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6 Gameplay Tips for Elden Ring that the Game Never Explains to You

Playing Elden Ring for the first time, especially without knowledge from another From Software game, can be a daunting experience. Even more so because the game isn’t particularily good at explaining some very crucial or useful mechanics. I have collected some tips from my own experience with the game that are never explicitly explained anywhere. So if you are just starting out with Elden Ring or even played for some time but are running into trouble, maybe this knowledge can help you out. The tips are from this Twitter thread I made, and some of the information stems from people who commented there, so thanks a lot to them!

Map Knowledge is Power

Finden Map Pieces is very, very useful in Elden Ring, because you can see so much more. If you have no idea where to find one, or if you enter a new area and just want to rush to the Map Piece as fast as possible, have a look at your empty map. These monolith icons show the exact place of the Map Piece.

The glowing monolith icon on your terra incognito map reveals the location of the corresponding map piece.

After you have found the Map Piece and uncovered the map, give it a good look. Important caves and tunnels are marked on the map with a reddish-black tunnel entrance symbol, so you will always have a good idea of where to search for more adventure.

A Rainy-Day Rune Stash

Short on runes in Elden Ring? It’s always good to have some rune items in your inventory, since these do not vanish when you die. And there is a pretty good way of collecting a lot of those just by riding around.
Do you know the glowing skulls that you can find in the field, basically everywhere? Roll or ride over them, they always contain a Golden Rune [1]. This item gives 200 runes when used, so you can keep them around for when you need them. A good planing tip: If you are short on runes for the next level up or an item you want to buy, fill them out with the smaller Great Rune items before you enter a new or potentially dangerous area. This way, you never waste runes.

Each glowing skull contains a Golden Rune [1], worth 200 runes.

Make the Menu Searchable

This tip is hidden in one of the help menus, so it’s pretty hart to find: In your inventory, push down L3/the left stick. You can sort your inventory items by date of acquisition there. Pretty useful if you have no idea if an item is a weapon, key item or headgear (and honestly, this happens all the time to me).

Summoning Pools Need to be Manually Activated

Summoning friends (or adversaries for a nice, friendly duel) is one of the best parts of any From Software experience. Elden Ring makes the whole process of finding summons signs so much easier than earlier games by the introduction of summoning pools: Certain areas where summon signs gather, even from very far away. However, since the game never explicitly tells you how to activate these pools, I just assumed they work the Stakes of Marika: Just be in their vicinity once and they open up. After more than 30 hours, I realised that this not true: You have to activate them by approaching them and pressing Triangle/Y on your controller. Afterwards, the white crest at its foot lights up and you can permanently access the summoning pool with your multiplayer items. Don’t be like me. Activate the summoning pools whenever you find a new one!

Summoning pools are very useful – if you remember activating them.

Ashes of War Modify the Stats of your Weapons

Ashes of War are thoroughly underexplained in Elden Ring, which is a shame. They give your weapons new skills, yes, but they also take the roll of upgrade paths from earlier FromSoft games. Want a weapon with automatically applied thunder damage? Infuse a lightning ash of war! Want a sword that scales better with dexterity than strength? Infuse a Keen ash of war! Best part is, the ashes never deplete. You can only use them on one weapon at a time, but as often as you like. Experiment with ashes of war! You can apply and unapply them as often as you like for free. They do not get used up. The game does not communicate that at all!

Ashes of War not only change your L2/LT weapon skill, they can also imbue elements and change the scaling properties of your weapon.

Don’t Roll in Dirt

This is so realistic that I would have never thought about it in a game: Don’t roll in poison or rot pools. It will soak your clothes and continue building up the status effect after leaving the pool. You can clean your clothes with the craftable „Soap“ item, but itÄs better to just keep clean. Also, your horse Torrent is immune to pools, so whereever you can ride through them, do that.

Poison and rot buildup from swamps can seep into your armor, so don’t roll or you have to clean it with soap.

Dual-Wielding is a Thing

Finally: If you equip the same weapon type in both hands (e.g. a Scimitar and a Falchion, or a Rapier and an Estoc, or two Lordsworn Longswords) you enter “Power Stance“, which is essentially dual wielding. L1/LB becomes a special combo attack that utilises both weapons and can even chain into combos. This works with all weapon types. Yes, even greatswords!