It goes without saying that speedrunners need to be quick, but there’s a lot more to being the best than simply having fast fingers.
On July 26, Doom Eternal speedrunners will compete at Break the Record Live to attempt to finish id Software’s shooter in record time for their share of a recently upgraded $8k prize pool. They're all top players, so what skills will they need to get the marginal gains that will help them shave seconds off their time?
YouTuber and caster Karl Jobst, as well as top runners such as Xamide, Michael 'Shining Face' Bastien and Keagen 'TheItalianGamer' Mazzarisi told us more about the things you have to consider to get the edge on your opponents. So, check out the secrets of speedrunning from those who do it best and discover how you can get faster at your favorite games.
You need mental strength
Shining Face: When trying to set a good time, I tend to not actually try to think about too much. I just take things one split at a time. Overthinking can mess you up.
Xamide: Setting expectations and failing a good run could leave a runner devastated and without a will to continue. If you aren't expecting to get a good run then there is nothing to worry about and it's not going to impact you in case the run goes south. The extra worry and redundant thoughts can break your focus and leave you panicking, which isn't something you want when trying to set a good run.
TheItalianGamer: To be a top speedrunner, it takes a mixture of skills and your own mental state to become the best. When you speedrun a game, you will be playing the game over and over, and you need to make sure you keep a clean mind even if you mess up on a part you don't usually mess up on.
Karl Jobst: Getting nervous makes you shake and that’s one of the biggest hurdles a lot of people have – when they’re on a run at a really good pace, or they’re about to do something they’ve never done before, they get nervous and then they shake… The ability to keep calm and not let those sort of things stress you out too much is a big part of it.
Patience is paramount
Shining Face: Patience is the biggest key in improving in not just speedrunning, but all aspects of life. If you try to rush things then you'll never succeed.
Xamide: [You need] Lots of patience, dedication, and love for the game that you are speedrunning. In my opinion, the most important of those would be patience, because, without it, you aren't going to get far on the leaderboards if you start having negative thoughts regarding your performance early on.
Practice makes perfect
Karl: It’s obviously going to come down to practice. You’ll get experience at different scenarios, you’ll understand what different things may or may not happen. You can’t just play, you have to actually research what’s happening on a deeper level. Then, with that knowledge, you can go through the motions. Then your practice becomes more useful and your decision making is going to be a lot better.
Shining Face: Getting better requires lots of attempts and practice. There's no quick way to improve – it's all down to perseverance.
Xamide: Practice makes perfect in any game. Play with confidence and have a winner's mindset - don't let the negative thoughts get to you. Watch other top players' gameplay and live streams as there is always something that you might've missed or weren't aware of.
TheItalianGamer: Grind, grind, grind. That's about it. You also have to have the passion and the willpower to be the best. If you don't put passion into what you love then you will never truly grow in the things you do. You know, it's like my father used to tell me: “You’ve got to botta bing before you boom.”
Learn from the best
Xamide: The first step would be to join the game's speedrunner community and research the top players' runs and strategies. If you are feeling stuck, compare your run against the top players and learn where you can optimize your run.
TheItalianGamer: I just mainly stay positive and also watch the top runners to pick up on small hints and things that I was not doing before.
Now, you've heard it from the experts: time to take all the secrets you've learned into the game and perfect your craft on the journey to beating your own speedrunning records.
Break the Record Live takes place on July 26, live on the ESA Twitch channel, where the world's fastest Doom Eternal players will attempt to make themselves world record holders, raise money for charity, and win a share of the prize pool.