Elden Ring recently received a giant patch this, among other things, removed some glitches that speedrunners used to move through the Lands Between. Among the removals in 1.03 is the significant “zip glitch”, so speedrunners continue to use 1.02 to take advantage of it, and they get faster.
Distortion2 is a long-time Souls (among other games) speedrunner and streamer, who recently managed to end a 15 hour stream by zip-glitching out of Elden Ring. Zip is an extremely specific problem that depends on the player’s hardware and some of the basic math of the game, but the result is simple: you can warp across the map, skipping giant chunks of the game entirely.
The goal was a race under 20 minutes, but the luck he gets with the warps is such that the race ends up finishing in a remarkable time of 18:57. This follows weeks of Distortion2, and many other speedrunners of course, setting records that seemed implausible only to be broken days later: at one point we reported on a two and a half hour runthen all of a sudden the glitches were discovered and you watch for half an hour.
Anyway: less than 19 minutes now. The first time I played Elden Ring, I was probably still in the character creation screen at the time.
The zip issue makes this a little weird to watch, and it’s one of those aspects of speedrunning that’s an acquired taste. Some speedruns are purely about skill, beating a game on its own terms with superhuman knowledge and reflexes. Some, like this, are about using a game’s own internal logic against it and glitching like crazy to do things that seem to be impossible (which, of course, requires skill in itself).
The streamer then broke down the time saved by each channel.
WORLD PREMIERE Any% Elden Ring in less than 20 minutes!! I changed a flight and did a 15h stream for it, I almost gave up hope, but in the end I prevailed. Thank you to everyone who was there and supported me during this insane stream on March 28, 2022
This is one of the most interesting (and confusing) aspects of modern speedrunning. Nintendo never released patches for Ocarina of Time, so the issues with that game and the ways it can get messed up remain a constant. These days, almost all games, and especially Elden Ring-scaled ones, will receive regular maintenance that will fix what the developer considers to be unforeseen issues, such as the zipper issue.
So you end up with this bifurcation of the speedrunning community, with some players insisting that the latest version of the game should be the one where records “matter”, while others aim for the version that has the most exploitable aspects. . Obviously, the two types of racing will continue to co-exist regardless, although I’m curious to see if, in a few years, Elden Ring has 20 different categories built around different versions.
I reached out to Distortion2 to ask what version was being used and if he thought speedrunners were hitting the edge of what could be achieved in Elden Ring. “Yes, the version for the sub-20 build was 1.02,” writes Distortion2. “We’re definitely getting close to the limit, but the potential for the ‘zip’ problem is limitless. There are theoretically an infinite number of configurations and applications for this, so over time I think a sub-15 could happen.”
Of those still running the game on patch 1.03 and beyond, the current world record seems to be held by a guy who has barely been noticed: l337Plummy crosses the 40-minute mark here which, considering the crimps introduced by FromSoftware, is equally amazing. The way things are going, someone will have broken those two records by tomorrow.