Elden Ring is the newest and baddest souls-like out on the market. It is a frustratingly difficult experience paired with a beautiful in-game world. With the popularity of this new release, I thought it’d be fitting to give a few tips for newer players that I had to struggle with when I first started. This is not a completely inclusive list of everything you need to know, but rather a template to help your first couple of hours of gameplay be more enjoyable. Without further ado, here are a couple tips and tricks to help you survive in the world of Elden Ring:
The first step to starting a playthrough of Elden Ring is the character selection process. Within Elden Ring, there are ten different classes to pick from that have a variety of implications. Each class has different base stats that will not be able to be changed for the rest of the game, along with having a variety of different starter loadouts. For new players, I would recommend choosing the Samurai class as it has both great base stats and starting items for a beginner’s playstyle. Typically, whatever class you choose will have a couple of stats that it specializes in. These are the attributes you will want to put the majority of your points into considering there are already so many in it. The Samurai has solid dexterity, strength, endurance, and vigor, all stats that you’ll want to level up as you amass levels. This will allow you to take some hits (which is going to happen regardless of you wanting it to or not) and still deal really good damage.
Another class that would be great for a starting player (depending on how long you plan on playing) is the Astrologer class for mage builds. Mage combat is much less mechanically intensive compared to melee combat considering you don’t have to get as close to the enemy as you would with a melee build. There are a number of early game spells you’ll gain access to that you’ll be able to use relatively quickly with your starting staff. For stats, put your points into mind, intelligence, a bit of dexterity to improve your spell cast time, and vigor if you feel you need the extra health to stay alive.
If you are more of a souls veteran, the wretch class is essentially a blank canvas that starts at level one. You will be extremely weak for the first couple hours of gameplay, but it gives you the freedom to create whatever build you would like based on what items you find in game. The wretch class is also amazing for respecs as you do not have to have any wasted points if you want to go with a build your base character does not specialize in. Ultimately, the choice is yours but up next is combat!
Combat within Elden Ring is unlike any other game (if you have not played a souls game or Sekiro) in that you cannot just keep attacking like many hack and slash style games. Elden Ring combat is all about timing in terms of rolls and blocking. Whenever you roll, your character goes into a brief invincibility phase known as ‘iframes.’ This is the critical aspect of Elden Ring you are going to need to master if you want to beat the game or even just the first boss. The timing for every creature you will run into will be different, but are generally intuitive once you get the hang of it. That being said, each creature type will retain the same combo styles meaning that you can learn the combos of an enemy through multiple trials of dying until you figure it out. You will die in this game, just get used to it.
Another important aspect of combat to consider is the use of flasks. These allow you to either heal your character or recover some FP (mana) depending on which flask you use. You can allocate how many flasks of each you have at a Site of Grace. The number of flasks you can have can be increased by Golden Seeds (generally found as you progress) or the amount the flasks heal/recover can be increased with Sacred Tears. If you are running the melee Samurai build, I’d recommend allocating all of the flasks to heals except for one (if you want). This will allow you to recover mana after summoning spirits but, more importantly, have as many heals as possible. For mana users, allocate as many mana pots as you feel you need, but try to always keep a couple of heals on you just in case.
Spirit Summons are an immense help for challenging bosses or even some mini-bosses found throughout the land. For most, the first decent spirit summon you’ll get are the lone wolf ashes. These ashes are a gift from the witch Renna (along with the needed Spirit Calling Bell) after talking to her at night at the Church of Elleh. Using these during tough encounters can both deal decent damage to the enemy and provide a welcome distraction to get some hits in or heal up. Spirit summons do cost a decent chunk of FP, so be sure to have some mana pots on you if you need to keep using FP.
In general, it is a good idea to get used to the map system in Elden Ring. All Sites of Grace that have already been found can be used as a fast-travel point. This makes traversing the massive map much easier to do. It also helps during farming as all enemies are reset whenever interacting with a Site of Grace (along with healing your character).
A useful combat interaction that is often used is the sneaking critical strike. Simply crouch walk up to an enemy that is facing away and press attack. If done right, a small animation will play that does a ton of damage, often one-shotting weaker mobs. This also can be done in normal combat but is a bit harder to do.
Rolling uses a fair amount of stamina (along with attacking), so it is wise to try and time the roll with the enemies attack rather than just spamming the roll button. This lets you get in more counter-attacks and keeps your stamina bar more full.
You will have the option to respec your character after defeating a few main bosses. This doesn’t mean you should spend your levels on random skills, but it should help ease your mind if you are nervous you leveled the wrong skills.
The wikipedia for Elden Ring is one of the most useful resources for figuring out where an item is or what you need to do next. I would try to experience the game fully first without the wiki, but if you get stuck take a peek at the wiki just to save some time and make progress.
The world of Elden Ring is absolutely massive and absolutely terrifying. From ambush attacks to pairs of dragons, there are an untold amount of creatures out there trying to kill you. Hopefully, a couple of these tips will help you survive just a bit longer in that world and, if you’re dedicated, become the next Elden Lord.
Heading image courtesy of polygon.com