Recently, many gaming news outlets and content creators got to dive deep into the world of Elden Ring thanks to a gated, six-hour sneak peek. Now that those lucky few have shared their experiences, we know a little more about one of the most intriguing locations on (or perhaps just slightly off) the game’s open-world map.
While Soulsborne games are arguably best known for their challenging-yet-fair combat, each title is ultimately propped up by their world. Every game in the genre essentially created by FromSoftware is a masterclass in environmental art design and storytelling, even if they usually devolve into twisting hallways that circle back on each other. However, Elden Ring will change that. Unlike previous titles, Elden Ring is a true open-world experience, and some audiences got to explore that world in detail for six glorious uninterrupted hours. Testers got to visit locations only hinted at in trailers, but they also got to drop in on a few new areas. As it turns out, one of those areas is essentially Elden Ring‘s version of the hub areas seen in many Soulsborne titles.
According to virtually every early previewer, including Eurogamer and Gamespot, players can unlock an extra-dimensional area known as the Roundtable Hold sometime during Elden Ring’s beginning hours. Many Soulsborne veterans should immediately be able to connect this location to places such Dark Souls’ Firelink Shrine and Bloodborne’s Hunter’s Dream as it’s pretty much the same basic concept. The Roundtable Hold is a safe haven for players to buy and repair equipment, purchase new spells, and just take a breather after particularly harrowing boss fights. However, the area is so much more than a copy of previous Soulsborne hubs with a George R.R. Martin paint job.
One of the biggest changes Elden Ring brings to the table is how players interact with NPCs in the hub area. As the content creator Fextralife noted, Roundtable Hold is controlled by a “pact of nonaggression,” which means players can’t accidentally attack a merchant or trainer in the area. That’s probably a good thing since, according to Fextralife’s calculations, the hub has more NPCs than you would expect from a Soulsborne game and many of them provide important services and quests (or at least hint at future quests). Furthermore, some NPCs even wandered off from time to time during the preview. It remains to be seen whether they’ll re-appear there (or in some other part of the world) later in the game.