What to do first in Elden Ring: 6 important first steps

Trying to figure out what to do first in Elden Ring? The Soulsborne series has an intimidating reputation, and the lack of early guidance in Elden Ring plays into that picture. Opening Elden Ring is a double-edged sword for new players. There’s tons of content you can pick up early on, but if you enter the wrong part of the map, you’ll find yourself crushed before you even level up. If you’re looking for a little guidance through the early hours of the game, we’ve got you covered.

First steps: don’t miss the combat tutorial!

Elden Ring’s open design philosophy is present from the start. After the scripted death following the intro cutscene, you’ll be greeted by another short cutscene before waking up in a cave. In front of you is a door that leads to the open world. To your right is a dark, creepy pit that hosts the game’s combat tutorial.

Talk to the ghostly NPC, then jump down the hole. You’ll find messages on the ground that explain the basics of Elden Ring combat, as well as some useful items. If you’re new to the series, it’s a low-stress way to get a feel for the controls, movement, and combat.


The First Four Graces: How to Meet Melina and Get Her Horse, Torrent

When you’re done with the tutorial area, go through the doors to find your first Grace site. These are analogous to bonfires in Souls games and serve as checkpoints and fast travel points on the Elden Ring map. Keep going up the stairs, get on the elevator and open the doors to Limgrave, the first region of the massive Elden Ring world.

You’ll find another Grace there, as well as Varre, an NPC who will rudely remind you that you’re not a virgin. Varre also explains Grace’s advice. You will notice golden trails coming out of some sites from Grace to Elden Ring. These direct you to major objectives, both for the main story and various side quests. For now, we will follow them.

Elleh's Church at Elden Ring

Follow the path, ignoring the mounted Tree Sentinel boss in front of you for now, and head towards the church-like ruins. There you will find the Church of Elleh Grace and your first NPC merchant. Talk to him and he will recommend you to buy a crafting kit. You can buy it now or wait a bit, but you should get it back eventually. Then continue north around the base of the mountain on your left until you find another Grace between a pack of enemies and a door.

If you’ve rested on all of the grace sites we’ve mentioned so far, then resting here should allow you to see a cutscene that introduces Melina, the Finger Maiden. This is because Melina will only appear once you have discovered three earthly grace sites. Melina will help you use runes dropped by enemies to level up and give you the Spectral Steed Whistle, which you can use to summon the Spirit Horse Torrent. I recommend adding it to your cover, in the upper right corner of the pause screen.


How to Meet Renna and Acquire the Spirit Summoning Bell

One of the features introduced by Elden Ring to help take pressure off the player during boss fights is the Spirit Summoning Bell. This hugely important item allows you to summon Spirit Ashes to aid you in boss fights and some other areas, but it’s surprisingly easy to miss. If you follow though, you can get it back now.

Once you have Torrent, quickly return to the Church of Elleh, where you should be greeted by a witch who introduces herself as Renna. If Renna isn’t there, use the “hobby” function at Grace to wait until nightfall and she should appear. Talk to her and say yes when she asks if you are able to summon Torrent. She will then give you the Spirit Summoning Bell.

However, at some point (it’s unclear when exactly), Renna will stop appearing. If you’ve already been playing for a while and can’t get Renna to spawn at Elleh’s Church, you can still get the Spirit Summoning Bell from the Husk Twins vendor at Roundtable Hold, the central area of ​​Elden Ring. Keep exploring and Melina will eventually appear at Grace’s house and teleport you here.

There are conflicting reports on what exactly triggers the Roundtable Hold invite, including claims that you need to defeat the first major boss or navigate Stormveil Castle. I got the Roundtable Hold invite in both of these ways, but I also triggered the invite in Weeping Peninsula in another game. Other members of the RPS team received it simply by exploring and resting in many grace sites. As far as I can tell from my testing, just exploring will eventually get you there.


How to find Map Fragments: Limgrave West

You will have noticed by now that your map lacks detail and is really just a brown sheet dotted with graces. However, you can find area maps that reveal regions in all their glorious detail, making it much easier to navigate and find things to do. The first is right next to Grace’s Gatefront site, where we met Melina.

A map fragment location marker in Elden Ring

Map Fragments are marked with an icon on the incomplete map, circled in the image above. You’ll find each shard on identical stone monoliths, with a small pedestal at their base. You can try to take on the group of enemies surrounding the shard, or just run through Torrent and grab it. Whenever you visit a new part of the map, keep an eye out for the shard icon to help you with your exploration.


How to Prepare for Margit and Stormveil Castle: Suggested Places to Explore

At this point in Elden Ring your options really open up, so we’ll get into more general advice rather than walkthroughs. Once you’ve acquired Torrent, the Spirit Bell, and a map, you’re ready to explore. It may involve trial and error, but that’s the beauty of Elden Ring.

If you follow Grace’s advice from the Gatefront, you’ll end up right in Stormveil Castle. Here you will meet Margit, the Fell Omen, the first big boss of Elden Ring. If you’re new to the series, you might get your ass kicked. It’s Elden Ring’s way of telling you, “Hey, go do something else for a while and come back when you’re stronger.” I recommend you listen.

Explore Stormhill and Limgrave and you’ll find dozens of ruins, caves, and catacombs full of enemies and items. Level up, try new weapons, and upgrade a favorite. We recommend visiting Murkwater Cave in the river east of Stormhill, Waypoint Ruins across the lake, and Marika’s Third Church in East Limgrave. Or head south to explore a new region.


Visit the Weeping Peninsula

In southern Limgrave you will find a fortified bridge leading to the Weeping Peninsula. It’s a fantastic place to explore as you level up and prepare to take on Margit. You’ll find three churches containing Sacred Tears to upgrade your flasks, a few side quests from NPCs, and several useful spells, weapons, and talismans.

Castle Morne at the southern tip of the peninsula is also a good tryout for Stormveil, where you can test your skills against tougher enemies and a vicious Leonine Misbegotten boss. Think of the Weeping Peninsula as an extended warm-up area for the rest of the game. There may not be any bosses or required items here, but it’s a great place to get into the rhythm of Elden Ring exploration and combat. Explore the peninsula and the Limgrave at your own pace until you feel ready to give Margit a try.


Follow these steps and you’ll be over Elden Ring’s toughest challenges in no time! It’s a game of options, but those options really open up once you’ve covered those essentials. If you need a hand with the Lords of Stormveil Castle, we have boss fight guides for Margit and Godrick. For weapon tips at all stages of the game, check out our guide to the best weapons in Elden Ring.

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