Yesterday i watched this year's SGDQ speedrun of Oblivion, and they did it in two categories:
Glitched Any% w/o OOB
Glitched Any% w/ OOB
The first run was just a hair shy of 50 minutes long. The second one, took only 6 minutes.
Glitches used in the first run:
- Duplicating scrolls/potions/lockpicks in order to have enough scrolls of Flare Bolt to deal with all the combat in the game, plus enough lockpicks & Skooma.
- A glitch where you consume 4 Skooma using the quickbar, then 4 more Skooma through the inventory, in order to bypass the game's usual limit of 5 Potions simultaneously buffing your character. This is in order to move insanely fast (the speedrunner mentioned that you can't go faster than that even using console commands), and also, because skooma boosts Strength, you have enough carrying capacity to be able to carry the over 600+ scrolls/lockpicks/skooma bottles for the rest of the run. You can also punch people for a shitton of damage, but Flare Bolt is still a better way of dealing with most threats.
- Abusing Load/Save quirks in order to reset enemy aggro and enable fast travel when it normally wouldn't be available because you haven't yet left combat.
- Aggroing NPC's to make them run instead of walk to a scripted location, as well as using Wait & entering/reentering loading zones to manipulate where NPC's will be (unsure if this counts as a glitch because it's more or less intended game behavior)
- Using the insane speed boost granted by Skooma + game's physics engine to jump-boost to otherwise unaccessibel areas (used for early and fast completion of the oblivion gates, plus obtaining the required Daedric Artifact for the main quest).
All these glitches combined make it so that the entire main quest of Oblivion can be completed in 50 minutes, with minimal combat, and no levelling up at all - speedrunner never once sleeps to level up.
Glitches used in the second run:
- OOB. Collision detection in Oblivion is bad. Like, really bad. If you're moving even slightly faster (such as a Redguard using Adrenaline Boost), and the area you're in is loading while you're next to a wall and moving during the first few frames of loading, you clip through the wall. This is used to escape the prison, by clipping OOB directly to the loading zone for the outside of the prison. Then, immediately fast travelling to the Imperial City, to the shrine where
Martin uses the Amulet of Kings and the power of his bloodline & the Dragonfires to become the Avatar of Akatosh and defeat Mehrunes Dagon.
So you actually don't do the main quest at all, but instead you clip through the door of the Shrine, revealing that there is another door, which takes you directly to the MQ ending. It plays through, credits roll, end of game.
The first run, i feel was very entertaining and enlightening. I didn't know about the 8 Skooma stacking, and it appears to have been patched quickly. Other minor glitches are entertaining as well, such as quickloading/quicksaving to skip dialogue, manipulating NPC locations through doing things at specific times & entering/reentering zones. The incredible and amazing parkour available when you have so much Skooma is also funny as fuck lol.
The second run, was interesting, but it wasn't as entertaining. I wouldn't watch it again, but i would definitely like to watch the first run again, especially if i knew someone in-person that could do it. In fact, it even made me want to reinstall Oblivion just so i could toy with some of those things.
When so many glitches are used in succession, and you can see that there is a very well-thought-out route, and a very specific execution that is needed to achieve that level of consistency and perfection in those tricks, a glitched any% speedrun turns almost into a work of art.
The game is approached with the mentality of a puzzle-solver. The puzzle is how to get to the Credits as fast as possible, and the glitches are all tools that are available in a speedrunners bag. This is interesting, because new glitches are discovered day in and day out. New ways of using these glitches are found as well, and the routes will be changing.
If you watched a glitched any& OOT speedrun 5 years ago, it would be unrecgonizable from one that was done this year and in the past year, because many
new glitches were found, and the new routes are different and much faster than the previous ones. Things no one ever thought possible are now reliably executed by skilled speedrunners. And we're talking about a game that will soon be old enough to drink alcohol in most countries.
In this sense, a glitched any% speedrun is one of the purest forms of speedrunning there is.
Now, glitchless speedruns, are also very interesting to watch. But because no glitches can be used, the routes rarely change much in most games. Exceptions exist in games like Pokémon, where there are a near infinite number of approaches on how to beat the game the fastest, and the routes change more as a result. And because in most cases the routes don't change much, what it boils down to, is the skill of the player. And in some cases, luck(RNG).
RNG is the plague of speedruns, because it's something that can't be accounted for, and at the higher echelons of play, separates WR's. Like OOT 100% speedruns, that dread that moment where you have to pray to RNGesus for Danté to get you that 1st-dig Heart Piece. Or for a boss to give you the fastest pattern(Twinrova...).
But because of that, glitchless speedruns don't change much, and as such, its less entertaining to watch several attempts at them. They're also usually much longer, and for games like OOT, can take several hours. Sometimes, they even become boring, exactly because they don't evolve as much, and because they take too long.
The WR for a OOT glitchless 100% speedrun is 5:57:38. The glitched 100% is 4:19:34. Most of the time saved is due to travel, due to reduced need for backtracking, and use of glitches to kill bosses much faster. You can see that both runs are long as hell, but sitting through the glitched 100% is easier because it's EXTREMELY INTERESTING to see the way the glitches are used. Other games have much more pronounced differences between their glitched and glitchless counterparts.
There's a place for every sort of speedrun, and usually when something as broken as a OOB glitch that allows you to complete the entire game in just a tiny fraction of the time it would take if it didn't exist, usually, it continues as its own category, because part of the fun in speedrunning is also the enjoyment of the game itself, and the challenge of optimizing routes. Which is why Wrong Warp in OOT is its own category, and not many people compete in that category anymore, compared to glitched 100% and glitched any%(no WW/IM). The latter two are just much more easier to improve on then Wrong Warp, which is already about as much as a true glitched any% OOT run can be optimized - unless someone can find another Wrong Warp that can take you directly to Credits instead of the collapsing castle final gauntlet of the game, the only thing you can really do is perfect movement up until the credits, no routing involved really.
I can't ever
see a WR-holder of a glitched any% speedrun as cheating. In fact, they're probably some of the most skilled players you'll ever meet if you have a chance to meet them. Many of the glitches they use are so insanely hard to force, you need to input a very specific set of button presses at precisely
the right frames in order to cause them. And you see these guys doing these glitches over and over again, sometimes without failing even once. They acquire almost machine-like precision in order to do it so flawlessly and effortlessly, but if you try and pick up a controller, even if you know exactly what it is you need to do to cause the glitch, it'll be hard for you. Much harder, in fact, than just playing the game normally, in many instances.
So i hold speedrunners of any category in the highest respect. They just have a different set of skills, and the challenges they face are different. Any% runners need to keep up with the latest glitches & exploits, continually hone their skills in order to keep being able to execute them flawlessly, and improve on their routing in order to get the fastest times. Glitchless speedrunners need to hone their skill and knowledge of the game and plan their routes even more flawlessly, because they're the only things that will make the difference in the end. Their routes, their movement, their skill in using the tools the game gave them. And Glitched 100% runners need to map out the entire game in their head and figure out how to best abuse the glitches in order to turn the game in on its head for the fastest route, because here the only clear goal is that you must reach the end with 100% completion, but no roadmap for you to do so - it requires intimate knowledge of both the Any& and Glitchless strategies and routing.
So yeah, speedruns are fucking awesome. I just wished i found out about this when i was younger and had a lot of time and patience on my hands, i'd definitely would've gotten into it.