This very much depends on your preferred playstyle. How ‘good’ a character is ultimately depends on how they both mitigate and deal damage, and the manner in which they do so.
The character you choose at the beginning of ELDEN RING will have attributes weighted towards various skillsets, but you can level you character however you want once you start collecting Runes.
These builds focus more on heavier weapons and armour. They’re typically not fast movers but they can take more damage. You’ll be dealing larger amounts of damage in fewer hits.
Able to move quickly around enemies, you’ll be using lighter weapons and armour. You’ll need to focus more on dodging incoming attacks rather than taking damage.
If close-quarters combat isn’t your thing, focusing on magic could be the way to go. You’ll be able to deal damage from a distance with ranged attacks and apply buffs to avoid taking damage.
At their most basic level, Runes are currency and are collected by vanquishing all manner of person and beast in the Lands Between. You’ll need them to purchase items from various sellers, level up weapons and, perhaps most importantly, to level-up your character.
Keep in mind that on death you drop the Runes you’re carrying. Die again before retrieving them and they’ll be gone for good, so spend wisely and at the right time.
Expert tip: Avoid spending too much on weapons and armour early in the game. A wise approach would be to focus on levelling your character instead. You’ll find plenty of weapons and armour throughout the Lands Between.
Defending against attacks is at least as important as landing hits. Keep your shield up when entering unknown areas to avoid surprise attacks. Some shields are great against physical damage, others against fire or magic – this can be decisive when taking on larger enemies.
Stamina management is an important aspect of combat in ELDEN RING. Measured by the green bar in the top left of the screen, stamina is used when swinging a weapon, blocking incoming attacks, sprinting and rolling or dodging. While it regenerates automatically, you’ll need to pick moments for defending and attacking to avoid it running out. Stamina regenerates much more slowly when your shield is raised.
Expert tip: Some enemies (especially those with shields) also have stamina that you can wear down with attacks. When their guard is broken, they will stagger making them vulnerable.
Use the environment to your advantage to sneak past enemies you’re not quite ready to take on or stab them in the back to inflict serious damage.
New to ELDEN RING, Ashes of War can be found throughout the world or by defeating bosses and then equipped to a weapon or shield (depending on the item) at a Site of Grace. Some weapons come with Ashes of War that can’t be removed. Benefits range from providing alternative weapon attacks to ranged attacks that automatically target enemies. Some Ashes use FP so keep an eye on the blue gauge when using them.
Enemy difficulty varies significantly as you travel across the Lands Between. Don’t be afraid to retreat from particularly challenging encounters and come back later once you’ve honed your skills, levelled up your character or found new weapons or items.
You can level your character up at a Site of Grace where your Maiden, Melina , will trade Runes for attributes in increasing cost increments. You can choose which attributes you want to focus on too, so if you started out with a build focused on strength but enjoy casting magic, you can improve those attributes here.
Purchasing attributes also increases your character level, which improves your overall defence stats allowing you to take on more powerful enemies.
If you need help in some of the tougher battles but prefer a single-player experience, Spirit Summoning can be used to call a non-playable character to help you. These come in many varieties and are great to deal extra damage or provide distractions for enemies while you plan your attack.
As part of the multiplayer experience, summoning other players into your game is a great way to help you through some of the trickier fights you’ll face. Visit a Summoning Statue (or use a Furlcalling Finger Remedy to see Summoning Signs) to summon a fellow Tarnished into your game.
You can also help others. You don’t lose anything in your summoned form, so this is a great way to familiarise yourself with fearsome bosses while helping out another. Drop a Tarnished’s Furled Finger to indicate you’re available to help.
Expert tip: You can usually only Spirit Summon once per battle. Doing so uses FP (the blue gauge in the top left of the screen) so make sure you have enough before entering a new fight.
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ELDEN RING won’t hold your hand, but it will provide you with plenty of tools to face its challenges. Everything you do is around balancing risk and reward, whether that’s the type of character you build or the number of Runes you carry into a boss battle. Every encounter offers a chance to learn something new about the world and your enemies.
Progression in ELDEN RING is best done through exploration of the Lands Between. Search every nook and talk to any NPC you can find – they may have objects to help you on your quest or provide backstory to the world. If you want to focus on the storyline, you can follow Grace’s Guidance, a gold wisp that hangs in the air pointing you in the right direction. Visit a Site of Grace to pick up the trail.
The above information is subject to change without prior notice.
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