Beginner's Guide - Basics and Features - Elden Ring Guide - IGN (2023)

Elden Ring is an open world action RPG from From Software. As a Defiled One, your destiny is to explore the lands in between and become an Elder Lord. Elden Ring was released on February 24, 2022. This page describes the core mechanics of Elden Ring, including character creation, how to fight and explore, leveling up, and more.

Other useful pages:


  • Basic tips and tricks
  • Things to do first
  • Things the Elden Ring won't tell you
  • Brief overviews of areas and historical dungeons
  • Controls
  • Like Tutorials

History The Fire Ring

The history of the Ancient Ring (some of it constructed by author George R. Martin) is deliberately shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The distant place known as the Lands Between was once ruled by Queen Marika and her descendants, their powers drawing from the mighty Erdtree and the golden order known as the Elden Ring.

However, things quickly became complicated when a secret plot hatched, and mysterious agents stole the Killing Rune and killed one of Marika's children - Godwin Gold. These events caused the disappearance of Queen Marika, and in her absence the children of the demigods started a war among themselves, but none came out victorious, and the Lands Between collapsed in endless conflict, and the Ancient Ring and the golden order it supported were destroyed.

While details remain elusive, it's up to you to track them down as one of the Slamani - a people long banished from the Lands Between. Only you can stop the demigods, retrieve the Great Runes they carry, and reunite them to become the Elder Lord. How do you decide to do this, and what alliances can you make or break along the way?

Most of the Elden Ring's story won't be given to you directly, and you'll need to glean clues from items, characters you meet, places you discover, and bosses you defeat.

Creating your character - Choosing a class

Video - Which activities are best for you?

When creating a new character in Elden Ring, you will be given a wide range of cosmetic options to choose from regarding your character's appearance. None of these cosmetic options - age, body type, physique, and voice - will affect gameplay. You can choose from presets, add facial features, hairstyle and tattoos, and even eye patches.

Remember that later in the game you will be able to completely change your character's appearance for free.

You can also select your character's starting class from this screen. You can think of it as the basic starting point for your character - an archetype that will lead you in a certain playstyle or direction, but it's by no means set in stone. Each starting class is distinguished by one trait - or better spread - and can help you determine what kind of Tainted you want to be: a seasoned warrior in heavy armor, a focused mage, or someone who feels at home brandishing swords and summoning spells of faith. The full list includes:

  • Butt- "A knight banished from his homeland to roam. A solid, armored lineage." It is distinguished by a high start and armed with a sword and a sword
  • Warrior- "A two-bladed warrior from a nomadic tribe. A lineage of exquisite technology." He is distinguished by high skills, great durability and is armed with two knives.
  • Character- "Brave hero, at home with a battle ax, coming from the chief of the evil lands." Excellent starting power and armed with a powerful axe.
  • Thief- "A dangerous thug who hits the weak spots. He excels at ranged combat with bows." He moves in high arcana in search of luck and discovery, and is also characterized by great agility and is armed with a knife and a parking brace.
  • Astrologer- "A scholar who judges fate in the stars. Heir to the school of glittering stone magic." He is distinguished by high intelligence and almost as high mind as for a strong FP team, and is also armed with a staff and a basic sword.
  • Prophet- "Soothsayer disqualified because of dire prophecies. They were well versed in healing spells." He is distinguished by great loyalty and an excellent mind to replenish their magic pool and is armed with a short spear.
  • Samurai- "A skilled warrior from the distant Land of Reeds. He wields a katana and longbows." He is distinguished by extremely high skills and is armed with a longbow and a bleeding uchigatana.
  • Prisoner"A prisoner wearing an iron mask. He studied stone magic while living among the elite before his sentence." Balances high dexterity and intelligence in spellcasting and sword swinging.
  • Confessor- "Church spy, skilled in covert operations. As skilled with the sword as they were with their spells." He enjoys an almost even spread of Faith, Mind, Dexterity, and Strength, which enhances melee combat with holy spells.
  • Wretch- "Poor, useless turf, bare from birth. A good club is all they have." Nothing stands out, it can be good at everything because it starts with a clean feature set, but it only starts with a basic club.

Be sure to check out a more detailed description of each starting class in our guide.


Like the Dark Souls series before it, Elden Ring focuses on challenging you in challenging encounters, and you must approach each fight carefully - whether it's a pack of hungry wolves or a very imposing knight. There's no easy way to deal with this, and you'll have to wait until you spend enough time dying on your opponents - but if you learn from these fights and start anticipating their attack patterns and traps, you may eventually come out victorious.

If you feel like you're hitting a wall, we also encourage you to continue exploring elsewhere in the Lands Between. Some encounters are harder than others, which means there's always somewhere else where you can upgrade your skills, find new items, and level up until you feel ready for another round. Exploration is just as important as combat in the Elden Ring, as oftentimes wherever you look you will find items that you might find useful.

hand-to-hand combat

For those new to the series, it is strongly recommended to enter the optional tutorial dungeon early in the game, as it will provide a great introduction to how the different attack styles work:

  • Light attacks will be your bread and butter if you opt for melee combat, and each weapon has its own style and chain attacks - including jumps and dashes.
  • Strong attacks consume much more stamina, but can damage or prevent enemies - even more so when used as a powerful jumping attack.
  • Dodging is crucial to dodging incoming attacks - even powerful, crushing blows from giants - due to the limited invulnerability you get during your dodge animation. Lighter armor means faster and longer throws, while charging gear above a certain threshold will make your throws slower and less effective - going over 100%, you won't be able to throw at all.
  • A shield parry can instantly open up an attacker, making them vulnerable to a critical hit - but not all enemies are vulnerable and the window is very thin, making it difficult to land on unsuspecting enemies
  • Guard Counter is a safer post-hit retaliation option, allowing you to absorb a shield hit and counter with a powerful attack that doesn't depend on a short window of opportunity. Combined with a shield that absorbs 100% of incoming physical damage, you can fend off multiple attacks and return the favor with massive damage that can often break their stance - but you need to make sure the incoming attack isn't part of a chain, otherwise you'll find yourself vulnerable, when you start your bench.

Keep in mind that every enemy - and your character - has a "Super Armor" value similar to Sekiro's stance system. In Elden Ring, super armor does not spawn, but repeated attacks slowly wear down the opponent's armor. Warriors will start regenerating their super armor if the attack is not continued, although the enemies you encounter - particularly bosses - regenerate much slower. Do enough damage (even if it's blocked) and you'll eventually be able to break through armor, making it vulnerable to a critical hit! Bigger weapons tend to do more damage to Super Armor - as do Leap Heavy Attacks and Guard Counters.


If swords and spears aren't your style, Elden Ring offers a wide variety of spells for you to cast. You're supposed to "equip" a certain number of spells at a time by resting in a Place of Mercy using memory slots, but these spells can fulfill a wide variety of roles, from attack to defense to buffs. Some spells can even summon magical weapons to attack instead of physical ones, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a melee fighter without having to invest in strength and dexterity. To cast spells, however, you must have a wand or catalyst in your hand, and you can freely slash with the weapon in the other hand while channeling your spells.

Note: Unlike Dark Souls, you won't be able to increase the memory slots for more active spells by increasing your attributes. Instead, you'll need to scour the open world to find where Memory Stones are in chests and add them to your collection to increase your spell slots.

In Elden Ring, some spells can be charged by holding down the cast button to increase their effect - but the cost remains the same. Other spells can be cast while moving or used almost immediately after performing other actions for quick combos. Some of them can even be chain-casted, allowing you to fire a lot of magical attacks as long as you have the stamina to keep things working.

Ranged combat

In addition to swords and spells, the Ring of Elden also allows the use of a variety of bows and crossbows for ranged damage. Ammo can take many forms and can even be crafted to provide effects like bleed, fire, and sleep - and can be useful for taking out targets before they get close enough to cause trouble.

The bows can be quickly swapped to be held in either hand. You can either lock onto a target to trigger rapid bursts, or aim manually by holding down the left shield and selecting from two types of sniper ammo. It can even be done on horseback, but you'll need to aim the Torrent at your enemies, otherwise you'll likely miss your target.


Crossbows can also be used with less dexterity than bows, with the added advantage of being able to hold them with one hand. To compensate for this, they need to be manually loaded before each shot, and they don't scale with your stats - but they can prove very useful for dealing ranged damage in the heat of battle.


As important as combat is discovery, and the Elden Ring has it in abundance. As you rest at various Grace spots to replenish your health and recharge your flasks, you can spot glittering gold rings pointing towards your next big quest. This usually takes the form of large Legacy Dungeons inhabited by the demigods of the Elder Ring, but that doesn't mean you have to go straight to them.

It's often best to fully explore an area and find the different bits of map that make up an area before trying to find the highlight of each area, as you'll find countless interesting places to see that can help you in the long run. This may include some of the following:

  • Ruins and camps where various enemy soldiers are fortified and often store loot chests
  • Mini-dungeons, some easy to miss, others with clues to guide you - each with different enemies and its own mini-boss guarding a valuable treasure
  • Nomad merchants who can be found in strange corners of the world, resting by campfires and selling unique items and tips
  • Climbing eddies known as Spiritsprings, which allow you to use Torrent to jump over huge rocks in one jump to avoid bottlenecks and explore new areas
  • Portals found in ruins that can take you to places you don't know - often these are one-way trips to discover entirely new areas
  • Roaming field bosses found in each area guard special areas or only appear at night to hit you
  • Mysterious little tear scarabs that fly away with treasure balls. You have to race and kill to get their riches
  • Enigmatic characters that may have their own questlines that you can join or ignore, and that may reappear in new areas, helping their story unfold.
  • Magic keys, recipes and upgrades for your bottles hidden everywhere.

How to level up

When you first start your adventure in the Elden Ring, you'll earn Runes by defeating enemies and even smashing glowing skulls on the ground to get Golden Runes, but you won't be able to spend them.

You'll need to start exploring the open world and activate at least three Grace locations in the world of Limgrave, then rest before the mysterious Finger Maiden Melina appears in front of you offering a deal. At some point, it will let you trade runes to upgrade your attributes, and the higher you level up, the more it will cost.

Just be careful - dying will cause you to drop all the Runes where you fell, and if you die on the way to retrieve them, they'll be lost forever. Fortunately, Golden Runes that can be found on bodies or after crushing glowing skulls can be stored until it's time to buy something from a trader or level up, in which case they should be used.

Torrent usage

Torrent is your faithful steed that will be your main means of transportation throughout your adventure. It can be summoned with a special item, and it is highly recommended to holster this item for quick access to Torrent by holding Y and pressing the D-Pad button. You can also quickly dismount by pressing the crouch button, and doing so while riding will allow you to perform a jump that you can combine into an attack on unsuspecting enemies.

Torrent moves faster than your Tarnished, and pressing the sprint button will grant you a burst of speed in exchange for some stamina (in battle only - you won't run out of stamina while exploring). It's impossible to defend accurately on horseback, so you'll need to take advantage of Torrent's speed and agility to dodge attacks - and his double jump ability.

With Torrent, you'll be able to explore much more of the Lands Between, even using large tornadoes called Spiritsprings to rapidly ascend or descend vertical planes of cliffs and canyons.


Summon Spirit of Ashes

Once you meet Melina and claim your trusted spectral base, you can quickly return to Elleh's Church and meet the Snow Witch, who will offer you Spirit Ashes and a Spirit Summoning Bell.

In this item, you can cast spirits that can be summoned by finding their ashes to help you in combat. They will cost FP (and sometimes even HP), which will vary depending on how powerful the spirit is, how many they spawn, and what their moves are. Ghosts typically mimic the enemies you'll face in Lands Between, so you can use their tactics and skills to your advantage to overwhelm and redirect your enemies.

Summon Spirit can only be cast near certain locations - indicated by the ghostly bow symbol appearing on the left side of the screen, which can often be seen near boss battles, large enemy camps, and some open areas in old-style dungeons. Unlike summoning another player or NPC, ghosts do not buff bosses, so you can use them as extensions of your own abilities.

Mini dungeons

As you explore the open world, look for small caves and doors built into walls and rocks. These mini-dungeons provide small, challenging encounters that can include anything from a few small rooms to winding catacombs or multi-level mines full of dangerous enemies and traps. All this will be crowned with a mini-boss that offers plenty of challenges and allows you to summon friends or spirits to help you in battle.

Many of these dungeons are off the beaten path, and many can be easily overlooked. Be sure to look out for the statues you can interact with to show your way, or the spooky candlesticks that summon spirits heading towards these secret entrances.

Dungeon Legacy

Following the guidance of grace marked by the places of grace where you rest, you may discover that they represent imposing castles and fortresses dominating the landscape. These are the Legacy Dungeons that may be familiar to fans of the Dark Souls series as they provide a more linear and painful experience compared to the open lands that surround them. These areas are extremely difficult and feature some of the strongest bosses, including demigods fighting for control of the land.

In these areas, you'll have to move carefully between checkpoints and find different ways to level up, overcoming obstacles and finding treasures along the way. Spirit Summs will be limited in these places and powerful enemies will be plentiful, but certain shortcuts can make the journey back easier.

You may also find that verticality plays a bigger role in these dungeons. Fall damage is greatly reduced in many areas, allowing you to plummet onto low rooftops, jump through gaps, and discover new secrets and patrol-evasive routes.

Important instructions


During your first few hours in Limgrave, you may have a lot of questions or come across things that may not make sense. Be sure to get more information on thisHowto guide you in the right direction:

  • How fast to travel
  • How to get Flask of Wonderous Physick
  • How to access the Round Table
  • How to access multiplayer (co-op, invasions)
  • How to handle a two-handed weapon
  • How to escape from Sellia's Crystal Tunnel Trap

Next: What you should know about the Elden Ring

Previous WretchedNext What to know in Elden Ring

The best driver modules

  • Walking
  • The best spirit ashes in the Elden Ring
  • Side quests - NPC character questlines
  • Arms

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Beginner's Guide - Basics and Features - Elden Ring Guide - IGN (1)

Elder Ring

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