What To Do First In Elden Ring: Best Route, Weapons, And Important Map Locations

Elden Ring gives you immense freedom, and it’s sometimes difficult figuring out what to do next.

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Elden Ring is out now, and the game gives you nearly complete freedom as soon as you leave the tutorial dungeon, Stranded Graveyard. It also gives enemies complete freedom to kick your butt, and it’s more than a little overwhelming for Souls fans and newcomers alike. Sites of Grace point you toward Stormgate and Stormveil Castle immediately, but there’s much more you should be doing first in West Limgrave, the starting area, before you start tackling the bigger challenges in the Lands Between. Here's our guide on what to do first in Elden Ring, so you can enjoy the optimal path to success and survival.

Visit the Church of Elleh

The floating gold dust at your first Site of Grace pushes you this way anyway, but make sure to visit the Church of Elleh as soon as you can. It’s a convenient base for most of your West Limgrave activities and the hub for a number of important events. Just make sure to give the Tree Sentinel a wide berth unless you’re feeling lucky. This boss is better tackled after you’ve upgraded your weapon once or twice.

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Now Playing: Elden Ring Where To Go First | Beginners Guide

Find The First Map

Elden Ring is happy to let you wander aimlessly without even telling you how to find maps, but the West Limgrave map fragment is near the Church. Head north until you see a set of ruined stone buildings (the barracks), and make sure you’re at full health. We recommend stealth to deal with the soldiers inside, as it’s easy to get overwhelmed quickly.

There’s a stele on the road just outside the barracks. Interact with this to obtain your first map fragment. You may need to time your interaction carefully, as there’s a powerful polearm-wielding soldier patrolling the road.

With a few exceptions, finding and interacting with these monuments is how you’ll get maps in every region. The empty West Limgrave map hides the monument icon, but it’s clearly visible on other maps.

Obtain the Spirit Calling Bell

Once you’ve activated three Sites of Grace and met Melina for the first time, fast travel back to the Church of Elleh. You’ll notice Kalé the merchant is asleep, the area is surrounded by fog, and a glowing blue woman is sitting nearby.

You can go hours without picking up the Spirit Calling Bell, but you don't have to!
You can go hours without picking up the Spirit Calling Bell, but you don't have to!

This is Ranni, the witch. Speak with her to obtain the Spirit Bell and unlock Spirit Ash summons. These ashes let you call a variety of support NPCs into battle, ranging from a troupe of wandering sorcerers to wolves and even jellyfish. Spirit Ashes can be upgraded later, and using them is essential in some boss encounters, including the first one outside Stormveil Castle.

Find Stormhill Shack

The road to Stormveil Castle opens up once you pass through Stormgate. Turn right once it does, and head east until you reach a small shack. Roderika, the woman inside, is essentially your unofficial tutorial to how side quests work in Elden Ring. Speak with her a few times, and you’ll learn she’s interested in Chrysalid items. Speak to her again to receive the Jellyfish Spirit Ash.

You’ll find a Chrysalid in Stormveil Castle, which you can bring back to Roderika. If she’s not at Stormhill Shack, she’ll be around Roundtable Hold. Later, after you defeat the second main story boss, she’ll help upgrade your Spirit Ashes.

This is a good strategy for dealing with any NPC who isn’t trying to kill you. Speak with them multiple times, and if they’re in the Roundtable Hold, check back after major story events to see what’s changed with them.

Visit the Dragon-Burnt Ruins--But Don’t Get Burned

On the south side of Agheel Lake is a set of ruins called the Dragon-Burnt Ruins. A number of weak enemies call this area home, making it a decent spot for some early-game Rune farming. There are two staircases leading down in the ruins.

The northern one takes you into a chamber filled with rats, and the treasure chest is a trap that transports you to a significantly more difficult area. The southern one is behind some high walls that you’ll need Torrent to jump over. It takes you to a small chamber with a chest containing the Twinblade, an excellent weapon for classes that favor Strength.

Battle Bloody Finger Nerijus

Elden Ring includes some scripted Invasions where antagonistic NPCs attack in fixed locations. Travel along the river north out of Agheel Lake, and continue as far as you can go. You’ll eventually get a message saying Bloody Finger Nerijus invaded. Stay on the defensive and try dodging his attacks, as they inflict Bleed. A friendly NPC will join you and distract Nerijus, letting you attack (mostly) without fear of reprisal.

Once Nerijus is defeated, you’ll obtain the Reduvia Dagger. It scales with Dexterity and Arcane, and what it lacks in sheer power, it makes up for by letting you inflict Bleed on enemies. Even if your Arcane stat is a bit low, you can still make use of the weapon and its effect.

Get Margit’s Shackle

Murkwater Cave is near the site where you battle Nerijus. It’s a short dungeon that culminates in a battle against Patches, the Tarnished merchant. He begs you to spare him towards the end of the fight – and you should. Leave the area, rest at a Site of Grace, and come back to purchase some helpful items from Patches. Among these is Margit’s Shackle, a unique item you can use twice during the first scripted boss fight to freeze Margit in place for a few seconds. It has a steep price tag of 5,000 Runes, though.

At Stormhill Shack, you can find a missable introduction to side-questing in Elden Ring.
At Stormhill Shack, you can find a missable introduction to side-questing in Elden Ring.

Visit Limgrave Tunnels

Upgrading weapons is essential, and to do that, you’ll need Smithing Stones. Most regions have at least one mine or “tunnels” dungeon, where you can find Smithing Stones both in the environment and as loot from enemies. Melee classes beware, though. The enemies in Limgrave Tunnels are resistant to most physical attacks, but are vulnerable to magic.

Brave the Waypoint Ruins

If you fancy investing in your Intelligence stat, you can find a Glintstone Sorceress in the Waypoint Ruins on the eastern edge of the West Limgrave map. The ruins are infested with deadly plant monsters, including one that rains down holy lightning. Take out the small ones, and, once a path is clear, dash down the stairs into the ruins.

Here you’ll face the Mad Pumpkin Head boss, though it’s a relatively straightforward fight. The Mad Pumpkin has a three-hit combo where he attacks with his flail, then his fist, then his flail again, and it usually triggers when you’re near him. Dash away to avoid the hits, then run back in to attack. He also occasionally slams his head into the ground.

Enter the next room once you’ve defeated the Mad Pumpkin Head to meet Sellen the sorceress. She sells basic Glintstone spells, and if you bring her Glintstone Craftsman Cookbooks, she’ll expand her stock.

Find the Flask of Wondrous Physik

Northeast of the Waypoint Ruins is another church, the Third Church of Marika, and this is a very important one. Interact with the statue at its center to obtain the Flask of Wondrous Physik and two starter crystals used for mixing effects. Unlike the Tear Flasks, the Flask of Wondrous Physik has multiple functions depending on which crystals you add.

Some effects boost your charged attacks, for example, while others grant a long-lasting stamina boost. Using the right mix at the right time can make a significant difference in your chances of survival, making this a must-have item as early as you can get it.

For more on Elden Ring, check out our beginner tips so you can keep your silent hero on their feet and out of the ever-looming "YOU DIED" screenshot.

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