Elden Ring is finally here. Available now for Xbox consoles and Windows PC, Elden Ring is a masterpiece, and represents a staggering achievement for FromSoftware, with one of the most impressive open worlds in gaming history. The game is, however, extremely complex, with opaque systems that require exploration, trial and error, and research to fully understand. Our team has had over a week with the game to unpack some of these systems, though, and help guide you on your way to fulfilling your destiny as the new Elden Lord. Without a doubt, Elden Ring is one of the best games on Xbox and PC.
In this guide, I'll explain how you unlock those awesome spectral summon spells from the game's trailers, as well as unlock the system that lets you upgrade their power.
Elden Ring: What are Spirit Ash summons?
Spirit Ash summons are haunted apparitions that can be unlocked through various means. You can find them out in the world, as rewards for mini boss kills, or even as part of quests and the story. Spirit Ashes are essentially items that can be equipped in your pouch, accessible by holding Y and pressing on the D-pad using an Xbox controller. You can assign the different Ash Summons to your pouch via the menu, accessible by pressing the Start button on an Xbox controller.
Spirit Ash summons are available for use only in certain areas of the game. When you see a white glowing tombstone symbol on the left side of your screen, it means the remnants of an ancient battle are near, allowing you to summon your spirits from another world. Typically, the game lets you summon Spirit Ash creatures in scenes with many enemy mobs to help you direct their attacks elsewhere. This can create some truly epic battle sequences depending on which summons you use. Some let you spawn a single entity, such as the Spirit Jellyfish, which is a bit tanky and shoots poison clouds. Others let you summon a swarm of spirit wolves, which will encircle and harass enemies giving you time to take advantage of the situation.
Spirit Ash summons require FP (Focus Points) to summon. Depending on the strength of the spirit in question, you may need to spend more Focus Points to access them. The channel takes about two seconds to finish, so you should also summon your mobs before entering battle, where possible.
You do not get Spirit Ash summons immediately, though. They're unlocked through a couple of story interactions right after the initial tutorial phase of the game. Thankfully, it's relatively straightforward to grab them.
Elden Ring: Unlocking Spirit Ash summons
You get access to Spirit Ash summons very near the start of the game. After completing the initial tutorial area, you'll emerge into Limgrave, the game's starting zone. Head north slightly, and you'll find the Church of Elleh, and a site of grace, which will let you fast travel back there via the map screen.
Proceed farther north along the path, following the guidance of grace arrow on the map. That points to the next site of grace you must find, next to a small soldier outpost known as the Gatefront Ruins. You can avoid all the mobs by using stealth quite easily and skirting around the edge of the outpost, but there are some good items inside if you explore the area, including a chest in the cellar, and two chests on the back of large wagon-like trailers parked at the east and west sides of the ruins.
On the west side of the ruin is the next site of grace we need. Here, you'll meet Melina. She'll give you the Torrent spectral steed, which is obviously important for traversal, but it also lets us unlock Spirit Ash Summons.
When you're done here, teleport back to the Church of Elleh and rest at the site of grace until midnight. A ghostly witch called Renna will have appeared in the Church now. Speak to her, and she will explain the Spirit Ash mechanics, and give you a Spirit Calling Bell.
The Spirit Calling Bell is a key item that lets you use Spirit Ashes. You don't need to equip the Spirit Calling Bell to use it. But, the Spirit Ashes need to be "used" as an item from your pouch. When you're in the vicinity of a "rebirth monument," you'll see a ghostly tombstone icon on the left of your screen. As long as you have enough FP, you will be able to summon forth any of your Spirit Ashes into battle, but only one at a time. They will fight until they are killed, or when you leave the area with the rebirth monument.
Much like everything in Elden Ring, these items can be upgraded to make them more powerful. In the next section, we'll go over how that is achieved.
Elden Ring: Unlocking Spirit Ash summon upgrades — Spirit Tuning
Like most features in Elden Ring, you need to unlock this feature through a story quest. However, this feature is probably quite easily missed if you're not looking for it.
As you proceed along the guidance of grace lines, eventually you'll move through the Gatefront Ruins through the Stormgate to the west. With your horse Torrent, you can sprint past all of the mean enemies and jump over their barricades up the path to Stormhill.
Along the road, you'll find a small house called the Stormhill Shack. Inside, you'll meet Roderika, a crestfallen warrior whose soldiers are missing. She asks you to head into Stormveil Castle to deliver a message to the Chrysalids. Stormveil Castle is essential to the progression of the story and is farther along the path from the Stormhill Shack.
Stormveil Castle can be quite tough if you're going there straight from the outset. For most players it might be advisable to explore Limgrave a bit more and level up your HP and FP before attempting to storm the castle itself.
Once you're ready and have defeated the first boss, you'll enter the castle proper, which is a considerable dungeon in its own right. Since there is no real map of the castle's interior, it's a bit tough to describe exactly where to deliver Roderika's message. As you proceed through the castle, you'll eventually come upon a very noteworthy room that looks like a dining area, with tables of food, and a large portrait of the first Elden Lord Godfrey on the back wall.
This room is also guarded by a miniboss you may be familiar with from the start of the game. He's covered in limbs, wielding several swords very angrily. He's tough to go toe-to-toe with, but you can defeat him by abusing the fact that he's too large to fit through the doorways, especially if you're equipped with ranged magic, bow weapons, or darts. You can, also, bypass him altogether using stealth. He patrols the length of the room relatively slowly, and keeps his back turned for a fairly long time.
In any case, one of the side rooms from here is where you'll need to deliver Roderika's message. I won't describe exactly what's inside the room because it's a spoiler, but be prepared to do battle with a couple of small mobs. This single room has an item (signified by a purple glow) that you'll be able to take back to Roderika.
Head back to the Stormhill Shack, and deliver the item to Roderika. This will resolve the quest, and she will head off to the Table of Lost Grace main hub. Inside the hub, talk to Roderika about the situation, and then talk to the blacksmith in the next room about Roderika. After a couple of back and forths, eventualy, the blacksmith will agree to teach Roderika how to perform spirit tuning. You may need to rest at a site of grace to proceed and trigger the next set of conversations.
Protip: Once you've finished setting up Roderika as your shiny spirit tuner, you can go back to that room in Stormveil castle and find Roderika's shawl, which gives you bonus HP.
After this, Roderika will take up her new role next to the blacksmith as your spirit tuner. This lets you spend Grave Glovewart items to upgrade any of your unlocked Spirit Ashes. Grave Glovewart is often found in tombs near Erdtrees and similar places. They rank from  and above, and to upgrade items further, you may need to travel to new areas in the game.
Elden Ring: Tips for using Spirit Ash Summons in battle
Spirit Ashes are a way to help solo players overcome battles that may be a little tough without co-op partners. There are various types of Spirit Ashes in the game, and we're still hunting them down across Elden Ring's sizeable world. In my playthrough so far, I've found sniper spirits, tank spirits, groups of allied mobs, among various others.
- Always remember to upgrade your spirits if you can. An upgraded spirit deals far more damage and can tank far more incoming hits if it's level-appropriate to the content.
- Analyze the best spirits for the situation. If you're fighting a boss on horseback, a ranged spirit might help, since you'll be able to bounce agro back and forth across a larger distance, for example.
- Try to summon your ashes before the battle starts. Spirit calling is a slow process, and can consume a lot of FP. Having your spirits out before the carnage begins is a far safer way to play.
- Explore the open world for more spirits. Bosses, events, and quests can all reward new spirits for battle.
- Tombs and catacombs are a great place to find Grave Glovewart for upgrading your spirits. These types of catacombs are often found near Erdtrees, as the Glovewart seems to grow as a result of Erdtree burial ceremonies.
Elden Ring: List of Spirit Ash summons
Here are some of the Spirit Ash summons we've found so far, and will add more as we discover them and their locations.
Level 1 ashes:
- Wandering Noblemen Ashes: Summons a group of angry nobles who attack at random.
- Noble Sorcerer Ashes: Summons a weakling sorcerer who shoots slow missiles.
- Skeletal Militiaman Ashes: Summons two angry skeletons with pikes who will stab at your foes. These mobs can actually respawn repeatedly, as long as their revival process isn't interrupted.
- Demi-Human Ashes: A small army of troll-like humanoids who will rampage on your behalf. At night, these boys seem to do extra damage.
- Long Wolf Ashes: Summons three spirit wolves that deal low damage, but swarm and dodge serving as a potent distraction.
- Spirit Jellyfish Ashes: Summons a floating jelly that will shoot enemies with weak poison. Interestingly, this summon may be inspired by the Pisaca monsters from Dark Souls, who "search for a distant home."
Level 2 ashes:
- Raya Lucaria Soldier Ashes: Summons three knights that are far more powerful than the earlier summons. They serve as a potent distraction.
- Latenna the Albinauric: Summons a sniper archer with a truly incredible range, who will shoot powerful homing projectiles on your behalf.
- Lhutel the Headless: Summons a headless tank knight that can defend well against incoming damage.
The successor to Dark Souls
Elden Ring ... oh, Elden Ring!
Elden Ring is FromSoftware's latest fantasy epic, featuring a focus on open-ended design in a universe created by both FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki and A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
Thanks for the in depth guide, can't wait to start playing myself.
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