Like so many From Software games to come before it, Elden Ring is tough. However, unlike these games, Elden Ring is also open-world and mind-numbingly large, making all of its mysteries and madness even harder to keep track of. Though Elden Ring might offer players a generous amount of icons to scatter about their map and some very helpful sites might be hard at work creating some very helpful guides to get you through the game’s toughest bits, I’d argue the best companion to help you on your journey from “tarnished” to triumphant is actually something a bit more personal: a journal.
More so than any other form of record-keeping, journaling allows us to perfectly preserve our experience–which matters quite a bit when exploring a world that’s so uniquely alive and non-linear it almost feels custom-tailored. Journaling gives us a space to not only keep track of where certain NPCs are located, what tasks we have yet to accomplish, and where that boss is that left us battered and bruised is lurking, but also to note our personal observations–observations that could very well come in handy down the line. Beyond that, journaling also provides us with our own unique history of how we spent our time and, more importantly, how it made us feel that we can remember years later. It is irreplicable and completely subjective data, whether that “data” be a tally count of times you perished fighting Margit or quick remark on how the Erdtree Burial Watchdog is absolutely a cat.
Another optional but compelling reason to keep a journal? To share it with folks on the internet, of course. While no one will ever perfectly replicate your journey across the Lands Between, just about every other player you talk to will be able to relate to your experience. All it takes is a quick scroll through Twitter or Reddit to find thousands of people who also struggled besting a certain beast, or are harboring a very confusing crush on Blaidd. From Software games have always felt a bit like a communal experience–relying on cooperation and communication to unearth secrets and surmount the insurmountable. The idea then, of sharing your ideas and experiences in their most raw form, seems like a perfect way to contribute to this effort and perhaps even show off your penchant for penmanship and illustration.
Below are some examples of folks who are keeping a journal as they play through From Software’s latest adventure, and each one is incredibly impressive:
When I’ve learnt that it was recommended to have a notebook while playing Elden Ring, I immediately thought “journaling pages” but that must be a bit overdrive (especially when almost nothing important had been written here 😅) pic.twitter.com/Ox0LBY7qVk
— Plumy (@Little_Yokai) February 28, 2022
Here’s your goddamn Elden ring journal (my handwriting is usually better but this is a huge graphite holder so it’s a little like writing with a crayon lol) pic.twitter.com/87kqwsPGxX
— Arthur Gies (he/him) (@aegies) February 26, 2022
While it is in no way conducive to making fast progress in the game, I had a very lovely time yesterday playing Elden Ring and keeping a journal of my adventures.
What a game! pic.twitter.com/6PegfkTXYP
— Ste Pickford (@stepickford) February 28, 2022
However, if you’re not quite the drawing type, please don’t let the above examples intimidate you! First and foremost, a journal should be a home for your thoughts, regardless of how neatly they might present themselves. It doesn’t matter if you best communicate your ideas through cute doodles, elaborate script, immaculate illustrations, or short ‘n scratchy handwriting–your observations are valuable and could likely come in handy. Here are more examples of folks using journals to chronicle their adventures, keep questlines straight, and attempt to make sense of Elden Ring’s macabre and mesmerizing world.
I’ve been using a journal to take notes and sketch the smaller maps I’ve found in game. I’ve been enjoying the light writing and it’s helped me solve some puzzles quite a few times already! (Also some good note practice for D&D) #ELDENRING pic.twitter.com/3camjTcbaZ
— BugleStudios (@BugleStudios) March 3, 2022
Hopefully by now you’re a bit inspired to pick up a pen and jot down the best spot you’ve found to grind runes or what the creepy remark that merchant murmured to you prior to browsing his wares was. And hey, if nothing else, journals make for a great place to vent your frustrations: