Welcome Tarnished, to the Lands Between. Are you prepared to die?
Well don’t expect to lose all your runes just yet. Though you are practically guaranteed to die at least a few hundred times during your journeys, and be called Maidenless a few hundred more, hope is not yet lost. With some of these tips in your back pocket, you might yet become an Elden Lord, or at least have a few tricks up your sleeve when you once again die to Margit.
Classes don’t matter (much). When starting up the game, you’ll be presented with several options for classes, each with their own equipment and stat distribution. It can seem overwhelming, but this choice is almost a trick. You’re not limited at all by what class you pick, it only affects your starting equipment and stats. Stats and equipment that might end up looking completely different within a few hours of play, as you loot foes and level up any stat you have the runes to improve. It’s even possible to completely respec your Tarnished if you’ve found yourself disliking your current build. To do this, you’ll need to have completed the Academy and slain Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, at which point she’ll allow your Tarnished to be born anew. It is still advised to steer away from the Wretch if this is your first playthrough, as it’s much easier to deal with a horde of enemies hunting you down when you’ve at least got a pair of pants.
While some have suggested keeping track of quests and side quests in a journal, the good news is that Elden Ring provides some tools so you’re not scrawling away instead of playing. While Elden Ring does not have a traditional quest log, this doesn’t mean you need to keep everything important locked up in your head or quickly jotted down on some notebook paper. When viewing your map, you’ll see every Site of Grace you’ve stopped at, and a peculiar golden line pointing away from certain Sites. This is your quest log, as the golden lines point their way to important locations for your Tarnished to visit, such as Stormveil castle. Of course, Elden Ring does not extend the same courtesy to side quests, which is where a generous number of self-placed markers come in, perfect for marking up to a hundred merchants, NPC quest givers, grinding spots, difficult bosses, and breathtaking vistas.
Wander to live. In many spots during your journey as a Tarnished, you’ll come across spikes in difficulty that will leave you getting flung back to your nearest Stake of Marika over and over again. This is Elden Ring telling you in no uncertain terms that you should most likely return later. There are so many weapons, optional bosses, ashes and other secrets that usually the best way to power yourself up for a difficult fight is just to go have fun doing something else.
And while there are undoubtedly hundreds of other secrets in the Lands Between, those are yours to discover Tarnished, but before you venture out to Limgrave to the world beyond, keep these words close to heart: