So you bought Elden Ring! Or, like me, your boyfriend gifted it to you for Valentine’s Day. This was my first Souls game — I had played Demon’s Souls briefly back on the PS3, but barely even played through the tutorial on a rented copy.
I also got the game with a list of beginner tips, but I could already tell some of them were for beginners and some were for players who had played other Soulslikes, and not Elden Ring. I hadn’t played any of them, so I isolated 8 of the best tips after I had played past Godrick and Rykard.
I can confidently proclaim these are the 8 best tips for ACTUAL beginners to Elden Ring.
Simply Put: You Gotta Roll
After I finally felt proficient at Elden Ring’s combat, I started calling the game Elden Roll, much to my boyfriend’s chagrin. Shields are great, and the game’s tutorial teaches you how to use them, but they aren’t necessary for melee builds — and they aren’t very popular either.
Why? Well, rolling is how you avoid all damage and shields are how you avoid some damage. Rolling gets you the enemy’s offense and opens them up for counterattacks, and it doesn’t require you to sacrifice your stamina by blocking huge attacks.
If you’re able to predict when the boss’ huge sword falls, you can roll instead of just holding block and be much better off.
Get the crafting kit ASAP
Go north past the starting area and you’ll find the Church of Elleh. Inside the church is an NPC who can sell you the crafting kit for a measly 300 runes.
The crafting kit unlocks nearly every basic consumable recipe in the game; I recommend playing around with these early to find the consumables that work best for your build. You can make special grease to buff your weapon, items to heal your mount, and tons of goodies.
If you’re like me, and didn’t know to go grab the crafting kit until later, you might end up playing through the entire early game without really using these. Don’t ignore them!
Unlock Spirit Summons ASAP too
This is apparently a controversial opinion, but I never want to play through Elden Ring without Spirit Summons because of how much easier they make gameplay. They never do as much damage as a smart player, but they can take aggro and damage away from you and let you smash Light Attack longer.
To unlock them, go to the Church of Elleh where you got the crafting kit, and make sure it’s night time. (Rest at a Site of Grace if it isn’t). Resting while it’s night will trigger a visit from an NPC who gives you the Spirit Calling Bell, and from there, you can unlock other summons to help you through the game.
Managing Weight and Roll Speed
The speed of your dodge roll in Elden Ring is related to the weight of your equipment. Every item you carry has a weight, and if you don’t manage your inventory carefully, you will become too slow to be effective in combat.
The speed of your dodge roll corresponds to a percentage of your equipment weight: a light roll is possible at 30% equipment load, a medium roll at 70%, a heavy roll at 71%, and if you exceed 100% load, you will become overburdened and unable to dodge.
For beginners, I suggest staying in the “medium” range. If you find yourself wanting to carry more items and maintain a quick roll speed, level the Endurance stat.
Weapon Upgrades are Big Game in Elden Ring
One of the best ways to improve your performance in Elden Ring, no matter where you are in the game, is through a weapon upgrade. Weapon levels have a significant impact on the damage you deal, especially against early bosses like Margit. To upgrade your weapons in early levels, visit the Church of Elleh and use the anvil near the shopkeep. Later on, you will need to visit the Roundtable Hold and speak to Blacksmith Hewg, who will allow you to upgrade your weapons and equip new skills.
Roundtable Hold will be unlocked naturally as you progress through the main story, and it acts as a hub throughout the game.
Regular weapons can get up to level 25 through Smithing Stones. Special weapons can get to level 10 with Somber Smithing Stones. You’ll acquire these crafting materials naturally as loot from enemies, chests quests, so don’t stress too hard about them.
Flask Upgrades Are, Too
Your flask is your best friend throughout the entirety of Elden Ring. It’s your main source of healing and mana regeneration. Thankfully, you can upgrade the flask by finding two crafting items.
- Sacred Tears: You find these in the ruins of buildings and churches, and they’re used to upgrade the amount that the flask restores.
- Golden Seeds: You find these on small trees that glow golden; they upgrade the amount of charges your flask has.
Strength and Dexterity builds will probably allocate all of their charges to Crimson Tears for health, while magic-users will probably allocate some charges to Cerulean Tears for mana.
You Can Make the Map Usable with Fragments
When you first start playing, the World Map is going to just look like it’s covered in fog of war. Or maybe coffee stains. Regardless, to make the map actually usable, you have to find items instead of explore. Too much World of Warcraft conditioned me to just explore if I want to light up the map, but that’s not the case here.
Map Fragments are found at pillars that are usually near main roads. If you’ve already been to a place but can’t find the map fragment to actually make the area explored, open the map and zoom in as far as you can. If you can find an icon that looks like one of the pillars, there’ll be a map fragment there. These icons will only show up if you’ve already trudged through the location, though.
Don’t Level Up Everything
Maybe this goes without saying, but don’t spread your level-up points over every stat. If you don’t focus on one, two or even three stats, you won’t be able to use some of the coolest equipment that requires high stats to use.
Most people will refer to their character’s build in general terms like “Strength build” or “Faith build,” and that’s because those are their core focus stats. Yes, Endurance can raise your weight capacity, but if you really want to blast lasers at the bosses, you should really make sure you focus your points into certain stats and not just level up whichever one you feel like upgrading.
Conversely, don’t bother leveling up your magic capabilities if you’re just going to swing a huge club around like me.