Elden Ring is obviously a massive game, with a massive following. From a developer that can do no wrong. I’ve been skeptical at best, but found myself being sucked further and further into it.
Last time I wrote here, I claimed that I was kinda over it. Shortly after the post went live, I made some significant progress, and have continued a slow and steady plod through.
I’ve read and watched a massive amount of Elden Ring content and tried to take loads of stuff in. But when you consume so much, you don’t necessarily take it all in.
Here’s the weirdest thing to me. Elden Ring asks you to pick a class at the start of the game. Aimed to help steer you towards your desired play style.
Problem is, I wasn’t really sure what was going on, and chose the coolest-looking one (to me!). I went with the samurai.
A little bit of research helped me see that it was a reasonable beginner choice, and so began my quest.
What I hadn’t realised, I was that Elden Ring is so full of armour and weapons etc, you can’t really stick to that singular style of play.
I love the Katana, I love the skill spec that I was given. That is totally where I want to be. However, I was passing-up better gear, because it wasn’t “Samurai”.
If I wasn’t using a katana, that wouldn’t be the right style. I baulked at using a shield, but my stamina for rolling isn’t good enough to get away with it fully, so I conceded there.
So I’ve spent the first 10 hours stuck, mentally in a place whereby I can’t change. Elden Ring doesn’t give a crap about showing you how to play, or what to do. How was I to know?
It turns out that those classes are more of a template to help you build into your style of play. Mixing your stats to help you get off on the right foot.
My Samurai was great for me. Good strength and defensive ability. A little slow, no magic or intelligence worth noting. But great to start out with the basics. I don’t even know how to cast spells anyway….
After sticking it out and making steady progress, I wasn’t deterred or even really concerned. Elden Ring wasn’t telling me anything to the contrary.
Then I started looking at all this stuff I was collecting. Questioning why I wouldn’t just try stuff out. Better stats, missing with other stuff helping me improve in the margins whilst my ability was still a bit rough.
Suddenly, I’ve changed my play style a little, to adapt to weapons and I’ve been having even more fun and making better progress!
I’ve stopped thinking that I have to be a Samurai, and started leaning into the strengths of my build. It’s changed my experience entirely!
It might seem crazy that I’ve been so naive, but with no real experience, no prior knowledge of the Dark Souls games, how would I know?
You don’t have to stick to what you have. I mean, how many other RPG’s would you do that in?
Not understanding Elden Ring has put me on the back-foot. That isn’t a bad thing, because finding that realisation myself has me further invested in it than before. Armed with the knowledge that I can change my style whenever I want. And understanding that I can lean further into whatever strengths I want, makes me excited to see what I can do.
Being able to customise my build. Find gear that might just turn everything on its head, and be ok with that, is huge.
Elden Ring is rewarding because you discover everything on your own. Then the gameplay and difficulty add layers to that. It’s fascinating!
Turns out, I can do what I want, and now playing with builds is as much a part of my mindset as just trying to get through some encounters.
Here come the next 10 hours or so! What the hell will I work out between now and then?