I am easily irritated and occasionally petty, and I think I have a new hero: An Elden Ring player who spent literally hours hiding in a bush just to mess with an AFK farmer who pissed him off.
AFK farming in Elden Ring works like this: Players use Torrent the horse-goat to get to places that can't be reached on foot, then use the Taunter's Tongue item to summon other players into their game, purportedly for PvP combat. But because Torrent isn't available in multiplayer, the invited combatants can't reach the farmer. When they eventually give up and disconnect, the farmer gets some runes for the "victory," even if they're alt-tabbed out of the game, or out of the room entirely.
Some players are able to reverse-farm the AFK farmers, but Teasnarker took it a step further. After invading an AFK farmer "five fucking times in a row," as they put it, they decided that something needed to be done to halt the shenanigans. The farmer was out of reach and couldn't be dealt with directly, so Teasnarker took a different approach.
"After four pointless invasions I'd had enough," they wrote on Reddit. "I decided that this host wouldn't get a single rune more from me. So when hunters showed up, I ran away and put on the mimic's veil in a bush. And I hid there. The bush enfolded and protected me."
And then they refused to leave.
The Mimic's Veil in Elden Ring is a multiplayer item that enables players to mimic nearby objects, not unlike the Typhon Mimics in Prey. It's an important piece of the puzzle here, because it means that invaders (in this particular case, Teasnarker) can much more effectively hide from hunters—other Elden RIng players who are summoned to help the "victim" during an invasion. AFK farmers get nothing when hunters give up and leave: It's only when the invader is dealt with, one way or another, that runes are "earned." By refusing to leave, Teasnarker was ensuring that the AFK farmer was wasting their time.
The obvious downside to this strategy is that it requires the invader to stay connected in order to deny the farmer their ill-gotten runes, but that's apparently not a problem for Teansnarker, who claimed to have been in the game for three hours when they posted about it.
"Since then, I've seen entire generations of hunters and invaders come and go, and throughout it all, I've remained in the bush," they wrote. "The bush is my home now. I'm not coming out. You can't make me come out."
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Elden Ring map fragments: Reveal the world
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Elden Ring Smithing Stone: Upgrade your gear
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Elden Ring classes: Which to choose
As a nice bonus, Teasnarker is even earning a few runes for their trouble—"AFK farming the AFK farmer," as they put it.
"Every time a hunter gets killed or disconnects, I get runes and a furled finger," they said. "And the host is going to come back to fewer runes than he was expecting, because one of his invader slots is being permanently taken up by me, crouching in my bush.
"I like it in here. There are rocks and leaves and sometimes a bug flies by to keep me company. If you invade an AFK farmer and have some time on your hands, I fully recommend doing this, but you have to pick a different bush. This one is mine."
It's possible that this tale of an invader and his bush is apocryphal—Teasnarker even hinted at it, saying in an update that people who question his claim of being in that bush even at this very moment "probably got a kick out of telling all the other kids there was no Santa Claus"—but even if it is, I don't mind. It's funny, it's cranky, and it's absolutely the sort of penny-ante hosejob that AFK farmers deserve. I don't do much Elden Ring multiplayer, but if I ever run into an AFK farmer myself, you better believe that I'm going to find myself a bush—and then I'm going to go outside for a while.