The latest Elden Ring the world record in speedrun is under 10 minutes now. It involves a metronome, absolutely no match, and in the final seconds of the run, a player torn apart by one of the game’s last bosses. It’s deeply silly and I love it.
Distortion2, a popular Soulsborne speedrunner, has taken the world record in Elden Ring‘s any% unlimited category with a time of 8 minutes and 56 seconds. I have been paying close attention to Distortion2 and his Elden Ring speedrunner colleagues, pretty sure of what to expect in this nearly 9 minute long speedrun. But I started screaming excitedly in the first seconds of speedrun as Distortion2 shot out of the starting area and bypassed the grafted scion boss, the obligatory death and the entire Limgrave area to appear unharmed in Stormveil Castle. The Shenanigans were on.
Elden Ring world records have changed dramatically in the last month. Back in March, I plucked my jaw off the floor after jogging completed in under an hour. Runners teleported to the last dungeon in the game’s opening minutes, using incorrect warp errors and hitting bosses with the massively overpowered Hoarfrost Stomp weapon ability. When FromSoftware depowered Hoarfrost Stomp in a patch, runners lamented the death of the any% category, believing it would be a while before glitch hunters and speedrun routers would find a quick alternative to beating the game’s punishing bosses. down.
They did so when they found a mistake so powerful that it would completely eliminate the need to fight bosses at all. The road to an under 10-minute battleless speedrun involves adjusting the game’s graphical settings and using a metronome to perform what’s known as a zip error. Runners reject Elden Ring‘s graphics to their lowest setting to ensure that the game emits a consistent FPS. Then they turn on a metronome app at 109 beats per minute while in a blocking position, facing the direction they want to go. Players wait four crosses before advancing, and if the trick is performed with the correct timing (hence the metronome), they shoot across the map.
This zip error is the key to everything because it not only allows the player to cope with huge distances previously covered via goat horseback, but also kills boss arenas with bosses still in them, causing them to fall to their deaths. That’s how Distortion2 was able to beat the game without beating a single enemy and bypassing even Malekith, speedrun’s only mandatory boss fight. I’m actually a little upset about this development because one of Distortion2’s previous runs involved fighting Malekith without leveling, the minimum amount of healing flasks, and a +4 Icerind Hatchet. It’s a match where a single hit means instant death with Maliketh’s disgusting speed and brutal injury. Seeing Distortion2 just beat him under all those restrictions was phenomenal thing.
The last, absolutely silly, nail in this eight minute and 56 second coffin is the “boss fight”. At the end of the game, runners use a hard to perform but more powerful zip error to kill the last boss and end the run. Since the zip error allows players to fight bosses in disarray (or not at all), some bosses who would normally be dead are still alive and reappearing. Competing in the last zip error requires a save and exit, and upon restart, the player spawns in space before the final boss arena. There’s a boss there. He is not dead and he is very angry that he has been ignored. So when Distortion2 casts in, he is instantly attacked by this boss, and dies instantly in an ugly-looking grab attack, as God Slain splashes across the screen, indicating that the last boss is dead and speedrun is over. Alexa, games Fight your enthusiasm theme.
Elden Ring is still stuck in the honeymoon phase of speedrunning. The game is fresh enough for new tricks and exploits to emerge daily, pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Eventually, a preferred and consistent strategy will emerge and calcify, creating a plateau of times broken only by the slightest deviations – a faster button press here or a difficult strat performed in the first attempt there. We do not know how long this golden age will last Elden Ring speedrunning will last, or if FromSoftware will patch the relevant errors, starting a new race to the bottom. But right now, the almost daily progress of speedruns with mind-melting glitches and unmanageable times is so much fun to watch. In fact, the speedrunning scene is moving so fast that as of this writing, Distortion2 posted another world record, bringing the time down from 8 minutes and 56 seconds to 6 minutes and 59 seconds. I love speedrunning so much.