Dragon Fights Have Always Sucked In Elden Ring, And I’m Tired Of Pretending They Don’t

FromSoftware really needs to change its dragon formula for its next title.

Story Highlights

  • Dragon fights in Elden Ring are filled with annoyances that make these encounters a chore.
  • Shadow of the Erdtree doesn’t make any changes to the regular formula.
  • There’s an entire area dedicated to fighting dragons that makes these issues even more apparent.

Elden Ring features a whole array of exciting and challenging enemies to fight, all the way from giant gargoyles to knights on steeds. But the one type of encounter that’s constantly been the bane of my existence is the dragon fights.

Yes, all of them.

There are more than a dozen dragon bosses in Elden Ring. And I genuinely think almost all of them are just a slog to get through. Before anyone tells me to “git gud” as Souls fans usually do, I’d like to clarify that these fights aren’t really hard. Not any more than what the game usually throws at you.

But the fact is that they’re just plain annoying to go through. And with the DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, throwing one dragon fight at you after the next, it’s time we address these issues because FromSoftware clearly isn’t planning to.

  • About the Author: Danish Bukhari is a long-time fan of the Soulslike genre. He specifically loves Elden Ring, having invested over 150 hours in the title. 

Spectacle Over Substance

I doubt anyone can forget facing their first dragon in Elden Ring. You’re a newbie, just taking your first steps in Limgrave. Then suddenly, a massive flying behemoth crashes onto the ground. It’s a spectacle that feels epic, but that’s all it is: a spectacle. The game never progresses to a point from that first dragon fight’s mechanics. Almost 90% of the dragons you fight in this game are copies of that initial encounter, with some adjustments.

Flying Dragon Agheel Is One Of The First Bosses You Face In Elden Ring (via FromSoftware).
Flying Dragon Agheel Is One Of The First Bosses You Face In Elden Ring (via FromSoftware).

And so, while the thrill and excitement of seeing a dragon crash land into the ground as you run across the field to battle is exciting for the first time, it gets seriously tiring after your 10th dragon. This is especially because the main issue is simply that these enemies are not fun to fight against. There’s a whole slew of reasons why this is the case.

Have Fun Fighting Against Feet

Most of the time, fighting a dragon in Elden Ring usually means that you’ll be stabbing away at its feet over and over again. Then, the dragon will likely fly away, and you’ll have to chase after it and repeat the process. It doesn’t help that these bosses have a hugely inflated health pool, making the experience that much more tiring. But it gets even worse. 

Dragon fights are extremely poorly designed in this game
byu/biglipid inEldenring

Because FromSoftware’s idea of difficulty when handling these encounters is to load them up with more and more abilities and mechanics. It’s gotten to the point that in Shadow of the Erdtree, we’ve got the Ghostflame Dragon. This guy spews flame attacks at you constantly. Whenever it stamps its feet on the ground, a shockwave of “ghostflame” flies out, taking away the few openings you could’ve otherwise had at chipping away its massive health bar.

The worst part is that this same boss is repeated three times in the DLC. And to make the fight more “exciting,” FromSoftware decided to pair it up with additional enemies the second and third time around. So while you’re facing an enemy that you can barely even see, you’ve also got to deal with tons of random soldiers picking away at you, instead of dealing with the massive dragon that’s right in front of them.

Can’t Beat What You Can’t See

This a problem that extends to almost every oversized boss in this game. But basically, any time you have to go against something that’s multiple times bigger than your character, the game just doesn’t work as well. You can’t dodge an attack if you’re locked onto an enemy’s leg and can’t see the rest of their oversized body. Elden Ring and other Souls titles work best when you’re fighting with enemies on equal footing.

Farum Azula First Dragon
byu/ayeeeemurdock inEldenring

Again, having these fights spread out can make you overlook the glaring design faults in the name of spectacle. But FromSoftware’s insistence on overusing dragons makes facing these enemies a chore. Hopefully, in whatever Soulslike title they work on after Elden Ring, they can figure out how to make dragons, and oversized fights in general more engaging. At the very least, giving us an FOV slider can help alleviate a ton of these issues.

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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