Elden Ring immediately throws you into the deep end, explaining almost nothing and forcing you to fend for yourself in a massive mysterious world. There are no easy lessons to learn in Elden Ring — you’ll have to fight for each discovery yourself. Unless you check out our guide below, where we’re using 50+ hours of gameplay experience to explain some of the most important secrets we wish we knew right from the start.
From healing talismans to powerful weapons, the world is even bigger, making everything eve6n easier to miss than ever before. There are items you might never find. NPCs with helpful features that die and disappear before you even meet them. There are tricks to progressing through the game, helping you solve some of the hardest bosses, and you just might find them too late. We’re going to offer 10 very specific tips — here’s how to find weapons, items, and features that are insanely useful.
More Elden Ring guides:
First Shardbearer | Walkthrought Pt. 1 | Unlock Raya Lucaria | Walkthrought Pt. 2 | Margit, The Fell Omen Boss Guide | Godrick, The Grafted Boss Guide | Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon Boss Guide | How To Fight Ancestor Spirit | Secret Boss Guide | How To Duplicate Remembrance | Stonesword Keys Locations | Regenerating HP Talisman Location | How To Customize Your Character | How To Respec | How To Unlock Ash Spirit Attunement | How To Transmogrify Into Objects | How To Reset NPC Aggression
#1. Collecting A Powerful Talisman Right At The Start
Right at the start of the game, you can gain a powerful Talisman that’s useful for any class. You just need to select a Swordstone Key as your starting item.
To get the Erdtree’s Favor Talisman — which raises max HP, stamina and equipment load — you’ll find a locked fog door in the Stranded Graveyard. That’s the first area of the game. Use the Swordstone Key you selected as a starting item — or come back later — and jump into the poison water. Lower your load and sprint through the water to get out before the poison effects you.
Ahead, you’ll find a trap and enter the Fringefolk Hero Grave. Sprint after the chariot death trap down the steps and take cover in the alcove — wait for it to go down and follow it to each safe spot down the ramp. Watch out for the crossbowman reach the third spot. Watch out for enemies and drop down onto the lower ramp after it goes all the way to the top. Fall down and run down to the narrow ramp — on the left / right, you can drop down to a ledge directly below to avoid the chariot trap that will follow you around the corner.
Down the steps ahead, a flamethrower trap will go off. Retreat to the stairs, wait for it to finish, then sprint inside and roll into the alcove on the right. From the fire trap, continue into the huge shrine room with a bridge. The Erdtree’s Favor Talisman is on the shrine. Just run and get it fast! There’s an ambush — as long as you get it before you die, you’ll keep it. Tricky but absolutely worth it.
#2. How To Summon Allies | Spirit Calling Bell
There are two types of AI helpers you can summon in Elden Ring — Cooperators and Spirit Ashes. Cooperators can be summoned by finding special NPCs in the environment and talking to them. If they agree to help you fight a boss, they’ll appear just outside the boss door. You can summon them without any additional items or requirements. You just have to find and talk to the Cooperators to get their help.
Spirit Ashes can be summoned at any time. These helpful monster spirits are items you can find in the game world. Once summoned, they’ll follow you and help you fight — you can summon undead soldiers, spectral jellyfish, and much more. You can summon them anywhere in the game world or during boss fights, and they can even be summoned if you’re using a Cooperator.
- NOTE: The Spirit Summoning Bell can be used whenever a small glowing gate appears on the left of your HUD. It costs FP to use the bell.
To summon Spirit Ashes you need the Spirit Summoning Bell. Go back to the Church of Elleh after your first visit. When you return, a witch NPC will be there — talk to her to get the Spirit Summoning Bell for free.
#3. Lighting Up Dark Areas | Where To Get A Lantern
Light is incredibly important in Elden Ring. Certain areas are impossible to traverse without a strong light source, and these can be missed. There are two useful light sources you can acquire right at the start of the game.
- Torch: Church of Elleh – Sold at the church located north of the Stranded Graveyard. Follow the road north and you can’t miss it. The torch is only 200 runes. The torch takes up a hand slot.
The torch is a clunky tool. It provides lots of light in the darkness but makes you unequip your offhand shield or weapon. The Lantern provides less light but can be used for hands-free brightness in pitch black areas. It can also be found right at the start of the game, and I recommend going for it before fully exploring the map.
- Lantern: Liurnia of the Lakes – At the Liurnia of the Lakes Shore Site of Grace. The vendor here sells a lantern. The lantern is an item you equip that lights up the area around you without taking up a hand slot.
To find him early, travel north from Stormhill. The road splits at Stormhill — one path goes toward the castle, and one goes north toward the broken bridge. You can jump down from the bridge and follow the ledge to reach the opposite side. This path skips Stormveil Castle and takes you to the (normally locked) Liurnia of the Lakes region. Reach the shore to find a Site of Grace and the vendor.
#4. Getting The Black Key Crossbow Early | Sniping Bow
Sniping is a powerful tool in any Dark Souls game. Shooting enemies from afar to pull them toward you or dealing with bomb-throwers before walking toward explosive barrels is practically required. You can get a good sniping crossbow for blasting targets very early in the game. Its located right inside the Roundtable Hold.
- Black Key Crossbow: The crossbow is located in the Roundtable Hold basement. Use a Stonesword Key to unlock the door into the locked room — it contains a chest with the crossbow.
The crossbow requires high dexterity, but it is absolutely worth unlocking ASAP. You can purchase Stonesword Keys from vendors all over the map — follow the main roads and you’ll encounter NPCs in shacks or old chapels just waiting to part with their stack of keys. There are more doors to unlock in Roundtable Hold and getting through the first one is very helpful.
#5. Defeating Giants & Skeletons
There are two types of giants you’ll encounter early in the game. The bearded giants and the massive golems on the Stormhill wall. Both look intimidating, but they can be easily beaten by attacking the right parts.
- Bearded Giants: When they slam their arms on the ground, attack the head to deal stunning damage. They’ll be staggered, then collapse. You can score a critical strike on their exposed head to finish them off.
- Giant Golem: These massive, armored warriors can be toppled by attacking both of their legs. Once they’re downed, a critical strike spot will glow on their chest. That’s where you’ll want to strike. Golems can also hurt and stun each other with their melee attacks.
Undead skeletons are also a problem in the early game. They just keep coming back to life! There’s a simple way to stop them. Unlike in previous games, you don’t need Holy or Silver weapons.
- Skeletons: When skeletons are defeated, attack the bones on the ground to shatter them. If you don’t shatter the bones, they’ll self-revive.
#6. Finding Vendors, NPCs, Chapels & Shacks
Exploration can be incredibly rewards in Elden Ring, and it doesn’t have to be dangerous. No need to delve into dungeons or fight powerful foes. If you follow the main roads around the starting area, you can locate valuable chapels and shacks.
- Chapels or Churches often contain Gold Seeds or Sacred Tears — these increase your healing charges or make each charge more powerful. You can also find nearby Gold Trees which also always give you Gold Seeds. You can explore the map and have better healing with almost no effort.
You can also find shacks or campsites. All of these locations can have useful NPCs — you can find vendors that sell unique items you won’t find anywhere else. They might sell rare Stonesword Keys. An NPC might give you a clue about a quest. My favorite vendor items are notes. Notes provide direct clues about different dangerous aspects of the environment. For example, if you find a Walking Mausoleum, a nearby vendor sells a note that tells you exactly what you need to know to climb aboard.
#7. Staying Alive In The Poison Swamp
There are two great ways to negate the effects of poison. Your spirit mount and a handy talisman that constantly keeps you healed.
- Negating Poison With Your Mount: When riding on your mount, as long as your character doesn’t touch the poison water, you’re completely safe. Your mount isn’t harmed by poison of any kind.
If you really want to negate poison without wasting cures, you can use a Talisman that passively regenerates health while equipped. It heals so much, it ignores the effects of standard green poison. You won’t lose health.
- How To Get The Regen Talisman: Travel to the Weeping Peninsula and on the southern edge, there’s a tower called the Tower of Return. Climb the ladder to the top and open the chest to teleport to a far location. We won’t spoil it here, but you’ll find the regen talisman in the chest on the right platform, past the Site of Grace.
#8. Using Incantations Even If You’re A Strength-Based Warrior
You can use magic early in the game, even if you’re a strength-based warrior. With the right Seal you can cast Incantations that scale with your strength stat. You just need to appease the Beastial Clergyman and collect the Clawmark Seal. This incantation seal allows you to cast magic that scales with your strength — incredibly useful for a swordfighter that’s only using magic to supplement their skills.
- How To Get The Clawmark Seal:
- Travel to Summonwater Village — north of the Third Church of Marika — and defeat the Tibia Mariner boss. When defeated he’ll drop a Deathroot.
- Return to the Third Church of Marika. There’s a nearby creek with a hidden portal. Enter it to reach the Beastial Sanctum. Offer the Deathroot to the NPC inside to gain the Clawmark Seal.
The Beastial Sanctum NPC will also give you an item that detects more nearby Deathroots, which you can give to gain further rewards. This is a powerful starting reward, so good enough for now. If you’re just a regular sorcerer looking to enhance your powers, you’ll want to find Sellen.
- What If I’m A Sorcery Build?: Travel southeast down the road from the Gatefront Ruins to find Sorceress Sellen at the Waypoint Ruins. She sells Sorcery.
#9. Getting The Iron Whetblade To Change Weapon Affinities
The Iron Whetblade is a powerful tool that allows you to change Weapon Affinity. This is an amazing upgrade, because it allows you to take a weapon you want and customize it to match your best stats — certain stats scale with weapon affinities. No more will you be stuck only using weapons that match your build. You can make weapons work for you.
- Iron Whetblade Location: Stormveil Castle – Deeper inside the castle, you’ll reach the Rampart Tower checkpoint. From here, progress outside to the outer walls. There’s a tower with a ledge you can jump onto. Jump onto the ledge and circle around to reach a ruined tower. Jump onto this tower, and then drop through the interior.
- Follow this path and drop into a courtyard with a Stonesword Key door. You’ll need yet another Stonesword Key — use it and you’ll find the Iron Whetblade in the armory.
Once again, we’re using a valuable Stonesword Key. You’ll find them all over the environment, and encounter vendors selling x3. Buy them up whenever you can!
#10. Uncovering A Secret Underground World
Finally, let’s look at something secret. Explore the foggy Mistwoods to the east of your general starting section of the map. There’s a structure in about the center called the Siofr River Well. Go inside and use the lift. You’ll be in for a massive surprise.
There’s much to discover in this area, but we’ll leave the rest up to you. With these 10 tips, you’ll be ready to explore (and conquer) almost everything in these cursed lands. Elden Ring is overflowing with unbelievable areas and incredible exploration. There’s always a new horizon to conquer. And we’re going to try our best to dig into all of it.
More Elden Ring guides:
How To Find Ancestor Spirit | How To Enter Nokron, Eternal City | How To Enter Lake Of Rot | How To Find Lichdragon Fortissax | How To Duplicate Remembrance | Stonesword Keys Locations | Regenerating HP Talisman Location | How To Customize Your Character | How To Respec | How To Unlock Ash Spirit Attunement | How To Transmogrify Into Objects | How To Reset NPC Aggression | How To Get The Clawmark Seal Talisman Early | How To Begin The Black Knife Secret Quest | How To Join Volcano Manor Covenant | How To Return To The Chapel of Anticipation | How To Get The Moonlight Greatsword | How To Farm Runes Fast