There will be a few spoilers for Elden Ring in the following piece.
I have something like 200 hours in Elden Ring (and I’ve still not completed the game.) Many of my colleagues have similar playtimes, as it is an impressively huge and multifaceted world. Its wide-open design means I can play almost the whole thing more like a platformer than a traditional Souls experience. I am still enjoying the game, albeit now as a viewer (of high quality Elden Ring speedruns and world records) rather than an active participant. I’ve been watching dozens of hours of speedrunners learning the game and it’s many, many little tricks.
For me, speedruns are fun because they show so much of the invisible design and construction of a given game, since runners and their communities look for every little seam or trick to exploit. That goes especially so for Elden Ring, a game that is so comically large that even thinking about finding all of the areas held together by the digital equivalent of spit and duct tape is daunting, and absolutely fascinating.
Naturally, the Elden Ring speedrunning community has had a field day with that.
I’ve concentrated my viewing to the most compelling categories: any%, which places fewer restrictions on what a player has to do to get a verified time, and all Remembrances, a much longer category as runners need to defeat every boss that drops a Remembrance item to finish a run. The any% has had a really exciting duo of sub-25-minute runs lately, starting with Ri-su’s 23:08, and yesterday, a runner named Muftaay cinched the current Elden Ring world record with a 22:52.
How was that accomplished?
Nailing an Elden Ring Speedrun World Record
Muftaay starts the game and goes through the first few minutes not entirely unlike the way I did — running like mad past every obstacle. He makes a few choices about locale, completes the first “wrong warp” — of four in the run — and actually makes a beeline for the Liurnia of the Lakes region, where he’s able to jump ever-so-carefully off of a particular cliff to the Raya Lucaria Academy key, gain access to the magic school, and use invisible platforms to make his way to an Iron Virgin.
The game glitches him right over to Volcano manor (which is, oh, I don’t know, a third of the map away in terms of the game’s “normal” geography) in that second “wrong warp,” and he makes his way via another glitch to ride TK all the way to the top of the belfries, wraps between there and (nightmare realm) Crumbling Farum Azula, and moves on to the last part of the run, where he fights boss enemies, making quick work of them using the Chainsaw Glitch. He certainly makes use of a few other out-of-bounds tricks and optimizations, but those are the broad strokes of the run!
The Chainsaw Glitch
This is one of the most important factors of the run: once he is fighting bosses (and he does so only a handful of times), Muftaay uses what’s called the chainsaw glitch. There’s a YouTube video about it — and a later, a more refined version that goes into depth about it works. Essentially, it involves using a macro to turn a weapon into a wildly powerful “machine gun” that destroys bosses in seconds. This setup won’t work with every version of the game (patches affect all kinds of things that glitches and tricks are dependent on), but it’s a sight to behold.
In order to do it (with the longsword in particular), a player needs to go into their sort chest menu, order their weapons by order of acquisition, pop them into the storage chest, then select certain armaments and arrange them in a specific order in their inventory. Then, the video instructs how to build the macro with certain keybinds. If everything is in place, you should be able to face away from an enemy, then let rip with the over-powered chainsaw effect!
Muftaay appears very excited to nail his world record here, but is quick to point out that if others can get good at the chainsaw glitch, they’ll be able to beat his time, as the run is not optimized yet. That’s exciting for a few reasons: first, it means there will be some fun competition to see who can best him, and shave off additional seconds. Second, that means there is a lot of life left in the category, and I’m very excited to see what comes next.
Two quick disclaimers: first, the runner is speaking German for much of the run, so I can’t account for anything he’s saying here (he speaks English at the end, hence the comments). And second, there is indeed an even faster category on the books, the “unrestricted” any% category, with faster times — the current world record there is 5:58 — but that particular route doesn’t have many completed runs on speedrun.com at the moment.