Elden Ring: 5 things I wish I knew sooner

by Ben Kirby

Elden Ring is the recent phenomenon that every man and their dog has been talking about. Myself included!

This is for good reason because it’s bloody brilliant. Being great, giving players true agency over their experience, and providing a solid challenge, are the cornerstones of Eden Ring. You’re just left to it, and that is absolutely the best way to go.

Having true control over your own personal narrative is something a lot of games are scared to allow. Holding your hand to great extents sometimes.

I mean, I literally had to build my own lists and database of things to do, places to go and equipment I wanted to fetch. Elden Ring is most rewarding because you have to put the work in, to get through it.

There are a few things I wish it was better at putting across though, just to make that “first time” a little more manageable.

Here are the 5 things I wish it told me before I spent a long time doing things a little incorrectly.

Elden Ring landscape

Go where you like

Arguably one lesson that Elden Ring does try to teach you is that you’re not tied to a specific boss at any particular time.

If you’re banging your head against a brick wall and not getting anywhere quick. Just go somewhere else.

I got stuck trying to get through Stormvale Castle and just buggered off for 5 hours. Exploring the map, going for gear and levelling up.

I think FromSoftware try to teach you this with the Tree Sentinel early on because he’s tough as nails when you’re just starting out. You just need to avoid him.

Using that lesson, and mentally accepting that you’re truly free to just go where you like can stop you from getting caught in a rut.

Get stuck? Just go for a wander, come back later.

Don’t use those golden runes all willy-nilly

Oh, how I wish I knew this in those opening hours…

Runes are the currency of Elden Ring. Used to buy things and to level up. If you die, your runes are left in the area of your death. Should you die before you can go back to them, they’re gone forever.

Golden Runes are consumable items that give you additional runes when you use them. So, of course, you want more runes, right?!

I was popping them as soon as I got them, to enhance my rune count. Only to lose them, often (Elden Ring likes to kill you).

Use the golden runes as a savings account. Just use them to top up what you have on hand, as and when you need them.

Almost enough runes to level up? Use a golden rune or two to get what you need. The item you want just needs a few more? Pop that golden rune!

Golden Runes stay in your inventory, regardless of death, so don’t panic about losing them when you die. Save them for when you need to top up what you have. Then Eden Ring can’t shaft you for them all!

Elden Ring claws

Talk talk talk

As sparse as the world of Elden Ring can feel at times. There are NPCs all over the place, and whilst the game refuses to help you in a narrative sense, these characters can be integral to different endings and some storylines.

The problem is, without the usual on-screen markers telling you what to do once a dialogue option is triggered, you can get a bit stuck. Sometimes, a simple quick dialogue exchange won’t actually achieve anything.

Exhaust the dialogue of all NPCs. Just keep talking until they repeat a line. That way you’ll glean the information you need from them AND it should help trigger any storyline changes/advancement.

Be chatty out there!

You don’t have to “be” a samurai

I wrote a little bit about this the other day, and I can’t emphasise this enough. Your starting class doesn’t dictate a role for you to play.

Elden Ring is a game that urges you to build a character exactly the way you want it. Not to role-play the class you choose (you can if you want!). I was so stuck on playing as a samurai, I didn’t deviate from weapon types and armour.

Toy around with your gear and stats, don’t get yourself stuck in a corner because you’re playing something really specific.

That’s not the point of Elden Ring. I wish someone told me that early on.

Elden Ring castle

Get help if you need it

Boss fights are a big deal in Souls games. The defining trait of these games is difficult boss fights. People soloing them using a drum kit or a biro waved in the air. It’s impressive, and the challenge is fun.

Elden Ring is no different. The satisfaction from ending a boss is like no other game. But don’t let the community fool you into thinking it isn’t ok to ask for help.

The game has a built-in system for you to summon online players to help you. There’s no shame in using it, and it can make some fights more fun as you work together with strangers to take down some of the hardest bosses you’ll ever encounter.

You can help people, too! Go and help someone that’s in the same boat you were at some point. It’s actually really satisfying in its own way.

Have fun!

Elden Ring is tough and doesn’t hold your hand, but it’s better because of that, not in spite of it. Remember what I’ve shared here and you’ll have a good start.

Just enjoy Elden Ring and stick it out. It really is as good as everyone says.

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