With nary a tutorial and high difficulty, Elden Ring isn't the most inviting title in the world for beginners. Fortunately, it's not nearly as intimidating as it might seem at first glance. So we've put together a guide of tips and tricks that'll help new players survive their initial hours in the Lands Between. If you’re finding that you’re struggling at the onset or have no real idea how to move forward in what can ultimately be a punishing environment, look no further. We’ve got you covered. You’ll be sporting that Elden Lord title in no time.
Death is the Path to Victory
Most games treat death as an end state or a punishment, but that's not the case with Elden Ring. If this is your first time playing, you will die, and the game expects you to learn from that. Enemy placement and behavior remain the same regardless of how many times you pass through an area. So, the idea is that as you die, you'll learn a little bit more about how to get past your foes until you finally push to the next Site of Grace.
Heal, Heal Heal
Don't be afraid to burn those Flasks of Crimson Tears. Every point of HP counts, especially early on, and you'll want to keep max health as much as possible. A few swipes from even lower-end enemies can take you out when you first find yourself in Limgrave, and it's better to run out of Crimson Tears than die with unspent charges.
Learn Your I-Frames
Invincibility Frames (I-Frames) are points in animations where you're invulnerable to an enemy attack. The most significant source of these vital moments is the roll. There is (almost) no attack in the game you can't roll through if you time it right. Unfortunately, the timing for this clicks for some people but not for others. If you're constantly mistiming rolls, go and find one of Godrick's Soldiers in the first area and practice against them until you get it down. Once you do, the game becomes much easier.
Heavyweights Don't Win Here
You'll be at light, medium, or heavy load, depending on what gear you have equipped. This primarily affects your roll speed, and you'll want to avoid being at a heavy load at all costs. The roll is your most crucial defensive move, and being at heavy load makes you a sitting duck against quicker enemies.
Patience is a Virtue
Aggression is not rewarded in this game for the most part, especially early on. You need to study your enemies, learn their movesets and weaknesses and strike when the moment is right. Elden Ring is more about rhythm than hacking and slashing, and if you try to fight against that, then enemies will quickly overwhelm and defeat you.
Don't Sweat Your Stats
Don't sweat your stats too much when you use your Runes to level up. Going with vigor, endurance, strength, and dexterity early in the game will let you equip many of the weapons you find and give you tangible increases to your longevity and damage output. Later on in the game, you'll unlock a way to respec your character, and you can fully redistribute all your stat points.
Don't be Afraid to Bounce Off
Elden Ring is a tough game, but it's also, thankfully, very open-ended. If you hit a point that you can't get past no matter how many times you attempt it, just leave. Go somewhere else and explore for a while. By the time you scour a few caves and ruins, you'll likely have leveled up and found new gear that'll make the part you were stuck on a lot easier.
It's honorable to give the AI a fair fight, but honor doesn't guarantee victory. If you see a way to cheese a foe, then go for it. The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against you, and almost everything you see in the game will try to kill you. So, if you can trick an enemy into killing itself by aggroing it and running away from it until it falls off a cliff, that's just fair play.
Invest in a Ranged Attack
A melee-only build can beat Elden Ring, but there are going to be some instances where not having a ranged attack puts you at an extreme disadvantage. Unless you stubbornly refuse to use ranged attacks, you should invest in a bow and the stats to use it. Some enemies are very hard to reach with a melee attack, and having a bow allows you to get cheesy when needed by hitting an enemy while you're out of their reach.
The Lands Between are absolutely huge. Just when you think you've found everything, you'll see more ruins or another dungeon and get sucked into another hour of content. Exploring gets you valuable gear that allows you to refine your character's build into the perfect fit for you. Some of the coolest places in the game are optional, so don't make a beeline to the Elden Throne. Instead, take the time to drink in the incredible world FromSoftware has created.
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