Elon Musk’s ‘Elden Ring’ Build Is Terrible

Musk tweeted photos of his build in Elden Ring. A Motherboard analysis breaks down why it sucks.
Elon Musk
Image: NDZ/Star Max / Contributor

On top of making cars that burst into flames and being an alleged sexual harasser, Elon Musk is playing Elden Ring with the worst and most dumbfounding build I’ve ever seen.

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On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that “Elden Ring, experienced in its entirety, is the most beautiful art I have ever seen.” Of course it is incredibly annoying when the worst person you know makes a great point, but Musk followed up on Wednesday with photos of his Elden Ring build

For some bizarre reason, Musk has two swords, a staff, and two shields equipped, making him a bloated mess, slugging through the game from each Site of Grace to the next.

“Equipped load will be lower if fast roll is needed,” he tweeted along with the photos. Let me explain why this matters and show he has no idea what he’s doing.

In Elden Ring the items you equip onto your character determine how much weight you carry, which impacts your stamina regeneration and speed. If you wear lighter armor, you can dodge attacks more quickly. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you have what is generally considered as the normal Dark Souls roll. If you wear a ton of heavy armor and weapons, you are, naturally, heavy and roll at a much slower pace. Crucially, your character has fewer invincibility frames, or i-frames, with a heavy roll, meaning that there is a much shorter window of time in which you can effectively dodge enemy attacks. You can level up the Endurance stat which will let you wear heavier gear while still using one of the more beneficial rolls.

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The thing is with equip load, it gets heavier even if your character is not holding an item in their hand at that exact moment. If you have a staff and two swords equipped, your character is still carrying the weight of those three items even if only one sword is in their hand at any one time. So, unless you are switching between weapons for your build, something that some people do to enjoy the unique benefits of, say, different swords, it makes no sense to equip a bunch of unnecessary items.

That’s what Musk is doing though. For some reason, he has both the Heavy Brass Shield (good by itself with a relatively high Guard Boost rating when leveled up) and the Carian Knight’s Shield equipped. He’s not even holding a shield in each hand. If he did that, he could at least be running around like some sort of super tank. He’s just adding extra weight with no discernible benefit and living with the downsides of that.

His quip that “Equipped load will be lower if fast roll is needed” makes no sense. If needed for what? To medium roll? That would be better, yes. Then why not do that all of the time? Why not just pick one of the shields and use that with your current sword? It’s not like you’re using the second shield at the same time anyway.

Viable builds that result in heavy rolls do exist. In those, players basically stack heavy armor to the point where they can absorb large amounts of damage, and increase their “poise” stat. The higher this is, the less likely it is that you will be stunned or interrupted when an enemy attacks you, letting you plow through and just bash people all day. That is absolutely not what Musk is doing though. His armor includes the Twinsage Glintstone Crown, a helmet for typically lighter moving mages, and his poise stat is a distinctly average 54, which is not enough for a high poise build.

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Somehow, Musk is also level 111, according to the photos he tweeted. That’s a respectable level, and the point in a character’s progression where you might be entering at least the last leg of the main story content. But has Musk been running something like this embarrassing build up to this point? Heavy rolling again and again across The Lands Between. It is not clear where exactly in the game Musk is at—it is possible to grind your level in Elden Ring without making much progression at all—but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt of getting somewhat far with that level. (His chest armor is Radahn’s Lion Armor, meaning he has at least killed that boss).

Now, what makes Elden Ring great is that it is all about choice. Whereas the earlier From Software games were more about perseverance and overcoming an obstacle in front of you, Elden Ring is more squarely about exploration. With that freedom, comes the option for the player to decide how to engage with the world. Many people do that by deliberately making the game harder, by perhaps never leveling up their character or trying to kill bosses without ever being hit. 

If Musk is making the game more challenging for himself by choice, more power to him. Maybe he can go for the one staff, two swords, two shields speedrun record. But, given what he said about switching to a lighter roll if needed, I suspect Musk just doesn’t understand how the game actually works.

I emailed Musk to ask about his build decisions. I also asked if he had beaten Malenia, generally considered to be the hardest boss in the game. The idea of him heavy rolling while trying to dodge her hyper-aggressive attacks is very, very, funny to me. At the time of writing I haven’t received a reply.

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