While the rest of us are timidly exploring the forests of Limgrave for the first time, Elden Ring speedrunners are working out how to annihilate the Lands Between in record time.
Some of the time-honored, hacky strats from elder Soulsborne games are already being replicated. One trick, called the "deathcam", is a foundational glitch in what I think is one of the coolest Dark Souls skips from the original game. Activating the death camera by jumping off places that almost (but don't quite) kill you can sometimes be used to bypass obstacles—gates or fog walls that the game won't load while it assumes you're dead.
The real headache is hunting down these magical spots where you can take a not-quite-lethal leap of faith. In Elden Ring, speedrunner Ginz managed to find just such a spot off the edge of a broken bridge in Liurnia. They don't manage to climb back out of this dangerous perch without falling, but it's proof that the deathcam glitch is definitely still on the table.
Other players have been calling out additional deathcam glitch locations, like the one found by Zelkys (opens in new tab) in Greyoll's Dragonbarrow, and another bridge fall found by Electric Spark. It seems like Elden Ring's open world may have a lot more of these useful spots than the tight corridors of Souls games. The next order of business will be sorting out a practical application for the deathcam in Elden Ring and what speedrunners can skip past by using it.
Aside from glitching through the world with deathcam-powered skips, another crucially important part of playing Elden Ring quickly will be killing its bosses as fast as possible.
In Dark Souls games, runners sometimes pull this off with a trick called "moveswap," a glitch that transfers the attacks from one weapon to another in order to increase damage. In Elden Ring, speedrunner YoJosherino figured out how to use a sword like a huge hammer with the same glitch.
Another speedrunner Treeho showed off more examples, turning all sorts of unlikely equippables into warhammers, including a torch.
Some bosses (in Souls and in Elden Ring) are so tricky that fighting them even with glitched weapons is a chore. Late last year, Dark Souls speedrunners coined the AFK glitch, which is a way of entering a fight with a boss's AI temporarily suspended, effectively hitting pause on their brains. An Elden Ring player achieved something similar, though they report they pulled it off by parkouring their way into the boss's area early, rather than with the glitch used in Dark Souls.
Souls series speedruns are absolutely fascinating and I'm certain that Elden Ring will be equally interesting to see players pick apart over time. I don't know when the tricky Speedsouls players will conquer a complete Elden Ring run, but they're already busy getting all the usual tools in place.
Speedsouls, the community of players dedicated to speedrunning FromSoftware games, will track records for Elden Ring on speedrun.com. There's nothing to see there just yet, but speedrunning fiends are already working in the background to surface these tricks and glitches that will get them through the game quicker.
Elden Ring guide: Conquer the Lands Between
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Elden Ring dungeons: How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings: Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments: Reveal the world
Elden Ring co-op: How to squad up online