Dart Souls

How an Elden Ring speedrunner beat the game in 30 minutes

The ultimate answer is that time is convoluted.

It took me about 100 hours to finally become the Elden Lord in FromSoftware’s new hit game, Elden Ring, yet one determined speedrunner who goes by Distortion2 has already managed to roll credits in less than 1/200th of my playtime. How did he pull it off? With the sprint button, of course!

Bad jokes aside, it is legitimately impressive that runners like Distortion2 have managed to crack the game to this level so quickly. Of course, it helps that many of the techniques that runners use to slice their way through the game have also been present in previous FromSoftware games, such as Bloodborne and Dark Souls. Still, some of the tricks that Distortion uses in the video are absolutely mind-boggling.

The main glitch that Distortion uses to skip to the end of the game is called a "wrong warp," and it's a speedrunning classic. Basically, when you quit Elden Ring and load the game again, you don't always end up in exactly the same location. Clever speedrunners figure out ways to fool the game into shunting them into a certain route.

As such, the first ten minutes of the run is basically just Distortion grabbing the spectral steed Torrent and making a beeline to an area of the game know as the Four Belfries. One of these belfries teleports the player to a secret zone in an endgame area called Crumbling Farum Azula. Normally, the player wouldn't be able to access the rest of Farum Azula from this zone, but thanks to the wrong warp, Distortion fools the game into depositing them right at the entrance.

From there, Distortion enters the Academy of Raya Lucaria and purposefully dies to a certain enemy in order to be whisked away to the Volcano Manor. There, Distortion collects a bundle of necessary resources, as well as killing a tough boss called Godskin Noble. The Noble's fearsome moveset isn't a problem for Distortion, however, because they use another save and quit glitch to turn off the boss's AI. Turns out the boss is a lot easier when it just sits there and takes your hits.

Past that, Distortion upgrades an axe called the Icerind Hatchet quite a few times, then proceeds to defeat the rest of the endgame bosses. (We won't reveal their identities here for the sake of spoilers.) The hatchet's weapon art, Hoarfrost Stomp, is a giant area-of-effect floor wave that carves up the bad guys relatively easily, but it still takes a lot of dodging on Distortion’s part. By the way, Distortion uses another wrong warp trick to simply walk past the penultimate boss entirely. Not bad.

Over the past few days, Distortion has beaten their own world record no less than five times. Ironically, the leaderboards on Speedrun.com aren't even open for the game yet, so we don't have a good idea of what categories speedrunners will want to compete in yet. Either way, the fact that any-percent runs are this fast not even a month after launch is staggering, and we'll have to see if Distortion continues to improve on this time.