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The Main Lesson Of Elden Ring Trust Your Players Are Not Stupid

I continue to wade my way through Elden Ring much later than everyone else and what Ive found is pretty much what everyone else has found. I dont have some massively contrarian take here that Actually Elden Ring Is Bad because I mean it isnt. Its incredible and easily one of the best games of the last few years and a likely shoein for GOTY 2022 barring some mindblowing showing by Starfield.

One of the main things Ive experienced in Elden Ring is that its open world is the polar opposite in so many ways from more or less every other game Ive played in this genre even ones Ive liked such as Skyrim way in the past or Genshin Impact most recently. Its probably the most like Breath of the Wild and yet ten times as big and as dense and as challenging.

The key lesson through all of this is that FromSoftware trusts its players. It trusts that its players are not stupid specifically. Elden Ring wants you to explore and discover its world on your own and if not on your own then through scraps of paper left by players around the world more or less written in code about what you should do or what you can expect.

Even in a game like Skyrim you end up with a long long list of quest markers and journal entries about X and Y objectives to complete. In more modern Ubisoftstyle games your map is littered with countless icons and you have multiple objectives plastered on your screen at all times.

Elden Ring FROM

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If you really want to hunt everything down you are probably not going to be able to do it on your own and you can consult the online guide industry which was made for such a situation. But generally speaking the experience of discovering things on your own is what makes Elden Ring special and the game allows this without giant glowing arrows pointing at everything you should see. If you miss stuff you miss stuff and thats what repeat playthrough and NG is for.

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Taking that open world philosophy and combining it with traditional Soulsborneish combat and difficulty makes this easily one of the best open world RPGs in history. Its a genre that is going to outlive us all but if it does so I think it would be best if more companies followed Froms lead here. Clearly in this case that has also translated into mass sales so thats going to make more ears perk up than usual even if weve known that Darks Souls games and Bloodborne have been beloved this whole time.

I also believe you have to build this in from the base to some extent. Turning up the difficult of Assassins Creed Valhalla to max and turning off map indicators in your options is not going to produce the same effect. It has to be mixed in with the batter from the beginning and you cant fake your way to this kind of wonderous world to explore. Ill have a lot more to say about Elden Ring as I continue my time with the game but easily this is the aspect thats stood out the most to me in this early period. Ive just really never seen anything quite like it.

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