Among the scores of monsters and traps designed to kill Elden Ring players, an inconspicuous hole in the tutorial area proved to be the deadliest aspect of the game’s preview build.
Over the weekend, everyone lucky enough to receive an invite to the Elden Ring closed network test got their first taste of From Software’s upcoming Dark Souls successor. It was pretty good, even if reaching the end awakened an unsettling, primal hunger for more in me that won’t be satiated until the game launches next year.
Elden Ring’s network test opened in a cave with only two options for your pre-built character: move forward to the open world or drop down into a separate area to learn more about the game. I chose to check out the tutorial to make sure I was familiar with the updated controls and, eventually, found myself spit out on a ledge right above where I started. That’s when I saw the bloodstains.
As in Dark Souls, bloodstains in Elden Ring show where players died. Interacting with a bloodstain activates a ghostly figure of your fellow adventurer’s last few seconds alive, sometimes providing hints of future dangers. The post-tutorial ledge was covered in bloodstains, meaning something around here was killing players off en masse. I approached the area ready to beat a hasty retreat, thinking there must be a nasty, From Software-style surprise waiting for me.
Nope, turns out folks were just accidentally falling back into the tutorial hole, which from this height was more than enough to kill them.
And unlike Bloodborne hunters leaving bloodstains all over the hub area on purpose, I genuinely believe Elden Ring players didn’t see the hole. It’s not immediately obvious where you end up after the tutorial and the cave’s low light makes it hard to notice the gaping chasm below you even if you’re staring down at the ground. Hell, the bloodstains are probably half the reason why I didn’t take the deadly plunge too.
I fought many fearsome creatures during my short time with Elden Ring, from bats and crabs to dragons and giants. But none seemed to accumulate the immense body count of this simple hole. Not even the area before the preview’s final boss, a big jerk named Margit the Fell Omen, had as many bloodstains as that ledge. It’s just more proof that gravity will be one of Elden Ring’s most dangerous foes.