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How to level up in Elden Ring and the best stats to level up first

Here's how to unlock the ability to level up and the best stats to prioritise

Want to know how to level up in Elden Ring? As you tackle the Lands Between and uncover each major boss location, you'll need a healthy dose of runes to get you through.

Unlike some of the other best RPGs from FromSoftware, you can't level up from the start in Elden Ring. Instead, you'll need to explore Limgrave until you meet a specific NPC. Luckily, we're here to explain how to level up, where to find the NPC in question and which attributes you should prioritise first for the best builds. We'll also provide an area level guide with recommended levels for each major region. With this, you should be all set to tackle a new playthrough ahead of the Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC.

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How to level up in Elden Ring

To level up in Elden Ring, you first need to trigger a visit from the NPC Melina. We cover this at the start of our Elden Ring walkthrough, but we'll also briefly explain it below.

Melina will visit you when you rest at either of two specific Sites of Grace in central Limgrave:

  • Gatefront
  • Agheel Lake North

The locations of these two Sites of Grace are marked on the below map:

Part of the Elden Ring map, with the locations of the Gatefront and Agheel Lake North grace sites marked.

When you meet Melina, she will offer to become your maiden. To level up in Elden Ring, you must accept Melina's offer. This will also unlock the ability to summon your horse, Torrent. Fortunately, if you have already met Melina and refused her offer, you can trigger this conversation again by visiting a Site of Grace. That means you won't get permanently locked out of the ability to level up in Elden Ring.

After you've accepted Melina's offer, you can select the Level Up option while resting at any Site of Grace. This allows you to spend Runes, the currency you get for killing enemies, to increase your level and your stats. As your level increases, so will the amount of Runes needed to level up.

The number of Runes needed for each level can get incredibly high towards the end of the game, so take a look at our guide to the best rune farming locations in Elden Ring to make sure you always have plenty to spend.

A close-up of Melina, an NPC character in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Best stats to level up in Elden Ring

Whenever you level up, you're faced with another choice: which of your 8 stats to increase. Below, we'll cover which of your stats you should prioritise early on in your adventure.

If you're not opting for a specific Elden Ring build, here's our recommended order of importance for levelling up your stats:

  1. Endurance
  2. Vigor
  3. Dexterity
  4. Strength
  5. Intelligence
  6. Faith
  7. Mind
  8. Arcane
Elden Ring player wearing the Twinned armor set on the Erdtree-Gazing Hill

Endurance is the most important stat to level up early on, no matter your chosen Elden Ring class, because it increases your stamina. Stamina is required for attacking, blocking, dodging, running, and just generally staying alive during fights. It's by far the thing you need most at the beginning of the game. Endurance also increases your equip load, so that you can equip some of the best armor in Elden Ring.

Vigor is next, because it increases your maximum health. Doing this can make fights a lot easier, because suddenly you take two hits to die, instead of just one fateful smack.

Dexterity and Strength are required stats for handling most weapons. They also scale up the damage you deal with those weapons, but the effect is slight enough to be overshadowed by simply upgrading your weapon using Smithing Stones. I'd recommend setting your eyes on some of the best weapons you can find early on, and increasing your Strength and Dexterity until you reach the requirements.

Intelligence and Faith govern your power with Sorceries and Incantations, respectively. Spells are very powerful in Elden Ring - but again, the damage scaling you receive by upgrading these stats is quite slight. Don't just pump these stats full of points: work towards a spell requirement goal.

Mind improves your maximum FP, which is your mana. It's worth putting a few points in your Mind stat over the course of your first few dozen levels, but otherwise you can more or less leave it unless you're going for a dedicated spellcaster setup.

Arcane improves your item discovery, which is your chance of finding items to loot on corpses. It's nice, but certainly not worth prioritising unless you happen to find a spell or weapon that requires a certain amount of Arcane knowledge, such as Reduvia - one of our favourite early weapons in Elden Ring.

If you're not happy with your stat choices, you can always respec your character. Check out our guide on how to respec in Elden Ring for more information.

Elden Ring area levels: Recommended level for each region

Although progression is usually dependant on player ability and experience, the following suggested levels for each region (and by extention each boss) should help you as you take on the deadly, beautiful world of the Lands Between.

  • Limgrave: 1-20
  • Weeping Peninsula: 20-30
  • Stormveil Castle: 30-40
  • Liurnia of the Lakes: 40-70
  • Academy of Raya Lucaria: 50-60
  • Ainsel River: 50-60
  • Siofra River: 60-70
  • Caelid South: 60-70
  • Altus Plateau: 60-70
  • Nokron, Eternal City: 70-80
  • Siofra Aqueduct: 70-80
  • Deeproot Depths: 80-90
  • Capital Outskirts: 80-90
  • Mt Gelmir: 90-100
  • Lake of Rot: 90-100
  • Dragonbarrow: 100-110
  • Leyndell, Royal Capital: 100-110
  • Forbidden Lands: 110-120
  • Mountaintops of the Giants: 110-120
  • Consecrated Snowfield: 120
  • Mohgwyn Palace: 120-140
  • Miquella's Haligtree: 130-150
  • Crumbling Farum Azula: 130-150
  • Leyndell, Ashen Capital: 130-150
  • Elden Ring endings: 130-150

That wraps up our guide on how to level up in Elden Ring. If you want to upgrade your character further, take a look at our Elden Ring Golden Seeds and Elden Ring Sacred Tears locations guides. When you're ready to test your character, check out our Elden Ring boss locations guide to find the nearest boss encounter. If you're unhappy with your build and want to change your stats, take a look at our guide on how to respec in Elden Ring.

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