Elden Ring speedrunners race to the bottom

Ring of Elden is so huge and its bosses are so tough that the average player will probably take over 60 hours to beat it. But speedrunners, aided by a few traditional speedrun tricks and the game’s open design, managed to beat the sprawling game in under 30 minutes.

For a speedrunning enthusiast, the early days of a game’s release are extremely exciting. New techniques and optimizations are constantly being discovered, as boss behaviors and the racer’s own luck work with or against them, making almost every race a possible world record. While each rider is ostensibly competing against the clock, two riders have emerged in the Ring of Elden speed community, each race to show lower and lower times.

Lil Aggy is a popular member of the souls speedrunning community, racing at Games Done Quick events and placing second in a number of categories for Sekiro: Shadows die twice. He was the first to post a Ring of Elden speedrun of less than an hour.

“The main problem in racing right now is something called bad warping,” he explained to The edge.

To achieve this incredibly short time, Runners cheat the game through Grace Sites to teleport them to Crumbling Farum Azula, an endgame dungeon. There they can access the boss battles needed to complete the game at the same time it takes regular players to acquire Torrent.

But there’s an extremely wide and deadly chasm between getting to the final bosses and defeating them when you’re a fresh-faced Terni.

“The general strategy right now is mostly to abuse a very powerful Ash of War called Hoarfrost Stomp to roll bosses as a relatively low level character,” he said. Hoarfrost Stomp is an ability found in Caria Manor (you know, that beautiful place where all the finger spiders are!) and it’s the weapon skill of the Icerind hatchet. It covers the ground with spikes of ice that explode, stunning and damaging enemies.

From there, Aggy’s race was to abuse the save and stop feature to disable the boss AI, spam Hoarfrost Stomp against bosses he couldn’t disrupt, and hope that no wandering enemy shoots him with a lucky hit. After a few unfortunate deaths against the Godskin Duo and Maliketh, The Black Blade, Lil Aggy posted a run of 59:38. It was a world record that lasted only a few hours before another runner beat it by 10 minutes.

Distortion2 is another popular speedrunner in the souls community. Like Aggy, he appeared at GDQs and holds several records and top 10 finishes in FromSoftware games. His YouTube channel features a rapid, almost daily succession of increasingly shorter posts. Ring of Elden speedruns: from 49h29, to 37h15, 36h20, 33h55, and finally, 28h59.

His races feature many of the same elements as Aggy. They both start with the Samurai class and almost immediately run to Liurnia to retrieve the Raya Lucaria Academy Key and the Icerind Hatchet, but overall their strategies differ a bit from Aggy’s. In addition to Hoarfrost Stomp, Distortion2 also uses Royal Knight’s Resolve Ash of War, which massively increases the damage of a player’s next hit, giving them an extra (and notably faster) advantage in combat.

His progress in less than 30 minutes has some of the same pitfalls as Aggy, in that he will sometimes get caught by a random enemy that he runs. There are also issues with the Godskin Duo fight as these enemies sometimes punch him through objects and shoot him.

It’s important to note that while these “world records” are extraordinarily impressive, they are technically not official. Speedrun.com, the widely accepted authority on video game speedrunning, has decided to keep the rankings for Ring of Elden closed until March 18. This, according to a mod post on the forum, “is to give checkers enough time to create an appropriate set of rules, as well as decide on the appropriate timing method and categories.” When the leaderboards are officially open, Distortion2 and Lil Aggy may submit new or even shorter series for review.

Distortion2 believes that this particular category of Ring of Elden speedrunning can go even lower if runners can figure out how to make a specific problem more reliable. The issue appears to be a teleport bug where blocking and moving at the same time can randomly throw a character great distances.

In the video, Distortion2 uses the glitch to circumvent the Godskin Duo fight which, in these early days of Ring of Elden speedrunning, is a mandatory (and extremely deadly) boss fight. The only reason it’s currently not implemented in runtimes is that it’s very unreliable. Distortion2 hopes glitch hunters can figure out how to make it work consistently, which could make the game’s speedruns even shorter than 30 minutes.

“This glitch could honestly be one of the most game-changing things ever in a souls game for speedrunning,” he says in the video.