Elden Ring has been making waves in the world of gaming, which is not exactly astonishing as it has genuinely been one of the most anticipated games at the start of the decade. However, what’s interesting to note is that prior to its release, it wasn’t only the long-time Dark Souls fandom that perpetuated the hype but also relatively new FromSoftware enthusiasts. Furthermore, after the game’s release on February 25, Elden Ring has garnered drastically more players than was initially predicted, reaching 12 million within a month while FromSoftware projected only 5 million.
The main reason that FromSoftware has attracted significantly more new players with Elden Ring is its open-world design, which does not bind you to a linear progression system. You can practically choose to make the game easier for yourself by venturing off into the Lands Between, exploring fun, optional areas, and beating equally optional bosses. And then, before you know it, you’re already over-leveled for that one story boss that was giving you a hard time before. Therefore, in that sense, Elden Ring has proven to be a much more beginner-friendly game – to the point that even some people who may read my guide may have never touched a FromSoftware game before!
Elden Ring’s Non-Linear Progression
Given that Elden Ring is an open-world game, its progression is nowhere as linear as it was with past FromSoftware titles such as Dark Souls, Sekiro, or Bloodborne. The world of the Lands Between is vast, where you ascend from the humble beginnings of the Stranded Graveyard and journey to the very roots of the magnificent Erdtree to claim your seat as the Elden Lord, prophesized by Godfrey’s Tarnished descendants.
It is one of the best experiences modern video games have to offer – and in order to make the most out of it, you need to adhere to a particular progression route. While the freedom of progression is in your hands, my Elden Ring Progression Route will ensure that you don’t venture off into areas much more difficult than your current level or miss out on crucial areas that will become boringly easy if you come back to them later. The ideal Elden Ring experience is when at each and every step, it is relatively challenging to keep that adrenaline going!
You will spawn in the Chapel of Anticipation after starting a new game and getting through the opening cutscene (really hoping you didn’t skip it). Here you will encounter the Grafted Scion. You may have already guessed it, but the Grafted Scion is one of those opening bosses to whom you are supposed to die – but that doesn’t mean you can’t kill it. If you persevere and slay the grotesque creature, you’ll be rewarded with its gear, the Ornamental Straight Sword and the Golden Beast Crest Shield, a fantastic way to start the game!
Whether or not you defeat the Grafted Scion or get defeated, you will end up in the Stranded Graveyard. Here, you can drop down to the right to begin Elden Ring’s user-friendly tutorial, one that I would recommend even to experienced FromSoftware games due to the new mechanics they’ve added to the game. Conversely, you can head straight ahead, making your way past the door and into an elevator to arrive at Elden Ring’s first significant area: Limgrave!
Limgrave will be the first significant area for you to explore in my progression route for Elden Ring. Limgrave is where you will truly get to experience FromSoftware’s vision of an open-world game for the first time and will most likely fall in love with it. Limgrave, being any player’s, new or old, first experience is naturally much more detailed than the rest of Elden Ring’s massive continents as it is divided into three large sections.
Tree Sentinel: Should you fight it?
|Other Drops||Golden Halberd|
|Altus Plateau||20,000 runes (NG)||14,000 Runes (NG, Co-op Host)||5,000 Runes (NG, Co-op Phantom)|
|Hero's Rune |
After opening the doors of the Stranded Graveyard, the part of Limgrave you will find yourself in will be West Limgrave. Upon igniting The First Step Site of Grace right in front of you, you will probably have your attention grabbed by the sturdy Golden Knight on horseback off in the distance.
The Golden Knight is known as the Tree Sentinel, the first field boss you will encounter in my progression route for Elden Ring. Whether or not you choose to challenge him right now as you are or later on when you obtain Torrent (your horse) is up to you, although the former is much harder!
Merchant Kale: Buy a Crafting Kit!
|Location||Limgrave: Church of Elleh|
|Role||General Goods Shop|
|Voiced By||Nabil Elouahabi|
There is much to explore in West Limgrave, and you should ideally flesh it out as much as you can at your own pace and time. However, there are a few essential explorations that you must not miss out on, so keep reading! Firstly, past the Tree Sentinel, you will come across the Church of Elleh, where you will meet your first Nomadic Merchant in my progression route for Elden Ring, Merchant Kale.
He does have some useful items to offer, but make sure to buy the Crafting Kit at all costs, as it will unlock Elden Ring’s new crafting mechanic; purchasing a torch and a telescope is a neat bonus!
A Couple More Essential Key Items
A couple of must-do things that you may miss out on in the first hour of your playthrough are obtaining Torrent, the Whetstone Knife, and the Spirit Calling Bell. Torrent will serve as your stead for the rest of the game and is obtained by triggering Melina’s cutscene by resting at any three of Limgrave’s Sites of Grace, usually The First Step, the Church of Elleh, and the Gatefront Ruins.
Speaking of the Gatefront Ruins, you will find West Limgrave’s map here and the Whetstone Knife, which will unlock the Ash of War mechanic for you whenever you rest at any Site of Grace. After obtaining Torrent, return to the Church of Elleh at night, where you will meet Ranni the Witch, who will give you the Spirit Calling Bell, an important item that will allow you to unlock Spirit Summoning of Ashes Summons, another important Elden Ring mechanic.
Stormveil Castle and the Deathtouched Catacombs
You will come across many optional dungeons in West Limgrave through pure exploration alone, and naturally, you are not required to beat each of them. However, there are two particular dungeons that I would highly recommend you explore inside out, Stormveil Castle, a legacy, story-related dungeon, and the Deathtouched Catacombs, an optional dungeon.
You can reach Stormveil Castle by venturing off into Stormgate at the outside perimeter of the Gatefront Ruins, where along the way, you will battle Margit, the Fell Omen, and Godrick, the Grafted. On the other hand, you can reach the Deathtouched Catacombs by making your way over to Saintsbridge towards the west of Stormhill – here, you should find the door to the catacombs in the vicinity, with a weeping spirit next to it.
Flask of Wondrous Physick: A Lifesaver
|Name||Flask of Wondrous Physick.|
|Effect||bestows various special effects|
If I were to rank the three sections of Limgrave in terms of exploration, the loot you find in it, and the enemies/bosses you encounter, East Limgrave will fall at the bottom. It is much smaller than the other sections of Limgrave, albeit it holds significant importance as far as progression itself is concerned. Other than that, you do find one very important item in this part of my Elden Ring Progression Route: the Flask of Wondrous Physick.
Make your way to the Third Church of Elleh, located just above the Minor Erdtree, as clearly visible from the map. Speaking of which, do grab the East Limgrave map first and foremost, but stealthily as the Mistwood forest it rests in is inhabited by terrifying Rune Bears and their offspring. In the area, you will also find a teleporter to the underground area known as Siofra River Well –unlock its grace and withdraw from the site.
Fort Haight: Dectus Medallion (Left)
While exploring the small section of East Limgrave, you will, at some point, start to hear a man calling out to you, identifying himself as Kenneth Haight. Upon climbing up to the little ruined building he stands on, Kenneth will task you with liberating his property: Fort Haight. Fort Haight is located in the east-most end of East Limgrave.
You should have no problem finding it if you follow the road down the Mistwood forest. The Fort itself is relatively small and is harbored by a handful of Godrick Soldiers, making the dungeon quite doable to clear. However, the vital item here that you must absolutely not miss out on is the Dectus Medallion (Left).
Tibia Mariner and the Erdtree Avatar
|Locations and Drops For Tibia Mariner|
|Summon Water Village||2,400 runes (NG)||600 Runes (NG, Co-op)|
|Other Drops||Deathroot||Skeletal Militiaman Ashes|
|Liurnia of the Lakes||4,700 (NG)||? (NG, Co-op Host)||1,175 (NG, Co-op Phantom)|
|Other Drops||Deathroot||Skeletal Bandit Ashes|
|Wyndham Ruins||14,000 runes (NG)||10,500 Runes (NG, Co-op Host)||3,500 Runes (NG, Co-op Phantom)|
|Other Drops||Deathroot||Tibia's Summons|
|Mountaintops of the Giants||4,234|
|Other Drops||Deathroot||Helphen’s Steeple|
Before wrapping up East Limgrave, I should inform you of two notable field bosses that are found in the region, which you will also encounter many times later in the game: Tibia Mariner and the Erdtree Avatar. Therefore, I would recommend properly challenging these bosses and taking the time to assimilate their movesets so that future battles with these field bosses don’t get needlessly dragged out.
|Locations and Drops For Erdtree Avatar|
|Minor Erdtree (Weeping Peninsula)||Runes 4,500 (NG)||Runes 3,600 (NG, Co-op Host)||Runes 930 (NG, Co-op Phantom)||Opaline Bubbletear||Crimsonburst Crystal Tear|
|Minor Erdtree (Liurnia Southwest)||5,800||Cerulean Crystal Tear||Ruptured Crystal Tear|
|Minor Erdtree (Liurnia Northeast)||5,800||Holy-Shrouding Cracked Tear||Lightning-Shrouding Cracked Tear||Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear|
|Leyndell, Royal Capital||10,062||Lord's Rune|
|Deeproot Depths||10,621||Staff of the Avatar|
|Minor Erdtree (Mountaintops East)||70,000 (NG)||52,500 (NG, Co-op Host)||17,500 (NG, Co-op Phantom)||Cerulean Crystal Tear||Crimson Bubbletear|
The Tibia Mariner boss is located in the Summonwater Village towards the northeastern end of Limgrave. You can easily reach the location by following along Saintsbridge until you reach a small lake decorated with ruined buildings – this is, or well, was Summonwater Village. On the other hand, the Erdtree Avatar is located at the Minor Erdtree in Mistwood, which is, as I said before, quite visible on the map. Now would be a good time to state that you should know what to expect anytime you see a Minor Erdtree icon on the map.
Impaler’s Catacombs: A Mini-Dungeon?
The Weeping Peninsula is essentially the southern half of Limgrave itself and can be accessed through only one route: the Bridge of Sacrifice. The Bridge of Sacrifice is a relatively challenging bridge to cross as, while only a handful of Godrick Soldiers are stationed there, a mortar is set up all the way in the rear. The mortar particularly makes the Bridge of Sacrifice quite exasperating. It can almost one-shot you from long range and is quite tedious to close the gap due to the handful of Godrick Soldiers hurling in the way.
Once you make it through the area and enter the Weeping Peninsula, look around for the door to the Impaler’s Catacombs. The Impaler’s Catacombs is a relatively small and easy dungeon, where you’ll be able to get your hands on some Gloveworts that serve as upgrade materials for enhancing your spirit summons!
Churches Everywhere: Upgrading Your Flasks!
The best part about the Weeping Peninsula is that you find three different Churches in the region, and you know what that means, right? Sacred Tears! In Elden Ring, you are almost bound to find Sacred Tears in Churches, and these are important upgrade materials that enhance the potency of your Flasks of both Crimson and Cerulean Tears. The first church you will find is the Callu Baptismal Church, which you can easily reach by trekking south of Ailing Village.
Then, the second church you will find is the Church of Pilgrimage, towards the north tip of the Weeping Peninsula – a bonus tip that you’ll probably understand later is that you find the location depicted in the Prophecy Painting here! Lastly, the final church you find here is the Fourth Church of Marika, near the west end of the region, close to the Weeping Evergaol and the Witchbane Ruins.
Castle Morne: Towards the South
The main reason why I consider the Weeping Peninsula to be the final part of Limgrave to explore on my progression route for Elden Ring is because of Castle Morne. Castle Morne is arguably the second biggest dungeon in Limgrave, albeit optional, next to the legacy dungeon that is Stormveil Castle. Despite being optional, I would definitely recommend not overlooking Castle Morne in your explorations. It houses a very rewarding boss fight, on top of being very rich in items to loot.
As far as its loot is concerned, you will find the Twinblade Talisman here, a neat addition that enhances the final hit of an attack combo; such a talisman complements a lot more weapons than just Twinblades. Other than that, melee-users will be very pleased to hear that the all-time favorite greatsword, the Claymore, is found in Castle Morne along with the Grafted Greatsword, which is the reward for beating the area’s boss, Leonine Misbegotten.
Liurnia of the Lakes
After completely fleshing out Limgrave, you are presented with two options – either head to the right of Limgrave into the scarlet rotten land of Caelid or north from Stormveil Castle into Liurnia of the Lakes. Difficulty-wise, and from my own experience of the game, heading into Liurnia of the Lakes must be the next step for you to take in my progression route for Elden Ring. Treading off into Caelid at this point is a huge leap in difficulty, so don’t even think about it yet!
Humble Beginnings: Get the Map!
The Liurnia of the Lakes continent is sectioned into three regions, a large swampy lake-like land in the middle, surrounded by two plateaus on its right and left. Upon entering the Liurnia of the Lakes, the first section of the region you will find yourself in will be known as East Liurnia, the right plateau. In order to get its map, however, you will only need to traverse the lake a little bit, and you should see a map monument in no time.
Do bear in mind that the monument, while not evident, will be guarded by hidden enemies waiting to ambush you, so watch out for that! Once you unlock the map, start exploring the new area, and you should almost immediately come across the Cliffbottom Catacombs – the perfect dungeon to kick your journey off on a new continent.
Carian Study Hall and Ainsel River Well: Not Yet!
As you traverse the lands of East Liurnia, you will come across several areas and mini-dungeons that you can complete there and then. However, one building that will most likely catch your attention will the Carian Study Hall, which will later lead you to the Divine Tower of Liurnia. While you can explore the tower and loot the items inside it, you will not be able to access the Divine Tower yet – so be sure to unlock its site of grace at least because you’ll be coming back to it later.
Trekking deeper into the plateau, you will spot a Golem guarding a small building – the building, similar to the building that housed the elevator to the Siofra River Well, will take you to Ainsel River Well. The Ainsel River Well will become more relevant later in the game, but you should take the time to explore it and even put up a fair fight against its area boss, Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella.
Raya Lucaria Crystal Tunnel: Smithing Stones for Days!
At this point in the game, you’ve probably realized that, similar to caves and catacombs, there are also tunnel-like mini-dungeons found across Elden Ring. Given that they are literally designed for mining Smithing Stones and Somber Smithing Stones, these are your primary source for upgrade materials. You should definitely not miss out on one such tunnel: Raya Lucaria Crystal embedded in the cliffside close to the Walking Mausoleum, just above the Church of Vows.
In the Raya Lucaria Crystal Tunnel, you will mainly find Smithing Stones (1), Smithing Stones (2), Smithing Stones (3), Somber Smithing Stones (1), Somber Smithing Stones (2), and Somber Smithing Stones (3). You will encounter Crystal Sorcerers apart from the usual Diggers and Marionette Soldiers as far as enemies are concerned. Lastly, towards the end of the tunnel, you will encounter the Crystalian (Ringblade) boss, who will drop the Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing (1). The Bell Bearing will allow you to purchase an infinite number of Smithing Stones (1) and Smithing Stones (2) from the Two Maiden Husks at Roundtable Hold, should you hand it over to her.
Village of the Albinaurics: Haligtree Secret Medallion (Right)
|Name||Haligtree Secret Medallion(Right)|
|Effect||Join medallions to operate the Grand Lift of Rold|
In order to reach the west section of Liurnia, you need to make your way to the far left from the Liurnia Lake Shore Site of the Grace, the very second checkpoint you will naturally unlock when you step foot into the vast continent. From here, ride up to the large plateau – as you won’t be able to scale the plateau, turn right into the swamp and hug the walls of the plateau until you reach an upward road.
Follow along the road, and you will arrive at the Village of the Albinaurics, a relatively small area that houses a field boss, the Omenkiller, and one of the most critical key items in the game. Rest at the Site of Grace ahead in the shack before heading up, towards the end of which you will see some pots. Hit all of them to reveal an older man named Albus. He will give you the Haligtree Secret Medallion (Right), essential for unlocking an optional area later in the game.
War Counsellor Iji
|Name||War Counsellor Iji|
|Location||Kingsrealm Ruins, Western Liurnia of the Lakes|
|Role||Blacksmith & Quest NPC|
|Voiced by||Aneirin Hughes|
Heading further up the Western side of Liurnia, you will encounter several different areas, such as the Four Belfries, a Minor Erdtree, the Cuckoo’s Evergaol, and the Road’s End Catacombs. Whether or not you choose to take the time to explore these areas, you will most likely hit a dead end later at the Kingsrealm Ruins, where you will also find West Liurnia’s Map.
However, you will be surprised to hear that there is an illusory wall here, and striking it will open the way to Caria Manor, one of the most annoying dungeons in my Elden Ring Progression Route. Additionally, once you open up the illusory wall, you will see a site of grace and a troll sitting on its right– the troll is War Counsellor Iji, the second Blacksmith you encounter in the game and an important NPC.
Caria Manor: Starting the Amazing Ranni Questline
Advance from Iji, and you will reach the Caria Manor; be wary of the magic projectiles that will rain down on you as you approach the manor, though! In Caria Manor, you will encounter Fingercreepers for the first time – they are literally hand-like monsters that come in both small and large sizes. The larger ones will be buried into the ground, waiting to ambush you as you walk on them, so be on the lookout for purple nails poking out of conspicuous places.
Progressing further into the Caria Manor will take you to the Royal Knight Loretta boss fight, a spectral shade of a boss you will encounter later in the game. Defeating Loretta will open access to the Three Sisters, where you will find three towers, the first of them being Ranni’s Rise, where you will encounter Ranni, the Witch, in her proper form. Exhaust her dialogue to begin her questline, a vast journey that will take you through multiple underground areas that you would otherwise never discover!
Traversing the Eerie Swamp
After having explored both West and East Liurnia, now is the time to head into the swamp towards the main legacy dungeon of Liurnia of the Lakes, Raya Lucaria Academy, the second legacy dungeon in my progression route for Elden Ring. However, suppose you do decide to trek straight towards the Academy. In that case, you will come across a magical blockade, and the only way you can get past the blockade is through the Raya Lucaria Academy Key, which you will obtain through exploring the swamp. But I don’t want to motivate your exploration of North Liurnia purely based on the Raya Lucaria Academy Key, for there are notable areas to explore in the region.
For starters, there are many Smithing and Somber Smithing Stones scattered across the land, so keep an eye out for those. Other than that, I would highly recommend exploring the Rose Church as you find the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook (12) here and many Bloodroses. More importantly, though, you’ll discover White-Faced Varre here as well, and you will be able to advance in his quest by speaking to him – he will give you a Festering Bloody Finger which will allow you to try out invasions in Elden Ring for the first time!
Raya Lucaria Academy: The Centre of Glintstone Sorcery
In order to gain access to Raya Lucaria Academy, you need the Raya Lucaria Academy Key, which is found towards the west of the Academy, but here’s the catch – Glintstone Dragon Smarag guards it. As his name implies, he is a little different from your regular Dragon, being able to breathe terrifying flames of glintstone, which deal much more damage. However, should you choose to do so, you can sneak up behind him, retrieve the key from the sorcerer’s corpse and exit the location. I would personally recommend taking on the Dragon as the arena is vast, and the battle is entirely winnable on horseback.
Regardless, once you’ve gotten your hands on the Raya Lucaria Academy Key, make your way to the Academy Gate Town, which Lucaria Soldiers, quite befitting, will patrol. Once you make it past them, you will arrive at the magical barrier standing between you and the Academy – this is where your key will slot in and grant you passage into the area. The legacy dungeon is quite challenging. You will never find so many sorcerers concentrated in one location for the rest of the game, and spells are generally annoying to deal with. However, it is worth it as defeating the dungeon’s main boss, Renalla, Queen of the Full Moon, will grant you access to the rebirth mechanic, allowing you to tweak your build at any point in the game. And so concludes your journey in Liurnia of the Lakes!
After clearing Liunaria of the Lakes, you are now officially ready to take on the scarlet rotten land of Caelid, one of the most gruesome and ugly (by design) continents in Elden Ring. Remember the lush green grounds of Limgrave or the crystal blue hues of Liurnia? Scrap all of that, for you’re about to enter a massive wasteland, invested with biomes that give you scarlet rot and some very grotesque enemies – the fun part about Caelid is that it has some very challenging and cool bosses, on top of essential loot. But generally, Caelid is quite a challenging area and you will feel the spike in difficulty at this part of my progression route for Elden Ring.
Caelid (Excluding Dragonbarrow)
Early Exploration: Smoldering Church, Fort Gael, and Much More!
Upon entering Caelid from Limgrave (the main road that runs through Summonwater Village), one of the first locations you’ll come across is the Smouldering Church, a ruined location that tells the tale of a flourishing church long ago. Here you’ll be invaded by Anastasia, Tarnished-Eater, for the first time, and defeating her will reward you with the Sacred Scorpian Charm. Nevertheless, do rest up at the Church’s Site of Grace, as it will serve as your first checkpoint in Caelid.
Moving ahead, there are tons of locations to explore in the region of Caelid, such as the Minor, scarlet-rotten Erdtree, Street of Sages Ruins, Sellia Crystal Tunnel, and Sellia Evergaol, to name a few. An area that I would highly recommend exploring is Fort Gael, located in southwest Caelid along the Limgrave border. Fort Gael is a relatively challenging area where you will also encounter Lion Guardians for the first time. However, the best part about Fort Gael is that you find the Lion’s Claw Ash of War here – I won’t spoil what it looks like, but I’m sure melee-users of all types would be pleasantly surprised!
Some Must-Fight Field Bosses
Caelid is where Elden Ring’s difficulty really starts ramping up – the transition from Limgrave to Liurnia was not very noticeable, but from Liurnia to Caelid can be genuinely felt. Therefore, I would highly recommend taking on as many bosses as possible in the continent so that you grow strong enough to progress into the Altus Plateau and Mt. Gelmir comfortably. If you fail to do so, the rest of my progression route for Elden Ring will prove to be difficult to keep up with.
You should definitely not miss out on three notable field bosses. The first is the Decaying Ekzykes, a scarlet-rot infected dragon who overseas the Caelid Highway in the south. The second is the Night’s Cavalry, a mini-boss who can only be found patrolling the Caelid Highway at night (thus Night’s Cavalry). Last but not least, the third is Commander O’Neil, a Great Enemy who can be encountered in the center of Aeonia Swamp.
Redmane Castle: Starscourge Radahn
|Drops||70,000||Remembrance of the Starscourge
Radahn's Great Rune
Redmane Castle is essentially the legacy dungeon of Caelid, housing the strongest of all demi-gods, Starscourge Radahn, now reduced to a senseless beast after his ancient fight with Melania, Blade of Miquella. When you arrive at Redmane Castle, you will see preparations being made for the so-called “Radahn Festival,” which is triggered through three main progressions: Ranni’s questline.
Regardless, take your time fully fleshing out Redmane Castle as it is patrolled by various kinds of enemies, including two Lion Guardians, and has good loot to offer in return. Eventually, you will reach the Redmane Castle Plaza, where you need to talk to Witch-Hunter Jerren to initiate the Radahn Festival. Upon doing so, you will be able to make your way inside the interior of the castle and take the elevator down to the teleporter that will take you to Starscourge Radahn – Good Luck!
Back to Siofra River Well: The Great Jar!
If you’ve explored much of Caelid, you must’ve, at some point, started to wonder how to reach the northern section of the region while peering down at the ravine leading into it. Additionally, if you analyzed the area below a little more, you should’ve also seen a little structure similar to where you find the Siofra River Well elevator back in Limgrave. If you haven’t realized it yet, then what I’m trying to say is that now is the time to head back to Siofra River Well, a little detour in my progression route for Elden Ring.
Don’t forget to bring a Stonesword key along with you, though – at the end of the area, you will find a teleporter gated behind an Imp statue. Once you unlock the elevator, it will take you up to the aforementioned structure! You can progress onwards towards the Great Jar at the top of the hill, who will challenge you to defeat his three knights in exchange for a great Talisman. The talisman is the Great Jar’s Arsenal, a talisman that massively increases your maximum equipment load by almost 20%!
Divine Tower of Caelid: Godskin Apostle
You may have noticed a slight protrusion in the northern section of Caelid, and even suspected a Divine Tower to be located there based on your experiences in past continents. Well, allow me to congratulate you, for you have hit the nail on the head! You are absolutely right, for the Divine Tower of Caelid is located here, and the tower is, of course, where you unlock the true power of Radahn’s Great Rune, which significantly increases your HP, FP, and Stamina.
FromSoftware, however, added a little twist to the divine tower, which kind of makes sense. As Caelid is an amalgamation of all kinds of misfortune and backwardness, it would be odd to see a Divine Tower with a fully functioning elevator. Therefore, you need to enter the tower from the top, where you can easily access the two fingers on the rooftop. However, you can also scale down the run-down place and find a boss, the Godskin Apostle.
Bestial Sanctum: Meeting Gurranq
Now, the last bit of Caelid’s unexplored map should be its northeastern section, the main meat of the Dragonbarrow region, which has some notable things to it. The first is the area’s Night Cavalry patrol that spawns below the bridge leading to the Bestial Sanctum during nightfall. This instance of the Night’s Cavalry is a very commonly sought field boss as you obtain the infamous Bloodhound Step Ash of War from him. You will also spot Fort Faroth nearby, so check it out to get the right half of the Dectus Medallion!
Regardless, after having slain him, you can now make your way towards the bridge leading to the Bestial Sanctum – the Farum Greatbridge. On the bridge, you will encounter Flying Dragon Greyll, who guards the passage for some reason. But before you choose to fight or ignore him, do ride past him to the other side of the bridge and rest at the Site of Grace. Now, all that stands between you and the Bestial Sanctum is a Black Bird Kindred, the first of many you will encounter in Elden Ring. You can choose to ignore him, but you will meet Gurranq, Beast Clergyman, once you enter the Bestial Sanctum.
You meet Ranni the Witch very early in Elden Ring when she bestows the Spirit Calling Bell upon you. At that point, little did you know that her questline would take you into areas you would’ve never even conceived of discovering. Thus, in that sense, I treat her questline a lot more story-related and less on the optional side – every Elden Ring must do Ranni’s quest unless they want to miss out on a bulk of well-crafted content. As such, to do her questline justice, and for the sake of unlocking what I believe to be Elden Ring’s best Ending, I have integrated it into my progression route for Elden Ring.
Nokron, Eternal City
After defeating Starscourge Radahn and unlocking the Site of Grace of the massive arena, you will need to talk to Blaidd, explaining that the defeating Radahn caused stars to fall out from the sky. These stars landed in the Limgrave, opening up the area known as Nokron, Eternal City – that’s where you need to go next. The closest Site of Grace to Nokron is the Fort Haight West Site of Grace, close to Fort Haight, so fast travel all the way over there.
Upon arriving at the Site of Grace, you will be presented with the site of destruction with debris levitating in the air; the stars falling created a huge crater that you need to go down into and explore. Here in Nokron, Eternal City, you will find the Fingerslaying Blade, the key item that will allow you to progress further into the questline.
Nosktella, Eternal City
Take the Dark Moon Ring back to Ranni to progress in her storyline. Doing so will open up Renna’s Rise, another tower in the Three Sisters that will house a teleporter to Nosktella, Eternal City. She will also give you the Carian Inverted Statue, which I will talk about later in my Elden Ring Progression Route. Regardless, take the teleporter to Nosktella, Eternal City, and collect the Miniature Ranni item before resting at the nearest Site of Grace to talk to it.
Talking to the Miniature Ranni will progress her questline as you will agree to do her bidding and slay the Baleful Shadow up ahead. The Baleful Shadow will be the main boss of Nosktella, Eternal City, so take your time to flesh out the area before taking on the Shadow. Defeating the Shadow will gain you the Discarded Palace Key, which can be used to open that locked chest you must’ve seen in Renalla’s room back in Raya Lucaria Academy. Here you will obtain the Dark Moon Ring, advancing in Ranni’s questline.
Lake of Rot
Now that you’ve gotten your hands on the Dark Moon Ring, it is time to slew the Baleful Shadow and progress ahead into the Lake of Rot. The Lake of Rot is exactly what it sounds like, a humongous lake filled with scarlet rot – and you have to traverse it to get to the other end. I would personally recommend stacking up on Preversing Boluses, consumable items that cure Scarlet Rot.
Regardless of how you choose to tackle the Lake of Rot level, it would be best if you essentially reached the other side of the liquid, to the temple-like area where you’ll be safe from Scarlet Rot. The temple is a relatively small area with a boss fight, so take little time to explore it until you reach a waterfall with a coffin at the end. Interact with the coffin to get inside, and it will take you to the climactic boss fight of Ranni’s questline: Astel, Naturalborn of the Void.
Cathedral of Manus Celes
Upon defeating Astel, Naturalborn of the Void, progress onwards, and you will find yourself on a plateau located in Liurnia of the Lakes. From a distance, you should also spot a ruined building, known as the Cathedral of Manus Celes – upon approaching the Cathedral, Glintstone Dragon Adula will appear to challenge you to a battle, standing between you and the finale of Ranni’s questline.
Once you defeat or get past the Dragon (there is no requirement to kill it, per se), make your way into the Cathedral and down the hole in its center. Here, you will find Ranni’s body in front of a replica of the Two-fingers, which it is said that Ranni killed with the Fingerslayer Blade you found. Regardless, interact with her one last time to conclude the questline and get your hands on the might Dark Moon Greatsword. Wasn’t the questline absolutely worth it?
After having finished Ranni’s questline, it’s time to get back on track! You’re now approaching what is known as the mid-game section of my Elden Ring progression route, where the game will start getting considerably harder, but you’re also probably decked out right now. You should have some kind of a build going for you right now, hoisted upright with a weapon of your choice and equipment of your choosing. The Altus Plateau is a relatively beautiful region and a breath of fresh air after the gruesome trek through Caelid.
Grand Lift of Dectus: Mid-game Begins!
By now, you should have both halves of the Dectus Medallion. You can now take these to the Grand Lift of Dectus, a huge elevator that will take you directly into the Altus Plateau. The Grand Life of Dectus is located in the far north of East Liurnia, where the Liurnia continent ends. Do bear in mind that the passage to the lift is heavily guarded, so do come prepared to take on an enemy or two.
Regardless, make your way to the lift and stand in its center to perform the “Hoist Medallion” interaction, which will trigger a cutscene showing the lift taking you to the Altus Plateau. Now that you’re here, you’ll be presented with two Guardian Golems standing in front of you, guarding the lift – that is already an indication of the difficulty of the area, no? But first things first, unlock the area’s first Site of Grace on the left, on top of a bit of rock.
Shaded Castle and Other Important Areas
There is much to explore in the Altus Plateau – it is a vast area that goes far and wide, connected to Leyndell, Royal Capital on the right, and Mt. Gelmir on the left. However, I won’t spoil much of what is to come in the area apart from highlighting a couple of dungeons you should definitely consider clearing. Fortunately, there are two tunnels in the region, the Altus Tunnel and the Old Altus Tunnel, that offer you precious upgrade materials that you need more than ever.
Other than that, you have the large optional dungeon of the Shaded Castle here in the Altus Plateau. It is a little tricky to get to, so I’ll be delving into that a little – essentially, from the Altus Plateau map, you can tell that the castle lies in a ravine. Of course, you can’t jump down into the ravine but must traverse it down a slope. Such a slope can be found near the Erdtree Grazing Hill Site of Grace near Lux Ruins. From here, you simply need to head north, following along the ravine until you reach Shaded Castle.
Draconic Tree Sentinel: More than Just a Makeover
|Name||Draconic Tree Sentinel|
|Location||Capital Outskirts:||50,000||Dragon Greatclaw||Dragonclaw Shield|
|Crumbling Farum Azula:||28,080||Malformed Dragon Set|
Once you’re done exploring much of the Altus Plateau region, it is time to unlock the passage into Leyndell, Royal Capital, before you head off west towards Mt. Gelmir. If you take the main road to the city, you will realize that it is blocked off by a large door, which you virtually can not open. Thus, you need to approach the city from the north, scaling along its large walls. On this little journey, though, you will encounter Ancient Dragon Lansseax, the first red lightning dragon you will see.
Killing the Dragon is not required as it will disappear at half health, so it’s best to just ignore him for now. Trek onwards, and you will approach the gates of the capital, although a Draconic Tree Sentinel will guard them. The Draconic Tree Sentinel is nothing like the Tree Sentinel you encounter back in Limgrave – the Draconic Tree Sentinel is a genuinely challenging boss with one-shot potential, so be careful!
Mt. Gelmir is a relatively small region whose size pales in comparison to the other continents you’ve explored thus far, so it shouldn’t take long to get over this part of my progression route for Elden Ring. Do note that Mt. Gelmir is completely optional, as progressing in the story only requires defeating two demi-gods. However, I would still highly recommend not overlooking Mt. Gelmir as it has really good armor in store for you as well as a unique boss fight at its very end.
Fort Laeidd and Gelmir Hero’s Grave
You should definitely watch for two key areas: Fort Laeidd and Gelmir Hero‘s Grave. Upon entering Mt. Gelmir from the Altus Plateau via the Bridge of Iniquity, you will be greeted by all kinds of enemies, mainly patrolling Abductor Virgins who will be attacking other creatures. Once you make it past the area, you can really start exploring Mt. Gelmir. You’ll find the Gelmir Hero’s Grave nearby towards the south, where you’ll get some excellent loot that I won’t spoil!
You’ll find Fort Laeidd in the opposite section of the region – For Laeidd is a rather large campsite patrolled by Fire Monks and Flame Chariots. If you traverse its outer perimeter, you’ll also encounter the Magma Wyrm as a field boss this time. But what’s more interesting is what’s inside the Fort, where you’ll encounter Prelate, a humanoid enemy who’ll drop the amazing Prelate Inferno’s Crozier; explore the Fort a little bit more, and you’ll find the Fire Scorpian Fire Charm too!
Volcano Manor: Rydark, Lord of Blasphemy
After having fleshed out Mt. Gelmir, it’s time you made your way to Volcano Manor, the legacy dungeon of the area. While the area’s demi-god boss does reside in Volcano Manor, holding your horses for a second for the covenant offered in Volcano Manor is pretty useful. Remember when I mentioned getting really good armor sets here? Well, if you talk to Lady Tanith and choose to align with the Volcano Manor, you will be tasked with bounty hunting Tarnished NPCs, who will drop their gear upon dying. Cool, isn’t it?
Once you’ve completed all of the bounties that Lady Tanith will task you with, she will offer to transport you directly to Rydark, Lord of Blasphemy. While you can take this route to fight the demi-god, I would highly recommend exploring Volcano Manor as a whole and reaching Rydark the natural way! As far as the boss fight itself is concerned, it is insanely cool, so I won’t spoil how it goes down!
Leyndell, Royal Capital
After clearing out Mt. Gelmir, it’s time to head back into the Altus Plateau, past the arena of the Draconic Tree Sentinel, and into Leyndell, Royal Capital. It is one of the most beautiful cities you will witness in my Elden Ring progression route, and FromSoftware even gives you a complete view of it when you enter it from the Capital Rampart – it really goes to show the love and care the developers put in into the detail. Besides that, as far as the level’s design is concerned, Leyndell is the biggest legacy dungeon out there, coming off as a labyrinth that you should really take the time to flesh out.
Subterranean Shunning-Grounds: Mogh’s First Encounter
In your exploration of Leyndell, you should definitely not miss out on its underground sewer, which is pretty much an entire area in itself – the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds. It is quite a challenging area with a maze-like design that can be tricky to navigate through. And what’s worse is that when you try to map out every inch of it, you realize that there are very few Sites of Grace in the area, so you need to perform a tactical retreat every once in a while.
However, the area is quite important as you encounter Mohg, the Omen, which, similar to Margit, the Fell Omen, is a precursor to a greater demi-god – Mohg, Lord of Blood. You will be fighting him real soon in my Elden Ring Progression Route, so it’s best to take the opportunity and learn as many of his attack patterns as you can.
Godfrey and Morgott: Back to Back Bosses
I should probably give you a fair warning, but given the scale of the legacy dungeon, you would probably expect there to be more than one legacy boss here. If you suspect something similar, let me congratulate you for being right. Yes, there are two back-to-back legacy boss fights in Leyndell that absolutely can not be avoided.
The first is Godfrey, First Elden Lord – but here’s the catch, it’s not Godfrey himself but his spectral shade, which is weaker than his actual self. So, similar to Mohg, you would want to take your chances and try to assimilate his attack pattern as much as possible before facing the real deal in the endgame. However, the other boss is the real deal as it is Margott, the Omen King, the true form of Margit, the Fell Omen. Need I say more?
Mountaintops of the Giants
After beating Morgott, the base of the Erdtree will stand before you. However, as Morgott’s final words go, it will ward off anyone who dares to approach. In other words, the entrance to the Erdtree is closely shut, denying you any sort of entry. If you now rest at the arena’s Site of Grace, Melina will appear and tell you to undertake a new journey, this time to the Mountaintops of the Giants to burn the Erdtree. Burning the Erdtree is the only way to pry it open and confront the Elden Ring inside. From now onwards, my Elden Ring progression route will become quite standard as there isn’t much left to do.
On your exploration of Leyndell, Royal Capital, you must’ve found an area that Morgott sealed off – well, after defeating Morgott, the seal is lifted and what is beyond it becomes accessible. Here, you can do two things – either you can go right into the Divine Tower of East Altus. Do bear in mind that you will encounter a unique boss fight on your trek to the Divine Tower that I won’t spoil. Other than that, the Divine Tower of East Altus is the only divine tower where you activate both the Great Runes of Morgott, the Omen King, and Mohg, Lord of Blood – pretty logical considering they’re both brothers by blood.
Regardless, what’s more, important is to take the lift up to the Forbidden Lands. The Forbidden Lands is a relatively small area precursory to the Mountaintops of the Giants, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely harmless as it is infested with cunning Vulgar Militia enemies. Towards the end of the area, you will approach the Grand Lift of Rold, which will recognize the Dectus Medallion and take you up to the Mountaintops of the Giants. Oh, the lift is guarded by a Black Bird Kindred, so good luck with that.
Castle Sol: Haligtree Secret Medallion (Right)
|Name||Haligtree Secret Medallion(Right)|
|Effect||Join medallions to operate the Grand Lift of Rold.|
There is much to explore in the Mountaintops of the Giants and many bosses to encounter. You have the Giants’ Mountaintop Catacombs on one side and the Minor Erdtree on the other – you have the First Church of Marika on one side and the Stargazer’s Ruins on the other. Additionally, as far as bosses are concerned, you should definitely not sleep on the Borealis, the Freezing Fog field boss in the east, and the Roundtable Knight Vyke in the Lord Contender’s Evergaol.
Moving onto the main dungeon of the region, you’ll find Castle Sol, located in the northernmost part of the mountaintops. Castle Sol is an important area to explore as you will not only encounter Command Niall here, who will drop one of the tankiest armors in the game but also find the Haligtree Secret Medallion (Right), completing the Halgitree Secret Medallion.
Fire Giant: Setting the Erdtree Ablaze
|Location||Flame Peak||180,000||Remembrance of the Fire Giant|
After having fleshed out the upper section of the mountaintops, it’s time to face the area’s legacy boss, the Fire Giant, in the lower remaining part of the region. The closest landmark to his location is the Church of Repose and its Site of Grace – outside the church is where you get invaded by Bloody Finger Okina, who drops the infamous Rivers of Blood. But I digress. Up ahead is a long bridge known as the Foot of Forge, which will lead you to the Fire Giant.
The Fire Giant is the biggest boss in Elden Ring, who has his own proportionally humungous arena. The boss fight is challenging, and the only tip I’d give without spoiling it too much is to avoid using Torrent to dodge his attack, for your maneuverability is very limited. When you defeat the Fire Giant, up ahead will be the Forge of the Giants, where you will set the Erdtree aflame – hold off on doing it right now, for we have one last area to explore.
Before delving into the endgame of Elden Ring and setting the Erdtree aflame, thus triggering an irreversible sequence of events, now is the time to take on the two optional demi-god bosses of Elden Ring: Malenia, Blade of Miquella, and Mohg, Lord of Blood. In order to do so, you will need to reach the Consecreated Snowfields, which can be found by hoisting the Haligtree Secret Medallion at the Grand Lift of Rold (choosing the “Hoist Secret Medallion” interaction).
You get to warp to Miquella’s Haligtree from a teleporter found in the Consecrated Snowfield, specifically in the northmost part of the region in Ordina, Liturgical Town. However, you will first need to solve a puzzle to unlock the teleporter, which begins by traversing the Evergaol located in the center of the town. The puzzle essentially involves lighting up four different candles scattered across the town’s rooftops.
The challenge, however, is dealing with the invisible enemies that will ruthlessly hunt you down, which is why I would recommend buying a Sentry’s Torch from the Hermit Merchant’s Shack in the Altus Plateau. Once you’ve completed the puzzle, you will be teleported back into the town, presented with a large staircase in front of you. The staircase will lead you to the teleporter that will warp you to Miquella’s Haligtree. I won’t spoil much of this area, but just know that Melania is undisputedly the hardest boss you will encounter in my Elden Ring progression route.
The other area that you can access from the Consecrated Snowfield is the Mohgwyn Palace. Similar to Miquella’s Haligtree, you’ll come across a teleporter that will warp you to Mohgwyn Palace. However, other than that, you may have heard that there is another way to reach Mohgwyn Palace, which involves progressing through White Face Varre’s questline, the NPC you find at the start of the game who roasts you for being “maidenless.” While that is true, reaching the area at a point earlier than right now will prove to be excruciatingly difficult – and players normally only take that route to farm runes instead of beating Mohg.
So fret not, for now, is the best time to take him on in my Elden Ring Progression Route. Back on topic, in order to find the teleporter that warps you to Mohgwyn Palace, you will need to trek towards the western cliffside of the Consecrated Snowfield. Here, you will be invaded by the Sanguine Noble, who you are required to defeat to unlock the teleporter. An easy way to take him out is simply to lure him to the cliffside and jump off – doing so will cause him to jump off with you and die, except that he won’t get to respawn while you will!
Crumbling Farum Azula:
After having covered every major slice of content that Elden Ring has to offer, it is time to make your way back to the Forge of the Giants, one of the most magnificent locations in the Lands Between. Resting at the area’s Site of Grace will trigger a cutscene with Melina, who will come forth to sacrifice herself, absorbing the flames of the Forge and using it to set the gigantic Erdtree ablaze literally – an awe-inspiring sight, I would say. Your player will pass out towards the end of the cutscene and then awaken in the Crumbling Farum Azula; the endgame of my Elden Ring progression route has begun!
The Crumbling Farum Azula is a terrifying place because of the enemies that lurk in its lands and the three main bosses that you encounter here – two of them are mandatory. The first is the Godskin Duo, where you will be put into an arena with the Godskin Noble and the Godskin Apostle. You are essentially required to keep hitting/killing them until the larger boss health bar below depletes, so don’t celebrate too early once you take down one of them. Don’t forget to unlock the Dragon Temple Transept Site of Grace, as it is the nearest checkpoint to the boss.
Maliketh, the Black Blade
|Destined Death||FP 40|
|Wgt. 22||Passive -|
The other mandatory boss you are required to fight to proceed in the story is Maliketh, the Black Blade, who you will initially find to be none other than Gurranq himself. Gurranq is special because he was the Shadow of Marika, who bestowed upon him a fragment of the rune of death, known as Destined Death. It becomes all the more apparent when you get to his second phase, where he fuses with Destined Death to unleash his final form as Maliketh, the Black Blade. Do note that there will be a Draconic Tree Sentinel guarding the boss room, so it’s best to take him out before making multiple trips to the boss room.
|Location||Crumbling Farum Azula||210,000||Remembrance of the Dragonlord|
The final boss that you can encounter in the Farum Crumbling Azula is an optional one, the Dragonlord Placidusax, considered to be one of the cinematic experiences in Elden Ring. I highly emphasize how optional Dragonlord Placidusax is, as it is quite difficult, classified as a Legend instead of a Great Enemy that you would normally expect. In order to get to him, warp to the Beside the Great Bridge Site of Grace, from where you will go through the church behind you. Upon exiting the building, head straight towards the trees and fall off on the platforms below. Here, you need to look for a platform with no bones on it, where you need to initiate the “Lay Down” emote to get transported to the boss room. Good luck!
Leyndell, Ashen Capital:
Upon defeating Maliketh, the Black Blade, you will again be transported back to Leyndell, although it will be the Ashen Capital instead of the Royal Capital. You are now approaching the end of my progression route for Elden Ring. The destruction of Leyndell does make sense as, upon burning the Erdtree, one should expect Leyndell, a city built literally around its base, to be the first to be affected by its destruction. Here, you will encounter the final two bosses of the game as you make your way back to the base of the Erdtree, right behind Morgott’s arena. On the way, however, you will encounter Sir Gideon, an ally, who will oppose you from becoming Elden Ring – he is an easy boss, though.
Godfrey, First Elden Lord:
Once you have made your way back to Morgott’s arena, a man will be standing there. Unlike last time, it won’t be Morgott, but someone even more important – Godfrey, First Elden Lord. Before allowing you to challenge the Elden Ring, he will fight you so as to test your mettle and whether or not you are worthy of taking his title as Elden Lord. The boss fight itself is very intense, where once you’ve chipped away at two-thirds of his health, he relinquishes his status and fights in his true, Tarnished form as Hoarah Loux, Warrior. He has to be one of the coolest bosses in Elden Ring, so I won’t go into the details.
The Finale: Radagon and the Elden Beast
After having slain Hoarah Loux and earned his recognition as Elden Lord, it is finally time to confront the Elden Ring. Upon approaching the Erdtree’s base and the previously shut opening, you experience a flash before arriving at the Stone Platform. The Stone Platform is where the finale will take place: you will first have to fight Radagon of the Golden Order, a challenging humanoid boss in itself. Once you beat him, though, you will awaken the Elden Beast, who will transport you into its domain and challenge you to one last magnificent battle. If you haven’t realized, it is a two-stage fight, and you must beat Radagon and the Elden Beast in one go in order to beat the game, and conclude my Elden Ring progression route.
Frequently Asked Questions
Other than Ranni’s questline, I would personally recommend completing Yura’s questline, Roderika’s questline, Patches’ questline, and Fia’s questline. Among the four questlines, Fia’s is most thrilling as it takes you to a new location, the Deeprooth Depths, where not only do you learn more about the game’s lore but also fight Lichdragon Fortissax, a Legend type boss.
The Carian Inverted Statue is a key item you obtain in the middle of Ranni’s quest. This allows you to unlock the Divine Tower of Liurnia by literally inverting the Carian Study Hall. The inversion changes the area completely, and progressing through it will eventually take you to the Divine Tower. Do note that you will encounter the Godskin Noble along the way, so be prepared!
There are five other endings in Elden Ring, apart from the default one (the Age of Fracture). The other endings are the Age of Order, the Age of Duskborn, the Blessing of Despair, the Lord of the Frenzied Flame, and the Stars’ Age. The Age of the Stars, which is the ending you can choose after completing Ranni’s questline, is my favorite ending – thus why I included it in my Elden Ring Progression Route!
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