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Elden Ring guide: Limgrave walkthrough — A dozen ideas for your first dozen hours

Where to go in Elden Ring

Melina in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

gYou know what’s great about Elden Ring? Its vast open world. You know what’s stressful about Elden Ring? Its vast open world. We genuinely spent more than 15 hours hopping back and forth between exploration and the critical path in West Limgrave alone, and we don’t regret a thing.

In this Elden Ring guide, we’ll tell you where you should go, what you should do, the awesome items — and the stuff you can safely ignore — in your first few days with the game.


Follow the light

The first things you should do when you enter the Limgrave open world are visit the bonfire The First Step site of grace, talk to the weirdo nearby, and then follow the light.

The First Step site of grace in Elden Ring, with light emitting that shows your destination
Follow the light emanating from the site of grace
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

This is how Elden Ring teaches you things. The light is the obvious thing. That the light more or less follows an unnamed road that you can’t see yet is a less obvious but instructive point.

When you’re lost, look for the light of grace. It will guide you.

Because here’s the thing: You can do almost anything and go almost anywhere, if you’re determined to do it. You can defeat the nearby Tree Sentinel boss, if you really want to. But here’s the thing: You probably don’t want to do something like that because you’re too weak. Let the game lead you for a bit.


Visit the Church of Elleh

Follow the road leading north from The First Step site of grace, and you’ll find the Church of Elleh site of grace. There’s a little housekeeping to do here.

Speak to Kalé, the first Elden Ring merchant you’ll meet. Buy the following:

  • Crafting kit for 300 runes. You can’t craft without it.
  • Cracked pots, for 300 each. When you craft things, you put them into Cracked Pots.

You can buy anything else you want, but those are the necessities.

Visit the smithing table near Kalé, and retrieve your first smithing stone. You can and should return here when you have more smithing stones to make your weapon more powerful.

A path between the Church of Elleh, Gatefront Ruins, and Agheel Lake North in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

And now we can leave. Continue following the light of grace northeasterly, following the road, and you’ll see Gatefront Ruins in the distance. Hang tight.


Stop following the light (get thee a horse)

Looking over Gatefront Ruins toward Agheel Lake North in Elden Ring
Gatefront Ruins in the middle, Agheel Lake North site of grace circled
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

This is a great way to learn about stealth in Elden Ring. If you were to continue following the road, you’d walk right through the heart of Gatefront Ruins. There are many enemies ahead, and you’re brand new. It’s not a fair fight.

Instead, crouch down, head to the east around the ruins, and you’ll find the Agheel Lake North bonfire site of grace, which is a great base of operations from which to launch your assaults on Gatefront Ruins. It’s also where you’ll meet Melina and get the Spectral Steed Whistle, which unlocks your horse.

It’s also the opposite of the way that the light of grace tells you to go. And that’s the lesson here: You should explore beyond the critical path.


Get the Spirit Calling Bell and Lone Wolf Ashes

Return to the Church of Elleh site of grace, and look for a new NPC sitting on the ruins. That’s Renna, and she’ll give you the Spirit Calling Bell and Lone Wolf Ashes.

Head back to the Agheel Lake North site of grace.


Get a map fragment

From the Agheel Lake North site of grace, head north to Gatefront Ruins — in fact, sneak north, taking down any of the soldiers you can along the way. Your goal is what looks like a monument or an obelisk on the eastern side of the road.

If you have to (or want to) fight, this is a dangerous area. Isolate enemies. Use your Spirit Calling Bell and Lone Wolf Ashes to call in reinforcements and distract the bad guys.

Interact with the glowing object, and you’ll receive the Map: Limgrave, West.


An interlude

At this point, your options are wide open. You could continue north along the critical path, up through Stormgate and Stormhill, on your way to Stormveil Castle. But there’s so much more to do — things that’ll make your trip up north less frustrating.

So let’s talk about some cool stuff.


Get a great early shield

Under most circumstances, the single most important stat for any shield is Physical, which you can see in the Damage Negation section of the details screen. If you look at nothing else, look at this stat, which we’ve highlighted above.

Everything else aside, it means that, when something swings something at you, you won’t take regular damage when you block it with the shield.

Imagine a sword. Just a regular sword. Not a sword that also has magic or fire damage. Just, you know, a sword, which is the kind of thing that most enemies have. Hold up a shield with 100% Physical damage negation, and you take no damage most of the time when you block their attack.

There are caveats. Your stamina and poise play into this, too, for example, but this is the beauty of Physical damage negation: You mostly don’t have to worry about anything else.


Get smithing stones

From the Agheel Lake North site of grace, head southeast into the water, where you’ll find Limgrave Tunnels.

Elden Ring guide: Limgrave walkthrough — A dozen ideas for your first dozen hours
Limgrave Tunnels map.
Graphic: Jeffrey Parkin | Sources: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

In short, this is a great little dungeon that provides you with smithing stones, which you’ll use to upgrade your weapons. And you’ll sure want to do that before you head into Stormveil Castle and take on tougher enemies.


Explore

A map of West Limgrave in Elden Ring showing every hidden dungeon, catacomb, and cave. Graphic: Jeff Parkin, Dave Tach/Polygon  | Source images: FromSoftware/Bandai

Above is a map of West Limgrave that we made. We added the names of every hidden dungeon, cave, and catacomb in Elden Ring’s West Limgrave area. There’s enough to keep you busy here for 15 hours or more. We know that from experience.

Explore. Set a waypoint. Ride your house. Find out what’s over that hill or past that cliff.

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