Elden Ring vs. Dark Souls: what's the same and what's just been renamed since Souls

Elden Ring - a knight character draws a sword in front of a stone castle.
(Image credit: FromSoftware)
Survive the Lands Between with these Elden Ring guides

Elden Ring storyteller

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring guide: Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses: How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons: How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings: Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments: Reveal the world

Now that we've taken our first stroll through Elden Ring's open world, it's pretty clear that Dark Souls fans will find much of it familiar. FromSoftware may have ripped the Souls label off their newest game, but they've also gone and sharpied 'Elden Ring' on some tape and slapped it over the top of lots of items, stats, and abilities that we already know. We won't blame you if you carry on calling experience points "souls," but you might want to know that they're officially "runes" now, just in case.

Before you travel off into the Lands Between, skim this handy phrase book so you don't get tongue-tied talking to the locals when you need to ask directions to the nearest bonfire Site of Lost Grace. You're sure to settle into the big new open world quicker once you remember that Estus Flasks are now Crimson Tears and Soapstones are now Fingers, and so on. 

Beyond that, you'll want to know how some of the core Souls systems like stamina and fast travel have changed. Spoiler: they're both a lot more permissive now. We've also rounded up a quick reminder on the new concepts you'll encounter such as stealth and map fragments. Here's all of the Elden Ring vs. Dark Souls terms you'll want to remember.

The basics 

Tarnished - This is you. No longer Hollowed or Ashen or Bearer of the Curse. You're the Tarnished this time.

Runes - The currency used to level up and buy items that’s primarily obtained by defeating enemies. The same as souls in Dark Souls.

Sites of Lost Grace - These are the Elden Ring equivalent of bonfires. You'll activate them all over the world as fast-travel checkpoints and be able to spend your runes to level up while there. 

Elden Ring stats 

When it comes to Elden Ring's player stats, there are several you'll recognize. There are a few differences to watch out for before you just go slinging your souls runes into the same stats you normally do. You'll notice the Vitality stat is gone. Your maximum equipment load has now been folded into your Strength stat instead. Luck is gone too, but you'll find that its usual effects are now under the new Arcane stat. 

  • Vigor - Affects base health total.
  • Mind - Affects focus points (FP) for spellcasting.
  • Endurance - Affects base stamina total.
  • Strength - Controls your ability to wear and wield heavy equipment, raises maximum equipment load capacity, and increases damage dealt with strength-based weapons.
  • Dexterity - Controls ability to wield some weapons, increases damage dealt with dexterity-based weapons. Also reduces fall damage.
  • Intelligence - Controls your ability to cast sorceries and increases the power of intelligence-based sorceries.
  • Faith - Controls your ability to perform sacred incantations.
  • Arcane - This is where your Luck stat lives now. It controls the likelihood of looting items from dead enemies. It also affects death resistances and some magical abilities scale in power based on this stat.

Items and equipment 

Standard equipment

  • Flask of Crimson Tears - (Estus Flask) A potion that restores your health when used that can be replenished at Sites of Grace.
  • Flask of Cerulean Tears - (Ashen Estus Flask) A potion that restores your FP when used that can be replenished at Sites of Grace.
  • Spectral Steed Whistle - Used to summon and ride your spectral steed. Unique to Elden Ring.
  • Vision of Grace - (Darksign) Lose all runes, return to the last site of lost grace.
  • Telescope - (Binoculars) Lets you see faraway things.
  • Torch - (The same old Torch) A weapon and item used to illuminate dark places that can be held in your off-hand.

Multiplayer items

  • Bloody Finger - (Cracked Red Eye Orb) Attempts invasion of other player’s world.
  • Taunter’s Tongue - (Eye of Death) Lures in invaders.
  • Finger Severer - (Black Separation Crystal) Sends another, or oneself, home.
  • Duelist’s Furled Finger - (Red Sign Soapstone) Creates competitive multiplayer summon sign.
  • Tarnished’s Furled Finger - (White Sign Soapstone) Creates cooperative multiplayer summon sign.
  • Tarnished’s Wizened Finger - (Orange Guidance Soapstone) Used to write messages.
  • Blue Cipher Ring - Enables the wearer to answer calls for rescue, just like The Way of Blue covenant in Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 3.
  • White Cipher Ring - When invaded, request the aid of a hunter, the same as the Blade of the Darkmoon covenant in Dark Souls.

Consumable items 

  • Crafting Kit - Allows you to craft items in the main menu. Unique to Elden Ring.
  • Throwing Dagger - Thrown at enemies to inflict damage. 
  • Fire Grease - (Charcoal Pine Resin) Coats weapon, inflicting fire damage. 
  • Fire Pot - (Firebomb) Explodes, dealing fire damage. 
  • Firebone Arrow - The tip is set alight before firing. 
  • Poisonbone Arrow - Tip is daubed with venom. Afflicts targets with poison. 
  • Rainbow Stone - (Prism Stone) Shines with colored light when placed, serving as a guide. 
  • Pickled Turtle Neck - (Green Blossom) Boosts Stamina recovery for a short time. 
  • Staunching Boluses - (Bloodred Moss) Relieves impending hemorrhage.
  • Neutralizing Boluses - (Purple Moss) Cures poison ailment and relieves poison build-up.
  • Fireproof Dried Liver - (Small Orange Burr) Boosts fire damage negation for a short time.

What's changed in Elden Ring? 

Fast travel
Unlike in Souls games, you can fast travel to a Site of Lost Grace at any time as long as you aren't in combat. That means you won't need to run back to a Site you've already unlocked in order to fast travel.

Infinite* stamina
Unlike in Dark Souls, Elden Ring gives you infinite stamina when you aren't in combat. That means you can sprint into a fight without being out of breath when you arrive.

Less fall damage
Elden Ring is also much more permissive with its fall damage. You will still take damage when jumping from high places, but not nearly as much as in Dark Souls, and you can survive even greater distances with your spectral steed's double jump. FromSoftware seems to be encouraging players to take a vertical approach to the open world now that we can jump.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

New mechanics in Elden Ring 

Map and map fragments
Unlike Souls games, Elden Ring does have a map. You'll have to collect Map Fragments to uncover areas though, which are found around the world.

Guidance of Grace
These are the glowing gold threads that sometimes lead away from Sites of Lost Grace, guiding you towards points of interest if you want a tip.

Shrines of Marika
These are another waypoint system. You'll find them in difficult areas and will respawn at them if you die, though you can't rest there to recover health and flasks.

Ashes of War
These items apply Dark Souls 3-esque Weapon Arts to whatever weapon you equip them on, and are common rewards for completing mini dungeons or defeating tougher enemies. Critically, they can also change the properties of a weapon, changing it to scale on a different stat like Intelligence. No more grinding for twinkling titanite, it seems!

Guard counter
This is a new combat move for Elden Ring that's less risky than a parry but gives you the ability to attack unlike just blocking. A heavy attack right after blocking a hit will do tons of damage to an enemy's poise.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Power stances
Elden Ring brings back a feature from Dark Souls 2 that lets you equip two weapons of the same class and attack with both at the same time with a unique moveset. Unlike in Dark Souls 2, you don't need 1.5x the weapons' normal stat requirements.

Flask of Wondrous Physick
That's right, Elden Ring has not one, nor just two types of flask. You also have a third consumable flask which has two slots for gems that let you customize its effects.

Stealth is new in Elden Ring, but relatively light. Crouching will make enemies less likely to notice you and help avoid fights.

Summoning ashes
The new spirit summons for Elden Ring are controlled by items called ashes that cost FP to cast.

Group passwords
As in Dark Souls 3, you can set a password to make it easier to summon a friend for multiplayer. Elden Ring adds a new group password system that seems like it'll support clans and dedicated PvP groups.

Time of day
The time of day naturally progresses as you play, but you can also choose to skip time ahead from Sites of Lost Grace. There are some enemies in the open world that only spawn at night or behave differently, even in the small opening area we've played.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).