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Elden Ring: To Journal or Not to Journal While Playing

A video game showing a man standing before flames

Elden Ring is all the rage right now in the world of video games, mixing the difficulty of Souls-like games with a vast open world to explore. If you’ve been following Elden Ring developments on Twitter, you might’ve seen a lot of tweets about keeping a journal. If you haven’t, well, you’re in for a treat with this article.

FromSoftware is a Japanese video game development company that’s made wildly popular titles, like the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and of course, Elden Ring. The difference between Elden Ring and all the other video games FromSoftware has developed is that Elden Ring is the company’s first open-world game.

A lot of the game mechanics and organization are the same between Elden Ring and From Software’s other games. And despite Elden Ring being an open-world game, FromSoftware left out an in-game quest log (on purpose), inspiring some players to suggest keeping a journal throughout your Elden Ring playthrough.

Where Did the Idea For Keeping a Journal Start?

Although he might not have been the only person who had the idea, Jason Schreier, gaming journalist and author, was one of the first to introduce the idea of keeping a journal while playing Elden Ring. When he tweeted this helpful bit of information, it became quite the controversy.

Understandably, those opposed to keeping a journal were arguing that you shouldn’t need to keep notes to play a video game or that Elden Ring should have had an in-game quest log to help you keep track. But, as Jason Schreier pointed out, “a quest log would make [playing Elden Ring] a far worse experience” because it’s such a different open-world game.

“Quests in this game are subtle and rare, more like puzzles than errands,” he says. The quests in Elden Ring are designed to be stumbled upon organically as you explore, not collected at the start and completed systematically.

So then how would a journal actually help? Let’s look a little deeper.

The Perks of Keeping a Journal in Elden Ring

Because Elden Ring is such a massive open-world game, it’s easy to get lost along your main quest. Although side quests and random NPCs are designed to be stumbled upon, it’s hard to remember everything that you come across while you’re traversing this huge map.

First and foremost, a journal will help you keep track of important details you need to remember throughout the game. This could be a little instruction from an NPC, an item you need to collect before you can do something, or maybe even the location of a boss that obliterated you that you want to come back to later.

Although the map in Elden Ring is helpful, letting you place markers where you want to, it obviously doesn’t keep track of everything. While taking notes during your Elden Ring playthrough helps you follow important side storylines and NPC dialogue, it can also help you keep track of your own personal experience.

In that same vein, other people keeping journals and sharing them online lets you share your Elden Ring experiences with the community. You can do a quick search on Twitter and find out that someone else struggled a lot with the same boss you did or questioned the same line of dialogue from an NPC. Of course, do this with caution, as there are many, many spoilers out there.

Lastly, if you’re artistically inclined, you can get super creative with your Elden Ring journal. Some players have gone to wild lengths to make a journal with text and beautiful drawings. Not all players can or want to do this, but for the players who do, it’s a fun way to immerse yourself further into a game you love.

Okay, But Do You Actually Need a Journal to Play?

The short answer, no. You’re not “legally obligated” to keep a journal or any type of digital text document to play this glorious FromSoftware game, no matter what Jason Schreier says.

Some people prefer to simply explore and only keep the important stuff in their minds. My husband, for example, probably isn’t going to keep a journal while playing, but he’s the type of person who plays FromSoftware games multiple times over. So he’s already expecting that he’ll miss important things, and just catch them on the second or third playthrough.

For others, a journal could really help you keep track of the game’s nuances and intricate lore, and give you a more enjoyable experience overall. Plus, you get to look back at your time with the game and possibly even share your experiences with other players online.

Here’s a few ideas if you decide to invest in a journal for your Elden Ring playthrough:

  • Rocketbook Fusion: This is a smart journal that you can reuse as many times as you want to, so it’s great for the environment too!
  • A Word Processor: You might instantly think Microsoft Word, and while that’s a great option, there’s also Google Docs, LibreOffice Writer, iWork Pages, and WPS Office Writer.
  • Classic Bullet Journal: This is great if you want to have structured notes, with boxed titles and whatever else your heart desires.
  • A Journal App: You don’t have to keep a physical journal, especially when there are equally great options right on your smartphone.
  • Leather Journal: If you want to enhance your immersive experience with the game, spring for a leather-bound journal. You’ll feel transported to the Elden Ring world—just, from the safety of your own home.
  • Elden Ring Journal: Why not keep with the theme of the game and just get an Elden Ring journal? That way, you’ll definitely know which journal is for the game at a quick glance.
Journal recommended

'Elden Ring'

The latest 'Souls' like game from FromSoftware, this one will take you on a truly open world adventure where it's up to you to decide what to do next.

Sarah Chaney Sarah Chaney
Sarah Chaney is a professional freelance writer for Review Geek, Android Authority, MakeUseOf, and other great websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Creative Writing concentration. Her degree, paired with her almost two years of professionally writing for websites, helps her write content that is engaging, yet informative. She enjoys covering anything Android, video game, or tech related. Read Full Bio »