Soulsborne games are well-known for their difficulty, but fans love them because they are as rewarding as they are, at times, frustrating to get through. They are rich in world-building and lore and are some of the best games I've ever played.
But their difficulty, while one of their biggest selling points, is also one of the main reasons some gamers are hesitant to get into them. There is one FromSoftware game that everyone, no matter where they are in their journey, can enjoy: Elden Ring. And with an Elden Ring DLC on the way, it's the perfect time to get into the game if you have yet to do so.
If you are completely new to FromSoft's games and have yet to tackle one of their titles, Elden Ring is the most beginner-friendly of them all. I do want to say that just because Elden Ring is the most beginner-friendly, this doesn't mean that it is easy.
FromSoftware games, as mentioned earlier, are known and loved for their difficulty. They don't allow you to select your difficulty level when you play. You, and everyone else who is playing the game, are going in at the same difficulty and are challenging the same world with the same powerful enemies, which is part of its appeal. So, while it's the most beginner-friendly FromSoftware game to release to date, it's still going to be a challenge.
That all being said, we are a couple who have spent over 300 hours playing the game. Here's everything we think you should know before playing Elden Ring! All of the images in this post were taken from my play-through of the game.
Important Things You Need to Know Before Playing Elden Ring
- Choosing your build
- Map and Map Fragments
- Torrent (Your trusty steed)
- Sites of Grace
- Inventory and Equipment
- Spells and Incantations
- Spirit Ashes
- How to level up in Elden Ring
- Acquiring Runes
- Leveling your weapon(s)
- Crafting items
- Required Bosses in Elden Ring
- Optional Bosses in Elden Ring
- Great Runes
- Respecing with Larval Tears
- Remembrances and Duplicating Remembrances
- Teardrop Scarabs
- Dungeons and Ruins
- Tips for Beginners
Choosing your build
When you first open up the game, you come across your first important choice in the game: the class you want to play. Each class comes with its own unique attributes and stats, as well as a base weapon and armor.
Starting Classes in Elden Ring
- Astrologer - Highest mind and intelligence
- Bandit - Highest arcane
- Confessor - Less faith and mind than the Prophet, but has more points in strength and dexterity
- Hero - Highest strength
- Prisoner - Points in dexterity and intelligence, but low in everything else
- Prophet - Highest faith
- Samurai - Highest endurance
- Vagabond - Highest vigor
- Warrior - Highest dexterity
- Wretch - Lowest in all attributes
If you are new to the game, the best starting classes, in my opinion, are the Astrologer, especially for those of you who want to do a magic, casting build, the Hero, because it has the highest strength, and the Vagabond, because it has the highest vigor and a well-rounded base of stats.
The Samurai is incredible for those of you who like to play in this specific style or want to have high stamina. I found the Samurai to be less beginner-friendly to play than the aforementioned, but it is one of the best and most fun classes to play nonetheless. The Wretch, Prisoner, and Bandit, are the ones I think are the hardest to play and these are the ones that gamers who are new to FromSoftware's games will want to stay away from, or at the very least, be wary of choosing.
The Wretch by far is the hardest class to play, with the Prisoner and Bandit following. The Bandit isn't as beginner-friendly, because of the weapon you start with. It has the highest Arcane out of all of the builds, but it relies heavily on stealth as well as ranged and close-quarters combat.
What I recommend doing is thinking about your play style. How do you want or prefer to play? Do you prefer fast builds and like to get in multiple hits? You may want to play as the samurai. If you want to play as a mage and want to cast spells, you'll want a starting class with higher intelligence as well as mind, like the Astrologer. If you are completely new to FromSoftware's games and don't know which class to choose, I highly recommend choosing the Vagabond. You get a boost in vigor, which is your health, as well as strength, and it is a great base to start from.
Don't be afraid to respec later down the road, though, if you want to change your playstyle. I started out playing as a Vagabond, and now I'm a Faith build. It's fun to switch things up, and if you are at a point where you'd like to do so, I will talk about how you can respec your character with Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, and Larval Tears later on.
Where's the tutorial in Elden Ring?
I want to talk about where the tutorial is in Elden Ring because it's a little hidden. As you are moving through the cave in the beginning, you will come across an area with a hole. At first, you'll think there's no way you can jump down it. But, if you are looking to do the game's tutorial, you will need to do so.
How to level up in Elden Ring
There are many different ways you can acquire runes, which is your in-game currency, in Elden Ring. Runes are used to level up your stats, which in turn level up your character. To level up your character, rest at a Site of Grace.
In Elden Ring, you will be able to level up a variety of different stats, including Vigor, Endurance, Mind, Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Faith, and Arcane. Select weapons as well as spells and incantations require a base level of stats to wield. For instance, the Dark Moon Greatsword requires 38 intelligence, 16 strength, and 11 dexterity to wield.
Adding points to Vigor, Endurance, and Mind increases your character's HP, stamina, and FP (mana) bars, while Strength, Dexterity, Faith, Intelligence, and Arcane are stats that determine the types of weapons, spells, and incantations you can wield. Some have added benefits, like Arcane and Endurance that I'll get into below.
- Vigor - Leveling up Vigor will increase your HP (The red bar in the top corner of your screen)
- Endurance - Increases your stamina and equip load (The green bar in the top corner of your screen)
- Mind - Increases your FP, which is your mana (The blue bar in the top corner of your screen)
- Strength - Strength is needed to use select weapons and some weapons scale in strength
- Dexterity - Dexterity is needed to use select weapons and some weapons scale in strength
- Intelligence - Intelligence is needed to use spells and select weapons scale in intelligence also
- Faith - Faith is needed to use incantations and certain weapons scale in faith also
- Arcane - Arcane is needed to use select weapons and incantations and it increases item discovery (the likelihood that a chance item will drop)
In Elden Ring, you can jump, roll, drink your flasks, change your weapons (both your left and right-hand armaments), you can switch to one-handing or two-handing your weapons, and of course, you can block, parry, or attack. You have both a standard as well as a heavy attack. You can charge your heavy attack by holding R2 on PS5.
Your attack will change if you are running when attacking, jumping when attacking, or rolling when attacking, so be sure to experiment with all of the different move sets you can perform. If you have a weapon that has special skills, you will be able to use those as well. To sneak up on enemies and get backstabs on them, your character has the ability to crouch when prompted to do so by pressing L3.
You will have a number of quick slots that are accessible to you also. You'll be able to call any Spirit Ashes and use any consumables or items that you have equipped in these slots. Quick slots are where you'll want to put your Spectral Steed Whistle too, so that you can call on Torrent and ride on horseback.
You have access to the game's main menu as well as your map at all times. You can zoom in or out on the map. You can set markers also, which makes it much easier to navigate to areas of interest. When you discover new Sites of Grace, they will pop up on your map. To teleport to a Site of Grace, open up your map and select it to travel.
Map and Map Fragments
While you have access to your Map from the get-go, you'll notice when you first open it up that all of the areas are blocked out. In order to light up different regions on your map, you will have to explore and find the Map Fragment for that region. Sometimes you'll see a little signifier on the map as to where this map fragment is. When I get to a new area that I haven't explored before, the first thing I do is look for the Map Fragment.
Elden Ring features a FromSoftware first: You are able to travel via horseback, and this is all thanks to your trusty steed named Torrent. To be able to call Torrent, you have to rest at the Site of Grace and choose the option to speak to your maiden and guide throughout the game, Melina, who will give you the Spectral Steed Whistle. I first received this at the Gatefront Site of Grace, the first Site of Grace most players discover and unlock in the game.
There are three reasons why the addition of a horse is so helpful: (1) When you find yourself in a bind, you call on Torrent to hightail it out of any unsuspected battles or situations you may find yourself in, (2) You can explore the map faster, and (3) you can battle on horseback or use Torrent in battles with larger enemies, like dragons and giants, who commonly roll or fly away from you in the midst of battle. If there's a poison lake, you'll want to hop on Torrent, who isn't affected by poison.
Another thing I want to mention is that, if Torrent falls during battle, you can revive Torrent when prompted to do so with the use of a Crimson Tear Flask.
Spiritsprings look like tall, spiraling wind tunnels. They are oftentimes found near cliffs. When you jump into them with your horse from the ground, they will shoot you up to a higher region. If you are in a higher region and see a Spiritspring on the ground below you, you can jump into the Spiritspring to soften your fall and safely reach the lower ground. As long as you jump into a Spiritspring from high ground, Torrent will take no fall damage.
Some places are only accessible or are more quickly accessible via Spiritsprings, so if you can't find a way up to a region, search for a Spiritspring in the area.
Sites of Grace
Sites of Grace are areas of rest that you'll discover as you are exploring the map. Interacting with the Site of Grace will unlock it. They are easily noticeable thanks to their bright yellow glow and they look like campfires.
Resting at Sites at Grace allows you to:
- Unlock new teleport waypoints
- Replenish your flasks
- Level up your stats
- Allocate and add charges to flasks with Golden Seeds
- Add Sacred Tears to increase the potency of your flasks
- Equip a Great Rune (Accessed through use of Rune Arcs)
- Pass time
- Learn and equip spells and incantations
- Equip or change Ashes of War
- Alter garments
- Sort your chest
- A prompt will also pop up at times to Speak to Melina or others
- Serve as respawn points when you die
Sites of Grace are areas where you can rest and discovering them opens up teleport waypoints on your map that allow you to fast travel. Resting at a Site of Grace replenishes all of your flasks. Sites of Grace are where you will level up your stats as well. I'll talk more about leveling up and how you do so below.
At Sites of Grace, you can do a number of other things. You can pass time at them. This is great if you need to pass time to advance a quest or if you don't want to be out at nighttime when new and unexpected foes await you.
You can change or equip Ashes of War, you can allocate or add charges to your flasks with Golden Seeds, add Sacred Tears, and you can mix your Wondrous Physick. You can learn spells and incantations, which you add to your Memory Slots for use. You equip your spells and incantations at Sites of Grace, not your equipment.
Also important is that you can choose the Great Rune you want to equip at Sites of Grace. When you use a Rune Arc, it will give you the attributes or boosts of the Great Rune you have equipped. Great Runes are acquired by beating Great Rune-bearers, like Godrick and Radahn.
Sometimes, when you rest at a Site of Grace, you will see a prompt that allows you to speak to Melina, your Maiden, and guide throughout the game. This means that you've reached an important area or have accomplished a great feat that progresses or is about to progress the main storyline. Every time you rest at a Site of Grace and see a prompt pop up that allows you to talk to Melina, or anyone else for that matter, you'll want to do so.
At Sites of Grace, you can also alter your garments if you've acquired a Sewing Needle for standard armor or a Gold Sewing Needle for legendary armor. And finally, you can sort your chest. Your chest is storage and it allows you to store unused items, so your inventory doesn't get cluttered. Whenever you want to access something, you just rest at a Site of Grace, and you can add the item(s) you'd like to use back into your inventory.
One last thing I want to note is that if you die, and there wasn't a Stake of Marika nearby, you will respawn at the last Site of Grace that you visited, so having Sites of Grace in the area you are in saves time in the event that you die.
In Elden Ring, you have three different types of flasks, Flask of Crimson Tears, Flask of Cerulean Tears, and a Flask of Wondrous Physick, which you drink to replenish or buff your character.
Flask of Crimson Tears and Flask of Cerulean Tears
In Elden Ring, you have flasks, which replenish your health or your FP (the fuel needed for casting and using special skills). The Flask of Crimson Tears restores your health, while the Flask of Cerulean Tears restores your FP. You'll access these via your quick slots.
You can add charges to your flasks with Golden Seeds and you can allocate these charges to either your Flask of Crimson Tears or Flask of Cerulean Tears. If you are a magic user, you'll need more FP than most. If you are a strength build, you'll need a lot of health. Where you allocate your flasks will depend on your build.
Some weapons consume FP when you use their skills, such as the Dark Moon Greatsword or the Moonveil, so you'll want to consider this when you add charges to your flasks as well.
Golden Seeds and Sacred Tears
There are two important things to look for in the wild that will allow you to increase your number of flasks as well as their potency. They are Golden Seeds and Sacred Tears.
When you've acquired enough Golden Seeds, you can add charges to your flasks when you rest at a Site of Grace. This will increase the number of flasks you have. Sacred Tears, on the other hand, can be found in churches across the map. They increase the potency of your flasks.
Flask of Wondrous Physick
You also have a Flask of Wondrous Physick, which allows you to mix two crystal tears to create a special elixir. Crystal Tears have different as well as temporary effects; some replenish your health, some boost your stamina, others boost your damage or protection, etc.
There are a lot of Crystal Tears that you can acquire throughout the game that have different effects. Some can be found in the wild, but most will be found near Minor Erdtrees or are dropped by Erdtree Avatars.
You can mix your Wondrous Physick at a Site of Grace.
Leveling up your stats
As you traverse the map, defeat bosses and enemies, and find Golden Runes, you will acquire Runes. Runes can be spent to level up your character, but they are also the in-game currency, so you can buy items from merchants and level up your weapons with them as well.
To level up your character, you'll have to first speak to Melina at either the Gatefront of Agheel Lake North Sites of Grace at the very start of the game and accept her offer to you. Melina will then give you the ability to level up with the use of Runes, which you can spend to allocate points to stats of your choosing.
You can then level up your character at Sites of Grace as long as you have the required number of runes to do so. As you increase in level, the cost of leveling up increases. If you are just shy of leveling up or need more runes, check your inventory for Golden Runes.
If you are having trouble deciding what to level up, I highly recommend putting points into Vigor. You will always need more health, and in my opinion, Vigor is the most important stat in this game. Of course, you will also need to invest highly in the stats that your weapon(s) scale in as well, but having high Vigor is a must in this game.
For those of you who have plans to acquire healing incantations in the future, Vigor is still something you'll want to focus on. The best healing spells, most notably Erdtree Heal, aren't accessible until late in the game. And when I say late, Erdtree Heal isn't accessible until the endgame. That all being said, when in doubt, Vigor is the go-to stat that I invest points in.
Ways to acquire Runes
Defeat enemies and bosses
Enemies and bosses give you runes when you defeat them. You'll find areas to farm over the course of the game. The area I farmed early on was near the Agheel Lake North Site of Grace. There is a caravan nearby. The giants pulling that caravan give you 1,000 runes each. Later on, my favorite rune farming spots became Fort Faroth in Caelid and the Palace Approach Ledge-Road Site of Grace in Mohgwyn Palace.
The main bosses give you the most runes. Shardbearers, in particular, as well as required bosses give you a ton of runes when you defeat them. Don't overlook the field bosses or mini-bosses you'll come across in the wild or in dungeons and ruins, though, because they give you a lot of runes too.
Golden Runes can be consumed to acquire runes. They are found all over the map, in graveyards, on corpses, and they are dropped by some enemies. If you hit any of the skulls that have glowing yellow eyes that you commonly see on the ground, they drop Golden Rune 's. To consume your Golden Runes, head into your inventory and select the option to use them.
Here are the different types of Golden Runes you'll find and how many runes they'll give you when consumed:
- Golden Rune  - 200 runes
- Golden Rune  - 400 runes
- Golden Rune  - 800 runes
- Golden Rune  - 1,200 runes
- Golden Rune  - 1,600 runes
- Golden Rune  - 2,000 runes
- Golden Rune  - 2,500 runes
- Golden Rune  - 3,000 runes
- Golden Rune  - 3,800 runes
- Golden Rune  - 5,000 runes
- Golden Rune  - 6,250 runes
- Golden Rune  - 7,500 runes
- Golden Rune  - 10,000 runes
- Numen's Rune - 12,500 runes
- Hero's Rune  - 15,000 runes
- Hero's Rune  - 20,000 runes
- Hero's Rune  - 25,000 runes
- Hero's Rune  - 30,000 runes
- Hero's Rune  - 35,000 runes
- Lord's Rune - 50,000 runes
When you defeat a Shardbearer and receive a remembrance, you can go to Enia at Roundtable Hold to cash it in for one of their powers. For instance, with Godrick's, you can get the Axe of Godrick or Grafted Dragon.
If you don't want either of the items, you can choose to cash in their remembrance by using it in your inventory, which gives you runes instead.
The following bosses give you remembrances:
- Godrick the Grafted
- Renalla, Queen of the Full Moon
- Starscourge Radahn
- Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy
- Fire Giant
- Mohg, Lord of Blood
- Malenia, Blade of Miquella
- Lichdragon Fortissax
- Maliketh, the Black Blade
- Morgott, the Omen King
- Godfrey, First Elden Lord
- Radagon of the Golden Order/Elden Beast
- Astel, Naturalborn of the Void
- Dragonlord Placidusax
- Regal Ancestor Spirit
You can duplicate Remembrances at a Walking Mausoleum, which is a giant moving four-legged structure that looks like something you'd see in Howl's Moving Castle. You'll often hear a loud bell in the areas where these Walking Mausoleums are found. There are a total of 7 Walking Mausoleums in Elden Ring that you can find in various locations. Given that there are 15 Remembrances you can acquire throughout the game, you'll have to pick and choose which ones you'll want to duplicate.
In order to gain entrance into a Walking Mausoleum, you'll have to first stop it in its tracks, and essentially knock it down to the ground. To do so, you'll have to find the white barnacle-looking debris on the Walking Mausoleum and hit them off with your weapon until they fall.
The location of these will vary depending on the Walking Mausoleum you find. Some will require platforming and jumping to reach, while others are located in simple areas, such as their legs. Once you hit enough of them off, they will begin to fall. Be careful as they are falling, because they can crush you as they are doing so, and watch out for their feet or any magic attacks they may have.
Once they have fallen to the ground, you can open the doors, which grant you entrance inside the Walking Mausoleum. Interact with the altar in the center and choose the Remembrance you'd like to duplicate. The ability to duplicate Remembrances is extremely helpful because if you want both items from a Remembrance or want to dual-wield a weapon from a Remembrance, Walking Mausoleums allow you to do so.
Leveling up your weapon(s)
Weapons need two things to level: Smithing Stones (Regular or Somber) and runes. Special weapons require Somber Smithing Stones to level up, while the rest require regular Smithing Stones.
The highest level you can ascend a weapon is +10, but you'll need an Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone or Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone to do so. Dungeons are great places to find smithing stones, but they can be found on corpses and special Teardrop Scarabs drop them too.
To level up your weapon(s), you'll need to go to Smithing Master Hewg in Roundtable Hold. With the right Smithing Stones or Somber Smithing Stones and runes, you can upgrade your weapon(s) all the way up to +10.
Miner's Bell Bearings
Bell Bearings are something you'll want to keep an eye out for as well because there are Smithing Stone Bell Bearings called Miner's Bell Bearings that are extremely useful. When you find a Bell Bearing, give it the Twin Maiden Husks at Rountable Hold, and the items within it will become available for purchase at their shop.
This will allow you to purchase the Smithing Stones or Somber Smithing Stones you need to level up more weapons. The only Smithing Stones and Somber Smithing Stones you won't be able to find a Bell Bearing for are, Smithing Stone , Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone, and Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stone. These are found in the wild.
Where to find all Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearings
- Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Dropped by boss in Raya Lucaria Crystal Tunnel (Liurnia of the Lakes)
- Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Treasure chest in Sealed Tunnel (Capital Outskirts)
- Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Treasure chest in Zamor Ruins (Mountaintop of the Giants)
- Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Dropped by Godskin Duo in Crumbling Farum Azula
Where to find all Somber Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearings
- Somber Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Dropped by boss in Sellia Crystal Tunnel (Caelid)
- Somber Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Dropped by boss in Altus Tunnel (Altus Plateau)
- Somber Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Found on a corpse right outside of the First Church of Marika in the Mountaintops of the Giants
- Somber Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Found on a corpse in Crumbling Farum Azula
- Somber Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing  - Found on a corpse in Crumbling Farum Azula
Inventory and Equipment
Your inventory shows you everything you have acquired over the course of the game. Your equipment, however, is where you'll equip your armor, weapons, talismans, quick slot items, and more. You cannot equip spells or incantations in equipment. You learn and equip spells and incantations at Sites of Grace.
In your equipment, you can equip a helm, chest armor, gauntlets, and greaves if you wish. The weight of armor you can carry will be determined by your endurance. Your character will roll and move slowly if you have too high of an equip load. You'll want to pay attention to this if you want a more nimble, fast-moving character. If you are someone who wants to wear heavier armor or carry heavy weapons, like Greatswords or Colossal Swords, you may want to invest some points in endurance.
I want to talk about the different types of armor you can wear because some come with a boost in stats or have special benefits. You can find complete armor sets, which are commonly dropped by invaders or bosses or are found on corpses, but you can find individual pieces, most commonly helms, as well.
Some give you a boost in stats, like the Queen's Crescent Crown, which increases your intelligence by 3, or the Silver Tear Mask, which increases arcane by eight with a small decrease to your attack power, while others boost your attack, skills, or sorceries, like the White Mask, which is great for blood loss builds, especially given that it raises your attack power by 10% for 20 seconds when blood loss is inflicted, or the Snow Witch Hat, which buffs cold sorceries.
When you pick up a new armor you haven't seen before, be sure you check to see if it has any special affinities or boosts. You can find this out by reading more about it via its item description in your equipment or inventory. Most armor will just boost your protection and defense or is just fashion, but some have extra benefits. For instance, the Black Knife Set makes your footsteps and movements quieter, which is great for stealth and sneaking up on enemies.
When you start the game, you will be given a starting weapon, and this starting weapon changes with each class. For example, the Vagabond starts out with a Longsword, Halberd, and a Heater Shield, while the Samurai starts out with an Uchigatana and Longbow. The weapons that each class starts with are noted when you choose your class at the beginning of the game.
There are a number of different weapons that can be found or obtained as you traverse the map and advance the game. Some are found in treasure chests, while others are dropped by bosses, invaders, and enemies. Some are quest rewards, such as the Dark Moon Greatsword, which you get in Ranni's quest.
There are a number of different weapons that have unique move sets, skills, or Ashes of War and the range of weapons you can choose from are vast, including daggers, straight swords, greatswords, colossal swords, katanas, twin blades, flails, hammers, bows, staffs, seals, and more.
Ashes of War
Some weapons can be equipped with weapon arts/skills called Ashes of War. Ashes of war can be changed or equipped to a weapon when you rest at a Site of Grace after you've acquired the Whetstone Knife that's found in a treasure chest underground in the Gatefront Ruins. Some weapons come with unique Ashes of War already equipped to them.
When you head to the Ashes of War tab in the Site of Grace menu, you'll be able to see whether or not your weapon can be equipped with an Ash of War. You can also change or equip Ashes of War when you visit Blacksmith, Smithing Master Hewg at Roundtable Hold.
Ashes of War can be obtained in a number of ways. You can purchase some of them, but most are found while exploring or are dropped by enemies. Some Teardrop Scarabs, which look like shimmering bugs, drop Ashes of War as well. You'll know you're in the vicinity of a Teardrop Scarab when you hear a twinkling noise. You'll want to sneak up on them and attack them fast because they disappear unless you destroy them quickly.
Some weapons can be coated in grease, which coats your armament in lightning, sleep, holy, fire, etc. There are a lot of different greases you'll come across in the game, which add more damage to your weapon as long as your opponent is weak to it. It is important to note that special weapons cannot be coated in grease.
How to equip and use spells and incantations in Elden Ring
At Sites of Grace, you can learn and equip spells and incantations. You equip your spells and incantations at Sites of Grace, not your equipment as you would with your armor, Talismans, and quick slots. You can only learn a select number of spells, but you can increase your Memory slots by finding Memory Stones, which allow you to equip more spells and incantations.
On PS5, you can switch out your spells or incantations on the D-pad by pressing up and you cast them with L1. To use spells, you will need to have a staff equipped. You can find spells in the wild on corpses and in treasure chests. They are sometimes dropped by bosses and you can buy some from NPCs in the game.
To use incantations, you will need to have a seal equipped. Some spells, like Comet Azur, require high intelligence, while others require less. The same goes for incantations. You can find incantations out in the wild on corpses and in treasure chests. They are sometimes dropped by bosses and you can buy some from NPCs in the games, such as Sorcerous Sellen.
To acquire more spells, you can give these NPCs scrolls, which are found in the wild. To acquire more incantations, you will need to find Prayerbooks. When you find prayerbooks, take them to a learned cleric, such as Miriel, Paster of Vows, who can be found in Liurnia of the Lakes' Church of Vows. The incantations held within the Prayerbooks will be available for purchase after you give the book to them.
Elden Ring has a lot of quests you can complete, but you have to find them. Many NPCs in this game have a questline, so whenever you come across a new NPC, make sure you listen closely to what they have to say and exhaust their dialogue completely. They will either ask you what they need directly or they will drop hints as to what you should do next to progress the questline.
It is important to note too that there is no quest log in Elden Ring. That being said, you have to keep track of the quests you have taken and where you are at within that questline yourself. Some questlines can affect others, like Ranni and Preceptor Seluvis' questlines and Preceptor Seluvis and Nepheli Loux's questlines, while others intersect like the Nepheli Loux and Kenneth Haight questlines. If you kill any NPCs that are important to a questline, they will not advance.
The following NPCs have questlines you can complete:
- Iron Fist Alexander
- Sorceress Sellen
- Gurranq, Beast Clergyman
- D, Hunter of the Dead
- Bloody Finger Hunter Yura
- Nepheli Loux
- Kenneth Haight
- White Mask Varré
- Brother Corhyn
- Sorceror Rogier
- Preceptor Seluvis
- Dung Eater
- Latenna the Albinauric
- Jar Bairn
- Knight Bernahl
- Blackguard Big Boggart
- Boc the Seamster
- Shabriri (Only follow if you want the Lord of Frenzied Flame ending)
Note: If you complete Fia and Ranni's questlines, their unique endings will be available to you at the end of the game.
To be able to craft items in Elden Ring, you'll have to purchase a Crafting Kit from Merchant Kalé in Limgrave. After doing so, you can enter the main menu and select "Item Crafting". You can craft items as long as you have the recipe as well as the items to do so. To acquire more recipes, you will need to find or purchase cookbooks. You can craft ammunition, like arrows and darts, consumables, like grease and boluses, and more.
Merchants are spread throughout the map and some have helpful items
As you explore the lands, you'll stumble across merchants. These merchants each have a set of items they are selling, and some have helpful items that I want to call out.
One such item can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant in Liurnia of the Lakes and the Isolated Merchant in Weeping Peninsula. They sell a lantern, which is extremely helpful in dark dungeons. Since the lantern is available for purchase in a region outside of Limgrave, you'll want to first purchase the torch from the merchant in the Church of Elleh.
When you reach Liurnia and make your way to the Isolated Merchant in Weeping Peninsula, you'll want to use the lantern instead of the torch. When you use a torch, you can't equip a second weapon and you cannot two-hand your weapon while holding one as well. The lantern, on the other hand, equips to your character and doesn't have to be held, which is nice. Just equip it to a quick slot in your inventory and you can use it whenever you please.
Another helpful item, the Beast-Repellent Torch, can be purchased from the Isolated Merchant in Dragonbarrow (a region of Caelid). The Beast-Repellent Torch is enormously helpful in areas where beasts reside. When you hold it, it repels them, making your trek through these regions less treacherous.
I also found the Beast-Repellent Torch to be helpful when crossing the Lake of Rot. Because I was worried so much about getting Scarlet Rot, I didn't have time to worry about fighting the basilisks that lie await on the safe havens you'll find sprinkled throughout the lake. With the Beast-Repellent Torch, they'll leave you alone. Needless to say, there are many occasions where I've found the Beast-Repellent Torch to be helpful, so it's something you'll want to purchase as soon as you can.
Some merchants sell cookbooks that allow you to craft items too. To be able to craft items, you'll have to purchase a Crafting Kit from Merchant Kalé in Limgrave. The Crafting Kit is another important item that I highly recommend purchasing as soon as you can.
Respecing with Larval Tears
After defeating Rennala, you will be able to respec with the use of Larval Tears. Larval Tears can be found all around the map. They are found on corpses and are dropped by bosses. They can also be purchased from the Pidia, Carian Servant, or the Nomadic Merchant in the Siofra River. You must have a Larval Tear in your possession to undergo rebirth and respec your character with Rennala.
When you go to Rennala at the Academy of Raya Lucaria, she will give you the option to accept rebirth. Rebirth allows you to allocate the points you've acquired into different stats, which is great if you want to switch to a new build. Weapons, spells, and incantations all require different stats to wield and they scale in different stats as well, so if you acquire a new weapon over the course of your journey, but can't wield it, rebirth is an option.
Some Talismans boost your stats, like the Stargazer Heirloom Talisman, which raises your Intelligence by 5, or the Starscourge Heirloom, which raises your Strength by 5. If you can get the base stats needed to wield a weapon via Talismans, you may want to consider doing so. But, if you want to switch completely to a new build, you will need to allocate all points possible to the stats that your weapon(s) scale in.
I personally respeced twice over the course of the game. Once to wield the Sword of Night and Flame and another to wield the Blasphemous Blade. Since I focused mainly on increasing my Intelligence points, and less so on Faith, which the Sword of Night and Flame also requires to wield, I was able to wield the Dark Moon Greatsword and cast spells as well. Since the Dark Moon Greatsword scales incredibly in Intelligence, I allocated all the points I could there and used the Starscourge Heirloom talisman to achieve the base level of strength required to wield this weapon.
Later on in the game, I decided to reallocate the points I invested in intelligence entirely into faith for the Blasphemous Blade. Changing your build-up is fun, and if you find yourself getting bored or hitting a wall with a build, respecing is a great way to change things up.
Of course, different builds have different strengths and weaknesses too. In Soulsborne games, these weaknesses can often be overcome through strategy, so respecing, while a great option for those who may find themselves stuck on a boss, is mostly a great way to try out new playstyles and mix things up.
Some Teardrop Scarabs, which look like shimmering bugs, drop Ashes of War and items, like Smithing Stones, while others refill your flasks (These Teardrop Scarabs are blue or red). You'll know you're in the vicinity of a Teardrop Scarab when you hear a twinkling noise.
You'll want to sneak up on them and attack them fast because they disappear unless you destroy them quickly. Some Teardrop Scarabs roll away as you are chasing them as well, so stealth, ranged attack, or speed is necessary to reach them before they fade away.
Great Runes and Rune Arcs
When you defeat a Shardbearer, you are given a remembrance, which you can cash in for one of the two items or consume for runes, and a Great Rune. Great Runes give you added benefits and boosts, which you acquire when you use a Rune Arc. Great Runes are activated at Divine Towers, which are found across the map.
To equip or change Great Runes, you can do so at a Site of Grace. Remember that once you equip the Great Rune, you will only access its power and benefits when you use a Rune Arc, which you can find on corpses, in treasure chests, purchase from select merchants, and more.
The Divine Towers are located in Limgrave (Godrick's Great Rune), Caelid (Radahn's Great Rune), Liurnia (Quest item, Cursemark of Death), in-between Altus Plateau and Leyndell in the Capital Outskirts (Rykard's Great Rune), Capital Outskirts (Morgott's Great Rune, Mogh's Great Rune), Isolated Divine Tower (Malenia's Great Rune).
Talismans are equipped in your Equipment and they give you special effects. Some give you a boost in stats, while others enhance things like your attack power or decrease spell-casting time. The Talismans you go after and equip will depend on your build. Talismans can be found on corpses or treasure chests or purchased from merchants. Some are dropped by bosses and enemies and others are quest rewards.
You can only hold a certain number of Talismans, and the number you can hold is dictated by the number of Talisman Pouches you acquire. You can increase the number of Talismans you can hold by getting more Talisman Pouches. The most Talismans a player can equip is 4. These Talismans will remain in your equipment, and you will receive their passive effects.
Keep an eye out for any negatives that these Talismans may come with. While most will just positively affect your character, some come with a catch. For instance, Radagon's Soreseal will increase your vigor, endurance, strength, and dexterity by 5, but it also increases your damage taken by 15%. Some of these talismans have a risk/reward that you may want to consider before equipping them.
Spirit Ashes can be found all throughout The Lands Between in chests, on corpses, or dropped by bosses, and they are spirits that can be summoned during battle to aid you in your fight.
You can't use them in select battles or situations, but on most occasions, you will be able to summon a Spirit Ash, which helps aggro the boss, allows you to maintain your health, focus on dealing damage, and gives you more time to assess the situation.
To use Spirit Ashes, you must talk to Ranni, who gives you a Spirit Calling Bell that allows you to call upon Spirit Ashes in battle. There are some early-game ashes you can get. The first is from Roderika in the Stormhill Shack. When you exhaust her dialogue, she will ask you to take her Jellyfish Ashes and give them a good home. The Lone Wolf Ashes and Skeletal Militiaman Ashes are other early game finds that you can utilize as well.
In the early game, I found the Skeletal Militiaman Ashes, which is dropped by Tibia Mariner in Summonwater Village, to be helpful. They are one of the most helpful early-game Spirit Ashes because they respawn when they aren't dealt critical hits and they are decent at distracting enemies in battle.
Later, I found the Mimic Tear Ashes, which are found in a chest in Night's Sacred Ground that's accessed with a Stonesword Key, and Black Knife Tiche Ashes, which is dropped by the boss at Ringleader's Evergaol in Liurnia, to be the most helpful and effective, so I highly recommend switching to these when you acquire them.
Upgrading Spirit Ashes
You need to level up your Spirit Ashes. To do so, you'll want to find Grave Glovewort for standard Spirit Ashes or Ghost Glovewort for Renowned Spirit Ashes. The highest level Spirit Ashes can be upgraded to is +10. Once you have the required leveling items, you need to visit your Spirit Tuner, Roderika, in Roundtable Hold to upgrade them.
If you don't see Roderika in Roundtable Hold, you need to find her in Stormhill Shack and exhaust her dialogue. You will need to go to Stormveil Castle and get Chrysalids' Memento. Once you do, return to Roderika and give it to her. She will then move to Roundtable Hold. You'll find her near the fireplace in the main room. Exhaust her dialogue then go talk to Smithing Master Hewg about her. You'll need to repeat this process until she moves into the same room as Smithing Master Hewg. Once she does so, you can upgrade your Spirit Ashes.
As you are exploring, you may be invaded by NPC invaders. You cannot summon Spirit Ashes when you are invaded. One easy way to tell you are being invaded is if you are suddenly knocked off your horse. A little notice at the bottom of your screen will eventually pop up as well that tells you you are being invaded and by who. These invaders only pop up when you enter select locations.
When you defeat an NPC invader, you will be rewarded with a drop.
Required Bosses in Elden Ring
These are the bosses that you will have to beat to progress the main storyline. Most players will come across them in the following order:
- Two Shardbearers (Either Godrick the Grafted (see note), Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon (see note), Starscourge Radahn, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, Morgott, the Omen King, Mohg, Lord of Blood, or Malenia, Blade of Miquella) must be defeated to get to the Royal Capital of Leyndell
- Godfrey, First Elden Lord (Golden Shade) in Leyndell, Royal Capital
- Morgott, the Omen King in Leyndell, Royal Capital
- Fire Giant in Mountaintops of the Giants
- Godskin Duo in Crumbling Farum Azula
- Maliketh, the Black Blade in Crumbling Farum Azula
- Godfrey, First Elden Lord, Hoarah Loux in Leyndell, Ashen Capital
- Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing in Leyndell, Ashen Capital
- Radagon of the Golden Order in Leyndell, Ashen Capital
- Elden Beast in Leyndell, Ashen Capital
Note: If you choose to fight either Shardbearer Godrick the Grafted or Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, there are mandatory bosses you need to defeat to get to them. You have to defeat Margit, the Fell Omen to get to Stormveil Castle where Godrick the Grafted is and you have to beat the Red Wolf of Radagon to get to Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon in Raya Lucaria Academy.
Optional Bosses in Elden Ring
Optional bosses can be found all over the map, out in the wild, in dungeons and ruins, evergaols, and Minor Erdtrees. As mentioned above, you have to defeat two Shardbearers (Godrick the Grafted, Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, Starscourge Radahn, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, Morgott, the Omen King, Mohg, Lord of Blood, or Malenia, Blade of Miquella) to get to the Royal Capital of Leyndell.
It doesn't matter which ones you choose to challenge, but you must be in possession of two Great Runes, which you acquire from beating these bosses. Once you have two, the rest of the demigods are optional, but defeating them is one of the best ways to acquire runes that allow you to level up.
Godrick the Grafted (Found in Stormveil Castle) and Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon (Found in Raya Lucaria Academy) are the two I recommend fighting. Not only will you come across these two early on in the game, but their Great Runes have nice benefits. Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon's allows you to respec over the course of the game and undergo "rebirth" with the use of Larval Tears, and Godrick the Grafted's Great Rune raises all attributes by five when you use a Rune Arc.
Depending on what you want to achieve and the quests you want to complete, though, you will need to defeat some bosses. For example, if you want to complete Ranni's quest, one of the best quests in the game that has its own ending, you will have to defeat Starscourge Radahn.
Dungeons and Ruins
While a lot of dungeons are denoted on your map as small red circles that are oftentimes found near cliff ledges, some dungeons can't be accessed without the use of a Stonesword Key and others are hidden entirely.
Some dungeon entrances aren't revealed until you hit a certain spot with your weapon. There are interactive maps that show where all of the dungeons are. If you reach a location and don't see an opening in the wall, you'll want to start hitting it with your weapon to see if it has a hidden entrance.
Dungeons are a great place to find leveling materials for Spirit Ashes and weapons as well. Smithing Stones (Both regular and Somber) as well as Ghost and Grave Glovewort are found in dungeons.
Ruins, on the other hand, oftentimes appear on your map as spots of broken-up pillars and buildings. They are great places to acquire loot, and they have underground passageways which lead you to a treasure chest.
In ruins, you'll want to keep an eye out on the ground and be on the lookout for these underground passageways. Most will be visible, but there are some hidden passageways also. If you search a ruin entirely and don't find an underground staircase, you'll want to look for messages that may lead you to a hidden one. You have to hit the ground in the right area to reveal these hidden passageways.
The underground passageways either take you directly to a treasure chest, or you will have to defeat a boss before you can access the treasure chest. Weapons, spells, incantations, ashes, and more can be found in these treasure chests.
Evergaols are challenges, where you battle a boss one on one, that are often denoted as circles on your map. You cannot summon Spirit Ashes in Evergaols. They are optional, but I highly recommend doing them, because they have good item drops and they are a great way to acquire runes and further hone your skills as well. They are risk-free too. When you die in an Evergaol, your runes will spawn outside of the arena, so you don't have to venture back inside to obtain them.
One of the reasons Elden Ring is such an amazing game is that it has so much going on, but there's so much to do and so much that can happen, that it can be overwhelming at times. I hope this post is helpful in those times. Elden Ring truly is one of the best games to ever release and I hope you enjoy exploring The Lands Between!
You can play Elden Ring now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. And if you end up enjoying the game, be sure to keep an eye out for the Elden Ring DLC that was just announced.