Have you spent a long time murdering eagles and other assorted avians in Elden Ring, only to walk away with a pouch full of mostly bird feathers—and a flock that’s largely flown away? That’s certainly been my experience trying to get the drops needed to craft Gold Pickled Fowl Foot, the go-to item that boosts rune drops. And it makes sense that they would be kinda rare, since runes are used for everything from leveling up to purchasing equipment and beefing up abilities. But you don’t have to do all that to boost or farm your rune drops!
No, there’s a much easier way, provided you have an internet connection. Elden Ring features something called groups, where you can set a password to ensure that you only see the vestiges of the people in your exclusive club. Enrolling in one has a variety of benefits, like reducing the number of troll messages that might make you miss important bits of the game or accidentally lead you to death. Depending on your tolerance and appetite for suffering, higher-quality messages may or may not improve the game—hilariously, some players consider the communal hazing a key part of the experience. As much as I’ve hated walking off a cliff in search of an item that doesn’t exist, it feels strange to consider what the game would be like without ever having done that.
What I didn’t know, though, is that being a part of a group also rewards you any time that someone in your group accomplishes a big feat, like becoming the Elden Lord or defeating a Shardbearer. Everyone benefits! When this happens, your game will display a message and your character will start emitting a gold glow, much like they would had you wolfed down a bird leg. You can tell it’s active by looking at the top left corner; if there’s a little yellow claw, you’ve got it. Except you didn’t have to do a damn thing to get the buff. Nice.
Now you might be asking, “Wait a minute, how exactly am I relying on, or even optimizing for, something that will (or maybe won’t) happen completely randomly? Isn’t becoming Elden Lord or clearing a boss kind of rare?” You, my friend, will be playing a numbers game. Fortunately Elden Ring lets you join up to five groups, as long as you have the password for them. And there are plenty of them out there for you to benefit from.
Right now, I’m running with lore YouTuber VaatiVidya’s “SEEKERS” group, the Elden Ring’s Wiki’s “FEXTRA” group, and the Elden Ring subreddit’s “straydmn” group. There are other groups out there too, so I suggest searching around and joining like-minded people. To input these passwords, you simply press start, go down to “Multiplayer,” and then press the appropriate button for Settings. You should get a prompt to input the password. Do not look at the multiplayer section under settings, that’s different!
And if you’re curious: I’m not perpetually awash in gold, no. But it’s active a a good deal of the time, and like I said, I don’t have to do anything to reap the benefits. From what I can see, you get maybe around 30% more runes this way, a big chunk of change.
If you do want to make an effort when you see the buff, early- to mid-game my best suggestion would be to spawn by the Warmaster’s Shack in Stormhill. If you gallop behind it, into the area with a handful of giants, each one drops about 1k runes, or 1.3K runes with the boost—and they’re pretty easy to kill on horseback. Spawn in a couple of times, and you’ve got a pretty decent farm. The area also has an extensive cliffside full of eagles, so you can double up and try your luck at some bird feet, too, for times that you want to activate the boost intentionally.
Or just play the game like you normally would, make a little bit more while doing it, and maybe find some illusory walls along the way. Being a part of a club has its perks.