Elden Ring hack threatens save files — and you won’t like the fix

Elden Ring screen shot
(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

Elden Ring has been out for almost a month, and during that time, players have plumbed almost all of its mysterious gameplay systems. They’ve figured out how to wield weapons effectively, how to conquer tough bosses and how to explore the vast Lands Between. They’ve also figured out how to play together online, whether that means working together to take down bosses or squaring off in tough player-versus-player matches.

Unfortunately, hackers have figured out how to take advantage world invasions in the PC version of the game — and it could cost you your save file.

This info comes from a variety of Reddit threads, where various players have complained about the hack, as well as tried to share ways to mitigate it. Here’s how it works: First, a hostile player invades your world. Instead of simply duking it out as usual, though, the invader uses Elden Ring as a client to inject hostile code into your PC. 

This locks your game into a permanent loop, where your character falls an infinite distance, dies, reloads and then repeats the process. Since Elden Ring autosaves your data and doesn’t allow multiple save files, this essentially means that you can’t progress in the game anymore.

It's worth noting at that at present, this hack works only on the PC version of the game. It doesn’t seem to be affecting PlayStation or Xbox copies. But it’s also worth noting that we’re not sure whether that means a console hack is impossible, or whether no one’s successfully pulled it off yet.

Elden Ring invade hack fix

If you get invaded and hacked, there is a fix, although it’s a pain in the butt. First, load your game, and as soon as you start to fall, hit Alt + F4 to close the program. When you reload the game, open your map screen immediately, and teleport to the closest Site of Grace. You have only a second or two to accomplish this, but it is possible.

If you’re playing Elden Ring on PC and want to avoid the hack, however, you have a few more options — none of which are great. First, there’s the “play by yourself” solution. Unlike in previous Souls games, invasions in Elden Ring happen only when you’re playing cooperatively. In other words, invaders can only target your game if you’ve already summoned a player-character ally.

To avoid player invasions, you can just play by yourself. This isn’t a great solution if PvP is your favorite part of the Elden Ring experience — or if you need help beating a boss — but it will probably keep your save file safe.

There’s also the nuclear option, which is a little more foolproof: Simply play the game offline. To do this, simply start the game, the navigate to System, Network and Play Offline. The tradeoff is that Elden Ring is very much an online game, from its hint system to its occasional glimpses of other players throughout the world. You lose a lot by disabling online access.

FromSoftware may have a patch for this soon — or it may not, considering that it took the company years to address a similar vulnerability in Dark Souls III. In either case, keep the game patched, and consider suspending your PvP activities for the time being.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.