ELDEN RING: Beginner Tips (Spoiler-Free)

Here is a selection of Elden Ring tips designed for newcomers to the games and those having trouble getting started! This guide is designed to give you a bunch of quick tips to browse – but there is much more info out there once you’ve gotten started!


General Tips

  • Do the “optional” tutorial: There is an optional tutorial dungeon at the start if you jump into the hole, very recommended to unlock it and you can use it to test new weapons. This tutorial dungeon is where you will be shown how to do basic combat like blocking and back stabbing.
  • Unlearn habits: You may be in the habit of jamming buttons or relying on waypoints and narration in games – but this game is a little different and it’s often for a game design reason. It wants you to be more present, but there’s usually some direction or indication on screen of what is happening or what you could do.
  • Reconceptualize the game: If you are thinking you are playing Assassins’ Creed or Dragon Age because it looks similar (third person, fantasy), you will have trouble. Try thinking of it as a horror game or a survival game – every step forward and every moment you are not currently dead is progress.
  • Don’t get sad: Remember, this game doesn’t play into lazy game design with obvious victory conditions – that also means the real reward is getting to explore and learn things and see weird stuff. You are totally still “winning” if you are just exploring in random directions and avoiding scary bosses.
  • Mix up playstyles: This game offers many options. Don’t feel you need to beat enemies – almost every enemy in the game is technically optional. Go do something else if you are stuck. You can level, change weapons, summon help, use your mount, try stealth, try ranged attacks. Don’t get stuck thinking something is impossible, it wouldn’t be there if it was. Often there is a “trick” that makes an enemy easier once you get it.
  • Info in inventory: There is an “info” section in your inventory that holds tutorials and “tips” you can buy from vendors. You can also find out more about items and moves and spells by examining them in your inventory.
  • Play with item slot configurations: You can equip flasks to your quick item menu. I personally put the horse on “up” to make it easier to use in combat and my flasks on “left” (HP), “right” (Mystik) and “down” (FP) so I never accidentally heal while trying to use combat items anymore.
  • Items required for slots: In this game you need items to unlock more spell slots and to unlock more equip slots for the special items (that replace rings in previous games). Throwing items (the equivalent of firebombs in Souls games) may require items like “cracked pots” which are essentially slots for crafting and holding.
  • Get NPC or multiplayer help: If you are having trouble solo remember you can summon to help! This actually makes this game MUCH easier than many linear single player games. Co-op is much easier to get into than prior souls games, just craft the item to summon.
  • Co-op to learn: Joining someone else’s game is a great way to learn a new area with NO risk. Watch what your new friends do and when you summon into your game to get help use emotes to “say” you are confused or lost they will usually lead you around!
  • Look things up: These games are designed to reward exploration and make you feel the mystery, but also they reward learning and cooperation outside the game. It’s ok to check the wiki to look up where to get an item or get build ideas still have to trek across the map and brave challenges to get it. When I find something amazing, I let my partner know and they mark it on their map.
  • Run back runes: When you die and know you will die again, you can get your runes and run back towards the save point, and keep running them back while dying until you are safe. Tense but effective! You don’t need to beat what killed you to get them back.
  • Don’t forget your mount: The mount is like parrying in Sekiro, it completely changes this game from previous Souls games including combat. The open world, including enemy placement, is designed around it. Don’t forget it. You really won’t be handling giant groups of enemies easily without it.
  • Target to find danger: The game designers don’t want you getting out of the immersion with item outlines (like you see in Dragon Age, Horizon or Cyberpunk), but you can still use your right stick click to find enemies by targeting them. In a new area and scared? Not sure where someone is hiding? Try targeting and see if it picks up an enemy with the white dot.
  • Enemies drop what they have: See a weapon or armor that you like? Chances are the enemy holding it drops it. This is random, so you may have to kill them many times. Most really great weapons, though, are found somewhere as an item on the ground or in the chest, but you can really get through the entire game with amazing gear dropped by enemies in the first area.

Movement / Exploration

  • ♥♥♥♥ em: You can run past almost anything, get to new save points or open shortcuts, and keep items you pick up. Progression doesn’t always require combat.
  • Run a lot: Stamina doesn’t drain out of combat in this one so you can run everywhere until you start a fight.
  • Explore vertically and behind things: Remember to jump up and down to find things, go into every corner to find items. This game rewards peeking in every corner.
  • Sneak: Sneaking is very useful, you can use it to get in place for backstabs, explore or get past enemies when going back to pick up your dropped runes. It’s a good idea to sneak everywhere while exploring a dangerous new area.
  • Use light: Use a torch or your belt light to see in areas where it’s pitch black or you’re unsure of your footing. The torch can also be useful in combat in a pinch or against a slow fire-weak enemy near the start of the game.
  • Explore when broke: When you have just lost your runes permanently by dying twice, you now are in a perfect position to fearlessly explore anywhere. Run past enemies, get into trouble, die confidently – you have nothing to lose. I often use this moment to run past literally everyone I just fought to get the next save point. You actually can progress because now you know the area which is the real progression. It’s also a good time to practice a boss or learn a hard optional enemy without stress.
  • Die with purpose: A suicide run into an impossible area to get a weapon or other item is a time honored souls tradition.
  • Jump into pillars of light and wind: You know those pillars of wind you can use to jump up with? You can jump down into them as well (while on your horse).
  • Less fall damage, but be careful: It’s still a huge risk, but you can handle larger falls (especially on the horse) than you can in previous games, so don’t rule out exploration option. Make sure you are healed, though, you often will take some damage. There are also ways to reduce fall damage further.
  • Let a co-op partner test falls: Souls games love to hide items behind drops off edges – but you may want to let a co-op partner try out risky ledges deep into dungeons. You can always resummon them!
  • Mark and view your map: Mark hard enemies, places of interest, or future places to explore (suggested by your friends) on the map so you can head to them. The map also shows a kind of direction from the save points which is also often a useful tip on where to try exploring.
  • Pick up on the go: Unlike previous games, you don’t stop to pick items up, so you can run up and over them on your horse and then run away. It also makes gathering crafting ingredients very quick.
  • Ingredients respawn: Ingredients, from plants to crystals, respawn and always in the same place. You can just go back to get them any time. Animals and enemies are always in the same place too!

Your Mount

  • Stop on a dime: The horse doesn’t keep moving if you stop holding forward, unlike transportation in many other games. You can use it for precision movement and jumping or to stop instantly while swinging in combat (but moving past while swinging is often safer).
  • Use the dodge: The horse “dodge” mostly goes faster but is still a dodge you can work into combat. Without stamina drain outside of combat, you can hit it over and over to keep up speed.
  • Mow down groups of enemies: Horseback combat is incredibly overpowered against groups or single enemies once you learn it, especially with larger weapons. You may want to find the biggest weapon you can that also is quick enough to have a “Back and forth” movement, since getting the “forth” upswing is very useful.
  • Hit and run: You can really hit something and then go far away and come back, don’t feel you need to dodge or risk any sort of counter attack if you can avoid it.
  • Some enemies are harder: Some enemies are harder on the horse though, getting in close may be best.
  • It’s a tank: Your equip load doesn’t impact your horse gameplay, so you can load yourself up to heavy with your biggest armor if you want to use it to clear an area. It’s a medieval tank! Just remember to wear a reasonable amount when you’re back on foot.
  • But the horse can get hurt: Don’t get too cocky, you can get knocked off or have the horse unavailable until you revive it. Still, it’s generally better to let your horse take a hit than have you take a hit and you can usually resummon it quickly after getting knocked off.
  • Use the left side too: Mounted combat can use both sides, use left triggers to hit the left. You can practice on animals, it’s very useful to learn this to take out large groups quick and level up
  • Sweep up groups: Holding the strong attack often gives a sweep style move that can be used for large groups. Some weapons can do quick attacks back and forth, large ones are very slow.
  • Jump off: You can also do a jump attack while jumping off your horse (left stick). Helpful when getting into trouble with enemies you know will be easier off the horse. This attack does a fair amount of damage!
  • No poison hoofs: The horse won’t get damaged by poison on the ground so use it to get through those swamps.

Combat Tips

  • Don’t panic: Panic is your worst enemy. Anything can kill you if you run out of stamina by panic attacking or dodging, almost everything can be indefinitely avoided by a patient player. Obviously this is the point of the whole game, so don’t feel bad though – it’s designed to scare you and make you freak out and then eventually become confident.
  • Dying is fine: Souls games have a reputation for being very hard, but you probably actually die more times per hour playing Mario or Halo. It’s just aesthetics that make it feel dark! Dying is a normal part of most gameplay loops, you’re doing fine if you are dying a lot.
  • Be patient: Combat rewards patience more than anything else, you can usually circle around and avoid all the attacks to learn a new enemies movements. There’s almost always a way to use ranged or other less fun but “easier” tactics. I’ve got EDS, hand pain, am terrible at games, but I can get through these with practice and grinding!
  • Weapons hit what they hit: Unlike in many melee combat games, the hitboxes really matter. You can narrowly avoid a hit above your head, and your weapon won’t hit them unless it actually hits them. Just keep that in mind. Many enemies do have area-of-effect attacks you’ll have to work to avoid, though.
  • Invincible dodge: Dodging gives “i-frames” meaning you are invincible for a portion of the dodge. You can dodge right into most attacks or through them if timed right.
  • Don’t hold block: Blocking is incredibly useful, but you don’t regain stamina while holding it. Learn to block, let the shield drop when they are prepping the second attack, and then block again. You’ll be able to block many more attacks in a row.
  • Try hugging enemies: Enemies don’t damage you by touch like in Mario. You can get right up into them. Push into their back at the same time as an attack to backstab. Hug them to get under large sweep attacks or circle round.
  • Dodge can interrupt some attacks: If an enemy seems skinny, even if they have powerful attacks, you may be able to interrupt it for a second by rolling /into/ it. This can be very helpful when managing mages or mobs of slow but grabby undead.
  • Stagger em: Almost anything can stagger somehow via being hit a bunch, parry, block, etc. Use that moment to do a huge attack by moving forward on their weak spot like you were going to backstab. However, sometimes you’ll be able to do more damage by just wailing on them while they are down for a moment, so keep an eye on how it worked for next time you encounter them.
  • Hit weakspots: Enemy weakspots are often orange. Some, like the land octopus, don’t show up until they are staggered and take very little damage until the weakspot is exposed.
  • Get under attacks: Many giant enemies like trolls and dragons have trouble hitting you when you are closer and have insane ranged attacks – losing your fear and getting in close makes things easier. Some huge enemies are actually trivial once you get into the pattern of hitting one leg from behind, rolling, hitting again.
  • Parry with practice: Parrying is easier if you’re not moving. Try not to panic and you’ll be able to parry incredibly strong enemies eventually. Try thinking of it as if you are slowly baiting them, waiting for them to attack into your trap. It takes a lot of practice! Start on lower level enemies and don’t rely on it until you know a move set. When you are starting out, I highly recommend just doing it in the tutorial tunnel until you’ve got those enemies consistently. But parrying is totally optional and high skill level play, unlike learning how to dodge. If you’re good at fighting games, though, you can get good at parrying.
  • Pull enemies: You can pull enemies back with a dart or arrow to get them to come at you one at a time. Or, often, you can simply pull one by sneaking close and standing up for a second, trying to get just one facing you to follow you out. Most enemies won’t alert their friends, though some will with horns or other calls out to them.
  • Cheese em: “Cheesing” is valid and even encouraged. Use corners, doors, get height and use ranged attacks. Craft items, poison enemies, resummon help over and over. Don’t be ashamed that you used tactics to destroy a dragon, that’s a victory!
  • Most enemies don’t heal: Most enemies don’t heal even after they stop aggroing, so you can pull back and try and get them in waves of attacks.
  • Practice on animals: You can practice with weapons or mounted combat on animals! They don’t give much souls, but you need the crafting items and it’s very useful when first learning, especially learning the timing for mounted combat
  • Throwing weapons are better than ever: You can craft throwing weapons from findable ingredients. Freeing up the slot just for combat (by putting your flasks in the other quick item slots) makes it more reliable than ever to use in the middle of combos or to manage crowds. I always keep at least some bone darts in my slot for getting animals before they run or a quick tiny extra bit of damage to bosses. You can throw from horseback too.
  • Magic is an option for beginners! Ranged magic is very useful for beginners, though you may be more easily killed than someone in heavy armor with a strength build, the best way to avoid getting killed is to stay out of range entirely. You can usually get some kind of entry level ranged spell for any build without too much investment and only set your flasks to FP when you need to get out of a pinch with it.

Weapons / Equipment

  • Test every weapon: Test out weapon move sets of anything you pick up, remember to try holding it two handed.
  • Try the whole move set: Jump and crouch offer more weapon moves, make sure to actually learn and use them in combat. You also do different moves from a dash or back step, sometimes unique very useful ones for clearing a crowd. Test them all!
  • Dual Hand: Try weapons in different slots, use Y and the weapon bumper to two hand them, vary your playstyle by combining weapons and shields and magic.
  • Power Stance is back: Power stancing two weapons (from DS2) is back, meaning you can hold a similar weapons in each hand and access a special moveset where L1 will do a combination move. It’s an advanced move and requires upgrading both weapons to get best damage so don’t worry too much about it as a starting player.
  • Try on the horse: You may like one weapon for mounted combat, one for on foot. Some, like the Lance, are really designed for mounted combat.
  • The right situation: Some weapons will be more useful in a hallway (vertical moves), some have large sweeps for groups. The “best” have a varied move set you can mix up, though sometimes require switching one to two handing as needed for the moves.
  • Use what you like: Every weapon is workable though, people beat these games with anything.
  • Get a 100% shield: Not every shield blocks 100% of damage. The ones that do will be way more helpful for new players. Some shields are more resilient to getting hit, others will be staggered quicker.
  • “Turtle” behind shields: Some weapons, like spears, can be used behind a shield, but watch that you don’t run out of stamina while blocking and attacking at the same time.
  • Watch your equip load: Equipment load is very impotent. You will suffer huge penalties by wearing too much armor. Held weapons contribute to weight even if they are not currently in your hand. Make sure to stay under medium load.
  • UPGRADE IT: Remember to upgrade your weapons, this will often boost your attack more than leveling. ALSO REMEMBER TO UPGRADE YOUR FLASK.
  • Make it scale: Also make sure to equip ashes and change your scaling on weapons (heavy, keen, etc) to make sure they “scale” with your stats. Changing the weapon special ability offers a lot more customization than dark souls. You can make almost any weapon fit any build with the scaling changes, so pick a weapon by the move set that you like
  • Fashion souls: For armor, stats can matter, but you can also really just use whatever you think looks cool. Same goes for weapons, sometimes it’s worth making things “harder” for yourself with a cool weapon you like – once you learn it well anyway.

Stats / Leveling

  • Get weapon stats first: When leveling, get your weapon stats first so you can hold the one you like.
  • General stats help every build: The Health and FP and Endurance improving stats help with every build, with health and endurance being incredibly important, the others are mainly for damage scaling. Arcane improves item drop rate.
  • You can respec: Go for stat requirements of a weapon you like based on move set, but you can respec later so don’t stress too much.
  • Over level: You can “over level” and any amount of leveling increases your defense, so this is a very valid way towards making an area ‘easier’ without getting more skilled. No enemy scales to your level, they always get easier as you level.
  • Ground runes: You can get runes from skulls on the ground, save the rune items for when you find a random vender or need some extra to hit a level.
  • Grind big guys: If you want to level, find an enemy you can beat that drops a lot of runes, and practice on it instead of wasting time with a lot of low level ones. Trolls drop 1000 runes and are not actually that here once you realize you can just hit-dodge-hit their right leg over and over.
  • Win big in other people’s games: Alternatively, grind bosses! You’ll get really really good at the game eventually – or if you just find one boss you think is easy for some reason you can beat it over and over in other people’s game. And they’ll love you for it!!

By xoxomonstergirl

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