Looking for an Elden Ring beginner's guide? Elden Ring is an absolute behemoth that can feel impenetrable for new players. If you're new to Elden Ring, or FromSoftware games as a whole, and are jumping into the Lands Between, you might want a few tips and tricks to help you get started. That's where our Elden Ring beginner's guide comes in, which we put together with RPS vid bud Liam.
Below, we'll share our Elden Ring beginner's guide, which offers 11 top tips for getting started in Elden Ring. We cover everything from character creation to where to go and what to during your opening hours, which should help you settle into your new home. If you're not in the mood for a read, we've popped Liam's video below so that you can sit back, relax, and soak in Elden Ring 101.
Elden Ring beginner's guide
If you've chosen to have a lovely read of our lecture notes, you can find all 11 tips from our Elden Ring beginner's guide below. They do say you should always watch the lecture yourself rather than stealing the notes from a friend, but we won't tell Liam, don't worry.
Elden Ring for beginners: What is Elden Ring?
If you have no idea what Elden Ring is or what you've just installed, don't fret. Elden Ring is an open world RPG with a huge world to explore. That world is filled with bosses hidden away in dungeons, catacombs, sprawling cities, and everywhere in-between. The main allure, as with any SoulsBorne game, is to defeat those bosses and emerge a hardened warrior. It's tough, but the difficulty is often the biggest draw.
As you explore, you will encounter Sites of Grace. These are essentially safe points that allow you to rest and perform a few other key mechanics. Those using Strength or Dexterity-based melee builds can change Ashes of War here, while Intelligence and Faith builds can mix up their spells, for example. Most importantly, Sites of Grace allow you to spend Runes to level up. Runes are the main form of currency in Elden Ring, which you earn by killing enemies. So, the general idea is explore, kill things, get Runes, and grow stronger. Nice and simple.
When you rest at a Site of Grace, a few key things will happen. Firstly, this will become your respawn point. The next time you die, you'll respawn at the last Site of Grace you used. Fortunately, they're peppered all over the Lands Between, so there should usually be one near any landmarks that look important. Resting also restores your health, FP, and Sacred Flask charges. But be warned: resting will also cause enemies to respawn, bringing them back from the ether of death to plague the Lands Between once again. Now, someone get out there and kill every baddie in Elden Ring without resting.
Elden Ring classes aren't so important
Before you can start exploring the Lands Between, though, you will need to make a character. We won't harp on about what each slider does here, as those options are cosmetic and influence how your character looks. The key parts that will affect your gameplay experience are classes and keepsakes, but there's no need to sweat.
Fortunately, classes won't crucially impact your experience as an Elden Ring beginner. They're actually far more relevant for the veterans who want to optimise their build to suit a specific playstyle. This is because your choice of class won't lock you into any sort of build - if you start as an Astrologer and want to shift into melee, you can just put points into Strength as you level up. Classes simply influence your starting gear and distribute the first 10-15 attribute points to give you a headstart down a preferred path.
Keepsakes, a special item that you can choose while making your character, are similarly simple. They'll give you a nice boost, but there's nothing here that you can't find by simply exploring Elden Ring's gargantuan open world.
Elden Ring combat tips for beginners
Combat is the crux of everything in Elden Ring, and it's also the hardest part. It's easy to get dismayed and disillusioned with what our Ed calls "the most impressive open world to date" if you're stuck beating your head against the first main boss, Margit the Fell Omen. However, a few quick tips should propel you forward so that you can stop feeling stuck and get stuck into this delicious world.
Elden Ring combat is all about timing. It's an elegant dance, a terrifying tango that involves less standing on your partner's feet and more getting sliced and diced with a colossal sword. However, you can master any fight by learning the attack patterns of your enemy. Whether you're facing a boss or just a really big baddie, they all have set patterns that you can learn and internalise. It's a slow process, so you might die a few times while learning, but eventually you'll know exactly when to dodge, block, and unleash a barrage of attacks. Patience is key here.
When you feel ready to attack, there's nothing better than a well-timed jump attack. They'll deal plenty of damage, while also knocking your opponent back and lowering their poise. Poise is a hidden stat that all enemies have in Elden Ring, determining how often they will stagger from your attacks. When an enemy is staggered, they won't be able to attack for a brief moment, leaving them vulnerable to powerful counterattacks that deal huge damage.
Stealth can be a lifesaver while exploring
If you prefer to sneak around your enemies, there's some good and bad news. Let's get the bad out of the way first: you can't sneak past main bosses. You'll have to fight, and there's no way to sneak up behind them and deal a huge chunk of sneak damage either.
However, main bosses, of which there are many, only make up a small percentage of Elden Ring's content. There's lots more to discover, and most of your time will be spent exploring the various regions of the Lands Between. You can stealth past enemies that you find around the open world by simply crouching and staying out of sight, and sometimes it might even be necessary for your survival. If you want to make it to the next Site of Grace and don't have much health left, duck down and sneak past your foes rather than engaging them in combat.
If you want to get better at stealth, we'd recommend using the Assassin's Approach incantation, as it temporarily silences your footsteps. Those starting as a Confessor will have this incantation straight away, but you can also buy it from Brother Corhyn at the Roundtable Hold after giving him the Assassin's Prayerbook, an item found through a nearby stonesword key door in the same area. Later in your adventure, you can find the Black Knife armor set, which is one of the best armor sets in Elden Ring. It acts as a permanent version of Assassin's Approach, but it isn't available until you reach the Consecrated Snowfield.
Elden Ring crafting tips for beginners
After making your character and heading out into the Lands Between, you might feel overwhelmed. The Tree Sentinel probably whallops you a few times and it's all just very cruel. "No, it's too much", you think. "I'll pick some flowers instead". This introduces you to Elden Ring's crafting system, another key mechanic to tussle with.
Ingredients are found everywhere in Elden Ring. It's a DIY-ers dream, but might feel a little confusing for beginners. You store those ingredients in your backpack, but you can't actually craft from the start. To unlock crafting in Elden Ring, you must purchase a crafting kit from Merchant Kalé in the Church of Elleh. We'd also recommend picking up a torch while you're at it, because many ingredients are only found in Elden Ring's very dark caves.
You can make a few basic items upon buying the Crafting Kit, but there are plenty of other recipes to discover which will give your character a range of effects. As you explore, you'll find crafting recipes at other merchants, as well as in guard camps and dungeons as loot, so always keep an eye out. Whenever you uncover a new recipe, check it out in the crafting kit to see which ingredients you need and a rough idea of where to find them. A large collection of recipes is good, because you never know when you might need an item that boosts your protection against certain damage types to help defeat a boss.
Inventory management is essential in Elden Ring
While we're on the topic of stuffing materials into your backpack, let's take a moment to discuss inventory management. You'll pick up a lot of things in Elden Ring, and some of it will have a weight stat, while some of it will be a weightless blob.
Items that you can equip, such as weapons, armor, and talismans, will have weight. Fortunately, this generally won't impact you, as weight only matters when you actually equip an item - anything simply stored in your inventory won't impact your weight. In Elden Ring, the weight of items that you can equip is know as your equip load, which determines how many i-frames you get when dodging attacks. So, feel free to hoard as many items as you want, but pay attention to the combined weight of your equipped items.
If there are items that you want to use quickly, such as consumables, spirit ashes, and your Spectral Steed Whistle, pop them on your hotbar. This is the row of items that you can cycle through using the down arrow on your D-pad. For the absolute essentials that you use regularly, hold down Y on your controller to bring up a pouch. Here, you can assign an item to each of the four D-pad buttons, giving you quick access to your favourite items on the fly.
Elden Ring doesn't have to be a solitary experience
Elden Ring's huge world often feels isolating, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There are so many people out there who can help in dangerous situations by dealing extra damage and simply alleviating some of the stress. You can enlist help from your online buds, summon faithful spirit ashes, and even ask some of Elden Ring's NPCs to join the fray.
Spirit ashes are the easiest form of help, as you can summon them in almost every combat situation. Simply look for a little white headstone icon in the corner of your screen to know if they're summonable. If you're struggling with a particular boss, look around near the entrance to see if an NPC is avialable to help out - you'll see a gold streak on the floor if so. Similarly, Elden Ring's multiplayer allows you to call friends into a boss fight for some extra help, if needed.
Exploration is key to growing stronger in Elden Ring
If you are in need of a few extra levels to beat a boss, you won't get them by repeatedly throwing yourself at the obstacle. Instead, embrace the open nature of Elden Ring and go for a stroll. No, not actually outside. We mean an in-game stroll through some nearby caves or forests while slicing down some easier foes.
Gather runes, do a little bit of flower-picking, and spend time gaining a few extra levels. Elden Ring is full of places to explore, moreso than any other previous FromSoft games, so take advantage of that freedom. You're not bad at the game or facing an impenetrable challenge - you simply just need to clear your head, get some more Runes, and come back stronger.
Weapon upgrades and character levels are equally important
However, it's worth noting that leveling up isn't the only way to get stronger. If you're an Elden Ring beginner aiming to grow stronger, remember to also upgrade your weapons with Smithing Stones at a blacksmith.
Weapon upgrades have a couple of important benefits. Firstly, an upgrade will increase your damage at a much more substantial rate than simply leveling up as a beginner. They also improve your weapon's attribute scaling rank, increasing the amount of damage you will gain with each level. If you neglect either leveling or weapon upgrades, you will start to feel much weaker than your opponents.
Whether you need levels or some weapon upgrades, everything costs Runes. If you're in need of some extra Runes quickly, make sure you have some good Elden Ring Rune farming spots in mind.
Map markers are your in-game journal
Much has been said of Elden Ring lacking a quest log, but things have improved slightly since launch. Shortly after release, FromSoftware released a patch that added map markers for all NPCs that you meet. This should help you keep track of who's who and where they reside in the Lands Between.
If you're struggling to remember other stuff, such as key ingredient locations or bosses that you intend to revisit later, then follow FromSoft's example and start annotating. You can place your own map markers, albeit without attached notes, to help remember important locations. There are a range of symbols that you can plop on the map, such as a skull that Liam likes to use for boss locations. This should act as a little in-game journal that you can use to keep track of your current to-do list in Elden Ring.
Elden Ring doesn't let you pause, kind of
If you're in a sticky situation and need a brief respite, we don't blame you. Elden Ring can get pretty stressful, after all. However, it's worth noting that opening the menu won't actually pause the game. Fortunately, you can check out our method to pause in Elden Ring without mods, but it isn't simple and may be unintentional.
If you aren't familiar with the pause exploit linked above, you'll need to find a nearby Site of Grace to rest. These are the only locations that are truly safe in Elden Ring, so always be on the lookout for those little golden wisps.
That's everything that Elden Ring beginners need to know. If you want to know where to go next, take a look at our guide on what to do first in Elden Ring. For more information about the main quest, check out our full Elden Ring walkthrough. To make your character even better, take a look at our lists of the best weapons, best spells, and best builds in Elden Ring.