Reminder: Interrogate Elden Ring NPCs until they break

Elden Ring character Blaidd close-up
(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)
Survive the Lands Between with these Elden Ring guides

Elden Ring storyteller

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring bosses: How to beat them
Elden Ring map fragmentsReveal the world
Elden Ring weapons: Arm yourself
Elden Ring armor: The best sets
Elden Ring Smithing Stone: Upgrade your gear
Elden Ring Ashes of War: Where to find them
Elden Ring classes: Which to choose

FromSoftware plays by its own rules. Though its games are primarily famous for their difficulty, FromSoftware's library requires a brain rewire to enjoy and understand. The developer lives by its own judgement of common sense and it can be tough to discern the laws of places like the Lands Between. It's not an easy process, as some 'rules' are less than intuitive, but once you understand FromSoft's desires and general disregard for what you think as normal design conventions, the games are excellent.

The developer has a certain way of doing things which may not be common practice or even necessarily good game design choices, but meld well into its grim world philosophy. A favourite f-you moment of mine in Dark Souls is when there are two chests in a stairwell. Approach one and you may realise it's a deadly mimic ready to kill you, so obviously the other chest in the room has to be real, right? Right? Wrong. It's FromSoftware. That means the other chest is going to be a mimic, too, even if in any other game it would reward you with treasure. 

FromSoftware's work is full of rules and thought processes like this. And there's one Elden Ring players without the experience of Dark Souls may not realise: you should be exhausting every NPC's dialogue. 

For some reason, FromSoftware's conversations are based on your character basically interrogating NPCs. Whereas in other RPGs, you may have a conversation where you choose a path or topic to discuss, Elden Ring just needs you to chat, over and over again to NPCs to get them to give you information, ideas, or even items in some cases. 

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that though you may think you've talked to an NPC, you may not have, not really. It's going to be a pain in your ass across the Lands Between, but you really are going to need to both talk to a character several times when you first meet them, and talk to them again in a few hours or story events later. 

I know, it may seem silly. It's unintuitive, but it's so important that I felt the need to point it out just to make sure you, dear reader, are aware. Just don't forget to talk to people a lot, even if they sound like they've had enough of you. In particular, make sure to visit places like the Roundtable Hold after you've taken out main bosses, and revisit Sites of Grace where you met NPCs (Varre at The First Step, for example). 

How to get the Bloody Finger in Elden Ring.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Talking heads

You may think a PSA like this is unnecessary. But I'm seeing a few conversations online here and there about people not realising it's worth their time to chat to people when they have the opportunity. We can forget that soulsbornes concepts may be completely foreign to new players. Quests can be lost or dropped, lore may be missed, and NPCs may get stuck wherever they are if you don't help them along. 

In other FromSoftware games, this can have cataclysmic effects. For example, I'm playing Bloodborne at the moment and if you only talk to an NPC once out of the three times you have the ability to meet her, she'll hunt you down later on in the game. Was it something I didn't say? 

elden ring spirit calling bell

(Image credit: From Software)

There is a conversation to be had about why FromSoftware designs its conversation like this. I think Elden Ring is more obvious in that it implies the Tarnished are responding somehow. In Dark Souls it's more akin to someone just continuing a monologue whereas Elden Ring makes it feel like your Tarnished is more receptive and responsive to the information you've been given. On the other hand, it may just be yet another element designed to screw you over if you're not careful. 

Elden Ring has already been out for a few weeks at this point, so I assume many people have already worked this out. When the game is about exploration, there are so many diligent explorers trying to uncover every secret studiously. But I just want to make sure you know to keep prodding and poking NPCs until they're stuck in their own dialogue loop. 

Imogen has been playing games for as long as she can remember but finally decided games were her passion when she got her hands on Portal 2. Ever since then she’s bounced between hero shooters, RPGs, and indies looking for her next fixation, searching for great puzzles or a sniper build to master. When she’s not working for PC Gamer, she’s entertaining her community live on Twitch, hosting an event like GDC, or in a field shooting her Olympic recurve bow.