Game Guides

How to level up in Elden Ring

Don’t stay maidenless.

screenshot from Elden Ring
Bandai Namco

Unless you’re aiming for a semi-masochistic challenge to stream on Twitch, you’re probably going to want to level up if you’re playing through Elden Ring. While it’s a basic and necessary part of the game, From Software games treat leveling up much differently from typical RPGs, and Elden Ring makes it a bit more complicated than even Dark Souls. Fortunately, it’s easy to do once you know how (at least as easy as anything is in Elden Ring), so you can be on your way to getting destroyed by the game’s bosses in no time.

First things first, you need to get yourself a maiden. As an NPC tells you at the start of the game, you enter the Lands Between “maidenless.” More than just a sick burn, that means you don’t have the guide who will be necessary to see you through to the game’s conclusion. In a cue from Bloodborne, you also won’t be able to level up when you first start the game, and you’ll need to track down a magical woman to help you do that after making some progress.

How to find Melina and level up in Elden Ring

You won’t get far in Elden Ring without Melina’s help.

Bandai Namco

Finding your maiden is simple. When you first emerge into Elden Ring’s open world, you’ll be confronted with a site of grace to rest at, which you should do. Then, follow the guidance of grace (the yellow wisps in the air) to nearby Church of Elleh, where you’ll find another site of grace along with the merchant Kale, who’s inexplicably dressed as Santa Claus. Rest here and the guidance of grace will point you to yet another location. This time, you’re heading for the gate that leads to Stormveil Castle, the game’s first major dungeon. Just outside the gate, you’ll find the Gatefront site of grace. As long as you haven’t skipped any sites of grace along the way, chilling here will summon Melina, who will serve as your maiden.

It’s possible to encounter Melina by resting at other sites of grace, but doing it this way guarantees you run into her early in the game and also puts you on the path to continue the game’s story.

Now that you’ve met Melina, you just need to select Level Up from the options menu when you rest at any site of grace. This will allow you to exchange the Runes you acquire by beating enemies for new levels. The amount of Runes you need to level up increases with each level, so expect each level to come a little slower than the last for much of the game.

Which stats to level up first in Elden Ring

The best stats in Elden Ring depend on how you want to play.

Bandai Namco

Now that you have the ability to level up, you need to decide how to spend those valuable Runes. Despite its overall difficulty, Elden Ring is fairly forgiving when it comes to building your character. You can find ways to make even less-popular stat spreads viable by picking up weapons and abilities that support them, and you’ll be able to completely reset your levels later on, though you need to make quite a bit of progress before you can do that. Still, you want to go in with a plan so you don’t end up wasting your Runes.

Unless you have a specific build in mind, Vigor and Endurance are always worth investing in early on. These stats will boost your HP and Stamina early on, and unless you’re a pro going for a no-hit run, both will be crucial to pick up. Focusing on these core stats early also gives you time to find a good weapon, which will determine where you spend the rest of your stats.

Spend your Runes wisely to take on Elden Ring’s biggest challenges.

Bandai Namco

If you’re going with a melee build, you want to boost whatever stat gives a bonus to your weapon of choice once your HP and Stamina are at a comfortable level. For melee weapons, you’ll end up focusing on Strength and Dexterity, unless you’re going for a hybrid build that uses magic stats. For an idea of some options, take a look at the best weapons in Elden Ring for some ideas of weapons to work toward.

For caster classes, you’ll want to focus on Intelligence for spells or Faith for miracles rather than Strength and Dexterity. It’s also worthwhile dipping into a few levels of Mind to increase your FP if you’re a caster or you plan to use a lot of Ashes of war. You can pretty much ignore the Arcane stat unless you plan on using a very specific build geared toward that oddball attribute.

Deciding where to focus your stats is an important skill in Elden Ring that you’ll develop as you play, but this is a good starting point that should help you through the early hours. Just remember to level up whenever you have the chance, or risk losing all the Runes you’ve worked so hard to collect when you take on an enemy who’s out of your league. That would be really annoying.

Elden Ring is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. The Shadow of the Erdtree launches on all platforms on June 20.

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