With the release of Elden Ring (FromSoft), there have been countless tips for newbs videos and articles. They’re probably helpful because these are from reputable From fans who want to help non-From fans who are intimidated by the games. As I watched them, however, I thought about how they wouldn’t help me much because of the way my brain works. So, I decided to write my own list of tips for n00bs (not necessarily ten; that’s just for the title. I’ll go until I stop) in case I could be of some use to someone.
1. Don’t be the Confessor. I know that’s very specific, but I’ll expand it in a minute. I’m the Confessor because I read that this was the strengthcasting class that is a hybrid of bonking and spelling. It starts with two incantations and both are useful. However, they are defensive rather than offensive and I read that spells and incantations are plentiful in the world. Which they might be, but not in the first area. In twelve hours, I did not find a single one. And I was not able to buy a bow until hour eight or so. Bows are great in this game, though, so it was worth the wait. But still, arrows are not unlimited and they’re not cheap. I would have liked to have ranged spells/incantations for the first dozen hours because that’s an integral part of my playstyle.
To expand past that, know your own playstyle. Do you want to dual wield? The Warrior is your class. Do you want to go around, chonking and bonking? Hero is your class–not the Warrior. Despite the name, that is a dex class not a strength one. Pure intelligence? The Astrologer is your class, etc. Read one of those ‘which starting class is for you’ and stay away from the Wretch. You’ll be able to shape your build however you want, but you might as well give you a boost to start.
2. Jump in the chasm in the beginning because that’s the tutorial. And take your time. There is so much to do in the game and it can put your brain on overload. At least it can mine. All the tutorials are in your inventory, by the way, under info. Feel free to check it out if you don’t remember everything that is thrown at you on a regular basis.
3. Explore in a way that is comfortable to you, but be aware that while there is no right way to do things, there are story beats that only occur at certain times. As I’ve said on Twitter, it took me ten hours before I even went into the first Legacy Dungeon (main storyline) because I was taking my time and exploring every inch of the world. I fought the first boss once and then Melina, my Finger Maiden (don’t–just don’t), showed up to have a chat. We’ve talked a few times, but this is the first time (since the first time we met) that she just starts talking to me without me pressing the ‘talk to Melina’ option.
Melina said she was going a certain somewhere that I won’t spoil and did I want to go, too? I did, indeed, want to go. That’s where I got my first two Pyromancies. And I’m fairly sure this event is triggered by fighting the first legacy dungeon first boss for the first time (that’s a lot of firsts). This event is very important and something you want to do as soon as possible. If this isn’t how you trigger it–well, sorry about it.
4. Emphasizing once again, know your own issues. What do I mean by that? I get overwhelmed with too many choices. I know many sites have said if you’re stuck, just go someplace else! Yes, that’s one way to play it, but that would just add to the stress for me. When I played Sekiro, there was a time I had one main boss and three mini-bosses who were all kicking my ass. The fact that I could have my ass kicked by four different bosses just made me miserable.
In Elden Ring, I’m doing it the way I play open world games. I pick one area and I explore the hell out of that area, making sure to squeeze every ounce of content before moving on.
Since starting this post, I’ve played four more hours of the game. In those four hours, I’ve loosened up a bit on the ‘must explore every inch before moving on’. Why? Because I went further in the castle (the first story dungeon) and it kicked my ass pretty thoroughly. I made a bit of progress, but I was not enjoying it. So I went elsewhere. Twice. In one area, there are bug bears who I do not want to fight–at all. In another area, there are…wolfpeople? Monkeypeople? Whatever they are, they appear out of nowhere and are very annoying. I also found another area that made it very clear I was not supposed to be there yet. It was so breathtaking, but I left after doing a short exploration.
In other words, explore it however you want to explore it. Know what you like and what you don’t like. As I said, I like to do one area at a time (though I’m expanding a bit). You may like sampling a little of this, a little of that, a little of everything. That’s fine, too!
5. Take notes. I’m not being funny here. I’ve been taking notes about all the NPCs I meet and certain important points in the game. On the latter, there are markers you can place on the map–up to 100 of them. Use them as well to mark the places you might want to go in the future, but also take notes because you can’t make notes of any kind in the game.
6. Don’t be afraid to peruse the Wikis/forums if you are lost, stuck, or have any questions. When I first played the original Dark Souls, the meta was that you had to play the game without any guidance, otherwise you’re not a ‘real’ gamer. There were a bunch of other rules, too, but that was the first one. I tried to stick to it, but these games are so dense and labyrinthian, it’s nearly an impossible task. What’s more, it makes for a miserable experience. It’s better to have some idea what is going on than to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Just be aware that you can’t pick and choose what you want to know about, say a certain NPC if you look them up. It’s all or nothing so you have to be OK with seeing more spoilers than perhaps you wanted to see in the first place.
7. Don’t get frustrated if you die a lot, get lost a lot, or can’t figure out what to do. This is FromSoft, for better AND worse. Their games are dense, obtuse, esoteric, and rage-inducing. I was fighting an invader NPC and cursing her out steadily as she killed me again and again. When I finally beat her, I had a few nasty things to say to her and I was not stingy with my swearing. I thought she was unfair, but in the end, me and my fire got it done. Don’t worry about losing your Runes because there will always be more Runes. They’re infinite! Yes, it can hurt to lose your Runes, but try not to sweat it.
8. One last thing. Enjoy the ride! You can only play a From game for the first time once–and there’s nothing else like it.
That’s all for now, It’s late and I need some sleep. I may write more in another post, but this is enough to get you started.