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10 Elden Ring tips to help beat bosses and conquer the Lands Between

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

A good set of Elden Ring tips will take the edge off FromSoftware's famously challenging approach to game design, allowing you to beat bosses, find the best weapons, and collect runes as effectively as possible in the Lands Between. Though there's likely no advice that would make the game easy per se, we can definitely help to take the edge off those first areas, help you understand the game better, and even give clarity to Dark Souls veterans on how Elden Ring differs from FromSoft's previous games. Check below to find everything you need to know on Elden Ring tips, tricks and more.

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1. Pick and choose your battles

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

Soulsborne games up until now usually pushed you into direct confrontation with enemies, but that's not so much the case here. While it's not always the case, there's a lot of monsters and enemy goons in Elden Ring you can get past without having to fight them, such as the bandit camp at the base of the Stormgate. However, that's not to say you shouldn't fight them - there's usually some motivation to confront enemies, usually a chest or item that players can make use of, or just the runes obtained by slaying them.

For this reason, consider the pros and cons of every confrontation, not just the challenge, but the risks - if you've got a lot of runes banked, you might want to slink past enemies or even head back towards a Site of Grace to spend them. The very first enemy of the game highlights this, a wandering boss called the Tree Sentinel who is very hard to beat, but very easy to avoid.

2. Stealth and scouting are useful approaches

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

Elden Ring does a lot more to give you options to survey its battlegrounds. Verticality and freedom of exploration are bigger deals when outside of dungeons, and this means you can circle an area, check out the enemies involved, get around them or use the environment to your advantage.

Of course, the other element is stealth. Again, while this idea did exist in previous FromSoftware games, it was usually fairly vestigial (with the exception of Sekiro). Now it's much more viable with the environment design, so coming up behind enemies for a high-damage backstab is a good way to clear out opponents. Even if it does break into a full fight, you can clear out a lot of them in advance of that.

3. Always follow the golden trails to find useful areas and fast travel

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

The game mentions this early on, but it bears repeating: the ethereal golden trails that sometimes appear in the air are always worth following. They lead to Sites of Grace checkpoints that are often concealed or not obvious, so head to those - especially if you haven't found one for a while. As you find more Sites of Grace you'll build a robust network of fast-travel points to use, so always pursue these when they come up.

4. Focus on small objectives to get started

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

It's easy to get a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities, paths and potential, so here's the smartest approach: find a small, manageable task and put everything towards that for a little while. Whether it's beating a certain enemy, levelling up a certain amount or mastering a particular weapon, conquer minor tasks to help yourself progress towards the bigger ones.

5. Remember where you've been and fast travel often

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

Because of Elden Ring's non-linear world, it's useful to remember where you've been before. For example, you'll likely meet the merchant Kalé very early on in the game, but before you've got enough runes to buy anything off him. But considering there's a Site of Grace right next to him, you can head back at any time to peruse his wears and buy items, some of which are borderline essential. Sites of Grace actually have labels on the map screen that mark points of interest and important NPCs near them, so you can check to see what's around them and might be worth revisiting.

6. Summoning can be done online or offline

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

The benefits of summoning other players are obvious, but Elden Ring also allows you to summon various forms of NPC and monster with Spirit Summons/Spirit Ashes, items that use up FP in exchange for creating allied creatures. Kalé will sell you some of these to try out, and while they're not always enormously powerful, they're hugely useful as distractions. For example, the Lone Wolf Ashes create three wolves that bite enemies, but also draw their attention. So while a boss might not take a lot of damage from them, you can let the wolves aggro that boss while you stab at them from relative safety - we found you can get a boss injured up to half health by doing this. 

However, you'll have to be near a Rebirth Monument to summon them, as you do with any other summon. The little tablet icon on the left will indicate if you're "in range", so to speak.

7. Dodging is usually better than blocking

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

It's a generalisation, but it's a generalisation that's usually true: it's better to roll out of the way of an attack than catch it on your shield. Shields don't always totally reduce an attack's damage - the Physical Guard and similar stats on the shield show what percentage they take off the top - and even if they do, the penalty to stamina for having your shield up is a bit tougher than just rolling out of the way.

That's not to say you shouldn't use shields - they can be very effective, especially if you can learn the Parry skill properly - but you should use them to stop the attacks that you couldn't dodge in the first place, not just to rebound every attack, full-stop.

8. Use Ashes carefully - they're not just enhancements

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

One of the big features of Elden Ring are Ashes of War, powerful magic items that can be attached to equipment to impact them and give them new abilities. Some classes start with Ashes already set up on their gear, but it's worth noting that Ashes of War aren't straightforward improvements. They change skills rather than adding to them, and improve some stats while reducing others. You can apply them at Sites of Grace, but check in advance to make sure it's all worth doing, and that the skill you're losing isn't important to you. For instance, most shields can parry attacks, but putting Ashes of War on them might take that away and replace it with some other effect. Still, it can be worth it, especially if you can boost the item's scaling to your own character's best skills.

9. Healing is often a risky thing to do

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

There's a lot of ways to heal in Elden Ring, especially if you're a Faith-based class, but a lot of them are… well, not very good. The Flask of Crimson Tears is the best way to recover, but uses are limited and even then it slows you down and leaves you defenseless. Meanwhile, the healing spells that do exist are often slow or even require you to sit down and focus for a while, like the Prophet's starting Heal spell. 

If you do need to heal, try and put some space between you and the threat first - if you go to recover in the middle of a fight, there's a good chance you'll just get splattered for having your defenses down. This is another reason why summons are helpful: if they draw an enemy's attention you have a chance to start healing yourself without getting interrupted.

10. Fight enemies individually, not as a group

Elden Ring tips

(Image credit: From Software)

Elden Ring, like all Soulsborne games, has a targeting system that's very good for fighting one enemy at a time, but makes things tricky when multiple attackers are involved. That's just part of the challenge - managing your way through lots of different foes is a lot harder than dealing with one enemy head-on. For this reason, always try and set up situations where you're fighting as few enemies as possible, then move through them one-at-a-time. 

If you are mobbed by lots of them, back up and try to at least keep them all in front of you. And if things get really bad, consider just getting onto your horse and fleeing the area if at all possible - you can always come back later when things have cooled down, especially if you have lots of runes at risk.

Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend 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 add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.