Elden Ring Getting Started Guide – Braving The Lands Between

The modern age of gaming, more specifically, the post-covid era of gaming, has seen developers reassess their release schedules. Due to unforeseen setbacks, annual release misfires, and several hyped games with tight production deadlines falling flat upon release, many companies have decided to go back to the drawing board and rethink their strategies.

Activision will, for the first time ever, not release their typical annual Call of Duty iteration, Cyberpunk 2077 has only reemerged as a game on the market after some time away being polished by CD Projekt Red, and games like WWE 2K have taken a year off to galvanize their tired format as well. Unless you are Ubisoft, this is something that is happening pretty much across the board. However, there are a few game series and developers that always seem to get it right, and one of which is From Software.

From Software always incubate their games for the right amount of time, polishing up the finer details. Tweaking mechanics so that they work as intended, and of course, the worlds which they drop us smack bang into are sublime. So it’s hardly a surprise that their latest creation, Elden Ring, is a runaway success and has already been named as one of the top twenty best games of all time, if aggregated review scores are anything to go by. It’s a game that you shouldn’t pass on, and one that, even if you are new to the Souls genre, is a great place to start. I say as much in my Elden Ring Review, which you should absolutely check out!

However, you may have just picked up this game and be wondering where to begin. The world is vast; the game doesn’t hold your hand, and, shock horror, this game is really hard. Well, we want to try and guide you through this title as best we can and give you a much-needed headstart. Making your quest to become Elden Lord and cleanse The Lands Between all the more satisfying. So without further delay, here is our Elden Ring Getting Started Guide!

Before You Even Begin

Before you even set off on this grand and grueling quest, there are a couple of things that you should consider. As the choices you make in the first few moments of this game can have long-lasting effects and consequences later in the game. After all, your character build will largely dictate how you play the game. So with that in mind, here are a few pointers that will help you start as you mean to go on:

Building Your Character

Elden Ring

Before you even set one foot in The Lands Between, you will be presented with a character creation screen, and you will be asked to select your class. To some naive players, this might seem like an arbitrary choice that offers some differing stats and some alternative starting garments, but it’s far more important than that. You see, your class basically decides what kind of build your character is geared towards and will then aid you in your quest to become stronger as this build, or hinder you if you choose wrongly. For example, if you want to use magic, the last thing you want to do is select a Warrior build. So it’s best to think ahead and decide how you want to tackle combat in this game.

For beginner players, we would suggest the Hero build, as this offers the most build flexibility and means that players could feasibly be a fighter with some magical abilities, or a wizard with some aptitude for sword fighting. However, if you are a skilled Souls player, we would suggest you pick the Wretch Class. This will make the early stages of the game much trickier as this character is under-leveled. However, this blank canvas of stats is perfect for creating the perfectly built character in your own image.

Choosing Your Starting Item

The player will also be given the option when building their character of choosing a keepsake. This is a tradition in the Souls series of games that allows players to choose an item that will give them a situational advantage in their early game adventure. Here is a quick list of what is on offer:

  • Golden Seed – Grants the player one extra flask
  • Stonesword Key – Breaks seal on Imp statues and opens secret areas within The Lands Between
  • Crimson Amber Medallion – Worn item, raises max HP
  • Lands Between Rune – Grants Runes upon use
  • Fanged Imp Ashes – A Spirit Ash Companion
  • Cracked Pot – Used To create throwable bombs
  • Bewitching Branch – Charms Foes to fight with you
  • Boiled Prawn – Consumable that offers damage negation
  • Shabriri’s Woe – Constantly attracts enemy aggression (Worn Item)

Obviously, you should choose the best keepsake that most appeals to you, but if we were to offer our two cents, the Swordstone Key, the Golden Seed, the Cracked Pot, and, to a lesser extent, the Bewitching Branches are the best keepsake options here. The Swordstone Key, in particular, is a super choice as these items are finite within the world and give you access to some of the coolest areas and best loot within the game.

The First Few Hours

Now that we are into the game proper, we should probably give you a rundown of how the first few hours in The Lands Between should be approached. This includes key locations you should visit, events that you should trigger, some enemies that you should target first, and also some things that you should prioritize as you begin this journey. Check it out below:

The Church of Elleh

The Church of Elleh

Let’s assume the Grafted Scion pummelled you, you’ve beaten the tutorial section, and you stand at The First Step with the sprawling world before you-the question ‘What now?’ springs to mind. Well, your first move should be to head straight ahead to the first building you can see. Ignore the Tree Sentinel roaming the path ahead; that big guy on the horse spells trouble for a new player.

Just wander up to the Church of Elleh, and here, you will find a very helpful merchant with some fancy wears to offer the player. In his inventory, you can purchase a Crafting Kit, which is an absolute must-buy. Plus, you can invest in a Torch which is surprisingly useful within this game, especially when you start investigating caves and can’t be bothered crafting lots of Glowstones. He also offers some bits of armor and other trinkets, but these two things are all you will really need.

The Gatefront Ruins

From here, you could go off on your merry way and explore all of Limgrave at your own pace; however, we would advise that you make your way to The Gatefront Ruins first. This isn’t just because this is an area where you can get the map of Limgrave, some cool items, and rack up a lot of runes. It’s also because you need to make use of this area’s Site of Grace if you want access to one of the core mechanics within the game.

When you rest at the Gatefront Site of Grace, you will be contacted by Melina, who will bestow you with her grand ethereal steed, Torrent. This opens the world up by giving the player the ability to ride horseback and zoom across the land. Also, this provides the player with the ability to cash in Runes and level up their character. So even if you don’t plan on ransacking the ruins themselves, at least rest on the periphery for a while.

First Your First Few Bosses

Soldier of Godrick

With access to your steed and the ability to bank runes, fighting Bosses becomes less of a daunting and potentially wasteful venture. So it’s about time that you sought out some of these nightmarish killers. The game wants you to head to Stormveil castle and take on Margit the Fell Omen, the inaugural boss of the game, but let me just say that isn’t going to end well. So instead, you might want to seek out these bosses and wet the whistle before taking on the more grueling battles that await you. Here are some bosses you should target first:

  • Soldier of Godrick
  • Erdtree Burial Watchdog
  • Demi-Human Chief
  • Beastman of Farm Azula
  • Night Cavalry
  • Tree Sentinel
  • Flying Dragon Agheel
  • Tibia Mariner
  • Stonedigger Troll
  • Black Knife Assassin
  • Patches

Of all of these offered above, we would suggest that you target the Erdtree Burial Watchdog, Demi-Human Chief, Beastman of Farm Azula, Patches, and Tibia Mariner first, as these will offer the least challenge overall.

Get A Strong Weapon

Once you have bloodied your blade on a few of the enemies above, you may be thinking, why is killing these enemies taking so damn long. Well, that’s partly by design, but it’s also because your weapon probably sucks. You’ll want to get out into the world and find yourself a decent weapon that is up to the challenge, and we have some suggestions that will appeal to new players. Here are some beginner weapons that you should make a beeline for:

  • Twinblade
  • Great Epee
  • Great Axe
  • Uchigatana
  • Hand Ballista
  • Longbow
  • Hookclaws
  • Zweihander
  • Dismounter (My personal choice)
  • Falchion
  • Reduvia
  • Morning Star

Visit Some Caves



Now that you have a weapon that does more than tickle your enemies to death, it’s then time to invest in this weapon and make it into a weapon to be feared across the land. By this, we mean upgrading your weapon. You can do this moments into the game as you will have access to a smithing block at the Church of Elleh, or you can travel to the Roundtable Hold if you have access to this hub as well.

However, you won’t have access to any Smithing Stones unless you seek them out. These are items that will up the damage output of your weapons. These are commonly found in mines, catacombs, and caves, which are often marked on your map with openings in cliff faces and an orange tinge. We suggest you head to as many of these as you can, stock up on smithing stones, and then upgrade your weapon accordingly.

Access Spirit Ash Summons

Then lastly, we would also suggest that you make your way back to the Church of Elleh at night. This is because a ghostly figure will be waiting for you and will offer the player a new skill. They will be given access to an item called the Spirit Calling Bell that is used to call upon Spirit Ashes. These are NPC summons that players can use in lieu of normal summons to help battle bosses or clear out infested areas. If the player has low FP or prefers normal multiplayer summons, this might not be a necessary pickup, but we thought we would mention it all the same.

Understanding Core Mechanics

Okay, so now you have a rough roadmap of your first few hours in the game. You have an idea of what is expected of you. However, you only know what you should do on paper; what about the hands-on experience. What about the mechanics that govern this game. Well, we wouldn’t throw you in the deep end without a rubber dinghy to keep you afloat. Just bear in mind we won’t be covering basics like movement, combat, etc. That’s what the tutorial section is for. Here is a quick rundown of the mechanics you’ll need to understand to get started in Elden Ring:

Sites of Grace

Firstly, we need to discuss Sites of Grace. These are the Elden Ring equivalent of Dark Souls‘ Bonfires. Here you can rest, resetting the world around you and replenishing your health. You can use your Runes to level up your skills, memorize spells, assign Ashes of War, you can alter your flasks in this menu, and you can also wait as these sites to pass the time, which can be vital if you want to stealthily infiltrate an area, or access a time-critical event.

Riding Horseback

Riding Horseback

The Lands Between is a huge area, and walking on foot would double if not triple your overall playtime for this game, so the developer included a horse companion for the player called Torrent, who will take you where you need to go in rapid time. To ride your horse, the player must use the item ‘Spectral Steed Whistle,’ and this will summon him to you.

Then you can ride them and dismount them by using the Spectral Steed Whistle once again. This horse can double jump, making traversal a little easier on horseback, you can fight on horseback and can swing your weapon at either side of the steed, and you can also use Blue Whirlpools to jump huge gaps on horseback.


Flasks in this game are still the healing item within Elden Ring; however, the healing system has had an overhaul of sorts. The player can alter their flasks depending on their playstyle. You have the Flask of Crimson Tears that restores HP; you have the Flask of Cerulean Tears that restore FP, which is used for magic.

Then lastly, you have the Flask of Wondrous Physick, which can be mixed to offer two unique effects at once. Players can decide how many flasks they want to be assigned to each, working within their maximum allotted Flasks. Then within the game world, players can also seek out Sacred Tears that increase the effect of Flasks, and Golden Seeds, which grant the player extra Flasks to work with.


Crafting is a huge new addition to the Souls genre and perhaps the one that seems the most out of place, as it makes finding an item less of a wondrous event, but nonetheless, crafting can be very helpful. The player will be able to gather raw ingredients on their travels and recipes from Merchants and other NPCs. Then if they have the necessary ingredients, they can craft a new item that will indefinitely aid them on their quest.

Fast Travel

It would almost seem unthinkable that a Souls game would allow for fast travel, but since Elden Ring is so damn big, it would be hard to truly enjoy this game without it. As long as players are not considered to be in combat or in an area where fast travel is not permitted, they will be able to hop around the various Sites of Grace and access areas in a rapid fashion. A bonfire used to be a very rare find in Dark Souls, but understandably with the format of this game, Sites of Grace are a dime a dozen.



Then lastly, for the benefit of those that perhaps haven’t played a Souls game before, summoning works very much the same way as it always has. You will have to find an item that allows you to call upon a helper from another realm. In Elden Ring‘s case, a Furlcalling Finger Remedy.

Then you ring this bell and summon signs that have been marked by other players to appear on the floor. Then you choose who you want to call upon, and they appear to help you out. You can also call upon red markers and invite an invading player into your game if you dare.

Tips We Wish We Knew From The Beginning

You can now consider yourself clued up on all mechanics and early game actions you should be taking, but does that make you an expert? Absolutely not, as a Souls game by its very nature is made to test you to your limit, trick and deceive players and ultimately have you die time and time again. So we thought we would share some tips that we wish we had known when we set off on this adventure. We hope the tips below help you:

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Okay, so just to begin our tips section, you need to first understand that Elden Ring is not like the other Souls games. It doesn’t want you to bash your head against a wall until you beat the boss and clear the way forward. In this game, you have so many options, and the game encourages exploration.

So if you encounter a boss that is beating you to a pulp time and time again, just turn around and take another path. Go do something new, level up, get better gear, get more experience and then come back and whoop them later. The game is only hard if you don’t play smart.

Level Up Smartly

Level Up Smartly

Just like with the choices you make in the character creation section, the choices you make leveling your character matter too. Admittedly, there are items that allow you to respec your character later in the game. However, you won’t have access to them for a long time, so what you choose is what you are stuck with for the long haul. So if you want to be a wizard, you’ll want to up your faith and arcane stats. If you want to be a warrior, you’ll want to focus on Dexterity and Strength. Plus, Vitality and Endurance are always good choices, regardless of your build.

Also, you need to bear in mind that to wield certain items; you need to hit certain stats. For example, as a rule of thumb, most of the weapons in the game will require at least fifteen dexterity or fifteen strength to use, and some will require even more. So if you have a weapon in mind, check out its requirements and scale your character accordingly.

You Don’t Have to Fight Everyone

Another lesson that you can easily learn the hard way is that you don’t have to fight every enemy you come across. Some areas are crawling with enemies, which will have varying attack patterns, making them a nightmare to deal with. Plus, the world is chocked full of random enemy party encounters. If you stopped to fight them all, you would take forever to progress in this game. Plus, as this is a Souls game, every fight is a risk.

So if you don’t need to risk fighting, then don’t. Torrent is a huge asset in this regard, as on horseback, you can zoom through areas, and enemies will rarely follow you or cause you any bother. So if they aren’t guarding some cool treasure, pay them no mind.

Use The Shadows

This is a tip that is perfect for built-up areas where your horse will prove ineffective. Take the Gatefront Ruins, which you encounter in the early game, as a great example. In daylight, the player will have to fight off multiple enemies, and the chances are that you will agro more than a few, get overwhelmed, and have to retreat. However, with the cover of nightfall, the player can sneak around and pick off enemies with visceral, behind-the-back attacks, making these areas a breeze.

Ask For Help

A tip you should absolutely take to heart is that it is okay to ask for help. Some of the bosses in this game are real pieces of work, and while some might prove easy for you, some others will be a tough challenge. Certain players respond to different styles of battle better.

Personally, I respond better in the fast-paced and reactionary battles but struggle in the meticulously fought and somewhat puzzle-based battles. So if you find a battle a tough hurdle to clear, use your Spirit Ash summons, NPC summons, or call upon a human player to help you through this ordeal. We assure you this doesn’t hinder the overall experience. Even with a helper, the game is still plenty hard.

Use Map Markers

Use Map Markers

The world of The Lands Between is staggeringly large and has so many hidden nooks and crannies, and unlike games like Skyrim or Fallout, for example, the game has no intention of marking every single area you discover. It marks the biggest landmarks, but that’s about it. So if you want to highlight an area as a point of interest, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands. You can do this by placing map markers. You can place one-hundred markers in total, so if you come across something worth remembering, like an elevator to a hidden underground city, for example, stick a marker on it and thank us later.

Smash Those Skulls

You may have seen some glowing skulls on your travels around The Lands Between. They seem like rather innocuous items, and unless you stand on one while running around on horseback, you might never realize the potential benefits of these items. Well, if you do smash these while riding Torrent, you’ll notice that you can pick up a Gold Rune (1) every time you do. This is an item that, when consumed, rewards the player with two-hundred runes each. This is a pretty small sum, to be fair, but since these are so common within the world, you can actually rack up quite a few of these through natural play, and this could help you raise your character a few levels that you wouldn’t have otherwise, so overall, it’s a worthwhile venture to pick these up.

Make Use of the Roundtable Hold

Then lastly, we would suggest that players make use of the player Hub that Melina gives the player access to, known as the Roundtable Hold. This is an area where players can talk to fellow Tarnished within the world, but it also offers some other benefits. Players can gain some vital intel that will point them in the direction of key characters, like the Beast Clergyman, for example. The player will also be able to purchase Incantations in this area, and they will also have access to a Blacksmith in this area, allowing them to upgrade weapons, duplicate Ashes of War, and more.

Mistakes To Avoid In Elden Ring

Just as there are things that the player should be aware of and do within the early stages, there are also mistakes that should be avoided at all costs. These are the mistakes that will see you lose your Runes and see all your hard-earned progress lost. No one wants that, so be a sponge and absorb all of these tips below:

Don’t Follow the Obvious path

Obvious path

You may notice that on the map, the player can see that certain Sites of Grace have a yellow path that guides the player. This essentially guides the player to essential bosses, shareholders, and other key narrative events in the game. However, if you follow this path religiously, you will find that the game has a very steep difficulty curve. For example, you can make your way to Margit the Fell Omen in about twenty minutes if you want to. However, you will have a really tough time laying a glove on them unless you are a veteran Souls player. The game wants you to explore, so go off the beaten track and explore, then when the time is right, hop back on the guided path.

Don’t Trust All Messages

For a weathered Souls fan, this goes without saying, but for you newer players, listen up. In Elden Ring, players can leave notes on the ground to help guide players and generally interact with others. Some of these are very helpful and will signal where Sites of Grace are, if there is a trap ahead or something to this effect. However, as there is in every gaming community, there are others that try their darnedest to spoil the fun.

They will often leave notes on the side of cliffs and write ‘Try Jumping,’ or they might write ‘No Danger Ahead’ right before a huge enemy lands on your head. So what we would suggest is that you take each message with a grain of salt and make your own decisions.

Just Use One Weapon

In the early game, one of the most important things the player can do is upgrade their weapon. This means more damage output and, as a result, a better chance of surviving those brutal boss battles. However, the smithing stones early in this game are finite, and if you pour these into multiple weapon upgrades, you will end up with a choice of a few average weapons when what you really want is one behemoth of a weapon that can deal some real damage. So use your smithing stones wisely, and pick one weapon that you want to stick with long-term, as this will help you sail through the early game.

Don’t be Afraid to Backtrack

A common mistake in Elden Ring and any Souls game, for that matter, is overconfidence. These games are designed to encourage caution, reward calculated gameplay, and punish hasty, rash decisions. So if the player has tonnes of runes in their possession and they haven’t banked them in a while by leveling or purchasing items, they run the risk of losing them. Sure, you can respawn and pick them up again, but there is no guarantee you won’t die on the way there.

Plus, if you take them into a boss battle, for example, this essentially means you have to beat that boss to leave with those runes. So if you have runes burning a hole in your pocket, do the responsible thing and fast travel to a Site of Grace.

Don’t Play This Game Like Bloodborne

This was one of my few criticisms of this game in my review. Sadly, you cannot play this game like Bloodborne. Or at least not if you want to progress and be successful within this game. You have to play with a shield handy in this game. Without it, you just won’t be able to parry, react or retaliate with the same speed and effectiveness as you would have done in Yarnham. I found that Dark Souls 3 accommodated Bloodborne fans a lot more, and this was a little disappointing, so I thought I would give players a fair warning here.

Don’t Rely on Your Shield


Then lastly, to contradict what I have just said, you shouldn’t rely on your shield too much in this game. I still stand by the statement that you always need one on you if you want to succeed. However, you need to become proficient in dodge rolling when the situation allows for it.

This is because rolling will always leave you with more time to hit the enemy than blocking, and will also cost less stamina, which means you can get more hits in. Plus, a lot of the late-game attacks from bosses will chomp through all of your stamina and deal damage anyway, so cowering behind a shield will only get you killed. The best way to think about your shield in Elden Ring is like your last line of defense. Only use this when you can’t get out of the way in time.

Long Term Goals to Consider

Then before we sign off, we should take a quick look into the future and point out some mid-game and end-game goals that the player should be targeting if they want to become Elden Lord. Here are some long term goals that the player should add to their to-do list:

Beat All of The Bosses

While the player doesn’t have to beat all of the bosses within this game, it’s certainly something that true Elden Lords will have on the top of their to-do list. While most of the bosses within this game are optional fights, they all provide lots of runes and huge benefits, usually in the form of useful items, weapons, and armor. So it makes sense to try and find all the bosses within this game and lay waste to them all. Plus, most of these have achievements attached to them, so if you want to 100% this game, killing all these creatures and warriors is a must.

Collecting All Legendary Items

Legendary Items

Within Elden Ring, there are lots of cool items, but there are some that stand out above all the rest, and these are the legendary items within this game you will be able to collect Legendary Armaments, Legendary Ashen Remains, Legendary Sorceries and Incantations, and Legendary Talismans. Each of these is a very valuable item, depending on your playstyle, and will be very helpful on your quest to become Elden Lord, so do yourself a favor and set aside some time to find all of these.

Achieve All Endings

Then lastly, much like other Souls games, the player can approach the main story differently and, as a result, achieve different endings based on their actions. There are three endings within this game. The Elden Lord ending, the Lord of Frenzied Flame ending, and the Age of the Stars ending. The Elden Lord ending is the most straightforward ending, then to get the others, you will need to complete some other optional questlines. So be sure to seek these out and see all the endings that the developers laid out for you.

Your First Steps To Becoming Elden Lord!

As you can see from the information above, Elden Ring is a huge game, a tough game, and even with the masses of detail we have already offered above, we are barely scratching the surface. Elden Ring is a staggeringly deep and open experience where emergent gameplay is the primary focus.

So we wouldn’t dare say that what we have presented above is the only way to go about surviving the early stages of this journey. However, we hope that this guide at least nudges you in the right direction and makes sure that you avoid any of the common pitfalls of the beginner Elden Ring player. Fight bravely, Tarnished! As always, thank you for reading RPG Informer.

FAQ Section

Question: Does Elden Ring Have a Tutorial?

Answer: Yes, and it’s perhaps one of the best pieces of game design you’ll see this year, as I mention in my Elden Ring Review. The player can access this right after the Grafted Scion pummels you, or you beat the odds and kill this boss. All you have to do is jump down a hole, and this will see you start on a looping path which will teach you the basics of combat, stealth and will even see you battle a very easy boss. However, the beauty of this tutorial is, unlike other Souls games, if you don’t want to deal with it, you can just not jump down the hole and crack on with the main game.

Question: Does Elden Ring Have an Easy Mode?

Answer: No, much like any other Souls game, you are stuck with the same steep difficulty as everyone else. All you can do to alleviate this is level up your character, get better gear, and improve through practice, or ‘git gud,’ as the Dark Souls veterans say. This may be an alienating feature for some casual gamers out there, but if that’s the case, then maybe the Souls series just isn’t for you, as the difficulty is part of the charm.

Question: Can You Pause Elden Ring?

Answer: In Souls games, the player has never been able to pause the game. If you go into your inventory or hit the start menu, the world continues to exist, time progresses, and usually, you return to find your character at a bonfire after being beaten to death. The same can be largely said about Elden Ring. However, at the time of writing, there is a method where the player can pause the game. If the player enters their inventory, they can hit the ‘Inventory explanation’ option, bringing up a tutorial tab, and this will pause the action until you clear this message. We imagine that this will be fixed in a patch pretty soon, so make use of this while you still can.

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