Step outside. Now take a short stroll almost everywhere. It’s likely that more than 90% of you have encountered a body of moving water, such as a river, brook, or stream. You’ll start to notice something if you do the same thing in Elden Ring: there is a lot of water, but not many rivers. And what’s even stranger is that it’s taken players over a year to recognize it.
There are a lot of lakes, ponds, and marshes in the Lands Between, but “no actual rivers, streams, reed beds, and lovely riverbanks,” wrote user Economics Various in a post to the Elden Ring subreddit. The watersheds of the continent are very illogical when you look at them.
There is nowhere for the water from all of those ponds and lakes to go. Depending on the weather, they should all be drying up or falling to the ground, but instead, they’re all just sitting there, serene, ideal, and completely unreal.
What about Ainsel and Siofra Rivers? is presumably being shouted by a lot of Redditors and maybe just as many readers. Although the names of such places also include the word “river,” they are hardly rivers in the conventional sense.
According to the distance required to get there, both are located many meters beneath, and the Siofra River resembles more of a swamp with water entering from above but not really flowing horizontally. The same is true of the Ainsel River, where the majority of the water simply cascades over a waterfall between colonies of enormous ants.
There is no water in the Volcano, Caelid, or Altus Plateau regions. The “river” that separates Limgrave from the Weeping Peninsula is really simply a small portion of the sea.
While the Mountaintop of the Giants may have a river connecting the Freezing Lake and the Consecrated Snowfield, it is frozen over and not actually flowing water, and Raya Lucaria is just one enormous knee-high lake. It’s possible that there is water below, but it isn’t moving because if it were, the lake’s ice would have broken.
It’s possible that Agheel Lake and the area of the sea just south of the Divine Tower of Limgrave were formerly connected by a river, but Murkwater Catacombs has a huge cliff that cuts it in half. In addition, the region appears to be more like a fjord where water has simply accumulated at the bottom rather than a river-formed area. Either the Lands Between once possessed massive glaciers, or, more likely, strong forces tore the continent asunder.
The dearth of rivers in the Lands Between, according to some fans in the same Reddit thread, is symbolic of the stagnation that has overtaken the region, while others argue that FromSoftware simply found it too challenging to animate. In any case, rivers strangely don’t exist in Elden Ring.