Beat Burn Out and Rekindle Your Love for Elden Ring

I have a confession to make. I’ve never finished Elden Ring. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m bad at the game. I’ve logged over 100 hours and only just made it to Leyndell, Royal Capital. 

Then again, I’ve never finished Skyrim, either. But I have become the master of thieves guild no less than three times. I’ve contracted vampirism, become a werewolf, shaken hands with more Daedric princes than I can count, and I’ve mastered dozens of shouts. 

The truth is, finishing Skyrim is not the point. I don’t need to finish Skyrim. Skyrim has so much to do and so much to experience that finishing the game is missing the core of what the game is about. Skyrim is about building your characters’ new life within the titular province of Skyrim, where you can do anything you want. You get to choose what quests matter to you and leave the ones that don’t.

The same is true with Elden Ring. Even though I’ve never finished the game, I’ve done most of what I wanted to. I got the Dark Moon Greatsword, courted Ranni, held an honorable Radahn festival, ate the hearts of dragons, and fought more stunning bosses than I can count. 

Simply put, I don’t need to finish Elden Ring. And you don’t either. If you had fun and invested dozens or hundreds of hours and still haven’t reached the end, then you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

With the looming Shadow of the Erdtree DLC and the scramble to reach the area where the DLC begins, many people are hopping back in to get ready, myself included. So, in preparation, I’ve created this guide to help you get ready for the DLC. This is not a typical guide, but I hope it will help you get back into the game with a smile on your face.

The Erdtree in all it's splendor.

Step 1: Take it Slow

You don’t have to play the Elden Ring DLC on opening day! If you’re still stuck trying to beat Mogh, or stuck at the mid-game, or just starting out and trying to rush to play the DLC, my first piece of advice is to slow down. 

Rushing to get everything done before the DLC arrives could easily leave you burnt out. I’ve rushed to finish games in time for the sequel, only to find I’d lost interest and no longer had any desire to play the sequel. So take it slow. Even if you’re a month or a year behind everyone else, you’ll still be able to enjoy the DLC then at your own pace.

Soulslike games can be frustrating, even at the best of times. Getting caught in a loop of dying in the same place can be infuriating. Additionally, the pain of losing all your runes after several attempts to retrieve them safely can be rage-inducing. So, once again, my advice is to take it slow!

Since I’ve returned to Elden Ring, I’ve had some frustrating death loops. In fact, I lost so many runes during one loop that I thought I was going to quit again.

Taking breaks helps a lot in combating frustration. If you feel like you’re in a death spiral, where you die again and again in the same area, it might be time to take a break. Touch grass before you encounter the disaster of losing everything. It’s easier to overcome challenging areas when you’re not so stressed. Get some water, take a short walk, or talk with friends and family. It’ll help!

It’s not fun to die repeatedly. Swearing off a game for good out of frustration and anger is easy. So, taking breaks and taking things at a manageable pace may help you retain your fun for Elden Ring and keep going without burning out.

A sleeping character from the Elden Ring DLC trailer, potentially connected to St. Trina.

Step 2: Do What You Want

There is a lot to do in Elden Ring. The huge, open world and sheer amount of content can feel daunting. Online guides can compound this overwhelming feeling by presenting several hoops to jump through to do what you actually want to do. If you feel stressed by everything in Elden Ring and its DLC and like you’re pressured to do everything, figure out what you want to do and do it. Screw everything else. 

I’ll go first: I want to use the Sword of St. Trina’s to kill enemies in the DLC. That’s it. I don’t have grandiose goals of beating the final boss with the sword or even regular bosses with it. I just want to have fun and kill some enemies with it. I like the lore of Elden Ring, and the idea of using the Sword of St. Trina’s in a DLC that focuses on Miquella sounds like fun!

It’s okay to set small, concrete quests for yourself that are easy to meet and fun to do. If you are struggling with burnout in Elden Ring, setting small goals to maximize your fun is a great way to carry yourself through the story. 

Choose a weapon you like and pick an area to clear out with it! Put on the most garish, impractical combination of armor and twirl around in new locations! Choose a character you want to see and play until you meet them in the DLC! Your goals can be as grand or as minor as you want. Remember: do what is fun for you.

The goal of playing any game should be to have fun. If you’re not having fun doing what others or even the game indicates you should be doing, ignore them and do the thing that gives you joy.

The new Elden Ring bad guy from the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC: Mesmer.

Step 3: Don’t Worry About Finishing

As for what’s next when you complete your goal and do whatever fun thing that you’ve set out for yourself, there are generally two options. Either set a new goal for a new fun thing that’s caught your eye or call it there. 

In a game like Elden Ring, saying you’re done at any moment is fine. I’ve never beaten Alduin in Skyrim, and I might never beat the Elden Beast in Elden Ring, and that’s okay. What matters most when playing is that you’ve had fun. If you spend a couple of hours killing enemies with your favorite weapon and then call it quits for good with a smile on your face, then that’s all that matters.

Soulslike games can be incredibly competitive and more than a little elitist. There is a lot of effort to just simply “get gud” and get over frustration. But if you’ve found the thing that lets you have the most fun, and you’ve done it as much as you want, and you don’t find the grind of reaching the ending fun, then that’s okay! You don’t have to slog towards the ending if you’re not having fun!

The new Erdtree in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

Looming Shadow of the DLC

The Shadow of the Erdtree DLC promises to be a massive expansion to Elden Ring. There will be more to do, more enemies and bosses to fight, and more weapons to collect. 

This guide is your reminder to have fun! It can be easy to get overwhelmed, exhausted, and burnt out, even playing something you like. Don’t let the pressure of beating the DLC or rushing to reach the DLC break your spirit. I wish all of my Tarnished an exciting pilgrimage to the Lands of Shadow!

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