The Elden Ring map is a good stage for Soulslike titles, but needs more

The intertwined worlds of dark souls have become such a staple of the series that it has spread across the entire Soulslike genre. However, in the most recent title from FromSoftware Ring of Elden, the open field made its world too large to be fully explorable without a comprehensive map to help players find locations and weapons like the Jar Cannon.

This new map is a welcome addition to Ring of Elden, as the game takes a step towards an open-world title rather than following the contained design of older titles. That being said, this map’s minimal communication still leaves a lot to be desired compared to other open-world games that previously defined the genre.


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What the Elden Ring Map Shows Players

There are many things Ring of EldenThe map shows players, especially once they learn to interpret some of the marks that are scattered across the Lands Between. An example would be the various mines marked with red circles on the map, which indicate where players can get a large amount of Forge Stone upgrade materials, as well as the Bell Barriers that unlock these stones for sale. Players can also find where major roads will lead, and even undiscovered map locations in dark areas.

Along with the little things players can see on the map, this also becomes the menu where grace sites can be tracked and warped instantly. This makes it easier to explore new areas, especially since locations such as caves, ruins, and churches are marked on the map when discovered. Along with these conveniences, players have the ability to self-mark their cards, which helps them find Ring of Eldenand revisit difficult areas that may have been too difficult the first time around.

How Elden Ring players can edit their own map

The interactivity of the map in Ring of Elden acts much like games such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with separate markers that can be placed at the player’s discretion. Each marker has a different symbol, leaving it up to the player what they want each of these symbols to represent; from diamonds to skulls to treasure chests. With the ability to place up to a hundred of these markers, players are completely free to mark any notable locations and best loot that Ring of Elden has to offer, so they can come back on their own.

This acts as a double-edged sword of sorts, as it gives players an impressive amount of freedom, but also leaves them with the mapping of the most important locations. Completion Ring of Elden can take days, leaving a staggering amount of content for players to follow on their own. The result is that human error can become a huge factor when it comes to maintaining the map, without knowing in advance what is important and what is not or without forgetting what a marker specific could have meant.

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What’s Missing From The Elden Ring Open World Map

The map is missing a few major aspects, including dedicated markers for merchants and indicators to advance the various quests that can be picked up by NPCs. Not having quest markers is normal for FromSoftware titles, and some fans have already joked about what Ring of Elden developed by Ubisoft might look like. However, a lack of guidance can make it easy for you to miss dozens of questlines or lose track of important merchants as players progress.

That’s not to say the map should have a hundred question marks to designate each point of interest before exploring an area. What might work in several cases would be a set of markers already used in quest lines such as hunt requests in Ring of Elden‘s Volcano Manor. In this case, small red circles mark the different areas players need to go to in order to track down NPC fights that lead to one of the main boss fights near the end of the game.

Elden Ring needs a proper quest log

The biggest problem with the map is that for all it shows the player, there is a huge amount of content that it doesn’t reveal even after being activated. What Ring of EldenMissing Quests is a veritable quest log that players can revisit after hours of exploring to see what they’ve come across that they still need to complete. Interestingly, just like quest location flags for specific quest lines, Ring of Elden already has a way to track side quests with the key item and info tabs in the inventory menu.

For players who haven’t gone all the way through the inventory menu, the info tab is where notes purchased from merchants and treasure maps like Ring of Eldenpaintings and “map of meeting places” are organized. Additionally, key items like Great Runes and Shabriri Grapes will let the player know where to go to complete quests. So there’s already in-game precedent for how to run a proper quest log, but it’s only used half the time.

The lack of direction leading players to anything other than major bosses in Ring of Elden lends itself to a sense of freedom that Soulslike games know well. However, with this freedom comes the possibility of players missing out on massive amounts of hidden content across the world. It’s an odd choice given the effort to fill Ring of Elden with stuff, because you’d think FromSoftware should have a way to showcase all that content for players to follow more naturally on an interactive map.

Ring of Elden is now available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

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