The Joy of Wielding Elden Ring Cosmic Weapons FromSoftware

We’re starting a new column here called Expedition, where I, your sidequest correspondent Jacob Linden, will be veering off the main story path of both new and classic games. Since I first ignored the booming call of the Greybeards on my first playthrough of Skyrim, I’ve always been fascinated in how game developers treat the stuff that players will stumble upon unexpectedly, oftentimes more than the main plot.

We may talk about hidden items, cool areas, or lesser-known characters you have to dig for, as well as the emergent situations and player-created stories that can form your best gaming memories. Check out this column if you want to learn about the history of Huge Blue Greatswords in the Souls franchise, how The Witcher 3 contracts blend an action RPG with Law & Order episodes, or the best companion in Skyrim… the talking dog Barbas.

This article contains spoilers for the Ranni the Witch questline in Elden Ring and for developments that occur after defeating Radahn.

Ever since I first ran a Faith/Strength Build in Demon’s Souls on PlayStation 3, I always start my first playthrough of a Souls game in that way if given a chance. In Elden Ring, my Faith run was blessed with more incantations than ever, far beyond the days of just having Heal, Lightning Spear, and a few weapon buffs. I ended up choosing the Lord of the Frenzied Flame ending, in honor of my reliance on sinful incantations like Frenzied Burst for some key boss fights.

Learning more about just some of the lore and characters around the huge variety of sorceries in the game, along with incredible new space-themed weapons and Ashes of War, flipped my second playthrough on its head. I knew the sorcerers had some cool crowns, but moving beyond the starter Glintstone line of sorceries into a Gravity magic build reinvigorated my interest in Elden Ring after over 100 hours played in my first run.

Ever since the original Large Sword of Moonlight, which was hilariously hidden in a giant hanging mass of slugs in the worst poison swamp level in Demon’s Souls, most Souls games have had a staple huge blue greatsword in their extensive weapon lists. The original actually scaled with Faith but is more often now a go-to if you’re playing a particularly buff mage build as most scaled from intelligence afterward. An appeal of these games is that you’re pitted against incomprehensibly powerful titans of these game worlds, and creatures like the Moon Presence in Bloodborne made the cosmic horror even more literally cosmic.

With Elden Ring, FromSoftware explored its fascination with the outer reaches of space even more, creating mesmerizing new creature encounters with massive aliens and the slender and mysterious Alabaster Lords that’ll wallop you with a greatsword and Gravity sorceries if you aren’t prepared. There are also great lore details about the impact of Gravity magic and the influence of the Void on certain characters. Players can learn from his Remembrance that the formidable demigod Starscourge Radahn only mastered Gravity magic so he could still ride his childhood horse, Leonard, into battle.

The Joy of Wielding Elden Ring Cosmic Weapons FromSoftware Radahn

The Moonlight Greatsword equivalent in Elden Ring is a reward for completing Ranni the Witch’s questline, which would be worth playing out even if you didn’t get a sweet weapon at the end. While I can’t say I would’ve been able to complete this without a couple of guide checks, I loved learning more about Ranni’s past relationships with other demigods and the lengths she took to spurn her fate assigned by the Two Fingers, including potentially being involved in Godwyn’s assassination and the resulting proliferation of Death Blight in the world. Her Age of Stars ending provides a beautiful image of a full moon and is very popular among players, but there’s also some interesting ambiguity and a bit of a more sinister, dark side to the moon if you look more deeply.

When I began as an Astrologer, a guide advised that I grab the Meteorite Staff ASAP, and I could get to it faster than just riding Torrent by opening the now-infamous trap teleportation chest in Limgrave. I was one of many Tarnished who accidentally warped to the Sellia Crystal Tunnel before knowing about the trap, with that being my first introduction to the rot-infested region of Caelid. Sellia Crystal Tunnel and the nearby areas will set brave mages up for a pretty breezy early game if they can quick-roll around some powerful enemies.

Players that ransack Caelid early, and explore the Lands Between thoroughly in general, won’t have to interact with Ranni at all to access a ton of sweet space weapons. You can snag the powerful Moonveil Katana if you’re able to beat a pretty powerful boss in Caelid’s Gael Tunnel. Magic-only players will be well-served by the area too, with the Gravity spell Rock Sling, which hits enemies for physical damage and is great for staggering bosses. Sellia, Town of Sorcery also provides different spells and staves if you decide to focus on other schools of sorcery.

The Joy of Wielding Elden Ring Cosmic Weapons FromSoftware Sellia, Town of Sorcery

Even if you’ve got zero points invested in intelligence, there are a ton of ways to become a proficient battlemage through Ashes of War, like the Gravitas skill you can find close to the game’s start. It truly is worth the intimidating runes investment to see all the magic options, though. Being able to chuck warbling starry galaxies and entire moons at enemies feels particularly badass in a game full to bursting with cool combat choices.

Magic has always been mechanically powerful in the Souls canon and the arenas of PvP combat. In the narrative, sorcery was often appropriately connected with characters that lost themselves in search of too much power or knowledge. These themes and character types aren’t abandoned in Elden Ring at all, but with stories like the sweet detail about Radahn and his horse, we also see more nuance with how magic in the Lands Between was used for more than just cold, ambitious climbs to power.

Some of the greatest set pieces in this game brought the void of space to the forefront. From discovering the starry ceilings adorning the Eternal City areas, to tracking down the crater of the falling star that crashes after you kill Radahn, it was great to see the cosmic influences more directly woven into visuals and narrative beats, as well as the expanded astrological armory. But as any FromSoftware fan knows, the weapons and spells themselves also tell their own story. I got much of the information I shared for this column in the descriptions of particular items, and I wouldn’t have it any other way in these games. I love knowing that each RPG build I go down will organically show me stories of those who might have walked similar paths before.

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