Elden Ring guide (opens in new tab): Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses (opens in new tab): How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons (opens in new tab): How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings (opens in new tab): Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments (opens in new tab): Reveal the world
As a veteran Souls-liker, I've just internalized the series' more baffling quirks. It can be easy to forget how truly weird and surprising some basic elements of these games are. One feature that can be a sticking point for some first-time players is the messaging system.
Players can choose from a selection of templates and words to create little notes that show up on the ground in other gamers' worlds. The original intent seems to have been fostering cooperation, an in-game form of playground hint sharing and speculation. Messaging's real, time-honored function, however, is as a means to shitpost.
Over the years, players have uncovered countless ways to mislead, misdirect, and crack wise with FromSoft's limited templates. My favorite has always been the messages of encouragement people left for environmental storytelling skeletons in Dark Souls 2: "Don't give up, skeleton!" and variations thereof proliferated throughout Drangleic.
For the uninitiated who are still jumping off cliffs and slashing walls at the behest of strangers in Elden Ring, I've compiled some of the most common spoofs, goofs, and genuinely helpful messages I've seen.
You almost never want to try jumping. If you see a message like this before a precipitous drop, it's gonna be a joke at your expense. You're going to fall to your death and somebody out there is gonna be laughing at you, figuratively speaking.
One helpful clue that you're not at one of the rare locations where there is something hidden below a ledge is a massive pile of bloodstains nearby (that means players have died here recently). The message has timed out in the following screenshot, but you can see the bloodstains left by a host of credulous fools.
"Beware of chest" or "Liar ahead"
The Souls series has a proud tradition of mimics: monsters masquerading as treasure chests who often have the ability to one hit kill you if you try to open them unawares. A single weapon strike will typically reveal a mimic and let you fight it like a normal enemy. I haven't encountered any yet in Elden Ring, but keep an eye out for messages and bloodstains before chests.
"Hidden path ahead"
Much like inscrutable old NES RPGs, the Souls series has long featured secret paths disguised as normal sections of walls, able to be opened up with a swing of your weapon or a press of the action button. You just need to know where to look.
I'm still only a few hours into Elden Ring, but I've yet to find one secret door for all the messages pointing them out. It's been a tradition among players for years to place false notices of hidden paths before suspicious-looking, but ultimately normal sections of walls, but Elden Ring players have really kicked it into overdrive.
Thankfully, Elden Ring has fully done away with the weapon degradation of prior games. The only cost of checking a flagged wall is a small amount of time and maybe a bit of dignity. As time goes on, you'll probably develop more of a capacity for telling which hints pass the sniff test without checking.
"Be wary of strong foe"
I've always found you can trust warnings about difficult enemies. This one in particular clued me into an upcoming boss fight. Shout out to the guy right next to him who's just built different. "Weak foe ahead" indeed.
"Precious item ahead"
Most messages I've run into telling of treasure have also been true in my experience, but Elden Ring has introduced a cheeky new message pranking tactic.
Messages now glow white and slightly protrude off the ground, making them resemble items, especially while obscured or from a distance. So far I've just seen a few playful messages concealed behind crates—right where FromSoftware likes to hide items. I could see an enterprising jokester go the extra mile to fake an item behind traps, or in a roomful of dangerous enemies. In my book, this is absolutely a feature and not a bug.
"Try fingers but hole"
A crass misuse of the messaging system with a homophone used to communicate a sexually explicit message. This has no place in an uplifting, family-oriented experience like Elden Ring.