With folks constantly on the prowl for hands-off strategies in Elden Ring, it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to reach the end of the game without fighting anything at all.
In his latest video, Iron Pineapple—who runs a great YouTube channel dedicated to Souls and Souls-like games—walked everyone through his attempt to beat Elden Ring as a pacifist. And while the playthrough eventually gets pretty complicated thanks to involving both speedrun glitches and smart build synergies, Iron Pineapple never violated one simple rule: Do no direct damage to basic enemies and bosses alike.
“I think the entire run took around 45 hours,” Iron Pineapple told Kotaku via email. “Most of the time was spent just running around and prepping, and I only got stuck on a few bosses.”
Fortunately for would-be Elden Ring pacifists out there, the game gives you all the tools you need to begin your journey. Iron Pineapple started as the Prophet class for its healing properties and chose the Fanged Imp Ashes as his bonus item. See, his entire strategy was to use the game’s NPC summons and play as a sort of support class. With the summons doing all the damage, Iron Pineapple’s goal would be to buff and heal them accordingly.
As shown in the video below, Iron Pineapple’s ran into several dead ends, some of which led him down avenues that ultimately proved fruitless.
When the Godskin Duo in Crumbling Faram Azula gave even his leveled-up ashes trouble, for example, Iron Pineapple decided it was time to grab one of the best summons in the game, Black Knife Tiche. The only problem is that he would need to complete Ranni the Witch’s quest line to reach Tiche’s ashes. It wasn’t until jumping through its many hoops and reaching the boss that unlocked Tiche that Iron Pineapple realized he couldn’t summon help, preventing him from getting Tiche and rendering the entire detour pointless.
“I probably spent the most time on the Godskin Duo,” Iron Pineapple said. “For a while, I was convinced that if I just healed well enough and got lucky with attack patterns, I could do it. Of course, I eventually used the torch that inflicts sleep instead.”
Unsurprisingly, Iron Pineapple also used the Mimic Tear, which acts as a copy of your character and stands alone as one of the most versatile of Elden Ring’s summons even after its nerf in the 1.03 patch. Iron Pineapple spent much of his pacifist run focusing on other sources of damage, but when push came to shove, it was hard to overlook the ability to craft a highly customized sidekick. As such, he resorted to using the Mimic Tear to defeat many of the difficult, end-game bosses.
“I had a feeling that the Mimic would be very strong from the start, so I made the conscious decision to avoid it for the sake of variety,” Iron Pineapple said. “It was pretty fun to showcase the different niches and strengths of some of the summons in the game and treat the challenges like puzzles to solve rather than just winning through raw stats. So ultimately I was a little disappointed in how strong the Mimic still is even after the nerf.”
Iron Pineapple’s pacifist run is yet another example of the ways Elden Ring retains the strategic openness of its Souls predecessors. With expert knowledge of the tools, skills, and resources at your disposal, it’s possible to beat the game using just about every tactic in the book. Sure, you might hit a brick wall here and there. Iron Pineapple sure did. But if there’s one lesson to take away from a traditional Elden Ring playthrough, it’s that everything can be overcome with a little stubbornness.