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8 things you can easily miss at the beginning of Elden Ring

Mysteries are everywhere

Elden Ring guide: Rune farming locations Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Elden Ring is a big, mysterious game that trusts players to make their own way. This, of course, can lead to some players missing some important elements — even the tutorial. Whether you’re an experienced player or someone trying out their first FromSoft game, there are some crucial items and events in Elden Ring’s opening area that are unfortunately easy to miss. We’ve rounded up eight specific tasks you’ll want to check off your list in the first 10 or so hours of Elden Ring, both big and small.

The good news is, even if you’ve somehow missed any of these items or events, there’s nothing stopping you from heading back to Elden Ring’s starting area, Limgrave, to poke around.

Purchase a crafting kit

If you haven’t explored the Church of Elleh north of where you started Elden Ring, you will have missed a merchant named Kalé. He’s very noticeable once you get to that area; he’s dressed like Santa. Kalé mentions the Crafting Kit when you first meet, but he doesn’t exactly force it on you. Perhaps he should, though, because this item is essential: It’s the only way you can craft items in Elden Ring. The kit costs a total of 50 runes.

Kalé also sells Cookbooks, which are collections of recipes for crafting items. He’s got a few, and there are others you’ll find around the Elden Ring world, whether from other merchants or on enemy bodies.

Get a torch

While you’re visiting the Church of Elleh, buy a torch from Kalé as well. There are some really dark caves and areas to explore in Elden Ring, and they’ll be a pain in the ass if you don’t have a torch. You’ll be able to play the game without using a torch, of course, but do you want to? Probably not! Plus, your torch can be used as a weapon.

Later in the game, players may find a lantern that attaches to the body, which has the same function as the torch. It’s nice because you can use it without it needing to be held in one of your hands, which could otherwise be holding a weapon or shield.

Talk to Melina

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

Melina is a character you’ll meet after visiting and resting at three different sites of grace in Elden Ring. If, for some reason, you’ve only been visiting two of them over and over, find a third one! Sites of grace are helpful because they’re checkpoints and fast travel locations, but also, meeting Melina transforms them into places where you can level up. Most players’ third site of grace appears to be at the Gatefront Ruins, but Melina will show up at whatever your third site is in Elden Ring’s open world. Once you meet Melina, you’ll be able to give her runes at these sites in order to get more powerful.

When you first meet her, Melina will also give you a special whistle that can be used to summon your ghost horse. The horse, who is named Torrent, makes traveling easier, allows for high-speed horseback battles, and opens up access to new areas that only Torrent can jump high enough to reach. You’ll also want to simply keep Melina around and keep chatting with her — she’s necessary in reaching Roundtable Hold, where merchants and NPCs can help you.

Pick up the Whetstone Knife

While you’re near the site of grace at the Gatefront Ruins, make sure to pick up the Whetstone Knife. There’s a camp full of guards and wolves in front of that site; you’ll need to clear it so that you can explore it and find a small, dark staircase leading to an underground tunnel with a treasure chest inside. The Whetstone Knife is in there, as well as a specific item that can only be used with the help of that knife, called an Ash of War.

(Also, a note: These guards can be pretty tough, and there’s one big guy with a big spear who is particularly hard. Our advice is to take these guys on one by one using stealth. If a guard sees you, they’ll notify the others, and you definitely don’t want a pack of these guys — and wolves — fighting you all at once.)

The Whetstone Knife allows players to attach Ashes of War to their weapons, which imbue them with special extra powers. The one you get alongside the Whetstone Knife is called Storm Stomp. You can use it on melee weapons to “kick up a momentary storm,” according to its description.

You’ll find more Ashes of War around the world of Elden Ring, and now that you have the Whetstone Knife, you can attach them to weapons and figure out which special attacks and power-ups you like best. The Ashes of War menu becomes available at Sites of Grace after players find the Whetstone Knife.

Pick up Renna’s Spirit Calling Bell

After you’ve met Melina, travel back to the Church of Elleh (the area where you spoke to Kalé, also known as Santa) and meet Renna, a ghostly blue woman in a huge witchy hat. She’ll have an item called the Spirit Calling Bell to give you. This is really useful. With it, you can summon spirits — like a spirit jellyfish — to help you in battle.

Renna will give you the Lone Wolf spirit to start off. To use the summon, you only need to equip the Lone Wolf spirit (you can’t equip the bell itself). When you’re in extra-difficult areas of the game, you’ll gain the ability to summon these ghostly helpers.

Over the course of the game, you’ll find more spirits to summon. These are all over, including in dungeons.

Find the Flask of Wondrous Physick

You’ll find this special item at the Church of Marika, in the upper, eastern side of Limgrave. It’ll be on the ground near a statue. So, what does this thing do? It becomes an item you can consume, and you get to decide on its effects by adding different crystal tears to it.

It can only be used once per rest, however, and know that crystal tears are earned by killing Erdtree Avatars, which are pretty hard! Thankfully, it’s just one way to earn these, though; they’re also available in the world. The effects change depending on the crystal tears you use in your personal recipe, and they can be quite powerful, with options like different stat boosts and health point increases.

Meet and spare Patches the Untethered

When you meet Patches in Murkwater Cave (along the Murkwater River), he’ll attack you for opening one of his chests. You shouldn’t kill him, though. Get some damage in, but don’t deal a final blow. Once his health is low enough, he’ll surrender — at which point you can kill him or let him live. If you let him live, he’ll set up shop at the cave and become a merchant. In particular, he’s got an item (Margit’s Shackle) that could help in your fight against Margit, The Fell Omen. If you kill him, you’ll get an item from him that will later lead to you getting access to his shop. There’s also an option here to follow a Patches quest line, sparked by opening a different chest that transports you to a different area.

Seek out Rodericka

Rodericka is located in the Stormhill Shack, and she’s got a few things to hand over. One is a pose called Sitting Sideways, and the other is the infamous jellyfish spirit. She later relocates to Roundtable Hold. After a short quest line, which has a few variations, you’ll introduce her to the blacksmith in the area, and she’ll be able to upgrade your spirit summons. More powerful allies!

The next level of puzzles.

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