Elden Ring players in Japan talk about where they’re getting stuck and how they’re pressing forward

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-03-01 20:19 JST)

FromSoftware’s latest title Elden Ring has only just been released to the world. In a departure from their past titles, the game has moved to an open field style of gameplay with a much higher degree of freedom for exploration. Along with acquiring items and runes (experience points) as you wander across the map, there are also NPC summons called Spirit Ashes and other new elements to help players survive combat. But that doesn’t mean the game isn’t extremely difficult. Dungeons and bosses are no pushovers and will still require plenty of trial and error.

But just where are players struggling in the game? And how are they overcoming these obstacles when they get stuck? We sent out a survey to find out. This survey was aimed at players that are either currently stuck, or were stuck and managed to progress. We asked players the following questions. “Where are you stuck?” “Are you using online guides, videos, cooperative play, or just pure grit and determination to proceed?” “What has been the most helpful feature to you while playing?” The survey received 120 responses and we want to send out a big thank you to everyone that participated.

This article may contain spoilers for boss names and such beyond early parts of the game.

What boss are you stuck on?

When players were asked where they were stuck, they had a number of responses, from bosses, to dungeons, to finding specific items. But 25% of responses said Margit the Fell Omen, an early boss that’s been giving many players trouble. Margit is likely the first story boss players will encounter if they follow the in-game guidance and has already become a hot topic on social media for its difficulty. But the percentage of players that have beaten Margit is actually pretty similar to that of other early FromSoftware bosses (related article). It’s not totally unbeatable, though, so we want to wish good luck to players that are struggling and a congratulations for those that have beaten this menace.

The second highest answer was the Crucible Knight (13 votes). This boss appears multiple times in the game which may be a factor in why it made the list. The third highest was the demigod Godrick (10 votes), the boss that wraps up the early part of the game.

Continuing on, the Tree Sentinel that is encountered just after starting the game received 9 votes. One respondent has even called Tree Sentinel their master for teaching them the way,  after spending 8 hours to defeat the boss, which led to much smoother sailing afterward. The boss takes centerstage for players just jumping into their adventure as The Tarnished. Starscourge Radahn received 6 votes as well.

Overall, bosses in Limgrave, the game’s first area, stand out. Elden Ring is a big game, though, so many players are likely still having a good time exploring its early areas.

The difficulty of Legacy Dungeons and getting lost

Another difficult area that drew a lot of responses was the first Legacy Dungeon Stormveil Castle, with its strong knight enemies posted across various locations.

A number of players also said they got lost. In the game, the light from Sites of Grace and conversations with NPCs help lead players along. But unlike most open world games, there isn’t a quest marker that makes your destination totally clear. For that reason, many players seem to be losing their way. It will vary by person, but one player said, “It took 16 hours before I encountered Margit,” as they explored other areas and fought other bosses in the meantime. Part of the Elden Ring experience may be getting lost but still having plenty to do.

To press onward by your own strength or receive assistance

When we asked if players were using online guides, videos, cooperative play, or going it alone, over half of respondents (67) said they were taking on the challenge alone. Elden Ring seems to have lit a fighting spirit in its players to overcome its challenges without outside help.

25 respondents said they were using online guides and videos, 10 said they were using co-op play, and 8 players said they are using both. Players are taking a number of different approaches to the game. While it may be tough to toss aside that feeling of accomplishment that comes from overcoming a challenge alone, one approach also seems to be getting to the goal by any means necessary.

In some cases, it looks like there are respondents that have taken to asking friends and the community as well as gathering information on social media. Some players are also placing restrictions on themselves like only checking guides when they’re lost or only after completing something.

The biggest help on your path to becoming the Elden Lord

And lastly, let’s find out what players have found most helpful on their journey. One feature that received a lot of responses was Spirit Ashes at nearly 30 players. It sounds like many are using them as a diversion to grab a boss’s attention while they run around and attack them from behind. This is something new for a FromSoftware game and players seem to be finding good uses for it.

Around the same number of respondents said strengthening their weapons or leveling up and raising their stats. Either way, they both revolve around strengthening their character. Many also answered increasing their skill and some are even taking notes to study enemy patterns. Players are also putting new moves like the Guard Counter and Jump Attacks to good use. Observing bosses, raising your skill level, and trying new moves are all important parts of getting through the game.

It sounds like some players are simply getting stronger over the course of exploring the open field since doing so will net players items, weapon upgrade materials, and runes. Even going off course has its benefits to your progression. Some are also finding messages from other players helpful.

Many respondents also brought up the importance of luck, willpower, not getting discouraged, and sleep, which shows the importance of rest and your mentality. In the end, your health and spirit are your greatest allies.

Something similar was also brought up on the website ResetEra in a thread that asks players, “what is your current wall?” And of course, many are mentioning Margit, who seems to be a problem for players all over the world. The scale of the game is also giving players trouble with some saying it’s too big and they don’t know where to go. Many also lament that they simply don’t have enough time to play, a sentiment I (the author of the original article) share.

From this survey we know that players are approaching the game in different ways by using FromSoftware staples to the new features added with Elden Ring. Elden Ring is bringing players all around the world together into a shared experience which is something that’s really wonderful about video games as a medium.

Another huge thank you to everyone that responded to the survey. The responses were mostly centered around early areas of the game, but it might be interesting to ask players what enemies and areas they found difficult after more people have completed it.