Elden Ring Overview Part 1
Before you read this article please be aware there will be major SPOILERS for all of Elden Ring
After 70 hours and countless deaths I finally finished the game, there is a lot to say about this game so I’ll split up this article into playtime hours.
Before I get into the full article I’ll go over my character, equipment, and stats.
I started my journey as a Prisoner, aiming to utilize fast weapons with hard-hitting spells, when I played the CNT I loved the new magic and wanted to explore the countless numbers of new spells, as I’ll go over later this wasn’t quite what happened.
As far as my final equipment and stats I am wearing Maliketh’s Armor, purely for the Elden Bling, and I’m using the Moonveil in my main hand and the Carian Knight’s Shield/Meteoric Ore Blade in my off-hand.
The Moonveil is just too easy, I’m expecting some balances to it soon as it is currently quite overpowered and can easily carry you through most of the game, the meteor is a decent blade as an offhand just to allow me to power-stance with katanas, this was very helpful late game as I could stun-lock enemies pretty easily.
My stats were ever-changing after about 50 hours in but this is what I finished with:
- Level- 145
- Vigor- 42
- Mind- 23
- Endurance- 39
- Strength- 17
- Dexterity- 33
- Intelligence- 60
- Faith- 6
- Arcane- 9
As for my extra equipment I used the Mimic tear ash at +10, creating a second version of me dual-wielding Katanas was a ridiculous way to take down some of the game’s hardest bosses.
I used these talismans-
Finally, after such a long wait I could step out into the full world of Elden ring, only to be immediately killed by the grafted scion, a hard lesson from the game about what to expect in the lands between.
I had played the CNT so I was familiar with most of the mechanics and so I skipped the tutorial section and headed straight to the stone sword key door, I needed to know what lay beyond this mysterious door and this is where I had my first natural death, defiantly somewhere to come back to later.
When you open the doors of the first step and see the lush fauna and open fields of Limgrave it is such an amazing feeling, you can spot several locations that could be explored and you really get a feel for the scale of the game.
From here I had played most of the content in the CNT so there wasn’t much new for me yet, some items had changed or their locations were different but for the most part it was still the same game.
I spent the first few hours just exploring and getting myself ready to face Margit, so far I only encountered one issue, how to apply ashes of war, this is something that can be easily missed if you don’t explore like the game wants you too, finally finding that whetstone and figuring out its use was amazing, this was the first time I felt the new design really come into play, Elden Ring does not hold your hand, it is cruel and unforgiving, but if you put in the time you will understand what you need to do.
I do see a downside to this however as new players may feel a little too unguided or not want to put in the time to fully understand why you need to explore and as a result, they may just dismiss the game, but if you added tutorials for everything and clear instructions would it still be the same game? Or would it just be another open-world game?
After about 7 hours of exploring, completing NPC questlines, and refining my skills I felt ready to tackle Margit and then move on to Stromveil.
Margit was a challenge but I quickly learned how useful spirit ashes are, as a caster I had low HP and was slowly turning into a glass cannon, I had picked up a few spirit ashes so far but the moon jelly was definitely my top partner.
One strategy that I found that carried me for about 30 hours was using spirit ashes (a single ash would work but I found this works better with the group ashes) and the magic glint blade sorcery, because the glint blade has a delay after casting it’s a very useful spell against enemies who dodge whenever you cast as they never seem to dodge the actual projectile, pair this with a group as spirits keeping a bosses attention and you can easily get off about 5-6 glint blades before they notice you.
My main task now is to traverse through Stormveil castle and face Godrick, however, with exploration being a huge aspect of this game I managed to find a side path around Stormveil that lead me to Liurnia of the lake, again a scenic introduction to this area, I had a pretty good grip on how the game wanted me to play and I set off exploring, dungeon crawling and fighting until I felt like I was at an appropriate level to face Godrick, I was not prepared for this fight.
I had focused slot of my levels into intelligence and mine without caring too much about HP, this backfired here, I couldn’t do this fight alone and so I engaged in the multiplayer for the first time, this was on release day so I expected some issue but I was pleasantly surprised at how stable it was, the only issue I found was fighting for summons, it seems, currently due to the number of players on, if you don’t touch the gold sign the second it appears you will not get the summon, this isn’t that big of an issue as there is currently a huge multiplayer presence so it’s not too hard to find a new summon.
It was around the 20-hour mark the core of Elden Ring started to set in, this is not a dark souls game where you have a linear path with a few diversions available, I was truly free, I could go where I want and explore freely, granted there is a level locking system where areas will be more difficult but there’s nothing stopping you using torrent to run past enemies to find better gear.
After fully understanding what the game wanted from me I went back and cleared up the rest of Limgrave and the weeping peninsula, exploring every inch of the Map, constantly analyzing the landmarks to try to spot something new.
Sure there are some repeating dungeons and rescued enemies but I expected that going into this game, if every dungeon had unique enemies there would be no point in learning their attack patterns or their weaknesses.
Raya Lucaria is the second legacy dungeon and honestly, it felt a lot easier than Stormveil, it was quite linear and the enemies were easy to take down, I did find throughout my full playtime there was a constant switch in difficulty.
Once you beat the boss of Raya lucaria you have the option to respec, this is something I didn’t think would be very useful in Elden Ring but in total I ended up respecing 5 times, I’ll discuss this later.
At this point in my playthrough, I was starting to feel like the game was coming to a close, sure there was a lot of the map to discover but Liurnia felt a lot more empty than Limgrave and I assumed the rest would follow suit.
I could feel the amount of time that went into Limgrave, there were so many dungeons and ruins, so much to explore, the rest of the game felt more empty and forced me to explore more areas to find dungeons, this didn’t bother me too much until very late game.
Without knowing much about the storyline I assumed my next area would see me face the 3rd Demi-god, however, as it turned out a lot to the Demigods are optional, but still, I wanted to take on every demigod and claim all the greater shards.
At this point in the game, you have two options, Caelid or Altus plateau, the way you are supposed to go is Caelid as it matches closer to what your level should be here and so I set off into the red, rotting dessert.
This for me was where the game became a challenge, even with my high-level enemies were more resistant and had a larger arsenal, this was where magic dropped off for me, it became boring to keep using glintblade, but my other spells were just not as effective, this wasn’t the entirely the games fault, I was playing too risky, I didn’t keep distance and time my rolls correctly, I hadn’t needed to previously, so I decided to switch up my play style here, I feel this is an area that really tests your skills/decisions so far in the game.
After respecing for the first time I focused more on using the crystal sword and having spells as a backup, this really worked for me in this area and it seems almost intentional in a design sense, Caelid is such a switch from Liurnia it forces you to prove that your build is working and can continue to work, to me if this was intentional then that was an amazing decision.
After more exploring and leveling it was time to face Radahn, first I had to fight the two champions, I simply couldn’t win this fight so I’d decided to fully clear Liurnia and come back when I was stronger.
The continuation of this article will follow shortly.
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