Elden Ring has been out for a few weeks, but it’s an extremely long game. Even if you’ve been playing assiduously since day one, you may be only halfway through the game — or less. (Having a life outside of video games is nothing to be ashamed of!) The beauty of Elden Ring — as well as that of the best open-world games — is that you can go wherever you want and proceed at your own pace. Of course, all that choice can feel downright paralyzing at times.
I’ve written before about how Elden Ring’s open world is sometimes directionless to the point of frustration. If you keep exploring, you’ll eventually get where you’re going, but you may have to endure a whole lot of dead ends — and outright deaths — to get there.
This isn’t so bad in the first half of the game, as various NPCs give you a pretty clear path to progress through the game. Start at Stormveil Castle; progress to the Academy at Raya Lucaria. Defeat Margit the Fell Omen, Godrick the Grafted, the Red Wolf of Radagon and Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon.
There’s only one problem: After you defeat Rennala, her boss chamber doesn’t open up on the entrance to the next area. You’ve gone as far as the game’s first major questlines will take you, and there’s no real hint about where you should go next. For some players, this will be liberating, as there’s nothing to do but explore and see where the plot picks up. For others, though, it may make Elden Ring feel a bit aimless.
If you’re in the first camp, then feel free to head back to the game, hop on your horse, and see where the wind takes you. For players in the second group, read on to see what your options are.
The road to Leyndell
• 10 Elden Ring tips to help you survive
• How to farm Runes in Elden Ring: Early, mid and late game spots
• How to beat Starscourge Radahn
• Elden Ring keepsakes ranked worst to best
• Spirit Jellyfish Ashes: Where to find them and how to use them
• How to find map fragments in Elden Ring
• Where to find Mimic Tear, and how to optimize it
• Is it worth completing Ranni’s quest?
• How to find Smithing Stones and upgrade weapons
• 11 Elden Ring tips for intermediate and advanced players
• Elden Ring ending guide: How to get all six endings
Assuming you want to follow the main story in Elden Ring, defeating Queen Rennala will put you somewhere between one-third and one-half of the way there, depending on how much other stuff you’ve explored along the way. But while the path to Rennala was fairly straightforward, finding the next area is a whole adventure in and of itself.
The first thing you should do is revisit Roundtable Hold (check our Elden Ring tips if you need a refresher) and speak to Gideon Ofnir. He’ll tell you that your next objective should be Leyndell, the Royal Capital. He won’t tell you how to get there, naturally, but he’s right: Leyndell is where the game’s plot continues, and where you’ll face off against two more bosses who are vital to the story.
Leyndell lies on the far side of the Altus Plateau, a golden grassland that lies to the northeast of Raya Lucaria. Once you reach Altus, simply head east, and you’ll eventually find it. There’s only one way in, through the East Capital Rampart, and you’ll have to confront quite a few tough bosses in the overworld before you reach it. My recommendation is to explore Altus thoroughly in order to level up and upgrade your weapon.
There is only one problem, however: You can’t simply walk from Raya Lucaria to Altus. You can either fight your way through the Ruin-Strewn Precipice (recommended) or gather both halves of the Dectus Medallion (not recommended).
The Ruin-Strewn Precipice is the easier route of the two — “easier” being the operative word, and not “easy.” Head almost due north of Raya Lucaria, but stay in the water; don’t ride up onto dry land. You’ll eventually come into a narrow canyon that leads to the Ruin-Strewn Precipice Entrance. Climb your way through the ruins and confront a tough boss at the end. You’ll emerge in Altus.
The other option is to collect the two halves of the Dectus Medallion, which will let you access the Grand Lift of Dectus. You can find the left half of the medallion in Fort Haight: a small dungeon in the eastern part of Limgrave. The enemies here are pretty simple, and there’s no boss to fight. The right half of the medallion, however, is located in Fort Faroth, a remote dungeon in western Caelid.
Caelid is an incredibly tough area, and you probably haven’t explored it yet. This is not the ideal time to start, but if you insist, you can find out how further down on this page.
Either way, once you arrive in Leyndell, it’s an enormous area, with lots of shortcuts to find and plenty of enemies to confront. After you finish, your maiden, Melina, will give you a few hints on how to proceed.
Weeping Peninsula and Siofra River
If you’re not ready to advance the story just yet, there are a few areas you may have missed before confronting Queen Rennala; I know I did. (If you’ve already completed these areas, then feel free to check out the other two sections in this piece.) Early on in Elden Ring, you can find your way to the Weeping Peninsula and the Siofra River, but both are too tough for low-level players to complete.
However, if you’ve finished Raya Lucaria, you should definitely revisit these two areas, as you’ll soon be too powerful for them to have much payoff at all. Assuming you haven’t already found them, the Weeping Peninsula is south of Limgrave; just follow the road until you reach it. The Siofra River is a little trickier to find, but if you head east of Limgrave, you’ll come across the Third Church of Marika. South of that, there’s an elevator that takes you to an expansive underground river.
Both the Weeping Peninsula and Siofra River are sizable areas, and finding their secrets should eat up a few hours. You’ll also level up and find some weapon upgrade materials along the way. They won’t directly advance the story, but they should help you beef up your character as you prepare for the trip to Leyndell.
Caelid — if you really want
There is one other area that you can explore right after Queen Rennala, but I’d recommend leaving it until later. Still, Elden Ring players generally like a trial by fire — why play FromSoftware games otherwise? — so if you want a challenge, you can always visit Caelid.
Caelid is a region in the southeastern part of the world map. There are two ways to reach one. One is to simply keep following the road northeast past the Summonwater Village in Limgrave. The other is to explore the Dragon-Burnt Ruins in central Limgrave and open the treasure chest you find there. It will transport you to a dungeon in Caelid — and you’ll have to fight your way out.
Generally speaking, Caelid is one of the tougher regions in the game. Poisonous swamps cover a good chunk of the land, and giant, bloodthirsty beasts roam the southern part of the land. The northern part is called “Dragonbarrow,” and, well, you can probably imagine what you’ll find there.
Caelid isn’t all bad, as you’ll find plenty of weapon upgrade materials, and enemies drop quite a few Runes. However, I’d still recommend tackling Leyndell before Caelid. Elden Ring is a tough game no matter what you do; you don’t have to make it even tougher.