Elden Ring's Non-Optional Areas Map Is Shockingly Small
Elden Ring offers a large open world to explore, yet to complete the game, players only need to visit a tiny portion of the Lands Between.
Elden Ring players begin their epic adventure in the beautiful area of Limgrave after establishing their character and going through an optional tutorial. Players are invited to visit Stormveil Castle and take down its king Godrick as part of their quest to battle two demigods and go to the Royal Capital of Leyndell. Liurnia of the Lakes, a mythical flooded region north of Stormveil, is home to Raya Lucaria Academy and its demigod master Rennala. Players can also travel east to the Caelid region, which is infected, or underground to the Siofra River area. Elden Ring's layout may be explored in any order, therefore Godrick and Rennala can be skipped altogether if players want to chase other demigods.
Spicy Slice shared a simple map of Elden Ring on Reddit, demonstrating how little of the Lands Between players are required to explore. Killing two demigods is required to enter Leyndell, however Godrick and Rennala are conveniently placed on the route there. The game remains rather linear while within Leyndell, with players climbing the Mountaintops of the Giants before traversing Crumbling Farum Azula and returning to the city. This makes much of Limgrave, Liurnia, the Altus Plateau, and the Giant Mountaintops completely optional. Elden Ring may be completed without ever seeing Caelid or the subterranean rivers of Siofra and Ainsel.
While the map in Elden Ring is helpful, the fantasy epic from FromSoftware never compels players to rely on it to navigate. The map's size and scope make it a crucial element, since players may use it to place markings or waypoints to assist them find or recall certain places. However, unlike other open-world games, the game is mostly driven by each player's desire to explore, as goals are never explicitly put down on the map. This implies that exploration in Elden Ring is driven by the player's inherent curiosity and desire for adventure, rather than an alluring map symbol or plot goal.
Most FromSoftware fans would eagerly explore every inch of Elden Ring's open-world environment, although gamers only need to visit a small portion of the Lands Between in principle. The Tarnished can swiftly reach Leyndell by carving a way through Limgrave, Liurnia, and the Altus Plateau, and the path ahead narrows significantly until they reach the capital city. However, rushing around Elden Ring to the conclusion is a disservice to the breadth and intricacy that FromSoftware packed into its first open-world game.