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Elden Ring Starter Guide: How To Conquer From Software’s Latest

This article will be updated periodically.

Elden Ring is out this week, and it’s the best version of a From Software action RPG you will get for a very long while.

It’s also batshit hard with many, MANY challenges ready to curb stomp you nine ways to Sunday. The game’s enemies and bosses do not let up, so don’t go in expecting a breeze of a game; you’ll have to work hard for your victories here.

We’re here to help. Here’s a rundown on how to start off with the least amount of turbulence.

New To A Soulsborne/Soulslike Game? Pick The Vagabond

Pick the class with the highest HP and Strength if you’re new to these kinds of games. The Vagabond has the best starter stat and equipment that’s tailored for melee combatants with the highest starting life. As you level up and get more points for your attribute, do spend some on Dexterity to open up more options for weaponry like polearms and crossbows.

Here’s a lowdown of Elden Ring’s starting classes and stats:

Origin Level Vigor Mind Endurance Strength Dexterity Intelligence Faith Arcane
Vagabond 9 15 10 11 14 13 9 9 7
Warrior 8 11 12 11 10 16 10 8 9
Hero 7 14 9 12 16 9 7 8 11
Bandit 5 10 11 10 9 13 9 8 14
Astrologer 6 9 15 9 8 12 16 7 9
Prophet 7 10 14 8 11 10 7 16 10
Samurai 9 12 11 13 12 15 9 8 8
Prisoner 6 11 12 11 8 14 14 6 9
Confessor 10 10 13 10 12 12 9 14 9
Wretch 1 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

Made A Mistake In Customization? No Problem!

Elden Ring has a hub world called the Roundtable Hold (at the bottom left of the map; it’s unlocked very early in the game). Not only can you buy spells there and also upgrade your weapons beyond +3, you can also customize and alter your looks again at the mirror in one of the rooms. Midway in the game, you can reset and respec your stats in the Academy of Raya Lucaria’s main area where the main boss is, but you’ll need a special item called the Lunar Embryo to do so.

Bring A Notebook To Jot Stuff Down

A physical one, not one in-game. Or at least have a laptop or computer next to you with Notepad, Google Docs, or some word processor up and running. See, Elden Ring’s approach to open world and quest hunting is as traditional as it gets: you have a map that opens up when you find other map pieces on The Lands Between, a transparent compass indicator on the top of the screen, and you can put markers on it.

There is no quest tracker, no quest pings, no icons popping up telling you where to go, and all that nonsense you see in other open-world games like Grand Theft Auto 5, Horizon Forbidden West, and Far Cry 6. So you’ll need a notebook (physical or digital) to write stuff down and where they are.

Whether it’s a new location a special merchant is hanging out, or a quest giver just before Castle Mourne, you need to manually keep track of all of these things, because Elden Ring is sure as heck isn’t going to do it for you. At the very least, Sites of Grace will appear permanently on your map when discovered, so you can use that as references too.

Use Guard Counter

Just like in Dark Souls and other action RPGs, you need to mix up your offense and defense by attacking and blocking with your shield. Parrying is also cool too and gives you good damage rewards if you’re on point. However, Elden Ring gives you a pretty useful Guard Counter move. As soon as you get hit while blocking, press the Heavy Attack button (RT/R2) to do a heavy counterattack. While this is useful, keep in mind that you can still get interrupted if enemies have ample follow up to their current attack strings.

When You Can, Fight Enemies While On Torrent

Your magic steed Torrent is fast and manoeuvrable, as well as a high jumper. As such, you should use Torrent in combat whenever it’s available. Just keep in mind that your character’s attack range varies; polearms and halberds have better reach as magic steed attacks compared to daggers and regular swords.

Cash Out Your Runes Every Opportunity You Get

Do not hoard your runes. If you have thousands saved up, spend it on levelling up or on items, or even buffing up your Ashes of War. If you die once, your death spot will have all your dropped runes. Die again, and those runes are lost forever.

As tempting as it is to run around the game with thousands of pocket change, Elden Ring is filled with a ton of “gotcha” moments that can kill you in seconds be it traps or those f***king stone imps that dropped on you from the ceiling in an enclosed dungeon. Don’t be a hero and cash out your runes until they’re near zero. This is especially important before you go into a boss fight, or enter a room that looks like a boss domain. Trust your hunches; just cash out.

There Is No Shame In Running Away

Elden Ring features a good number of scenarios where it’s better to flee than to fight and possibly die a horrible death. If you see a giant boss and an exit ahead, just take the exit. There’s most likely a Site of Grace waiting for you there to use and rejuvenate.

If you find yourself in a mob situation that only escalates, and there’s an escape route in sight, just run the hell away. Better to be the coward who still has his legs & runes than the brave fool who died miserably because he could take on two Leonine Misbegottens at the same time.

Patches Is In The Game; You’ll Need Some Of His Gear

If you need unique items, you will need to find Patches in the game. He’s a Dark Souls mainstay who somehow made his way into Elden Ring.

To get him, head to the southeast part of West Limgrave (starting area) to the swampy area down below (where the giant dragon is chilling) and find the Murkwater Cave close to the river that leads northward. You’ll need to fight a Tarnished enemy called Bloody Finger Nerijus first; just take shots at him before another good Tarnished ally comes in to help you out.

Then head to the cave. This dungeon is easy; it features a bunch of low-level bandits, and then head to the boss chamber nearby. Open the chest, then fight Patches. When he begs for his life, just stand still and do nothing. The fight is then over; Patches will sell you goods you can’t find elsewhere. He sells a pretty useful item that can help you in the fight against Margit; it costs 5,000 runes and it’ll also be useful later on.

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