11 Elden Ring tips to become a true Elden Lord

Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring tips and tricks are something that any player could use in a pinch, as the games of FromSoftware are famously tough - though not impossible, importantly enough. Elden Ring does throw you into the deep end, no doubt about it, but you can still learn to swim - and that's where we come in to help. Whether you want help with combat, boss fights, magic, exploration, equipment or more besides, we've played through the game multiple times and conferred to bring you the most important tips and tricks for Elden Ring that we wish we know before we started playing.

1. You don't have to kill everything, so don't try

Elden Ring boss battles

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The fact that you can go in any direction in Elden Ring, stealth through bushes and outrun most threats on your horse, means that there's a lot of enemies and wandering bosses you can flee from or just give their own space. The Tree Sentinel at the start, for example, is an optional boss you definitely shouldn't fight until you're further into the game. Learn to pick and choose your battles, to run when it's wise and to fight when it's profitable. They'll still be waiting when you're ready, then you can try again for the loot and Runes they're carrying.

2. Commit to a build and weapon early, and make changes later

Elden Ring builds and weapons tips

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Once you’ve chosen from one of the Elden Ring classes, you’ll need to commit to strengthening your build as soon as possible, especially if you want one of our Elden Ring best builds. When spending your Runes to level up your Attributes, dump them into your class’s best ones, as well as a bit of Vigor and Endurance, to really help you play to the strengths of your build. If you really want to respecialize and mess around with your Attributes, you’ll be able to find a particular item that can be exchanged to reallocate spent Attribute points, but it’s quite far into the game.

This goes for improving your armaments with Smithing Stones too. If you’ve got a trusty sword or other weapon, stick to upgrading just that weapon, as you don’t want to spread your Smithing Stones across improving several mediocre weapons when you could have a single excellent one that’ll see you through some tough bosses. 

3. Explore Limgrave thoroughly at the start to max out loot and power-ups

Elden Ring Limgrave

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring has an incredibly vast open world full of nooks and crannies for you to explore and, more than likely, clear of horrifying monstrosities. Take advantage of the fact that you can take a stroll away from the critical path and use it to explore early on and level up. In doing so, you’ll not only learn the ropes of the game before coming up against some seriously tough story bosses, but you’re probably going to find some good loot too. 

To get you started, you can find a Golden Seed to improve your Sacred Flask on the main path towards Stormhill, Smithing Stones are abundant in the Limgrave Tunnels, and the Warmaster’s Shack up around Stormhill will introduce you to a merchant who sells powerful Ashes of War for your weapons. Exploring will also allow you to find lots of Sites of Grace, which will make getting around Limgrave and all of the Lands Between much easier thanks to fast travel.

4. Use map markers to track discoveries and important things

Elden Ring map markers

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Elden Ring's map builds out as you explore and find Elden Ring map fragments, but an important piece of info is the fact that you can put down up to a hundred custom markers on locations, beyond just the standard waypoints. These are really helpful, as there's a lot the map doesn't show once found, like merchants or optional bosses. Use these to keep track of everything, and you'll thank yourself later.

5. Equipment is just as important, if not more important, than your level

Elden Ring equipment

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Levelling up will allow you to improve your basic stats and resistances, but it's equipment that weaponises those numbers and turns them into real power. Consequently it's not enough to just keep pouring Runes into Strength levels if you're a warrior or knight; you'll want a good melee weapon with decent Strength Scaling. Knowing How to strengthen weapons in Elden Ring and improve them at an anvil or with a blacksmith using Elden Ring Smithing Stones is important. Even the way your weapon moves as part of its attack patterns is important - long reach, quick motions and wide swings can be a lot deadlier than slow, tiny stabs, even if the latter theoretically does more damage on each hit.

6.  It's good to have at least one ranged attack option

Elden Ring ranged attacks

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Most of the combat in Elden Ring tends to be up close and personal, whether you want it to be or not, as monsters and enemies charge at you with weapons drawn. So, while it's good to be able to fight on that front, it's very helpful to have at least one ranged attack, even if it's not your primary mode of combat. A bow, projectile sorceries, a crossbow or even slinging lightning can kill enemies before they ever reach you, and some bosses really struggle if you can stay out of their swings and shoot fire into their face.

7. Shields are good, but rolling is better - especially if you're light

Elden Ring roll and dodge

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

A shield with 100% damage reduction is a really good choice for a new player, able to stop any sword or arrow with only a drain on your stamina to show for it. Even if you don't start with one, you should probably buy one from Kalé, the merchant in the Church of Elleh by the Tree Sentinel. 

But don't get dependent on it. As helpful as shields are, rolling out of the way of an attack is always better, especially later on when bosses are using devastating spells and divine strikes that'll break through your block. Learn to avoid attacks with dodges, using the shield as a kind of safety net until you do. You also want to make sure you're not wearing too much equipment, as this puts you into a mode called "Heavy Load" and makes you roll and move much slower and at the cost of more stamina.

8. Summons devastate bosses and give you a real opportunity to hit back

Elden Ring summons to beat bosses

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Some FromSoftware purists dislike this method, but if you're struggling, we see nothing wrong with using the tools the game gives you - and Elden Ring Summons are some of the most powerful tools around. Players can interact with gold marks on the ground to bring NPCs out to help, but these are fairly rare and contextual. But you can also use Ash summons whenever the little white symbol of an obelisk is on the left hand side of the screen. By equipping these in your equipment inventory bar, you can spend some FP (mana) and ring a bell to summon these helpful spirit monsters. As you explore the game, you'll find more Ash summons and power up the ones you have already, turning them into deadly sidekicks.

Summons range from incredibly powerful warriors to useless bumblers, but even the worst of them can serve a very useful purpose: distraction. Enemies and bosses who are stomping on them aren't stomping on you, giving you a chance to heal, prepare a spell, or leap into the fracas and stab them in the back.

9. Look for Golden Trees and Churches to upgrade your health Flasks

Elden Ring gold trees

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The item you'll use most in Elden Ring is your Flasks of Crimson Tears, and possibly your Flasks of Cerulean Tears if you're a spellcaster. These restore health and FP respectively, but their limited use and the fact they normally only get restored at Sites of Grace means you have to be careful about how often they're used.

That's why you need to look for small Golden Trees (not the towering ones marked on the map, but the little saplings that are barely taller than you) and ruined Churches. These are both found all over Elden Ring and the Lands Between. The Golden Trees have Elden Ring Golden Seeds at their base, and the Churches have Sacred Tears. These items are both used at Sites of Grace to upgrade your Flasks: Golden Seeds increase how often you can use them, while Sacred Tears increase how much HP or FP they give you. Because of how often you rely on Flasks to stay alive, this makes Seeds and Tears some of the most valuable items in the game.

10. Enemies with golden eyes drop extra Runes

Elden Ring riding the mount

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

It's a small thing, but every now and then you'll see an enemy who randomly has glowing gold eyes. They won't be any tougher or deadlier than the others, but they are worth slaying - they're a randomly occurring special enemy who'll drop much more Runes than the others. The actual number seems to vary somewhat according to enemy, level and location, but they're never not worth killing.

11. Jingling chimes means a scarab is nearby

Elden Ring chimes

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

If you ever hear a sound like wind chimes and can't work out where it's coming from, that's a scarab/dung beetle scampering about. These big bugs flee when you get close, rolling their ball away from you, and will actually vanish if they don't take damage soon. However, it's nearly always worth slaying them - depending on the scarab, they'll refill your Flasks or even drop special loot, particularly Ashes of War you can use to customise your weapons.

Elden Ring secrets | Elden Ring Keepsakes | Elden Ring PS4 and PS5 comparison | How to get the Elden Ring horse | Elden Ring Rune farming locations | Elden Ring Summons | Elden Ring stats explained | How to level up in Elden Ring | Elden Ring respec and Larval Tears | Elden Ring merchants | How long is Elden Ring? | Elden Ring cheats | Elden Ring coop and multiplayer | Elden Ring endings | Everything to do in Elden Ring before NG+ | Elden Ring DLC

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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