Five best journals for playing Elden Ring

Five best journals for playing Elden Ring

Here's five journals you should consider for taking notes before playing Elden Ring since having an in-game quest log would break immersion!


Elden Ring is finally out and, by many accounts including our own Shacknews review, it is very good. However, it's not without some quirks. In his infinite wisdom, Hidetaka Miyazaki and the FromSoftware team decided that despite setting Elden Ring in a sprawling open world, players don't need an in-game quest log. Sure, it would help for keeping track of obscure NPCs, locations, or quest items throughout its vast explorable space, but I've read that this is actually a good thing because having a quest log would somehow break immersion. You should just keep a journal nearby so you can make your quest log outside the game that they didn't put in the game. Very sensible.

In honor of that very sensible solution, here are five different types of journals you might consider before you play Elden Ring.

One-Subject Notebook

A college classic, you can find this one practically anywhere at an extremely low price. Generally, each notebook has 50 to 100 pages of ruled line paper, which is good for keeping your notes cleanly separated and organized. Just beware: If you don't write the game down on the front or back of the notebook, you might forget which game it's for. You... do keep several external game notebooks around right? Also, unfortunately, you won't be winning any style points for this one, although it does come in several colors (though few feature a melancholy or gothic aesthetic). It's practical, effiicient, and that's about all that can be said about it. Still, maybe that's all you need. Nobody is judging you, scrub.

Smartphone Notes app

There's a very likely chance that you won't even have to buy anything for this notebook to work. Just locate the notes app in your smartphone! iOS and Android devices usually have a Notes app somewhere on there and even if you somehow deleted it, it's free to get back. It's also easy to keep around since you don't have to open journals, flip through pages, or keep a writing utensil nearby to use it. That said, if you're entrusting your quest log from the absense of one app to the inclusion in another app, are you really Elden Ringing properly? ARE YOU? Some would say no, and you shouldn't cheat them out of cheating you out of an appless note-taking experience.

Moleskine Journal

Now you're getting saucy. Moleskine journals and notebooks have long been the choice analog writing platform for the most "Mmhyesss" of writists. Not only does it tell others "I'm willing to spend $30 - $100 on a collection of bound paper I will write in for approximately 10 pages before I get bored or busy." It's also an awesome way to corner yourself into never actually writing in it at all because you'll anxiously convince yourself it's too nice to ruin with your stupid words.* Wherever the opinion that having a questlog would do harm to Elden Ring came from, we're pretty certain it was immortalized in an overpriced moleskine journal. And you can too, why not?

*This is a joke. If you write in a moleskine notebook, good for you. Writing is good. Meanwhile, I have a couple that were given to me and I'm scared of their power and beauty, lol

Lisa Frank Notebook

Okay, now you're just showing off. To be honest, we wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the beautiful world of Elden Ring was based at least some part on the artistic designs of Lisa Frank. The rainbows, the kittens, the dolphins, the absolute tie-dye no-f***s-given energy of these notebooks... The question is not would you be embarrassed to be seen keeping your Elden Ring notes in a Lisa Frank notebook. It's "are your Elden Ring notes bold enough to be seen in the presence of a Lisa Frank notebook?"

A collector's edition notepad

Now this.... This is ballsy. There have been a handful of notebooks, notepads, and journals that have served as limited edition pack-ins on very specific products or shows. That's right. We're not just talking games. We might be talking about your cool ass Golden Girls diary featuring awesome art of Betty White (RIP) and company. We might be talking about your Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors Age of Calamity - Hyrule Champions notepad featuring the radical glyph designs of each character. If you use one of these, you've only got one shot at it. There's no replacing the platform once you start. If you're stalwart enough to keep the notes from one game in the sea of many in such a valuable collector's piece, then maybe you're ready to give it all to sieze the Elden Ring after all... Or maybe you just ran out of all other options and it was the only thing you had in a pinch. Definitely one of the two.

And there you have it. Does Elden Ring suffer for not having an in-game checklist? We wouldn't argue that. Would it be nice? Yeah, even Breath of the Wild had an Adventure Log that kept track of quests, ya dingus. But who cares? FromSoftware are the undisputed kings of giving us awesome games and all sorts of silly design decisions to go with them.

So in lieu of the longshot that FromSoftware ever patches a quest log into the game, you'd better grab a journal so you can "keep the immersion intact." Because what spells immersion like forgetting where you were after not playing the game for a couple weeks, making you scramble for an out-of-game checklist that absolutely still interferes with immersion? Elden Ring!!!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 25, 2022 12:41 AM

    Elden Ring won't keep track of your quests. Here's five journals that will.

    Read more: Five best journals for playing Elden Ring

    • reply
      February 25, 2022 2:30 AM

      The backlash Jason Schreier got over that tweet is hilarious. His reaction to it has been gold.

      • reply
        February 25, 2022 5:27 AM


      • reply
        February 25, 2022 6:40 AM

        So funny. People just big mad that the game doesn't have a journal of quests with 1,000 bullet points and associated waypoint markers.

        "But, but", he sputtered furiously, "how can I have **fun** if I **DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO NEXT?!? I am FORTY YEARS OLD WITH A MORTGAGE, I DON'T HAVE TIME TO TAKE NOTES ON A FUCKIN' VIDEO GAME! Shelly, start up the margarita machine god-damnit."

        • reply
          February 25, 2022 6:53 AM

          I don't know what the original Tweet was, and while I'm sure Twitter people are taking it to an extreme, I don't think it's unreasonable to be annoyed at the game not having a standard quality-of-life feature like an in-game quest log.

          • reply
            February 25, 2022 6:55 AM

            Serious answer, it's because there are no quests.

            Not in the way you'd think of them, at least. NPCs give you clues in their dialogue and the environment directs to in certain directions at times, but it's never a case of "go to this encampment and talk to Rufus the bandit leader" and then "Go clear out five undead giants in Sandstone Cave for Rufus".

            Schrier was just saying, if you want to really see everything the game has to offer, you may want to take some notes of interesting locations or legends or characters the NPCs bring up in dialogue.

            • reply
              February 25, 2022 7:09 AM

              Pretty much bang on the money. If it was serving you quests like that, I'd want some sort of quest log to keep track.

              I do wonder if there is some sort of program you can have come up on an overlay that provides the ability to type in notes. Alt-tabbing is a scary thing to do in this game. I should just go find a physical notepad and pen.

              • reply
                February 25, 2022 7:37 AM

                I think you guys are too narrow in your thinking about quest logs. A quest log can be useful even without those sorts of quests. As long as the game has medium and long-term goals or objectives, having the game keep track of those goals and related information can be useful. That also doesn't preclude some sorts of information not being automatically recorded.

                • reply
                  February 25, 2022 7:40 AM

                  I assume From wanted to continue to do what they've always done, which is leave all that stuff entirely in the hands and minds of the players.

                  Part of the charm and appeal of Souls games is always that the driver is 100% the player, and if you hear about something from an NPC, it *doesn't* get put on a list somewhere and turned into a to-do / task. It just exists in the player's brain, just like it would if you were in that world exploring.

                  Immersion and environment seem to always be prioritized in Souls and my only assumption is From thinks checklists, even player-created ones, would break those things.

                • reply
                  February 25, 2022 1:21 PM

                  in games that have logs i just click/escape right through the dialog and cutscenes. not having them keeps me engaged with what's actually happening.

                  • reply
                    February 25, 2022 1:28 PM

                    That's 100% on you.

                    • reply
                      February 25, 2022 1:30 PM

                      sure, but conversely not keeping a written log or just remembering things is on you.

                • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
                  February 25, 2022 5:01 PM

                  Quest logs allow you to turn off your brain in a way that changes the game experience. Love it or hate it, there is value in making the player engage their brain to think about what they're doing and be careful not to forget things. The game already gives you very explicit "GO HERE NEXT" arrows, which you're free to follow or ignore.

                  • reply
                    February 25, 2022 5:09 PM

                    I loved that about Hollow Knight, how the map markers were something you'd have to buy and then manually place and then clear once you are equipped to do so.

                    I marked the hell out of that map and it was so immensely satisfying clearing the whole thing. Best of all it really reinforces the map in your mind in a way that doesn't happen when you're just chasing quest markers.

            • reply
              February 25, 2022 7:15 AM

              There was a point at which it was said "Trust me, this game would be *worse* with a quest log." which is the exact point I'm like "lol, come on."

              I agree I don't need to be handheld in a FromSoftware game. However, there's a lot in Elden Ring (like discovering a random cave in the corner of a vast field with a miniboss in it) that I wish it would jot down a name, some small details, and a marker when I find it if I don't finish it so I didn't have to do that myself outside the game.

              At least bring back the game manual with a section of pages in the back for notes like 1990s Nintendo games in that case. :(

              • reply
                February 25, 2022 7:42 AM

                make special gamer mode for people whose identity depends on the masochism.

                us boring fucks can have a quest log

            • reply
              February 25, 2022 12:56 PM

              This isn't true lol

              i literally had an npc ask me to go clear out an encampment and come back, and I came back and he gave me a reward.

              If that's not a quest idk what is lol

              • reply
                February 25, 2022 1:09 PM

                It's brilliant because there's no quest log

                Head explode

        • reply
          February 25, 2022 10:07 AM

          Thats how video games used to be. I had whole notepads full of home made maps and notes from the SSI gold box D&D games.

        • reply
          February 25, 2022 1:38 PM

          those people aren't playing games they're playing excel spreadsheets that are dressed up in the clothing and graphics of games they used to play. just admit you don't have fucking time or energy for those types of games anymore and excuse yourself from discussion of them. it happens.

      • reply
        February 25, 2022 6:45 AM

        If there’s one thing that can be counted on in this world, it’s a certain somebody believing they’re right and that everyone else is the problem.

    • reply
      February 25, 2022 3:30 AM

      You bliddy fool!

    • reply
      February 25, 2022 6:13 AM

      What’s the one in the header DAMN

    • reply
      February 25, 2022 6:51 AM

      I am using a Galaxy S22 Ultra. I love it I can take the pen out and just start writing.

      Already used ot to chart my way through a mess of skeletons and some wolves and then found a boss oops.

    • reply
      February 25, 2022 10:28 AM

      This is great. :D

    • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      February 25, 2022 4:36 PM

      I'm not worrying about it, once I progress further through the game I'll look up a list of Grace sites and boss fights and make sure I've done them all. That's a good enough approximation of seeing everything.

Hello, Meet Lola