Elden Ring - my thoughts and questions while I play this game

I loved Breath of the Wild. There is just no contest to me that it is the greatest game of all time. Naturally, I have seen a lot about Elden Ring over the past 10 months and so today, I started my journey into the Lands Between as a Tarnished.

I was extremely hesitant, as you can tell since it took me nearly a year to buy it. My time is limited and I have never played a single Souls or Souls-like game. I just don’t enjoy being brutally defeated time and time again. However, I decided to go for it.

Not that I think of myself as the main character of the world, but I thought perhaps some folks might like to hear my thoughts and even answer some questions while I play. I may not finish it. Seriously, if it I am constantly frustrated and screaming and throwing my controller, I might quit.

I have just entered Limland and done a few things. I have:

1. Chosen Vagabond as my class and I did the tutorial. I survived the mini-boss in it on my third attempt, but actually wish I had more chances to fight him since I kind of got lucky.

2. Bought a crafting kit and torch.

3. Met with a witch at night who let me summon wolves. I used them once as a trial.

4. Got my horse.

5. I also accessed a map for the first region of the game.

Anyway, as I head out, it is not the type of game I would normally play. I am bad at quick reflexes and dodging and rolling and all that, but I am willing to practice. I figure if I can put 30+ hours into the game, I am fine. I mean, if I quit at that point, that is the way it goes.

I would have loved a difficulty slider, but I have accepted that this game does not have one. I’ll just have to try as long as I can.


1. Can the field of view be moved back a bit. I feel too close to the main character. I don’t want a mod.

2. On the left of my screen, I see a symbol just now that looks like the Gates to Moria. It’s light blue(white?) and also looks like a grave marker. What is it?

My plan is to thoroughly, and I mean thoroughly, wander and explore the first area since I am handling the soldiers adequately now. I hope to be able to level up a bunch to be able to move on. I know about this Magrit boss that is some kind of “skill test” to get up into the next region. I want to at least, in theory, be ready(?) for that encounter as much as one can.

It is part of the “Souls” line of games, made by the same people (FromSoftware) who created the Demon Souls and Dark Souls games. Those games are notorious (and praised) for their high level of difficulty and repetitive nature. You die over and over again until you figure it out. Here is an older article talking about the “Souls” ethos:

I will note that I only recently picked up Elden Ring myself. I have experience with the original Dark Souls game (which I have a love/hate relationship with) so I somewhat knew what to expect. I grabbed Elden Ring because it was on sale on the Xbox store and I received an Xbox gift card for Christmas, so I got it pretty cheap. I will say that it doesn’t feel nearly as punishing as the older game; I can actually run around and explore without constantly fearing for my life. The fights and other challenges are just as difficult as I recall though.

I will tell you one thing I did. I made a magic-using character (starting as Astrologer) and mostly fight through spells. That has allowed me to do a lot of damage from a distance and has made me much less reliant on twitch gameplay. Instead, I have to very carefully manage the energy for my spells, since if I run out of energy and the flasks to refill it, I’m basically carrying an unloaded gun into a warzone. So there’s still a challenge but it’s more cerebral and has less to do with dexterity.

Maybe try that if you find it too hard to fight hand-to-hand, which does rely a lot on blocking and dodging and timing your hits.

The game is really hard though. It’s intended to be. There is no difficulty slider. That’s one of the main draws for the series is how challenging the games are.

Yes, I mentioned Dark Souls in my original post.

I thought about that. Can someone do the whole game without using hand-to-hand fighting?

Yes. The only time I have ever done hand-to-hand fighting was when I wanted to save my energy. Especially since I tracked down a spell early that flings rocks at enemies and is considered a “physical” attack, because some enemies are resistant or immune to magical attacks.

I mean, I’m still early in the game (very early) but guides I’ve read indicate you can do any fight with magic and only need a melee weapon if you want one. There are swords that scale with mind rather than strength so it’s an option for someone making a magic character. But it’s not necessary. And the Astrologer starts with a long-range magical attack immediately that is viable for the whole game (Glintstone Pebble); even in late game it is still useful for taking out weaker enemies from a long distance between of its range and low energy consumption.

Note that the game is still hard, but mostly a fight involves me targeting an enemy, casting a spell, and watching them die. Sometimes I still have to dodge if they have ranged attacks or if it’s a boss and it takes a long time to die, but it’s nothing like having to fight hand-to-hand.

There are also bows as a non-magical ranged option, but I can’t speak to how viable they are since I have never used them. I believe the Samurai starts with a bow.

Wow, so as a Vagabond, I wonder if I can be a melee mage type thing at some point? I have no spells I am aware of at this point. Wouldn’t mind trying it.

Any class can pick up spells later. The Vagabond is a tanky class to start out with, but you can build off of that into just about anything. Just remember that spells have minimum stats just like gear, so that will shape what stats you pick as you level up.

OK, well I’m just focused on Limgrave(?) right now and trying to fully explore it. I not very good at intense games, so I’m hoping to have some fun.

I do see Nexusmods offers an easy mode mod, but I’m too afraid to try it. You have to run in offline mode to use it, but I am also concerned it could…what, get me banned if I go back online afterwards. I am not trying to warp into other people’s worlds or warp them into mine; I just like the little messages and hints from other players. I don’t want to lose that.

I don’t think that would happen, it probably just isn’t compatible with linking to worlds of people not running it. Or the servers won’t accept your computer. It’s not an MMO so I don’t think they police that sort of thing.

Well, that you’d lose I’m sure, so if that’s a big part of the game to you (it is to me, I love that aspect of it) then it’s probably better to avoid it.

I’m following with interest. I love RPGs but I hate hard games, so I will live vicariously through you as long as you last.

Yeah, I’ve never played an online game in anyway(at least not in decades), so seeing notes from people who also have “ghosts” that run and show you things is hilarious.

How do I write messages to other players?

Wish me well! I have no chance! :joy:

I should point out the game was only $36 on sale, so I feel like even if I go 20-30 hours in, that is reasonable.

I love Breath of the Wild also and am patiently awaiting the sequel. As far as Elden Ring I have been watching my 16 year-old play and I can tell just by watching that I have neither the skills nor the patience to attempt such a thing. Bosses that take a couple dozen hits to destroy that in turn can kill you in two just isn’t my thing.

Thread from last year.

You use the Tarnished Wizened’s Finger to leave a message. I’ve never actually done it yet myself. It’s an item you pick up at the very starting area, it’s very hard to miss. You use it from your inventory.

I think I grabbed it. I guess I’ll try it for fun, though I don’t know how it is decided who sees your message or if you get anything. I see that it has an upvote/downvote system in place and I am trying to upvote the majority of them.

Yeah, I’m probably a fool. I figure I will go as far as I can go and if I have to, I’ll try to go offline and install the Easy Mode mod from Nexusmods…if I can even get it going. I’m not sure how well it works.

I played this when it came out and found it to be a well put together game that never quite sparked a passion in me that other people have for this style of game play. Nice world, nice visuals and I could appreciate the mechanics but I never felt the “giant wave of euphoria over finally beating that boss” other people swear happens. But it was still worth my time and I don’t regret playing it. After beating the game unmodded, I tried the Easy Mode mod and went exploring in places I missed and would recommend it to someone who just wanted to play the game without all of the 2hard4u. Still felt like “Elden Ring” to me. I was also playing offline anyway since I found all the blood stains and “place finger but hole” messages to be a distraction from any world immersion.

Generally speaking, unless things have greatly changed since I played, magic was the closest thing to in-game easy mode. Buuuutttt… I found magic to be dreadfully boring for the first part of the game due to spell selection and mana pool. There’s spells/equipment you can get but you won’t find them organically early in the game; it’s more “look up location of great staff you can get to in a high level region via suicide running”. So I actually restarted, played the first 30-40 levels as a more standard melee and then saw I had a number of neat staffs and spells and shifted focus into magic for the rest of the game, re-speccing along the way.

Anyway, good luck and I’ll be reading.

IIRC, the symbol means that you can summon spirit ashes to assist you in the area.

This is correct.