Elden Ring tips: how to stay alive in The Lands Between

Elden Ring Tips, a player on horseback squares up to a dragon as the Erdtree stands tall in the background emitting rays of golden light
(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Take it from us: even the toughest of gamers will need Elden Ring tips. The fantasy action game by FromSoftware - the developer of heavyweight gaming behemoths Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows: Die Twice - is tough, to say the least. Featuring the series' trademark combat and light-touch storytelling, Elden Ring takes familiar systems and twists them to fit the demands of open-world exploration.

If you plan to make your way through Elden Ring’s dangerous Lands Between, you’re going to need more than just a sword and a bit of magic to stay alive. This is the biggest game that FromSoftware has ever released, so it only makes sense that it should be one of their most difficult. Between that hench Tree Sentinel and the fearsomely tough Malenia, you’ll have your work cut out for you.

Even if you’ve played a lot of its sister games, you might find yourself in the dark with Elden Ring. As in Bloodborne and Sekiro, the developers have reworked the basic game system by adding and removing various aspects. That’s where we come in. Below you’ll find five helpful tips to reduce your need for those Crimson Flasks over the course of your journey to becoming the Elden Lord.  

Elden Ring tips

Elden Ring tips: Pick your starting class carefully

The Elden Ring classes screen

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

In previous Souls games, you could start with any class and then tweak and build out the stats as you saw fit. That’s still possible here in Elden Ring, however, the game plays out at a much slower pace than previous FromSoftware games. As such, choosing a starting class with the stats you are looking for will benefit you greatly, especially in the first 10 - 15 hours of gameplay. 

If you want to lean into spellcasting, pick a class that suits that playstyle, like the Astrologer. If you’re more of a melee player, the Vagabond is your friend. Our advice is to pay close attention to the class descriptions before you make your choice. While you can adapt a class to fit your needs - leveling your Vagabond’s intelligence stat to increase its spellcasting power, for instance - that will take time. If you know how you want to play when you start then pick the class that suits that playstyle.

Elden Ring tips: stay stealthy

A player sneaks up on an enemy in Elden Ring

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Elden Ring’s world is massive. And, however tempting, we don’t recommend running into every encounter hoisted atop your Spirit Steed. It’s better to take your time and guile to get around. Elden Ring rewards the stealthy approach, giving you a powerful backstab ability. You’ll encounter a lot of enemies scattered throughout the Lands Between, and being able to sneak past them, or even up behind them for a quick, silent kill is often the sensible move.

Practice sneaking early, even if you mess it up a few times, it’s a vital skill to have under your belt. Especially when you get to later sections of the game and face large groups of enemies. Thinning down the crowd with a few well-placed backstabs before engaging the survivors can make the difference between life and death in a difficult encounter.

Elden Ring tips: Remember map fragments

The Elden Ring map screen

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Like most open-world games, getting to know Elden Ring’s map is key to survival, especially when you’re trying to collect Runes and other goodies. As you explore new areas, you’ll find stone tablets that unlock map fragments. We recommend prioritizing unlocking these, as each fragment reveals part of the map, allowing you to better plan where you’re going. 

It’s easy to get lost in Elden Ring, especially when you’re dodging areas that are too difficult for you just yet. Also, make use of your custom map markers to highlight points of interest to return to - like items you can’t reach yet, or bosses you want to face when you’re stronger.

Elden Ring tips: Scavenge

An Elden Ring player searches a fungus-filled cave

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Steal everything that isn’t nailed down. Crafting is a big deal in Elden Ring so you want to collect as many crafting materials as you can. There are tons of herbs, items, and other goodies hidden around the world. Look out for the helpful red glow that appears when you’re near an item.

The different types of items that you can craft -like arrows, firebombs, and even summoning items for multiplayer - will all help you in the long run, so it pays to be stocked up on the materials that they’re made out of.

There are a lot of items to gather so, before leaving an area, we recommend doing a final pass once you’ve cleared out the enemies. If you’re like us, you’ll often find items you missed because you were focused on not being gutted by one of the Land Between’s monsters.

Elden Ring tips: Come back when you're stronger

An Elden Ring player sneaks through a dark tomb

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

Elden Ring is a Soulsborne game, it’s going to be difficult. However, you do have some control over just how difficult the game is. Unlike some open-world games, Elden Ring doesn’t lock any areas off from you accessing them. When you first leave the tutorial dungeon, you’ll find yourself staring down a massive enemy that you aren’t strong enough to fight just yet. You can try, you might even win (show off), but it’s not going to be easy. This is a great lesson in what’s in store for you in Elden Ring.

Every area has a difficulty level assigned to it, and, if you aren’t that level yet, there’s nothing wrong with turning around and exploring another area of the map. Just make a note and come back when you’ve leveled up a little. This becomes much easier when you can race around the world on your Spirit Steed. If you find yourself struggling in an area, don’t get frustrated, consider going to a different part of the world and earning some experience there.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent is an accomplished freelance video game, technology, and entertainment writer whose work has been featured in various online and print publications. She’s been writing professionally for 15 years and her work can be found in dozens of print and digital publications such as Variety, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Wired, Maxim, Official Xbox Magazine, and more.