Elden Ring Tips and Strategies: Starting Class, Weapon Skills, Secret Items and More – CNET

Elden Ring Tips and Strategies: Starting Class, Weapon Skills, Secret Items and More – CNET

It's time to conquer the Lands Between

It’s time to conquer the Lands Between.


Elden Ring has been out for a week now, and it’s already the most critically acclaimed game of 2022 (even though there are performance issues with the game). Fans of developer FromSoftware are jumping in and, thanks to the hype, new players are joining them. 

For those new to FromSoftware games, you’ll need to understand a few lessons veterans already know. But even those familiar with Dark Souls, Bloodborne or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will come across some features not seen in previous games from the developer. 

Here’s a rundown of tips for Elden Ring players. 

Elden Ring classesElden Ring classes

Each class offers a different playstyle.


What class should I pick? 

When setting up a character, there are 10 classes to choose from. As is the case with previous Souls-like games developed by FromSoftware, the starting class determines your weapons and stats but ultimately your character’s growth will be open-ended. Classes designed for melee combat can eventually learn spells and become adept magic users as players level up their characters. 

If you want to start off with a melee character, go for a Warrior, Hero, Vagabond or Samurai. All four have strong starting weapons as well as defensive stats to take a hit. The Astrologer and Prophet are the two magic starter classes. The former casts sorcery while the latter uses incantations. 

The Confessor is a hybrid class making use of both melee and incantations, while the Prisoner can do physical attacks and use spells. The Bandit is a unique rogue class designed to be stealthy and fight from a distance. Then there’s the Wretch, a class that starts with minimal equipment and stats, meaning it’s designed primarily for veteran Souls players who want an added challenge. 

Use your weapon skills

Almost every weapon in Elden Ring has a Weapon Skill, which is a powerful special attack that uses FP. This is different from other Souls games where skills only applied to rare weapons. This means you can use special attacks even with starter weapons, such as the Uchigatana’s skill, Unsheathed. 

To use them, you’ll need to two-hand the weapon or equip a shield that doesn’t have its own weapon skill. Weapon Skills are useful throughout the game, and they can really make the early game less frustrating. 

Elden RingElden Ring

Torrent, your steed, is a huge help.


Ride on Torrent whenever possible

To help traverse across the Lands Between, you’re given a spectral steed called Torrent. Not only can the horse move fast, it can also take hits for you. 

Get accustomed to fighting on horseback. It’ll add a bit of defense, while also letting you escape when things get bad. Some of the overworld boss fights are easier to win while on horseback than on foot. 

Just keep in mind that if Torrent takes too many hits, it’ll disappear leaving you knocked down on the ground and an easy target for a follow-up attack. 

Collect all the resources

Elden Ring has a crafting system that, over the course of the game, lets you make a wealth of items to help in battle. To craft these items, you’ll need resources taken from defeated enemies or found scattered across the world. 

These resources are plentiful — plants can be found practically everywhere — but they’re not just helpful in making items. You can also sell them for runes, the game’s currency. If you gather all the plants along your path, that’s thousands of runes that can be spent on leveling up your character when needed. 

Elden Ring mapElden Ring map

As you fill sections of the map, it will show buildings, islands and other structures of note.


Pay attention to the map

The Land Between is huge so having a map is essential. It also has a lot of clues. As you fill sections of the map, it will show buildings, islands, and other structures of note. These places on the map can be the location of bosses, dungeons, items or characters. 

But the map is split into sections that you have to find first. If you’re in a new land with no map, look for a brownish lantern-like symbol. That’s where the map for that area is located. 

Look for this symbol when you're in a new areaLook for this symbol when you're in a new area

Look for this symbol when you’re in a new area. 


When traveling, keep an eye out for shacks and campfires. Shacks will usually contain items or characters to talk to. Merchants will always be next to a campfire so make sure to seek them out. 

If you find a point of interest you want to go back to, leave a marker for that spot. You can place 100 different marks on the map. 

Keep an eye out for churches and golden trees

Two important items you don’t want to pass up are Golden Seeds and Sacred Tears. A Golden Seed can be used to increase the number of charges of the Sacred Flask, which is the primary item to replenish your health. They can be found primarily at the base of golden trees found all over the map. Sacred Tears increase the amount of health each drink from the Sacred Flask recovers. You can find them at churches scattered across the world. 

Find the Flask of Wondrous Physick

If you’re in need of a bit more health in a fight, there is another healing item to help. The Flask of Wondrous Physick can be found at the Third Church of Marika (see map below) and can be used to both heal and buff your character. It works differently than the Sacred Flask as it only has one charge and makes use of different Crystal Tears that have different effects. The Crimson Crystal Tear can be found with the flask, and it will heal 50% of your health. Other Crystal Tears heal your FP, boost stats, negates damage and even make you explode. The Flask of Wondrous Physick can be found early on in the game by taking a detour from the broken bridge east of Stormhill. 

Where to find the Flask of Wondrous PhysickWhere to find the Flask of Wondrous Physick

Where to find the Flask of Wondrous Physick.


Read messages and leave your own

One common feature in FromSoftware games is the ability to read and leave messages on the ground. These messages from other players can give hints on what to do in a certain spot such as letting you know an enemy is nearby hiding, there’s a trap in the room or to head a certain direction to find an item. 

Always take a few seconds to read the message and make sure to applaud them. This gives the writer of the message a health boost. Also, feel free to add your own messages in the area. Even if it’s similar to the same message you applauded, someone could return the favor to you by applauding your message and giving you some health in return. Keep in mind, a few players will throw some purposely wrong messages to troll others. 

Keep returning to the Roundtable Hold

Somewhat early in the game, you’ll be transported to the Roundtable Hold. Like in other FromSoftware games, this area acts as a hub for talking with other characters, upgrading equipment and learning more about the game. 

What’s important to remember is that this hub will change as you progress through the game. New characters will show up, more areas will open and more items will be available. 

So it’s important to come back to the Roundtable Hold often. Specifically, whenever you defeat a boss or talk with a character in the world. Transport back to Roundtable Hold to see if anything changed. 

If you’re having trouble, come back later

Unlike previous FromSoftware games, Elder Ring is open world. This means there is a huge map to explore making it easier to find better weapons, summons and more importantly, more runes to level up. You’re not obligated to proceed in a linear path, and areas don’t have a level requirement so there’s nothing stopping you from returning a later time. It’s also very likely there were dungeons and other areas that you missed out on. 

Elden Ring is out for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles for $60.

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