One of the things I have learned to love about Elden Ring is the way it literally refuses to explain itself, about anything: The world is simply there, and you have to deal with it however you see fit. That ethos extends all the way to the tutorial, which exists but is easy to miss. That may not be a problem for veterans of the soulslike genre, but newcomers can really suffer for it.
Fortunately, that's no longer an issue. One of the changes made in today's big 1.04 patch is that a big honkin' message now pops up on the screen when players starting a new game approach the big hole in the ground where the tutorial exists.
"Jump down the hole ahead, and you will find the Cave of Knowledge," it says. "There, you can learn more about game controls and basic actions, as well as other tips that may be helpful during your adventures in the Lands Between."
The hole is impossible to miss, but the tutorial itself was not because prior to the update, there was no indication that there was anything down there but a hard fall and a quick death. The ledges required to jump down safely aren't hidden, but they aren't exactly festooned with neon signs either, and the big stairs leading up to huge double doors on the opposite side of the room only makes the whole thing easier to overlook.
You can still skip the tutorial if you'd like, but at least now it's virtually impossible to do so by accident—a reasonable concession from a game that is otherwise happy to let you die repeatedly until you either learn or give up. Speaking of which, here's a little tip from me: When you exit the opening catacomb and step into the Lands Between for the first time, don't miss the NPC standing just down the path a ways. He's got some interesting info to share too.
(And yes, I did miss him during my playthrough. Went out the door, hung a hard left, and eventually had to Google how to open the map. Didn't actually meet the guy until weeks later.)
For even more detailed information on what you're doing and how to do it, be sure to check out our guides on how to survive the Lands Between, covering everything from character creation and beginners' tips to combat, collectibles, quests, and even what a Jar-Bairn is.