Elden Ring Tips For Beginners: Learning The Ways Of The Lands Between

It's a big world out there, so you'll need to be prepared.

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Elden Ring tips are arguably more important than those for most games given how brutal From Software games can be, and with the game out now, you'll likely be looking for some right off the bat. Despite being more approachable, Elden Ring is really no exception to this--especially because The Lands Between is an open world with danger around every corner. As you first boot up Elden Ring, you will be greeted with a myriad of choices and challenges, and it may leave you wondering about your best way forward. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of tips that can help you get off on the right foot in your adventure through The Lands Between.

Elden Ring tips for beginners

From picking the right class to how and when to backtrack, if you venture forth with this beginner's guide, you may just live to see the sunrise in Elden Ring. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

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Pick a class that's right for you

The first and most important decision you’re going to make at the beginning of Elden Ring is choosing your starting class. Though you can certainly build your character into whatever you want them to be, the 10 starting classes provide you with upfront boosts to specific stats that benefit particular playstyles. In addition, you’ll start off with gear and potentially spells that match said playstyle.

For instance, the Vagabond is great for heavy weapon melee players, while those seeking a ranged sorcery-based class would want to start with the Astrologer. Of course, you can check out our starting class guide for a deeper look at what makes each class tick.

Finding Melina is required to begin leveling up

After resting at three Sites of Grace in the open world, you’ll be visited by a mysterious woman named Melina. Like maidens from previous From Software games, Melina acts as a place to level up your character. Even more, she provides you with a Spectral Seed Whistle that allows you to summon your horse mount for faster travel around The Lands Between.

Luckily, finding your first three Sites of Grace won’t be too overwhelming, as the game offers you faint but noticeable rays of guiding light that point you in the direction of your next goals. Following these early on will ensure that you come across three Sites of Grace very quickly and unlock the ability to begin leveling your character.

Backtracking to spend runes can be worth it, as they can be easily lost

Like souls in Dark Souls, runes act as a general progression currency in Elden Ring, meaning they can be used to level up, buy items, or upgrade weapons and armor. You can collect them from defeating enemies and bosses, and they’re also obtainable through consumable items such as a Fingerfolk’s Rune or Pauper’s Rune.

As expected with a From Software title, however, runes are dropped in the location of your death, and you only get one shot to return to that site and recover them lest they be lost to you forever. In other words, if you’re sitting on a large chunk of runes, it might be best to go spend them at a Site of Grace before tackling a new boss or challenging area.

Resting at Sites of Grace will respawn crafting materials

Very early on in your adventure, you should come across a merchant who sells you an item that allows you to craft. Crafting is a vital component of Elden Ring, and some of the consumable items you can create can make a world of difference in combat and exploration. In order to craft those items, however, require you to gather materials throughout The Lands Between.

Collecting these necessary crafting materials, however, might be easier than you’d expect in some choice spots. That’s because you can actually just rest at a Site of Grace to respawn most nearby materials, giving you an essentially endless supply of them—provided you’re willing to invest this time in grinding.

Destroy all of those glowing skulls in the overworld

As you're exploring the overworld, you'll likely notice that there are a lot of skulls with glowing eyes laying on the ground. These are surprisingly valuable to you, as destroying them will earn you an item that grants you a small number of runes. Considering how many you'll come across while navigating about, you'd be surprised how lucrative they become. You can destroy these skulls by running over them with your steed, or you can just roll into them. Easy enough.

Buy a torch from Kalé immediately

One thing you can be guaranteed in Elden Ring is that you'll be dungeon diving into areas with little to no light with relative frequency. Because of this, you'll want to grab a torch as soon as possible. Luckily, that's pretty much immediately after you emerge from the tutorial area into Limgrave.

Grab a torch for 200 runes--you're going to need it.
Grab a torch for 200 runes--you're going to need it.

From where you emerge and find your first overworld Site of Grace, simply walk directly north to the Church of Elleh to find the merchant Kalé, who will sell you a torch that can help you light your path through dark areas. He sells other useful items, too, so make sure you collect some runes by killing some enemies nearby and peruse his wares.

Guard countering provides monstrous damage potential

There are various common methods of using your enemies’ attacks against them in Soulslike games, such as parrying them at just the right time to earn a large window of opportunity for a critical hit. But Elden Ring’s new guard counter ability may be the most useful addition to the formula in quite some time.

In order to guard counter, simply block an enemy’s incoming attack and then tap the heavy attack button directly after. By doing so, you’ll dish out a significant retaliatory blow that can be very beneficial against foes with large health bars or higher defense. Even better, this impressively strong attack can often break enemies’ stance and stuns them for a brief period of time, giving you another chance to land critical hits and potentially finish them off.

Keep in mind, however, that you want to use guard counters at the end of enemy combos so as not to leave yourself open to their attacks, too. Since heavy attacks take a little bit of time to complete, just be sure you’ve got that opening before committing.

Spirit ashes can be helpful allies

As you make your way through Elden Ring, you’re certain to discover and collect Spirit Ashes, which will summon the spirits of foes to aid you in battle. These spirit summons are great at keeping the attention off of you in battles, and they can be leveled up later in the game to make them even more powerful.

However, it uses quite a lot of FP to call on spirits, and there are only specific areas within which they can be summoned. To clarify, you need to be near a rebirth monument to call them in, and if you leave that area, they’ll disappear. Additionally, if they die in battle, you won’t be able to summon them back in during that encounter.

Pay attention to the bottom left of your screen to see a monument icon that will light up when you’re in an area wherein Spirit Ashes can be summoned. And of course, most bosses give you the option to summon them, so make good use of them during those challenging showdowns to get a leg up.

Stealth is improved at night

This is easily overlooked but extremely important: Stealth is considerably more useful at night than during the day. While you can no doubt make good use of stealth behind and around the sides of enemies during the day, you’ll find that nighttime serves up an excellent boon to this sneaky option.

During the day, stealthing in front of an enemy will cause them to see you from quite a distance away, but that very same enemy won’t see you until you’re a good bit closer when the sun has set. This means that you can get away with walking closer to a front-facing enemy under the cover of night, making this the absolute best option for making your way through massive packs of enemies you may not be prepared to tackle quite yet.

Horseback combat has advantages and disadvantages

Traversing the open world on horseback is definitely the quickest and most efficient manner to get to new places in The Lands Between. There are even some meaningful benefits to staying on your horse for some encounters, such as quicker in-and-out movement and the ability to escape quickly if needed. But it’s important to note that staying in the saddle after a few solid hits may be a bad call.

After taking a certain amount of damage, you’ll be thrown from your horse and stunned on the ground for what feels like an eternity. During this time, you won’t be able to move, but enemies will be able to continue wailing on you relentlessly. In other words, once this happens, you can expect a high chance of death, as you can be certain that enemies aren’t going to hold back.

So when you’ve taken a few hits while engaged with an enemy or group of enemies while on horseback, go ahead and perform a leap attack off of your steed and fight your foes on foot. It’s safer to lose some movement potential than it is to chance being beaten mercilessly on the ground with no means of retaliation.

Map markers are invaluable

Elden Ring is a truly gigantic game, and as such, it breaks from tradition by granting players a gorgeously-illustrated map. Of course, this remains a From Software game, so simply having a map isn’t going to make things significantly easier on you. You’ll need to know how to use it to its ultimate potential in order to save yourself a lot of time later.

Make good use of map markers.
Make good use of map markers.

You’ll have to put much of the work in yourself by actively using your own markers to denote areas of importance on Elden Ring’s map. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of different markers available that you can place at points of interest, helping you to remember where to find an item, a well-hidden entrance, or a pack of dangerous enemies you’re just not ready to take on yet. Use these frequently, and you’ll be able to spend more time exploring new areas and less time trying to remember where things were later.

You can heal and revive your horse

Speaking of riding your horse, you'll be happy to know there are multiple ways to take care of your trusty steed. Torrent has his own health bar separate from yours, so you'll want to keep him topped off by feeding him raisins, which can be crafted using a variety of Rowa Fruits that you collect along your journey.

Meanwhile, all hope isn't lost if Torrent dies, either. He'll be automatically revived any time you use a Site of Grace, or if you're in desperate need of his mobility before reaching a place to rest, you can revive him by using one charge of your Flask of Crimson Tears.

Don’t be afraid to retreat and reset encounters

As mentioned in the last point, using your horse to escape encounters is a nice option to have. In a game as immensely challenging as Elden Ring, you’ll want to ensure that you’re always considering your best approach, especially against the game’s most deadly enemies.

Many areas of the open world will have roaming packs of enemies that may create an oppressive situation for you if you’re caught surrounded and underprepared. Since you may have a large collection of runes that you don’t want to lose, it’s often better to escape on horseback and reset the encounter so that you can scout and reassess how best to tackle the scenario with a new approach. In some cases, it might be best to just escape altogether and return when you’re stronger or have less at stake. Better safe than sorry!

If all else fails, magic is sometimes easier

Look, From Software’s role-playing romps are some of gaming’s most challenging titles, but part of the fun is that satisfying sense of reward that comes from overcoming adversity. It’s important to remember that we all have to start somewhere, though, and that not everyone approaches these games with the same level of skill or knowledge. With that said, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, it might be worth considering a magic build--at least until you get your bearings.

Having the option to keep your enemies at a distance while blasting them with sorceries or incantations can help you overcome areas with which you may have otherwise struggled. You can still dabble in close-up combat and ease your way into that style if that’s something you still want to eventually master.

Even if you’re a veteran of the genre, though, Intelligence and Faith builds still offer their own challenges due to delicate resource management and the need to make clever use of spacing, so don’t worry that magic completely trivializes the game. You can still expect to be tested and broken plenty, but having a little bit of space to breathe can be helpful.

For more on Elden Ring, check out our Elden Ring review.

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