Elden Ring’s Early Game Hidden Mechanics
Contains Minor Spoilers and Tips
Elden Ring is amazing. It’s huge, it has lots of secrets and hidden areas. Unfortunately, it also hides a few important systems that players might struggle with. Even if you’re a Souls veteran, you might not know how things work this time around. Here are five things about Elden Ring we wish we had known right away.
How to Get Your Horse Right Away
Your horse, Torrent, is a game changer. That mighty steed is your best form of transportation and gets you out of combat when things go south. Here’s what to do: start at the Church of Elleh, and head northeast. You’ll see a camp called the Gatefront Ruins. A little to the north of the ruins is the titular Gatefront, and along the road leading into it is a Site of Grace. That’s where you want to go. Just skirt the camp to the north and you’ll be undetected. When you rest at the Site, you’ll trigger a short cinematic and you’ll meet the melancholic and important NPC, Melina. Whatever she wants, just say yes. In return, she’ll let you level up your character if you have enough runes, and she’ll give you a Spectral Steed Whistle that summons Torrent.
How to Unlock the Map, While You’re at It
While you’re resting at the Gatefront, you might as well pick up your first map fragment. Just a little farther south along the road (right in the middle of the ruins) is an obelisk with a glowing light at its base. Each region has a similar monument and that’s where you pick up the detailed map of the area. It’s hard to just walk up to it and grab it, though, since there are lots of soldiers hanging around. You can try stealth and approach it from behind, then call Torrent and sprint away once it’s in hand. Or, you can just run up and grab it. There’s another Site of Grace just a little bit south of the Gatefront Ruins on the east side of the road.
Next, Get Your Spirit Summons
After you meet up with Melina and get your hands on Torrent, fast travel or ride your pony to the Church of Elleh. Not far from the Site of Grace is a new NPC, a fetching witch called Renna. She’ll give you a couple of cool presents: the Spirit Calling Bell and the Lone Wolf Ashes. You don’t need to actually use the bell once it’s in your inventory. Just put the Lone Wolf Ashes in your quick bar and whenever you see a little gravestone icon appear on your screen, you can call the Wolves to help you in battle.
We’ll have a guide to the best spirit summons coming soon. They use focus points but especially for solo players, can really help you out in a tough fight. Spirit summons can be healed if you’re a faith type character, and they can be upgraded, too.
You’re going to find a lot of merchants out and about in Elden Ring. While you’re at the Church of Elleh, speak to Kale and pick up the torch (if haven’t already) and the crafting kit. You’ll need the latter for making consumables out in the field. If you find yourself short of runes, farm them from the low-level critters and soldiers between the church and the Gatefront Ruins.
Get Your First Ashes of War
In Elden Ring, Ashes of War are similar to Dark Souls’ weapon arts. They’re special attack modifiers that are applied to specific weapons. You add them when you rest at a Site of Grace. Ashes of War can be moved between different weapons, or they can be duplicated by a specific NPC later in the game. Ashes of War can be given to you by NPCs, found in chests or dropped by enemies.
By now, you should be ready to approach the Gatefront Ruins for real. Right in the middle of the ruins is a set of stairs descending into a cellar-like room. Often these little treasure rooms will have hidden enemies, but not this one. It just has a treasure chest containing the Ashes of War for sword-type weapons.
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