Elden Ring‘s narrative is about decay, what happens when the passing of lords creates a power vacuum, and how proclivities inform interpretations of events. But we’re not here to talk about that.
Instead, what is equally worth bringing to light is just how involved item descriptions – and their gameplay ramifications – have gotten in a modern FromSoftware game.
The studio’s work has always relied on this sparse manner of storytelling, where the bulk of what’s interesting happens in the margins. The deeper you dig and try to connect the dots, the better your understanding is going to be about the state of the world and its inhabitants.
Elden Ring represents the next evolution of that style, and I can’t find a better example of this than the Noble Sorcerer summon. He’s one of many Spirit Ashes you can find in Elden Ring’s vast world. With the help of the Summoning Bell, you can call upon those spirits to assist you in taking on bosses and tough sections of the open world.
Each one contains the ashes of warriors, sorcerers, monsters and other abominations who died in battle. They serve different gameplay functions, too: from overwhelming raw strength, to area-clearing and applying status effects.
The Noble Sorcerer is among the very first Spirit Ashes you get your hands on, and it’s one I have used before I knew better. I’ve seen many other people do the same early on in their journey with Elden Ring. Except, the Noble Sorcerer is practically useless – and the item description makes that very clear the moment you get it.
It reads: “Spirit of a nobleman who once asked to be given a place at Raya Lucaria to learn glintstone sorceries. His talents were insufficient to be worthy of donning the stone crown, however, and he is only capable of using the most rudimentary sorcery.”
If you do summon the Noble Sorcerer, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. He just lurches around and occasionally, meekly fires off one spell every few seconds. His magic does barely any damage, and he’s not nearly agile enough to get out of danger. He’s certifiably worthless, even when upgraded.
If you’ve been playing Elden Ring long enough, you will have no doubt come across living versions of this specific sorcerer. You’ll also know that they always die in two hits, and are typically no threat to you. Even in groups.
For this to be one of the first summons players get in the game, it could risk their perception of the mechanic. You think: “If that’s the kind of damage boost summoning gets you, why not just spend your FP elsewhere?” And I just love that this joke is an actual item in the game presented with a straight face.
Looking for other acute observations about Elden Ring? Here are 14 hidden mechanics the game doesn’t tell you about. For more of the nitty-gritty walkthroughs, boss fight tactics and general tips, our Elden Ring guide has a wealth of information.