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Elden Ring Beginner's Guide: How to take on The Lands Between

On the path to getting good.

The decrepit high fantasy world of Elden Ring can be a miserable place for newcomers and the uncoordinated alike.

As the latest entry into a notoriously unforgiving series, our Elden Ring beginner’s guide will lead you through some of the foggier systems and mechanics as you traverse the mist in The Lands Between.

We’ll first go over some basic advice that even returning adventurers will need to remember, before linking out to full explainers on the more intricate aspects of selecting your character and finding what you need to survive.

On this page:

Elden Ring Beginner’s Guide

  • Exhaust all dialogue options for every NPC you talk to

While the Souls series is renowned for its esoteric approach to storytelling, that doesn’t mean everyone you meet will give you the silent treatment.

Really, it means every morsel and crumb of interaction you have with another soul is precious and should be treated as such.

When you get the chance to speak to someone, exhaust all the dialogue options you’re given. They often contain hints, clues, and faint nudges towards interesting or intriguing locations out in the open world.

But pay attention! NPCs have a habit of not repeating their instructions twice.

You’ll know when you’ve exhausted it all because they’ll repeat the last line of dialogue.

  • You can't ride mounts in co-op

Your uphill struggle against evil is more tolerable with a friend in tow, but be aware: three is a crowd.

You can’t hop on your noble steed to move quickly between places when there’s another player in your game, so we suggest summoning help in areas that limit your access to a horse, such as Legacy Dungeons, caves, tunnels and smaller dungeons.

  • Mounts let you ride through poison swamps and take no damage

Something your four-legged friend can do however is ferry you across poisonous landscapes without them gnawing through your life bar.

If a corrupted patch of swamp seems unpassable, try mounting up before you attempt a crossing, but remember, if they’re found indoors where you have no access to your horse, your only option is on foot.

  • 20 Strength and 20 Dex opens up most weapons to you

Variety is the spice of life, and in Elden Ring it can be the seasoning of death too.

Pumping 20 points into Strength and Dexterity gives you access to a wide arsenal of different pointy objects to ward off your foes. Certain options will still be out of reach, because they require a greater investment, but 20/20 is something to aim for.

  • Locations NPCs mention are marked on your map with a bright, easy-to-miss shadow

Cartography isn’t Elden Ring’s strongest point. The sprawling map of The Lands Between is dense with dungeons, forsaken settlements, and monster dens.

Sometimes, after you’ve been pointed towards some horrible place or another by an NPC, its location will get marked on your map with a shadow that’s very easy to overlook.

Study the screen carefully when you think someone has given you a lead. NPCs will usually say ‘north of this’ or ‘south of that’, so open your map and look around that area and you’ll spot it.

  • Make a habit of marking locations on your map

In a similar vein, many of the locations on your map are completely unmarked.

Try to get into the swing of marking interesting or important places on your map or you WILL get lost. You can place blue columns, which will appear on your compass and 3D world. You can also use a glossary of icons to denote sites with monsters/chests/etc. you want to return to.

  • Major Sites of Grace have a ray of light leading away from them and into the direction you want to go (also visible on the map)

One subtle push in the right direction you do get though is from major Sites of Grace, which have an arching ray of light coming out from them in the best direction to proceed.

  • You can't fast travel or craft in combat

If you thought things would be that easy, then you’d be wrong.

Before you take on pretty much any encounter in Elden Ring, make sure you’re in it to win it with the right items equipped.

Once that baddie locks onto you, there’s no fast travelling to safety or crafting extra items to cheese your way through a fight.

However, if you’re in the open world and manage to break line of sight, or put enough distance between you and your enemies, things will quiet down and you’ll be able to resume both.

  • The flame-throwing traps in certain dungeons can be shot to deactivate

Like previous games in the series, Elden Ring takes great joy in tricking players into an untimely death.

Keep an eye out for the particularly dangerous flame-throwing traps, which can be disabled harmlessly with a ranged weapon.

You could try timing your roll to avoid the flame, but try shooting it first.

  • Not every shield blocks all damage

When the odds are so insurmountably weighted against you, it can be very tempting to cower behind whatever slab of wood or metal you can slide between yourself and the terrible monsters on your trail.

However, most defensive items won’t block all of the incoming damage from enemy attacks. This leaves you open to being whittled down by chip damage in drawn-out, intense fights or just getting squished by bigger beasts.

If you’re a defensive player, seek out adequate protection as soon as possible.

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