungeons, but you will be presented with a team of spirit wolves by Renna to start. Although it’s a crime that you can’t pet them, they certainly act as a solid way to reduce your battle agro and can change the tide of battles early on.
Overalls on and get farming
As I said before sometimes you need to know when to just walk away from a tough fight and gain some strength, and to conquer this world you will need to do just that. As souls were the currency of Dark souls, Runes are the currency of Elden Ring and function in both a way to level up yourself, your spirits and your weapons.
Much like in previous entries, resting at a site of grace will reset the world and resurrect any standard enemies that roam the fields. This means that if you find a solid area to gain some runes, you can start levelling up yourself and your equipment.
The true Elden Lord will only have an easy time if he works hard to gain the strength needed and that is what you must do! Between the various dungeons and bosses, there is ample opportunity for large pools of runes to be gained, but even with that aside there are areas where tough small enemies roam.
Explore and find a place where the farming is good, then get to work! Those Shard bearers won’t know what hit them.
This Barely scratches the surface of how to excel in Elden Ring, but this covers some of the fundamentals of surviving this world. There are plenty of other features within this game that can help piece together the perfect strategy for any player but for now, see the above and rise Tarnished!
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PLAY, OBEY, CONSUME.