Elden Ring is created to be as accessible as possible for new players, but there’s still a truckload of mechanics, tips, tricks, and hidden rules to figure out just to reach those easily accessible points. All of this can be overwhelming for a player that’s new to Soulsborne games.
To help you survive in the Lands Between, we’ve created this guide to get you on the right path to becoming the Elden Lord.
Want to know about the best bosses in the entire Soulsborne franchise? Here’s our list ranking the best ones.
When you start a new game, the first decisions you’ll have to make are how your character looks, what class you’ll play as, and your keepsake.
Elden Ring allows players have a decent amount of customization over their characters. If you don’t like the way your character looks later, you can change your appearance again at the Clouded Mirror Stand in the Roundtable Hold. The mirror will let you change everything again but your gender.
Each character class has a unique stat distribution and different starting equipment. The classes are the following:
- Hero – starts with a good mix of strength, endurance, and vigor.
- Bandit – starts with a focus on dexterity and arcane
- Astrologer – Spellcaster with points in intelligence, dexterity, and mind.
- Warrior – balanced blend of stats with a focus on dexterity.
- Prisoner – Also a balanced blend of stats with better close combat and weaker spellcasting.
- Confessor – Spellcasting class with stats in mind and faith.
- Wretch – Weak in almost every stat. This class is made to be a challenge.
- Vagabond – Starts with heavy armor, vigor, strength, and dexterity.
- Prophet – Faith-based spellcaster that’s slightly worse at close combat than the Confessor.
- Samurai – Katana-wielding class with a good amount of Dexterity, and endurance.
If you’re new to these kinds of games, pick any class that isn’t the Wretch because it starts with nothing and has the worst stats.
Keepsakes are a free item you’ll start the game with. Of the options to choose from, Golden Seed, Land’s Between Rune, and Stonesword Key are the best to pick. Golden Seeds allow you to have an extra charge of your health potion, Stonesword Keys provide access to restricted areas that have useful loot, and The Land’s Between Rune provides 3000 runes which can be used for early levels or purchases from the merchant.
Stats and Levels
Runes are used to level up and purchase items from the shop. Each level allows you to increase one stat by one point. The stats are Vigor, Mind, Endurance, Dexterity, Strength, Arcane, Faith, and Intelligence. Each of these stats has several different effects, but here are the main ones:
- Vigor determines how much HP you have.
- Endurance increases your stamina and how much your character can carry.
- Mind increases the size of your FP bar, which is used for spellcasting. Your FP bar is very similar to an MP bar in other RPGs.
- Dexterity and Strength increase weapon damage when using weapons that scale with them.
- Arcane increases the rate that status effects build up and the probability of finding items.
- Faith and Intelligence increase spell damage based on the scaling of the spell and staff/seal being used.
If you’re a mage, you’ll want to upgrade Mind, Vigor, and either Faith, or Intelligence.
If you plan on fighting up close, focus on Vigor and your choice of Dexterity or Strength.
The Basics of Combat
Combat is the bread and butter of Soulsborne games. The basic mechanics of combat revolve around attacks, dodges, blocks, parries, and spells.
There are two attacks – light and heavy. Light attacks are quick and will combo very easily, while heavy attacks are slow but powerful. Jumping Heavy attacks, which are performed when using a heavy attack midair, are one of the best forms of attack because it’s both fast and powerful, with it’s only downside being some small recovery after the attack.
Your attacks will also deal bonus damage based on what your weapon’s scaling is. Scaling is a letter grade from E and S that is associated with different stats like Dexterity. The higher the scaling in a stat, the more bonus damage your weapon will gain from that stat.
Dodges are the single most important mechanic in Soulsborne games because it’s what keeps you alive regardless of your build. In Elden Ring, dodges are extremely front-loaded, which means you’ll become invulnerable almost the moment you push the button.
Blocking only occurs if you have a shield, and will cause enemies to sometimes flinch, leaving them open to counterattacks or Guard Counters. Blocks will consume stamina for each attack blocked. When your stamina reaches zero, you’ll be susceptible to a critical strike from some opponents.
Parries are a special kind of block that can be done with all of the shields in Elden Ring. To perform a parry, you first have to equip the Ash of War to the shield. After that, press the Ash of War button just before an attack lands on you. Check out this guide to learn all about parries in Elden Ring.
Magic consumes FP each time you cast a spell. Sorceries require a staff, while Incantations require a seal. Elden Ring’s magic is extremely powerful and will do a wide host of effects from firing long-range beams to simply buffing your damage.
Non-magic classes in Elden Ring also have the benefit of using Ashes of War, which can be thought of as spells attached to your weapon since they still consume FP when used.
Equipment and Items
In addition to your stats, Elden Ring’s equipment options are primarily how you’ll build your character. Talismans will give you a multitude of passive effects to choose from. Weapons will have different movesets based on their archetype (like sword, spear, axe, etc.). When you start a new game, be sure to check the surrounding area because there are some powerful weapons nearby.
If a section of the game is too hard or taking too long, then consumable items can be used to give you temporary buffs.
These cinematic duels are one of the biggest reasons Elden Ring is such a popular game. These fights are made to be challenging but fair fights. I recommend getting very comfortable with dodging through their attacks because their attacks cover a wide area but are usually very telegraphed.
Not all bosses are required. Due to Elden Ring’s open-world, you can choose to leave and come back against every boss in the game except for the six required bosses.
Dying in a Soulsborne game is more of a minor inconvenience than anything else. When you die, you’ll drop all the runes you have on the ground and spawn at the nearest Site of Grace. You can then pick up your runes at the location you died at. If you lose runes, there are a few popular farming spots to help you level up, so don’t take deaths too hard.
Endings are mostly controlled by which side quests you complete during the game. Each side quest is tied to a character, so make sure you talk to people and help them whenever you get the chance. Depending on who you help, they’ll give you a Greater Rune to use at the end of the game to choose your ending.