It’s safe to say that Elden Ring is a massive game with hundreds of hours of content to explore. There are numerous ways to approach its many challenges, something new to discover around every corner, and plenty of lessons to learn through failure and perseverance. Today we’re discussing five of the most important thing you should know before you start your journey through The Lands Between.
1. Every death should teach you something
Learning in Elden Ring starts with death. Where other games will send you to a Game Over screen if you fail an encounter, no such thing exists here. Instead, you’ll respawn at a Site of Grace or a Stake of Marika; a special respawn point near most boss battles, especially tough ones like Margit the Fell Omen. Rather than being discouraged, you should use every death as a learning opportunity. Ask yourself, “Am I doing enough damage? What attack killed me? Should I come back later or go back to learn more attacks?” Your answers to these questions should inform how you approach the encounter that killed you. If you’re having trouble.
2. The game will (usually) show you where to go
One of Elden Ring’s greatest pleasures, and for some, its greatest frustration, is the lack of direction. You can travel in any direction with no quest markers, noisy NPCs, or audio logs telling you which way is the right one. If you look, however, there are guideposts you can follow, though they’re a little vague and sometimes confusing. Your primary direction will come from the guidance of Grace, ephemeral beams of light coming out of Sites of Grace. Guidances give you a gentle nudge toward one of the game’s many objectives, like how to level up. Don’t expect to be told what’s at the end of that golden rainbow, and not every guidance points in the same direction, but all of them point toward something meaningful. If you’re ever unsure about where to go, look for guidance.
3. Fast travel and maps are your friends
As soon as you discover a Site of Grace, you unlock it as a fast travel point. So long as you’re not in combat, you can instantly travel to any Grace from the map. Elden Ring’s map is large enough that getting from one place to another, even on Torrent the spirit steed, can take a while. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for Map Fragments as you travel, as these fill out the map itself, so you have a better gauge of where you want to go next.
4. Every choice has a cost
Nothing in Elden Ring is free. Whether you’re crafting something or spending Runes, every interaction in the game is a give-and-take. Everyone you meet in The Lands Between needs something, and everywhere you go offers something enticing to collect, but none of it comes easily. Powerful enemies and bosses guard the best loot, and even items seemingly left alone for you to find have some hidden purpose. This extends to online play as well. If you choose to summon one or more of your friends or random players to help you through the world, you open yourself up to being invaded by a player. An invader’s sole purpose is to kill you and send you back to the last Grace you visited, and they will use every trick in the book to do it.
5. The game is as challenging or as easy as you want to make it
There are many, many ways to play Elden Ring. If you want to hit your head against a boss for hours without upgrading your gear, you are welcome to do that. If you want to spend hours exploring, leveling up, acquiring magic, and other ranged options, you can do that too. It’s hard to sneeze in Elden Ring and not find something that could make your life easier or change your playstyle. If you want to farm Runes until you outlevel everything, you can do that. Unlike previous entries in the Soulsborne genre, there are few limits on what you can do, where you can go, or how strong you can become before facing even the easiest of the game’s challenges. So explore. Find an item, weapon, or spell you enjoy, and take on the world with it. Just because one boss or area is too hard doesn’t mean there aren’t a dozen more out there waiting to be conquered.