Evolution of the Estus Flask from Demon's Souls to Elden Ring


The Estus Flask has become a mainstay of the FromSoftware catalog, with versions of this healing item appearing throughout the Dark Souls series and all the way up to Elden Ring. However, each iteration on the Estus Flask or similar healing items has not remained stagnant from one game to the next, with Elden Ring‘s Crimson and Cerulean Tear flasks being the culmination of years of progressive evolution.


Starting from Demon’s Souls, the FromSoftware formula has sometimes struggled with giving players a way to heal damage without trivializing the punishment of being hit by an enemy. The developer has since come a long way up until Elden Ring, with entire game economies being built around making sure that these health items are available, but still slightly limited.

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Demon’s Souls’ Farmable Grass

The first attempt at healing items in the original Souls title didn’t quite hit the mark. This is mostly because instead of using a refillable flask that could heal a limited number of times per area reset, FromSoftware just ran with standard consumable items. These were the grasses that all held names related to the moon, like Crescent Moon Grass or Full Moon Grass. While these were industry standard at the time, they held the deficit of punishing struggling players with the need to grind healing materials in order to survive. Likewise, this also meant that a few hours of grinding up grass would trivialize most boss encounters.

Dark Souls’ Original Estus Flask

dark souls estus flask drink feature

Moving on from Demon’s Souls to Dark Souls, this was the start of the Estus Flask as players know it today. This is still one of the most accessible healing items among the FromSoftware lineup, thanks to how quickly and easily it can be upgraded right from the start of the game. Not only are a few of the Fire Keeper Souls that increase the restoration of the Estus Flask near the start, but bonfires can immediately be buffed to give players ten or more flasks at the cost of a couple humanity. The result is a great system for adjusting the difficulty to the needs of the player.

Dark Souls 2’s Life Gems

dark souls 2 key art

The Estus Flask does appear in Dark Souls 2 and is about as useful as it is in any other title. However, this divisive title took a risky chance on how to limit the use of the flask itself, by making the item heal the player slowly over time instead of all at once when the animation finishes. This is supplemented by life gems, which also heal over time, but can be held in much greater numbers than the standard uses of flasks. It all comes together to give players the survivability needed to make it from bonfire to bonfire, without trivializing a heart-pounding boss encounter.

Bloodborne’s Blood Vials

blood-being-administered

The blood vials in Bloodborne are often maligned as one of the reasons why it doesn’t stand as the favorite for some fans of the series. Similar to the moon grass in Demon’s Souls, it can punish players who struggle more by making them grind in order to even be able to challenge those bosses again. Although, the carry limits do at least mitigate the ability to trivialize bosses and tougher enemy encounters. Fortunately for new or returning players, a popular blood echo farm in the chalice dungeons can at least remove the need to farm for blood vials.

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Sekiro’s Healing Gourds

gourd seed guide

Even though Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the largest deviation from the regular FromSoftware formula, its healing item was a return to form of sorts. The Healing Gourd starts off as the most limited healing item of them all, but it does allow for some of the best progression in the series with the Gourd Seeds that act like the Estus Shards from Dark Souls 2. However, to blow most versions of the Estus Flask out of the water, the Healing Gourd doesn’t come alone, as it includes variants that will cure and boost resistances to status effects like poison and terror.

Dark Souls 3’s Multicolored Estus Flasks

normal estus and ashen estus flasks.

The Estus Flask in Dark Souls 3 is a combination of the ones seen in Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. Namely, it takes the instant activation from the original game, with the Estus Shard and Undead Bone Ash upgrade materials from the second entry in the series. However, what helps this new Estus Flask stand out is the fact that there are actually two of them, one that recovers health, and a second that recovers spent FP that is used for magic and weapon arts. This double flask isn’t a blanket upgrade for players, though, as it requires careful management to make sure that each build has enough health and magic recovery to be able to both survive and attack consistently.

Elden Ring’s Refillable Flasks of Tears

elden ring flasks

In most games in the FromSoftware catalog, the flask only refills when resting at a bonfire. However, Elden Ring‘s Flasks of Tears are unique in that they can be replenished by either killing crimson and cerulean scarabs or finishing groups of enemies in the open field. It’s a great method to keep players engaged with the enemies out in the open world segments, as well as allow players to recover flask uses during even Legacy Dungeons by strategically placing scarabs around.

Taking notes from previous games, Elden Ring also uses upgrade materials similar to the Estus Shards and Undead Bone Shards. In this case, players can hunt down Sacred Tears in order to increase the recovery of both flasks, while Golden Seeds are the key to increasing the number of uses for either flask. The only downside to the way that these materials have been implemented in Elden Ring is the fact that Golden Seeds stop adding flask uses one at a time, and start requiring up to five for the last few upgrades. Otherwise, the Flasks of Crimson and Cerulean Tears make the best use of the long evolution of healing items that have continued to improve across each of FromSoftware’s games.

Elden Ring is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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