Elon Musk, who is 50 years old, is just like any other 13-year-old. Between long days spent fanboy-tweeting at Metal Gear Solid video game designer Hideo Kojima, drinking chocolate milk, and determining the definition and reach of “free speech”, Musk plays Elden Ring.
It’s known he plays other video games, too, including civilization simulator The Battle of Polytopia and the open world role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077. Typically, Musk doesn’t say much about the games he plays other than the fact that he enjoys them. But when a Twitter user asked Musk for Elden Ring advice on May 9, the billionaire delivered by sharing a few details of his character’s build.
Musk has had a busy month since then. A little over a week after his Elden Ring reveal, on May 19, an article on Insider alleged that Elon Musk had sexually assaulted a SpaceX flight attendant in 2016 and paid $250,000 to keep her quiet. Kotaku has reached out to Musk for comment on this. Despite the severity of the claims, since they surfaced, Musk has been using his favorite money-draining potential acquisition Twitter to offload his woes. On May 20, he told YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley that “if you touch my wiener (sic), you can have a horse.” Then he posted a gif of Dachshund. I guess he really is a genius!
But even geniuses need to game. Thankfully, Musk found time to elaborate on his Elden Ring build further while Tesla stock crumbles around him, his Twitter is on the fritz, and damning allegations hang like shadows.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This build…it doesn’t make much sense. Just as I have suspected, having around a $250 billion net worth turns the gray matter in your brain’s frontal cortex into individual packets of mustard. But let’s get closer to the mess and figure out why Musk’s “move fast, break things” mindset doesn’t apply to Elden Ring.
I’ll start by emphasizing that if you’re having fun while playing Elden Ring, then your build is a good build. Elden Ring is a huge game with so much room for joyful experimentation, you really can’t go wrong with any method of playing. But unlike you or me, Musk is one of the world’s most powerful figures, and he made his Elden Ring build public and open to scrutiny. Though I am glad he seems to enjoy his disgraceful build, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
Musk initially said he uses an “Int/Dex build, so mostly mage with some weapon skills,” and he keeps his “shield in left hand, staff in right with rapier & claws fast switch.” Piling most of your points into leveling intelligence and dexterity, or pursuing an Int/Dex build, is a common and useful approach to creating formidable magic characters. Dexterity gives casting speed a small boost in Elden Ring as dexterity-scaling weapons tend to be on the lighter side (ideal, since mages are probably putting points into intelligence over equip-load-increasing endurance), and there are plenty of weapons that scale with both dexterity and intelligence to choose from.
His May 24 tweet reveals that he piles Lusat’s Glintstone Staff (a conduit of magic that scales with strength and intelligence), Rogier’s Rapier (a thrusting sword that scales with strength and dexterity), and the Moonveil Katana (a hallmark weapon for players leveling intelligence and dexterity) in his left hand. This is a fairly standard spread of weapons for an Int/Dex build character, though equipping two physical weapons is perhaps unconventional. I guess he scratched the claws.
In the other hand, Musk carries the Brass Shield, a fairly unremarkable shield that requires at least 16 points in strength, and the Carian Knight’s Shield, which requires 10 points in strength and 15 in intelligence. I’m assuming that Musk thinks he needs two shields, one for physical attacks and one for magic, but the Carian Knight’s Shield is slightly better at blocking magic than the Brass Shield and is just as good as blocking physical attacks. He should just use that one.
Mage characters also typically don’t need shields because they torpedo spells from a safe distance, and if Musk unequips a shield and a sword, he would be able to perform nimble rolls and not need to block as much.
Carrying at least one weapon is ideal for when your FP-replenishing Flask of Cerulean Tears drains, but if your primary stat is intelligence, you need to use magic as your primary weapon. It’s the strongest tool in your arsenal and will deal the most damage.
Then, when you pick a secondary weapon for when magic is inaccessible, you should preferably pick one one that scales with your high intelligence, but you can use anything that you’ll commit to bringing to its maximum strength through smithing stones.
But Musk’s stats are… interesting. His health bar is fairly low for a level 111 character, and his intelligence and mind are both pushed past the point of diminishing returns, or have hit the “soft caps.” His strength and dexterity levels are okay at 16 and 25 respectively, but again low for using Rogier’s Rapier over the Moonveil Katana as his secondary weapon. If you put all your points into intelligence, use an intelligence-scaling weapon.
Variation might be lucrative when it comes to making Teslas crash into police cars, having Falcon 9 rockets zoom rich people into space, and enticing former president and current Twitter exile Donald Trump back to the social media platform you just bought. But in Elden Ring, a lack of focus makes a giant sit on you, killing you instantly.
Change armor from heavy to medium for fast roll or tank,” and, “Move talismans around a lot.
In his May 24 update, Musk reiterated that his “equipped load will be lower if fast roll is needed.” I have been sitting here for nearly a month trying to think of a time when someone would need to change armor mid-battle for the express purpose of rolling, but I can’t. Much like how The Boring Company’s Las Vegas Convention Center Loop tunnel is just asphyxiation underground with more steps (or a highway tunnel with more steps, a worse subway with more steps, etc.), Musk’s approach to armor and shields is unnecessarily complex.
If you’re playing a mage character like Musk as we established earlier, you should be hurling your magic at Elden Ring’s armor-clad undead from afar. If you’re spending most of the game outside of everyone’s direct warpath, you can probably wear nothing but your auto-equipped body type B bralette and still successfully murder people, like if Euphoria had a bloodthirsty, 11th-century wench character.
But you can also adjust your armor to best protect you in certain terrains or during specific fights, like by equipping a poison-resistant hat for when diabolic plants fart on you. Exceeding your equipment load and making your character “heavy,” though, leads to ineffective, drowsy rolling or dodging, something you want to avoid in fights where every movement matters (most of them). Changing your armor just to roll is another time sink. Don’t do it.
Switching talismans around is a less overt issue, and doing so might even lead you to an unexpected favorite. That said, it’s absolutely not a requirement if you have a collection that already works for you. Ultimately, your damage output, stats, and ease of movement will guarantee your success—talismans are just sprinkles.
Many small hits in a row to damage stack is important.
I’m not completely sure what Musk means by this. All damage stacks in Elden Ring, but the extent of the damage done will be affected by a specific enemy’s damage resistance. As far as I’m aware, there is no situation that necessitates “many small hits in a row” over, for example, HP-dissolving critical attacks like backstabs or just well-timed regular attacks.
He could be referring to the Twinblade Talisman, which makes the final attack in a chain of hits more potent, but I don’t know. Or maybe the Winged Sword Insignia, which slightly increases damage if you land hits frequently and quickly enough. Do you know? Is this about how many stop signs a “self-driving” Tesla can roll past until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decides to enact a perma-ban on stop signs?
No emperor can run an empire alone. He needs daddy’s money and workers to degrade.
You, lowly Tarnished, aren’t so different from the lonely billionaire, and if you get stuck in Elden Ring, just ask the friends you keep in your back pocket for help. Calling on a jellyfish works, too. Musk is currently using Skeletal Militiaman Ashes, Marionette Soldier Ashes, and Banished Knight Oleg Ashes, though I recommend the Mimic Tear Ashes you can find in Nokron, Eternal City. This ash summon requires HP not FP, which is helpful for mage characters looking to conserve Cerulean Tears and anyone with too little FP, and mirrors your character, making it as powerful a summon as you are a player.
Other than that, I know that many people find Musk inspirational, but when it comes to developing your Elden Ring build, you might want to avoid the association.
A billionaire’s grind and goal-obsessed mind is helpful for tricking yourself into believing that rich people deserve their wealth because they want everyone to sleep under their desks like human snails, but in Elden Ring, social mobility is actually possible. Your character comes from nothing—no health, no family, no maiden, nothing—and single-handedly demolishes an empire. It’s incredible, and if Musk’s shitty mage build is any indication, a billionaire couldn’t survive it.
Update 05/11/2022 3:59 p.m. ET: Added mention of a second relevant talisman. This story originally ran on May 11, 2022, and has been updated with new information.