Boss fights in Elden Ring are common, ranging from small-scale affairs in coves, caves and catacombs to incredibly intense boss fights in the ancient dungeons. However, there are other boss battles in both mid-tier dungeons and out in the open world. While many players got the chance to take on a dragon in the network test, in our time we encountered a new kind of open field boss featuring Elden Ring, a ghostly sailor in the middle of a shallow lake. There’s no indication that you’ll be going into a boss fight, other than some fairly serious environmental cues. If you’re exploring organically, you may have also come across the NPC “D” nearby, who hunts the undead and warns you that this small town has been infested by this ghostly devil. Furthermore, there is simply a large shallow lake with a glowing boat in the middle. It’s pretty safe to assume you’re wandering in dangerous territory, but it’s certainly possible to be oblivious to everything around you and wander into the middle of the lake.
So what makes this different from a standard boss arena fight? First, there’s a lot more room to traverse; it’s a big lake. Movement is severely restricted due to the nature of the water, so it may be helpful to use some small patches of land for rest if you choose to fight on foot. Fighting on the spectral steed helps greatly alleviate the impediment to your mobility and also allows you to manage the fight much better overall – but you’ll have to accept that fighting on Torrent is much different than standard melee combat. To get the hang of how my weapon would strike in terms of timing and positioning, I had to swing some air as my blows kissed the air, but in the end I wove in and out of combat with ease and dealt the Mariner in his boat some serious blows. .
The improved mobility while driving on Torrent is a big boon in this battle thanks to the Mariner’s moveset. Like many necromantic creations throughout history, the Bonebeckoner Mariner summons a legion of diverse skeletons to round up and harass you. These skeleton additions can seem endless and take up a lot of space, sort of a small version of Rom the Vacuous Spider’s spider hordes in Bloodborne. The Mariner can also lift the boat high into the air and make it crash, a disaster if you’re below or in a radius. The resulting crashing wave inflicts significant damage and can send you further into the lake, setting off a brutal chain reaction where you can find no footing and be attacked by a skeletal tide. However, the crashing wave can also damage and kill the skeletons, so you can lure the Mariner into a giant splash and get out of the way, put the army in range to take it out and give you some time to take in some hits after the boat lands.
Torrent makes this kind of fight a lot more manageable. The open-field areas of Elden Ring contain battles designed to trip the player into and possibly others that you must activate by fulfilling certain conditions.
Of course, this battle is absolutely optional, although defeating it yields a useful ghost summoning spell, the Skeletal Militiamen, and some other objects of interest to our undead hunter friend known as “D”. Speaking to D at the Roundtable Hold hub after this event, he marked our map in red with an interesting location, but we didn’t have the opportunity to go see it.