Dark Souls games always encourage exploration and experimentation, and Elden Ring takes that to the next level. The shift to a vast open world makes Elden Ring feel even more mysterious, and with that comes an almost unbearable amount of freedom. After you complete the opening tutorial area, you’re let loose on the world, and it can be incredibly overwhelming trying to figure out where to go and what to do. Of course, you can strike out in any direction and explore to your heart's content, but for those looking for a little more structure, we’re here with a few essential tips and suggestions about where you should go first in Elden Ring.
1. Visit The Church of Elleh
The Church of Elleh should be your very first stop on your Elden Ring journey. It’s where you get a couple of key items, namely a Crafting Kit and Spirit Calling Bell. You can actually see the church from your starting point in Limgrave, just due north of where you talk to White-Faced Varre. Be careful as you head toward the church, however, as one of the first bosses, the Tree Sentinel, is often roaming around the area. Make sure to rest at the Site of Grace so you can travel back later.
Once you arrive at the church, look for Merchant Kale sitting at a campfire, and make sure to purchase the Crafting Kit. This will allow you to craft a variety of items like bombs and arrows, and finding cookbooks will let you craft even more. Now to get the second item, you’ll want to continue on to the next Site of Grace at the Gatefront Ruins. We’ll walk you through that below, but once you’ve done so make sure to rest until night, then fast travel back to the Church of Elleh. You should see a witch named Ranni sitting on a pillar that beckons you over. If you talk to her you’ll obtain the Spirit Calling Bell, one of the most useful items in Elden Ring that allows you to you summon spirits to help in battle. If you happen to miss the item, it can also be bought at the Roundtable Hold later on.
2. Head to the Gatefront Ruins
The Gatefront Ruins should be your second stop as it’s where you’ll unlock the ability to level up, as well as gain access to a mount. There’s a road to the east of the Church of Elleh that runs North, so follow that up into a series of ruins. There are enemy soldiers roaming around the ruins so you might have to do a bit of fighting, but follow the road West from the ruins to hit the Gatefront Site of Grace. Here you’ll meet the Finger Maiden Melina, one of the major characters of Elden Ring. Now you’ll have the ability to level up at any Site of Grace using Runes, and the Spectral Steed Whistle will let you call your mount, Torrent, at any time.
Now you can also explore the Gatefront Ruins to get a few items and weapons. The wagons around the area have chests in the back that contain the Flail and Lordsworn’s Greatsword, and the enemy camp is near a pillar that contains the Limgrave West map. Explore and take out enemies, then head back to the Church of Elleh to get the Spirit Calling Bell and purchase a few more items from Merchant Kale, including the telescope and Cracked Jar.
3. Make your way to The Third Church of Marika
The Third Church of Marika is a bit of a longer journey than the previous two locations, but it’s absolutely worth doing. The church is near the Northeastern tip of Limgrave, so first, follow the road East from the Gatefront Ruins and go across the bridge. Bring up your map, and follow the Northern path all the way to its end, which is where you’ll find the Third Church of Marika. Rest at the Site of Grace at the church and straight ahead you’ll see an item, which is why you’re here. Pick it up and you’ll get the Flash of Wondrous Physick, a single-use restorative item that recharges each time your rest at a Site of Grace.
With the item, you’ll notice a new option on the Site of Grace menu called “Mix Wondrous Physick.” When you picked up the flask you also picked up a Crimson Crystal Tear, and there are dozens of more tears you’ll pick up throughout the game. Essentially each tear has a different effect, and you can mix two into your Wondrous Physick to have various effects. For example, the two tears you choose might restore half of your HP and reduce damage at the same time. It’s a tremendously useful item that’s well worth going out of your way to grab.