From Software’s Elden Ring may be a massive game, but dedicated players eager to perfect playthroughs and optimize speedruns have shown that most of The Lands Between needn’t be explored. In April, speedrunner Distorion2 managed to beat Elden Ring in just under nine minutes, and the world record time has continued to drop since then. Further exemplifying this concept of minimalism is a recent post from Reddit user u/Spicy_Slice 22, which showcases just how little territory must be covered in order to become the Elden Lord.
Highlighting only thin strips of land in Limgrave, Liurnia, the Atlus Plateau, Lyndell, and the Mountaintops of the Giants, u/Spicy_Slice 22’s route cuts out an incredible amount of content, streamlining the Elden Ring experience to such a degree that dozens of hours of playtime could theoretically be skipped. Of course, this doesn’t account for leveling and grinding; if Elden Ring players are looking to tackle bosses such as Godrick, Rennala, Morgott, or the Fire Giant while vastly under-leveled, they’ll likely be in for a rude awakening.
While one Elden Ring player gained notoriety for grinding to level 93 before taking on Margit, the game’s first more-or-less mandatory main boss, that wouldn’t be possible in this scenario barring a large amount of repetition. Exploration is at the heart of the Elden Ring experience, and removing it would turn the title into a tedious test of endurance. Yet, hilariously enough, the route theorized by u/Spicy_Slice 22 can be optimized even further.
As pointed out by Reddit user u/Thesaurus_Rex9513, a section of Liurnia that’s highlighted on the map can be avoided through the use of teleporters. Additionally, a secret entrance to the Volcano Manor legacy dungeon can be found at the bottom of Raya Lucaria; if the player is killed by the Abductor Virgin’s grab attack—the enemy can be found at the very bottom of the large crevice near the Schoolhouse Classroom site of grace—they’ll be transported to an otherwise-inaccessible section of Volcano Manor. From there, they can follow a path that will eventually terminate in the Wyndham Ruins in the western section of the Atlus Plateau.
One area that cannot be skipped, however, is the Roundtable Hold. Ordinarily, Elden Ring’s Roundtable Hold is a hugely important hub area, but, as Melina’s offer to take the player there can technically be refused, it doesn’t seem to be mandatory. However, the player must speak with the Finger Reader at that location after acquiring two Great Runes in order to access Lyndell.
Elden Ring is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.