In Ring of Elden, he is killed or be killed — brutally. The game is designed to put you on the defensive, ready to unleash before you yourself can be whipped. But this mindset of shoot first, ask questions later led to an event that I truly and deeply regret. I killed a dragon, and I feel really bad about it.
In Ring of Elden, even the cursed flowers are dangerous, but contrary to the reputation of the game, not everything in the Lands Between wants to kill you. There are those cute scurrying rodents and yummy little donut-rolling sheep that only exist to bleat you when you pass them by Torrent. I’ve had so many peaceful moments sitting on the edge of a cliff, gazing in wondrous awe at the golden Erdtree with a summoning of eagles for company. I would never think of killing one of these creatures because, on the one hand, they are worth a pitiful amount of runes, and on the other hand, they are harmless. (Editor’s note: kill the calm and wise old turtles should be punished by a complete restart of the game, even if it is an accident.)
Dragons do not inspire such respect. Dragons are assholes. So when a friend told me that there are a lot of runes you need to easily kill a dragon, I was all ears. He told me to bring a weapon that would cause the bleeding status effect, showed me the location on the map, and sent me away. I found the sleeping dragon in Caelid, the nearest place Ring of Elden must live in hell. It was a huge creature, five times bigger than the little dragons that roamed around it. I had to be very careful, mortally afraid that assaulting one of the smaller ones would wake up the big one. As instructed, I snuck up to the dragon’s tail and started moaning at it.
The dragon did not move. It didn’t seem to register the little human astrologer with the samurai sword shoving him into the butt, much like how I don’t really notice a mosquito bite until long after it’s gone. I had been warned that the dragon’s roar would cause the smaller ones to fall on me, but that didn’t happen. He only roared once, affecting me with a few debuffs, but I remained unscathed as I slowly reduced his massive health to nothing, with the bleed effect removing large chunks at regular intervals.
Then the dragon died with barely a moan to mark its passage, and I felt like the the biggest piece of shit.
That wasn’t how the dragons in Ring of Elden behaved. I’ve already defeated Limgrave’s dragon falling in the “surprise motherfucker” style of players, and attempted to fight Glitterstone’s dragon in Liurnia before its magic blast exploded my pathetic ass. I expected to run for my life the minute that dragon showed an ounce of fighting, and it never did, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve committed a serious sin.
This error is part of the reason why I should have waited longer before playing Ring of Elden. I wanted to give fans of tarnished lore time to explain what all these creatures are, their motivations, and their plots. It’s unusual for a dragon to let a player kill it unanswered, so now I think I killed a nice creature that’s actually really cool. Maybe he just wanted me to help him cure the plague that infects his children – something I would know if I had done some obscure quest instead of just showing up with a sword. And now I’ve destroyed any chance of solving this storyline and earning some sort of “Friend of Dragons” achievement. I don’t even know his name. When a player attacks a boss in Ring Elden, usually a giant health bar appears at the bottom so you know the name of the enemy who will likely kill you multiple times before you figure it out. This dragon just died, nameless and sad.
Now did I spend my blood money to level up nine levels in one hunk and one of five dragon hearts I earned to get a fancy new dragon incantation?
Did I feel bad about it?
Hell is a real place in Ring of Eldenbut it’s not Caelid — it’s my own soul.