Elden Ring is a game that is not in your face all the time when guiding you through the world. It isn’t constantly telling you what to do and where to find its content. In fact, one of the most exciting things about FromSoftware’s games is the fact they don’t care that you might not see everything they worked on.
This design philosophy is precisely what makes players feel in the Lands Between. They find areas where they are not supposed to be, secrets they have to unveil by paying attention to details, and explore the continent for new adventures and hidden items instead of being told where to look.
One of the most immersive things about FromSoftware’s soulsborne games is the fact many secrets are mentioned by NPCs and item descriptions. Those unclear messages are meant to incentivize the players to find the secrets on their own by exploring and talking to NPCs.
When it comes to Elden Ring, they follow the same formula. However, they also added specific items that contain information about side quests and hidden objects, the Notes.
I can’t tell you how many times I was utterly turned off by an NPC stating the obvious or talking way too much about something I could have learned in a more subtle way.
Exposition is something that is overused in most video games, and that’s precisely why I can appreciate FromSoftware’s take on storytelling.
So if you want to know what are notes in Elden Ring, where to find them, and how to use them, stick around.
Where to Find Notes in Elden Ring
Most players will come across Notes when they check what the merchant is selling at the Church of Elleh. In this case, you can buy an item called “Note: Waypoint Ruins” to know a bit more about the location mentioned on the note’s name.
There are quite a few notes available in the game, each with a different tip or thought-provoking information for you to find a new item, NPC, or side quest.
There are even tips on how to deal with creatures. For instance, the Nomadic Merchant at Castle Morne Rampart in Weeping Peninsula sells you a note about demi-humans. It says: “Slay the demi-human mob’s leader first, and the rest will lose hope and panic.”
This information can prevent you from dying and will considerably increase your chances of surviving a combat encounter with demi-humans who have you outnumbered and surrounded.
In the end, this is just an immersive way that the developers found to guide the players into finding more content without making an NPC tell them to go somewhere and do something.
How To Use Notes in Elden Ring
First, find a merchant who has notes. Once you purchase one or a few, check what it says by hovering the item in your inventory.
Go to your Info Tab and look for the notes you have. These are not expandable items, so you can just check them as many times as you want in case you forget something.
Some notes will even tell you what path you should take to find something and give you the name of the area where an item or NPC might be.
It helps if you know where to find all map fragments. This way, you will be able to quickly find the place mentioned in the Notes that you have acquired.
You can’t really get rid of these items or sell them, so make sure you won’t miss the runes you spent on Notes before you do.
I highly appreciate FromSoftware’s effort to keep players immersed in their world. I feel like everything is tailored to make you feel like a stranger trying to find out what Grace and the Erdtree want from you.
There’s also an aspect of trying to find yourself in the era. It’s hard to navigate the Lands Between geographically and even politically. There are so many layers of conflicts, factions, and betrayal that the Maidenless Tarnished has to deal with after just coming back to life.
The fact players have to buy information from a traveling merchant to know more about these mysterious lands and local rivalries is part of this immersive atmosphere Elden Ring helps.
When you put it all together, it’s easy to see how these elements help you feel like you’re in the Lands Between trying to decipher the will of grace.
So next time you feel lost in this game’s world, don’t feel bad, remember you’re meant to feel that way, and start looking for information slowly.
If you really want to understand the story behind the Elden Ring and the Lands Between, read the description of each item you have and check the Notes that some merchants will have for sale. They will have something interesting about enemies, items, or side quests.