Update: FromSoftware has asked players for "patience" (opens in new tab) as it works on fixing and improving launch day performance issues.
Original story: For most of my initial time with Elden Ring (opens in new tab) I was experiencing severe framerate drops—some of these drops would see the framerate drop to less than half the average and even to 0fps at times. This seemed to have very little correlation to what was actually happening on screen, either.
To try and get to the bottom of this I tried every graphical setting and preset, though nothing seemed to mitigate the issue. I even left my game running, with my character stood stationary in the world, for over 25 minutes to see when and why the stuttering occurred. There wasn't any obvious reason for it. No enemies crossed my path, and the only real variable during run was the day and night cycle. Though the stuttering didn't appear to match up in any way that convinced me it was due to that in some way.
Our best guess was some form of DRM was causing this stuttering, as no adjusting of any preset of individual setting appeared to prevent or lessen it. Though DRM is often blamed for these launch-day jitters, and often without much evidence to support those claims. So we'll just stick with: we weren't really sure what was going on.
Above: An example of Elden Ring's stuttering on version 1.01.
Now that's not great, but the good news is that while you may have heard about some stuttering in the run-up to the game's launch, or even if you didn't, it's not necessarily going to be quite so bad when you're playing the game for yourself.
The stuttering issues I initially faced were with version 1.01 of the game. That's the pre-release version without the day-one patch. The day-one patch brings you to version 1.02 (opens in new tab). Bandai Namco told us this was to directly fix some of the stuttering issues in the game, and many of us playing on team, including myself, have noticed these jarring stutters have ceased.
“Elden Ring’s Day 1 patch (ver.1.02) will improve overall game stability including framerate under circumstances where it may have stuttered or dropped in the pre-release version (ver.1.01) of the game," Bandai Namco said.(opens in new tab)
Though that's not to say the game is entirely stutter free. Be it DirectX 12 (which has been known to cause issues, especially early on in a game's lifetime) or some other issue entirely, Elden Ring does sometimes stutter in new areas or when facing new enemies. For example, I recently fell down a big hole, and in the first few moments after being down there, my game's framerate dropped to a near-standstill at least three times. It's a little distracting when you're trying your best not to die, and, being a FromSoftware game, there were lots of nasty lads in said hole that were trying to kill me.
Below: An example of Elden Ring's less common stuttering on version 1.02.
Digital Foundry (opens in new tab) corroborates our experience in its testing. It also found that the game suffers from frequent stuttering on the new patch. "As it currently stands, the PC version using the latest 1.02 patch has a number of issues that will affect all hardware configurations on all graphical settings presets."
Still, it's a much better experience than version 1.01, and here's hoping future patches do as much good. If you're playing offline and notice severe, perhaps unexplained stuttering you might need to grab the 13GB version 1.02 patch. That should be the version most of you download, but perhaps if you preloaded the game early (opens in new tab) there's still a chance you're running the older game version.
You can check which version of the game you're running in the main menu, down in the bottom right-hand side of the screen.
Elden Ring guide (opens in new tab): Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses (opens in new tab): How to beat them
Elden Ring dungeons (opens in new tab): How to defeat them
Elden Ring paintings (opens in new tab): Solutions and locations
Elden Ring map fragments (opens in new tab): Reveal the world
Elden Ring co-op (opens in new tab): How to squad up online