Using guides is "a perfectly valid playstyle" according to Elden Ring's top boss, Hidetaka Miyazaki

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

What you need to know

  • Elden Ring is a Soulslike, or sub-genre of action RPG, that challenges the player through fair, but daunting difficulty in a vast open-world.
  • FromSoftware, creators of Elden Ring, Dark Souls, and more, believe using guides is okay. 
  • Hidetaka Miyazaki even thinks that if a player needs to use a guide, there's room for improvement from their team to fix that.
  • Elden Ring's first expansion, Shadow of the Erdtree, launches on June 21.

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Two years ago, Elden Ring took the world by storm. A form of action RPG filled with difficulty, Elden Ring is a game that forces the player to face overwhelming difficulty to attain victory. The feeling attained from this becomes a moment of pride that you and other community members share. There's a reason it's all anyone would talk about for months on Twitter.

If you're the type of gamer that needs to have the most optimal build or find all the items, games made by FromSoftware will generally require guides unless you're looking to do a lot of testing and soul-searching yourself. Having been someone who did the region trick back in the day on Xbox for Dark Souls 3, so I could play it two weeks early through the Japanese version, I know what playing without a guide feels like. Quite honestly, it's one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in gaming. 

Doing the same through most of the game on Steam with a coop partner felt even better. The constant back and forth between two dudes trying to wrap their heads around what to do next while sharing the commonality of "Holy shit, this map is huge" three of four times is another peak. That doesn't mean things can't be frustrating.

To many, the use of any guide on the inaugural playthrough is scorned. In another one of those "git gud" mantras that the Souls community bears as a badge of honor, it's always recommended that your first venture be one of solitude. You are your own guidebook.

Players use guides and Miyazaki doesn't care

I might have Googled how to beat these dogs more consistently. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The leader of turmoil, or as the world knows him, the president of FromSoftware, Hidetaka Miyazaki, wants you to know he sees you using those guides. In an interview with PC Gamer, he said, "Of course players are going to consult guides, and there's going to be a wealth of information on the web and in their communities where they have access to the secrets and the strategies. We expect that."

We've all been there, searching for something we were missing. On my second playthrough of Elden Ring, when I decided to go for all the achievements, I ended up using a guide to cover all the Talismans. I have the mind of a squirrel when I play, jumping from area to area on whims because I see something shiny in the distance.

Of course players are going to consult guides. We expect that.

Hidetaka Miyazaki
Elden Ring prep guides

Using a guide is the only way to keep my brain straight. It makes a player wonder if FromSoftware is purposely confuscating things in an effort to battle against the guide crowd. However, it's actually the opposite Miyazaki is trying to accomplish.

"We obviously understand [players use guides], but we don't make or plan anything with that as a prerequisite. If anything, we try to cater to the player who is completely blind and wants to go through organically."

I read a lot of comments, especially from players who are new to the Souls franchise, that the game can be confusing at times. Personally, I see this as a good thing, and many reviewers for Elden Ring agreed. It's FromSoftware's unique hands-off approach that pushes the player to explore and read between the lines of dialogue to find the answers they seek. 

Miyazaki wants you to succeed

Even some "automated" spells can turn the tide (Image credit: Windows Central)

Nothing is spoon-fed, but everything is generally achievable. FromSoftware is conscious of the line they walk with the player. If the player fails, they feel it's their studio's burden to right the wrong.

"If they can't do it, then there's some room for improvement on our behalf, and we'd like to try to embrace those players more in the future."

That's not to say we should expect some mini-map quest icons to start popping up anytime soon. Still, it does mean they're continually working on the player experience, so it's not too convoluted. As they double down on this promise.

If they can't do it, then there's some room for improvement on our behalf

Hidetaka Miyazaki

"We don't necessarily cater to players who are reading guides as they go. Of course, it's a perfectly valid playstyle, and we respect those players who like to approach it with a guide in hand. We just want to let you know it's not our prerequisite, designing the game in their favor."

Looking forward to chopping that sucka down. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

You hear that? It's a perfectly valid playstyle, purists! They even go as far as to say they respect those players! So maybe let's lay off players who might need one? Have no shame if you ever find yourself stuck, for even the leader of the Soulsborne series says so.

If you can make it to the DLC location, the head boss believes in you. They "have faith that [you] will be able to continue, find [those] secrets, and overcome [those] challenges." Some form of Rob Schneider can be heard in the back of my head, "You can do it!"

The Shadow of the Erdtree expansion launches on June 21. Make sure to come back and check out our coverage as we do a deep dive into the DLC with a review and plenty of Elden Ring guides that Miyazaki said were okay to use!

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Standard Edition

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Standard Edition

Miquella's mysteries continue as Tarnished players head to the Land of Shadow, a mysterious realm filled with new monsters and powerful magic. This expansion is launching over two years after the release of the original game, and from our time hands-on, it looks amazing.

Buy for Xbox at: Best Buy | CDKeys | Xbox
Buy for PC at:
CDKeys (Steam) | GreenManGaming (Steam)

Michael Hoglund

Michael has been gaming since he was five when his mother first bought a Super Nintendo from Blockbuster. Having written for a now-defunct website in the past, he's joined Windows Central as a contributor to spreading his 30+ years of love for gaming with everyone he can. His favorites include Red Dead Redemption, all the way to the controversial Dark Souls 2.