Go outside. Now walk basically anywhere for a little while. More than 90 percent of you have probably come across a body of moving water, whether that be a river, a brook, or a stream. Do the same thing in Elden Ring and you’ll start to notice something; there’s plenty of water, but there are very few rivers. And what’s wild is that it’s taken almost a year for players to realize it.
A post to the Elden Ring subreddit from user Economics_Various noted just how many lakes, ponds, and swamps you can find in the Lands Between, "but no real rivers, streams, reed beds, and idyllic riverbanks." When you look at it, the continent's watersheds make absolutely no sense. All those ponds and lakes have nowhere for their water to go. They should all dry up or floor depending on the weather, and yet they're all just sitting there, placid, perfect, and utterly unreal.
Many Redditors and likely just as many readers are probably shouting, "what about Ainsel and Siofra Rivers?" While those locations both have "river" in the name, they're hardly rivers in the traditional sense. Both are located many meters underground, judging by the distance one travels to get there, and Siofra River is more like a wetland with water pouring in from above but not really traveling horizontally. The same can be said for Ainsel River, where most of the water there just tumbles over a waterfall in between hives of giant ants.
Altus Plateau, Caelid, and the Volcano areas have zero water. The "river" between Limgrave and the Weeping Peninsula is just a sliver of the sea that keeps the two landmasses apart. Raya Lucaria is just one massive knee-high lake, and while the Mountaintop of the Giants might have a river connecting the Freezing Lake and the Consecrated Snowfield, it's frozen over and not actually running water. Perhaps there's water underneath, but it's not actually going anywhere, otherwise, the lake's ice would have collapsed.
Limgrave may have had a river at one point connecting Agheel Lake to the area of the sea just south of the Divine Tower of Limgrave, but there's a giant cliff that bisects it at Murkwater Catacombs. And besides, the area looks less like it was created by a river and more like it's a fjord where water has simply settled at the bottom. Either the Lands Between had enormous glaciers in the past, or more likely, powerful forces rent the continent like an earthquake.
Some fans in the same Reddit thread are suggesting the lack of rivers is representative of the stagnation that has gripped the Lands Between, while others are suggesting that it was just too difficult for FromSoftware to animate. Either way, Elden Ring is mysteriously devoid of rivers.
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