Elden Ring: Strategies for Navigating the Intermediate Lands


If you’re looking for specific secrets to look for as you traverse the Lands Between, you’ll want to check back in a few days for ways to find hidden areas and bosses. Today we’ll go over some strategies for getting the most out of your exploration of the vast open world and ancient dungeons you’ll experience during your journey and explain how some of the more vague overarching concepts work. Of course, if you want to get into the incredible world of Elden Ring completely spoiler-free, now is the time to stop reading.

God Runes, How Do They Work?

When you defeat one of Elden Ring’s shard-carrying demigods, you gain their god rune. However, to activate it, you also need to find and climb a divine tower in its region. Depending on the demigod, these can be very easy to find in the surrounding area and easy to find on the map. However, some demigod towers are quite out of the way and require quite a bit of exploration to discover. You may even have to dive into some of the smaller dungeons to find a route. Once you’ve climbed a divine tower and activated the god rune, you can use a Rune Arc to activate its powers, including life leech, massive boost to HP, buffs to all your stats, and more. These buffs grant significant power, but expire on death. Yes, that makes them somewhat similar in execution to Embering in Dark Souls III; however, you have more choice in which buff to apply. If you find yourself in need of Rune Arcs, rats drop them quite often and they can be purchased from various characters in the world.

How to get Boss Weapons and Armor?

Okay, so you’ve managed to take on one of the big bosses. Now you want to wear their armor and maybe pick up their weapons or signature spells. What should an adventurer do? Go to the Roundtable Hold – there is an open room that you may not have checked out before. Here you can redeem your “boss souls” for special weapons and spells, as well as buy complete runic armor sets. What if you want more than one boss weapon or spell to round out your ensemble? Because you only get one token from the boss, right? Here’s what you do: Enter the open world and find one of the gigantic bell-ringing stone monstrosities that roam the land. Jump on Torrent and clean their feet by knocking the skulls off. Be careful as they can and will absolutely crush you if they step on you. Once cleaned, the gigantic heavy beasts remain silent and you can climb inside. Here you can make a copy of a boss token so you can get extra turns, or just crush them for extra runes. To enjoy!

Light is power

On the early journey to Limgrave you may find yourself using torches to peer into some of the darker caves in the landscape. However, this is an annoying hurdle that takes up one of your hands. Instead, make it a point to look for a lantern as early as possible, which you can easily attach to your hip to illuminate any area hands-free! This is especially useful when delving into late game caves and other dark areas where everything is at your disposal. There are several locations to pick up a lantern, but you can get one early on at the Isolated Merchant’s Shack in the Weeping Penninsula in the south of Limgrave, far to the west and on the coast. This trader also sells a ton of other useful things like Stonesword Keys, so it’s a good place to dump some runes early.

Upgrade (and summon!) your gear

One of the most important things you can do in Elden Ring is increase your weapon level. Default weapons can be upgraded to +25 and special weapons to +10. This requires special materials, which you can often find in large quantities in mines all over the world. However, you may need a lot of these mats, especially since you’ll probably want to improve and experiment multiple weapons. Since you might run out of a certain tier of upgrade material, the best way to make sure you never run out is to keep doing the side dungeons around the world, especially the mines. Completing certain mines will give you a belllager that you can turn in to the Roundtable Hold that will unlock different levels of upgrade materials for purchase, meaning you can level tons of weapons up without having to hunt down materials all day. This goes for your range of summon spells as well, as you can find bell bearings that allow you to purchase ghostwort and the other essential summon upgrade materials, usually at the end of catacomb dungeons. Don’t know how to call? Go to the Church of Ellah (where the DIY forge is and Kale is the salesman) after getting Torrent and the ability to level up, and meet the new character there. She gives you the bell to take advantage of this feature. Keeping your gear level will help you meet the challenges ahead! If you’re a heavy melee and don’t have the manapool to summon some of the coolest named summons, then fear not – there are a few summons that you can summon with your HP pool instead!

Exchange art and affinities

Have a very cool weapon but don’t like the special ability? Change it! Yes, you can pair skills like Quickstep to go full Bloodborne with almost anything if you want! This system is highly customizable, but may seem daunting at first to work with. You will discover tons of ash as you progress, and you can mix and match these with your weapons. Perhaps more importantly, you can also change the nature of your weapons, allowing them to scale differently or harder. Weapons in Elden Ring scale with your stats. Are you going for a heavy agility build-up? Swap your sword’s affinities and make it scale with heavy dex instead of, say, power. This system may be difficult to understand at first, but it offers unparalleled customization options. This is a big plus: if you don’t feel like messing with this system, you don’t have to, as many of the unique weapons in the game have their own special moves that can’t be swapped or changed. No problem!

go somewhere else

Many players try to brutally force challenging bosses. While you can certainly do this, a more fun and rewarding option is to start exploring. I know this may seem obvious in the open world, but sometimes you really get stuck in the old ways of just punching your face at a boss over and over. I mean, that can be fun, but go drive around! Even if you think you’ve fully explored an area and sorted it out for every scrap, there’s probably a portal or secret passage that can take you all the way to another realm. The world is incredibly big and there are often ways around things that may seem like a requirement to keep going. Break everything and experiment!

Crafting can make the difference

Craft everything and work on your Flask of Wondrous Physick options. One of your first goals should be to go to East Limburg to the Third Church of Marika and pick up the Flask of Wondrous Body. This modular buffing tool grows over the course of the game as you unlock tons of options, mostly from defeating Erdtree bosses. Some of the more powerful buffs you can put into the Flask allow you to basically take a whole hit and auto-heal when your health is low, which is great when you’re up against a tough boss. Perfumes and jars are incredibly useful in combat; there is a perfume that can suck up a whole beat. When you combine that with the Flask, that’s two fully immune hits in a boss fight, which can make life a lot easier! And that’s just the beginning, as you can craft a huge range of consumables to complement your playstyle. Buy and grab every recipe you see. You never know when you want to make something!


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