I previously went on and on about the wildlife in Elden Ring, explaining how its bears, wolves, and birds often pose a larger problem for me than its otherworldly bosses. But a group of bloody dogs put everything else in the game to shame.
A nasty breed of undead dog known as the Rotten Stray can be found all throughout the Lands Between, often in vicious packs. While they’re easy to dispatch for the most part as long as you don’t get greedy, a sanguine variation found in Altus Plateau’s Writheblood Ruins bolsters their biting attacks with a bleed effect that can catch you off guard if you’re not careful.
Bleed, like most status effects, builds up slowly through repeated blows and depletes a huge chunk of your health once it reaches its threshold. It’s a pain to fight against, but not something that should happen in the blink of an eye or take you by surprise. As such, the Writheblood Ruins dogs’ overwhelming ability to inflict bleed instantaneously is a terrifying anomaly.
As shown in the video above, these strays appear to be bugged. Their normal attacks work as intended, but for some reason their combos hit way too many times, as indicated by the overlapping sound effects and rapid, nearly instantaneous bleed build-up. Even someone with maxed-out vitality and endurance stats — which govern, among other things, health points and bleed resistance, respectively — while wearing heavy-duty armour can’t survive for more than a couple seconds before haemorrhaging into the next life.
According to user comments on Fextralife, a wiki for info on Elden Ring and other Souls games, Writheblood Ruins was at one point also home to an immortal slime, but I haven’t been able to find footage of this enemy in action. It was apparently fixed with the recent 1.03 patch.
While Elden Ring has its fair share of bugs, that just comes with the territory. Development is difficult even in the best of times, and given the troubles of the last few years, it’s a minor miracle that FromSoftware was able to release something so ambitiously large that still runs pretty well for most people. (It’s certainly no Cyberpunk 2077). Just sit tight and maybe steer clear of this part of the game for the time being.