Poppy is the author of A Bard's Lament and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima with her husband and young son.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world action-adventure game and the latest in the much loved Legend of Zelda series. It was released on the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch in March 2017, and thousands of players worldwide are enjoying exploring the rich world, taking on sidequests, and preparing to face the scary and powerful Calamity Ganon.
Unlike most other Legend of Zelda games, where our main protagonist, Link, is given a sword and faced with fairly easy battles, Breath of the Wild starts with Link at a fairly weak level. Exploring the world when there are so many powerful enemies and obstacles can seem daunting. Here are some essential tips and tricks for this game.
1. Know How to Make Fires
Making fires is essential not only to pass the time, such as waiting for the morning (useful for when you're stuck in the wilderness at night), but also for cooking and lighting torches. To make a fire in Breath of the Wild, you need:
Wood can be found by chopping down trees, either with your weapon or with your endless supply of bombs. Blow up the fallen trunk for wood. Flint can be mined from the black, shimmering rocks on the sides of cliffs. It's a good idea to have both of these in your inventory at all times.
Drop the flint near the wood and strike it with a metal object to start a fire. Equip a torch to collect the fire, which can be used to burn the thorns that surround some shrines.
2. Get Stamina First
After collecting four Spirit Orbs, Link can head to Goddess Statues in various locations to get an extended stamina wheel or an extra full heart. Get stamina first! Link can survive with elixirs and food with low hearts, but every bit of stamina you can get is essential for swimming, climbing, and performing other tasks.
More stamina unlocks more paths than hearts to, so for the first several times you take Spirit Orbs to a Goddess Statue, opt for a stamina increase.
3. Experiment With Cooking
Link is first introduced to cooking on the Great Plateau when he has to recreate a dish for the old man who wanders it. Cooking is useful for creating meals that will restore hearts (none are hidden in the grass in this game!) or for providing protection against extreme temperatures or dangerous elements.
Experiment with meat, fish, mushrooms, plants, and bugs to see what kind of effects you can come up with. Mixing insects and various horns from enemies can also create elixirs. Mix it up and see what you come up with! Even "dubious food" (failed recipes) can restore a heart or two.
4. Upgrade Your Armor
In previous Legend of Zelda installments, Link often got tunics or other items of clothing appropriate for an upcoming quest. Breath of the Wild is more RPG-style in the sense that there are many types of armor available with various effects. Some of these can be found during the main quests and others can be bought in shops all over the world.
When visiting a new village such as Hateno or Kakariko, check the local clothing shop to see if you can upgrade. Link only has plain pants and the warm doublet upon leaving the Plateau, and they don't offer much protection.
5. Chase Falling Stars
If you're looking at the sky and see what looks like a meteorite fly overhead, chase it! Fallen Star Fragments can be used in cooking but can also be sold for 300 rupees, excellent for if you're saving up to by armor or arrows.
6. It's OK to Run
Some enemies in this game are really tough! With that and weapons that break after a couple of hits, it's not always possible to win against a vicious group of bad guys. In the first few hours of gameplay, Link can't be expected to take on all the enemies by himself. It's OK to run away until these nasty creatures stop chasing you rather than risk a "Game Over."
7. Visit Shrines
Shrines are, of course, the only way to get Spirit Orbs, which are the keys to getting stronger. Whenever you find a new shrine, visit it and try the trial inside.
Sometimes you'll find a puzzle and other times it'll be a combat trial. The combat trials are tough, so don't be afraid to leave them and come back later when you've got better equipment. As long as you activate the shrine with your device, its location is recorded on the map.
8. Use Stamps
You can use your device to mark locations with pins, and things like villages and shrines will automatically be recorded on your map. However, not everything will be uploaded.
You can use stamps in various shapes such as a sword or star to mark special places you find so that you won't lose them. These include things like stables, cooking pots, and other points of interest. Be sure to do this when you find something you don't want to lose track of.
9. Save Often
Breath of the Wild auto-saves, but be sure to save whenever you can as well. Are you about to take a chance gliding down from a high place? Save first! About to run into a difficult-looking battle? Record your progress! Going to try something risky? Hit save!
Though the game is quite good at respawning you somewhere close to where you died, manually saving ensures your location and the equipment you're carrying aren't lost.
10. Get the Climbing Set as Soon as Possible
Getting the full Climbing Set improves Link's jumping and climbing speed. They're useful to get as soon as you can as there is a lot of climbing involved in this game and sometimes stamina isn't enough to get to the top of tough cliffs.
To Climbing Set includes:
- Climbing Boots
- Climber's Bandanna
- Climbing Gear
11. Always Keep Elixirs and Food
Always have plenty of food and element-defying elixirs on your person, because you never know what might be around the corner! Cooking and shopping will secure you these items, and be sure not to use them until absolutely necessary.
The video below provides some good recipes to help you on your way.
12. Shoot Your Bow in Slow Motion
You can get a bow as early as the Great Plateau and, like other types of weapons, there are various kinds with different levels of strength. Shooting enemies from afar is incredibly useful, and it's also possible to get your hands on ice or fire arrows.
When firing your bow from a height, such as while gliding or when jumping off a horse, you have a window of being able to fire in slow motion (which uses stamina—another great reason to upgrade it first!) These few seconds can buy you some valuable time when battling a tough enemy. Be sure to implement it.
13. Catch Wild Horses
As soon as you can see wild horses, Link can get one for himself for faster traveling. Sneak with the left bumper and creep up behind a horse. Press "Mount" when the opportunity arises to jump on it.
The horse can be soothed to make it like you more, and you can take horses to stables around towns to keep it safe. Riding a horse can save a lot of time that Link might otherwise spend on foot.
14. Loot Guardians
Though there are some Guardians that attack Link on sight (feel free to run until you get your hands on some Ancient Arrows), there are also plenty of Guardian "bodies" lying around the world. Always loot these for ancient parts, which can be used later with Robbie to create special armor and weapons.
15. Take Off Anything Metallic in a Thunderstorm
Ever be minding your own business when poor Link is suddenly struck by lightning? That's because of the metal equipment he's got on. This can include:
Un-equip everything that has metal on it. You can easily see what attracts the deadly bolts of lightning from the Inventory menu, where the dangerous goods have a lightning bolt effect on their picture.
16. Collect Bugs and Lizards
When running around the world, you'll spot lizards, crickets, dragonflies, and other little creatures. Sneak by pressing the left control stick and grab them! There are plenty of sidequests in various locations where Link has to collect various types of bugs. They can, of course, also be used for elixirs.
You'll Be on Your Way
Though the Legend of Zelda games are mainly tailored towards children, even adults can struggle with this enormous RPG! Breath of the Wild provides challenges that are fun to discover no matter your age and experience, and the challenging story provides hours of entertainment. With these beginners' tips and tricks, you'll be on your way to saving Hyrule from Calamity Ganon in no time.
© 2019 Poppy
Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on January 04, 2019:
Haha I have a hamster named Zelda as well! It’s a great name.
Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on January 04, 2019:
Cool article. I find it interesting to read about the Legend of Zelda, my best horse ever was named Zelda after that game. The people who bred her said their kids were really into the game at the time and they named her after it,