In Elden Ring, unlike most other From Software games, it isn't apparent how to spend Runes to level up your character right away, since the option is unavailable in the initial Grave sites.
If you want to start levelling up your character, you need to visit a specific Site of Grace and talk to Melina who's awaiting your arrival.
Afterwards, you can start using your Runes to level up your character and, to help you get started, we've covered what, in our opinion, are the best stats to level up first in Elden Ring.
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How to level up in Elden Ring
To level up in Elden Ring, you must unlock the ability to level up by visiting a specific Grace which will be visited by Melina.
Two of these are found either side of the Gatefront Ruins location, such as the Gatefront Site of Grace, which are close to your starting location.
Know that beyond learning how to level up, not only does it put you on the critical path to Castle Stormveil - whenever you are ready to tackle it of course - but Gatefront Ruins itself is home to your first Map Fragment and the Whetstone Knife.
During the cutscene, agree to Melina's aid - if you refuse by accident, you have the chance to accept again - to receive the ability to level up at future Grace sites.
This interaction will also allow you to call Torrent - in other words, unlocking Elden Ring's horse - meaning you can explore the world much easier.
Once done, it's worth travelling back to the Church of Elleh, where you should find Renna the Witch waiting. She can give you the Spirit Calling Bell, allowing you to summon spirit ashes to your aid during battle.
Once you have settled on a starting class and starting Keepsake item, you should first work out how to level up, how to respec and use Ashes of War. Need some direction from there? Our Elden Ring walkthrough and Elden Ring boss order can help with where to go next, but we also recommend hunting down Golden Seeds, Sacred Tears, Crystal Tears, Talismans and some of our best weapon and best armor choices. If you are approaching the end game, we can help with the Volcano Manor quest and Rykard, Haligtree Secret Medallion locations, solving the Ordina, Liturgical Town puzzle, the Millicent quest, Commander Niall, Morgott, Godskin Duo, Maliketh and Malenia.
The best stats to level first in Elden Ring
Once you start carrying enough Runes to level your character in Elden Ring, the question is where to spend them. Though you can respec later, you'll need to get a way into the game - so deciding where to allocate stats first is still worth considering carefully.
The best stats to level first depends on your goals - especially in the early game - so here's our recommendations with what to prioritise:
- Vigor and Endurance are your bread and butter in terms of stats, levelling HP and stamina respectively. Both of these will aid you greatly in battle; the more HP you have, the more attacks you can withstand without dying, while more stamina means you can run and block more without becoming fatigued or defenceless.
- Strength and Dexterity are useful for melee builds. Both are requirements for various weapons - for example, our early game best weapon recommendation, the Twinblade, has a Dexterity requirement of 18, which is out of range for every starting class. Strength, meanwhile, is another good stat to level if you are stuck for where to spend your Runes - essentially allowing your melee weapons to do more damage.
- Intelligence is useful for spells and magic. For the vast majority of starting classes you shouldn't concern yourself with this at the beginning, as finding a staff for sorcery is not easy to come by right away. For the Astrologer class, meanwhile, levelling this to gain access to further spells and boost the damage of what you have, it's essential. As with Dexterity, Faith and Arcane are often requirements for certain sorceries or incantations.
Ultimately, know that if you want to build a well-rounded character which can cast magic and hit hard with a sword, then you can. Investing solely in a specific build as its benefits, of course, and the higher your level, the higher the Rune cost becomes for increasing a stat point - but know you can dabble if you like.