New ways and perspectives to enjoy the game
Elden Ring might be easier than FromSofware’s other games, but it’s still quite challenging. That doesn’t keep fans from creating their own restrictions to make things more interesting. Now, players have various ideas for runs, such as gag builds or only using a specific Elden Ring weapon, item, or spell.
Let’s explore all kinds of challenge runs, so you can find something to try!
Elden Ring Item Restricted Runs
Generally, these runs come out as ‘x-only’ runs. This frequently results in the player using only one battle style (melee, ranged, or magic) or using consumables only. The challenge from this comes from boss battles that can be difficult for your chosen style. Some of them fall easier when you can adjust your tactics on the fly, adapting to distance and the boss phase.
When you’re stuck with one style, you’re forced to think around the problem. With your self-imposed restrictions, you can’t just switch to a crossbow when the boss keeps its distance from you. You’ll have to think up new ways and strategies to make things work.
Some players even make ‘themed’ runs. You’re given more options for battle, but there are still many restrictions. For example, you could do a ‘Knight in Tarnished Armor’ run where you can only wear heavy Elden Ring armor, use greatswords and spears, and do mounted combat. Of course, this could be flexible depending on your understanding of a knight, but you get a general idea of themed runs.
No x/x-less Runs
While similar to the above, the restrictions on these runs are on game mechanics. The most popular of these runs are the no-hit or deathless runs, where you dodge everything or at least don’t die. By convention, a no-hit run is also a deathless one, but you can get hit and still be on a deathless run.
A challenger runner by the name of LobosJr did a no-level run. He even used the Wretch class, which starts at level 1. Game convention means that your character gets stronger to match enemies as you progress. A no-level run is always severely outmatched by your enemy, so this is a massive achievement.
One mad lad even tried playing the game as a pacifist, aka a no-attack run. He did it by using summons, luring enemies to fall to their death, and the mimic on the last leg of the run. It was a run filled with creative problem-solving and a lot of healing. After patch 1.03, many of the bosses/areas prevented fall deaths or summoning, which had to be circumvented.
They are a different kind of challenge run. Usually, you’ll take a seemingly useless weapon or ability and turn it into a weapon of mass destruction. Gag builds are a mixture of the above but slightly more lenient in other aspects.
One run, for example, was torch-only. Yes, the player played the game with only the torch as a weapon. Also, they did beat Malenia with a torch. It took many deaths, but they did it. Then there’s also Distortion2 with his ‘Ground Slam-only’ run. It’s the only attack he used in the run, becoming funny because the ability is a butt slam.
Usually, the players who do this run have a goal of beating the Elder Beast and reaching any ending. Others might do it for a single fight (frequently Malenia) and play the rest of the game normally. If you choose to do a particular conclusion, you have to think your way through some problems.
One example is from the pacifist run. He couldn’t beat Renala because single summons kept on targeting the minions. He couldn’t use the Cursed Blood Pot to complicate matters because a direct hit would deal damage. That’s a no-no in his challenge. Sure, you could hit the ground to avoid the damage, but that’s hard to manage with a moving target, so he refused to use it. His solution was to increase the number of summons, which worked, and he could move on.
Set clear goals and restrictions, and have fun! There’s no harm in giving up your challenge run if it proves too hard for you. The one goal you should always have is to enjoy the game, not get stressed about completing a run.
EA’s former tagline really fits this article. These challenge runs force players to consider other strategies and tactics and promote creativity. Also, anyone who completed a particularly tough run gets bragging rights.
Again, these are just optional things some of the more hardcore players do to challenge themselves. You don’t have to do them, as you can enjoy the game how you want. Some players don’t enjoy these runs, and that’s okay. They can enjoy the game in other ways. Continue having fun collecting Elden Ring Runes and defeating bosses in fun ways!