Brittany is a Nintendo Switch gaming addict! Her favourite genres are RPG, simulation, city-builders, puzzles, and more!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is truly an amazing game. With its open world, massive map, shrines, bosses, side quest and thousands of collectables, there's so much to do—and it's completely up to you to do things how you like.
All of that freedom can be overwhelming to a beginner, though. How do you collect weapons? How do you earn rupees? Where should you explore first? Or which Divine Beast should you take on first?
This guide is meant to help you get started without running into any major spoilers, so you can experience the game with the same amazement and wonder that you should, but just with a little more direction.
Table of Contents
Whether you're riding your horse through a field or completing one of the 120 shrines, these general tips can be applied to your casual gameplay.
Explore, Explore, Explore!
This game's HUGE open world gives you the freedom to go anywhere, so explore to your heart's content. You can find lots to do and see simply by walking around, scaling mountains, or travelling down winding paths.
Don't Be Afraid to Go off the Beaten Path
Speaking of which, if you see a small trail leading off to somewhere, follow it! You can usually find treasures there that are hidden from the main pathway.
Complete Shrines for Spirit Orbs
Spirit orbs are items given to Link in the game by the Sheikah Monks each time you complete a Shrine. You definitely want to have plenty of Spirit Orbs because you can trade them in for more heart containers or stamina vessels.
Pray to Goddess Statues for Heart Containers or Stamina Vessels
In order to actually obtain more Heart Containers or Stamina Vessels, you'll need to track down the Goddess Statues scattered throughout the game and “pray” to them in order to trade four Spirit Orbs for a Heart Container, or a portion of a Stamina Vessel. You can upgrade these how you like, but I prefer to level up my Stamina first, then heart containers. (As you can eat much more food to upgrade Heart Containers vs. Stamina, but more on that later.)
Sparkling Rocks Can Be Bombed for Ores and Gems
If you see sparkling rocks lying around, bomb them! Once they break open, you can collect different ores and gems which can be collected, traded, or sold.
Talk to All NPCs
It always gets a bit tedious in RPGs when you have what feels like millions of NPCs to talk to, but those in Zelda are all pretty useful. Some can just give you information about the area you're in (which is useful in Breath of the Wild's massive open world), or about something else important to gameplay. Some will give you food or items, and some will give you side quests. You'll know if an NPC has a side quest for you if they have a red exclamation mark on their text bubble when you pass by.
Items Reset With Each Blood Moon
Zelda will tell you in a voice-over about the blood moon and how monsters regenerate, but what she fails to mention is that everything regenerates when the blood moon comes. That includes chests, weapons, items, etc. If you find a weapon you really like, stamp where it is on the map, and go back to it after the blood moon to collect it again.
You Don't Have to Steer Your Horse
It took me ages to learn this, and I only actually found out when one of the people at the stable told me, but you don't actually need to steer your horse. It will travel along the path automatically, leaving you free to sightsee, fight, or jump off when you need to collect items.
Look for Peculiar Patterns to Find Korok Seeds!
Now, there is this fantastic interactive map (warning: filled with spoilers!) which you can use to track down all 900 Korok seeds, but if you don't want to "cheat," you can find them on your own just by being observant. Look for a single flower in a field. A circle of rocks that is missing one rock to complete it. Metal boxes that seem to form a pattern. Interact with these objects and complete the puzzles to obtain Korok seeds. You'll definitely want some!
Use Stasis to See What You Can Interact With
When you're first starting the game, it can be a bit confusing to figure out which things you can interact with; which items you can bomb, which rocks you can lift, which items on the ground you can pick up, etc. If you use the Stasis Rune, it'll highlight all interactable objects in a dark yellow colour for you (even chests that are hidden underwater!). After a while, you'll start to recognise things easily, but this was a game-changer for me when I first started playing.
Use Shrines and Towers to Teleport/Fast Travel
Every time you visit a shrine (note that you don't have to actually complete the shrine, you just need to interact with it using your Sheikah Slate) or unlock a tower, it gives you the ability to teleport there from anywhere on the map. Keep in mind that you do not have to be at a shrine or tower to teleport, either; you can literally teleport anywhere or at any time in the game. Find yourself up against a big enemy who is going to kill you? Pause the game and teleport away! Or, just teleport to get you to places on the map quicker than walking or by horse.
Don't Be Afraid to Turn Around and Head Back Where You Came From
When I first started playing, I just galloped around wherever, and at one point I found myself too close to Hyrule Castle where there are Guardians galore. I realised it's better to just turn around and leave that area until I levelled up some more. I used a skull stamp to remind myself not to go back there for a while!
Though there's no massive penalty for death in the game (you simply go back to the last time the game autosaved), it's best to save often, particularly when going up against tough monsters or when you've collected some good loot. That way if you do die, you only lose a tiny bit of progress.
Just like in the real world, you need some sort of currency to survive. You can use rupees to buy extra arrows, powerful armour or ingredients for cooking. Here are some easy ways to rake in the rupees!
Sell Spare Monster Parts
Once you start killing monsters, you'll notice you have a LOT of monster parts. You can start to sell these for rupees. While you do need some in the game for upgrading armour and making potions, you'll end up with far more than you'll ever need. Sell the spares for rupees.
Sell Spare Ores
Just like monster parts, you'll eventually be swimming in ores. You can sell them for rupees at the beginning of the game, as they aren't really needed much until later on (by which point, you'll likely have a stash of rupees already).
Check Under Rocks
There are all sorts of things hidden under rocks (sometimes lizards—so hit “A” as soon as you pick up a rock to catch one), but there's often rupees hidden there too!
Break Vases and Boxes
You can break vases and boxes by throwing them against the wall, or using a weapon to break them apart. There's often rupees hidden inside!
Finish Side Quests
You can occasionally receive rupees from NPCs by fetching items for them, finishing their side quests, or saving them from monster attacks.
Look for Hidden Chests
There are chests hidden everywhere in Breath of the Wild. Look on side paths, underwater, high rocks and more to find hidden chests, where rupees can be stored.
Save All the Ancient Parts
I don't recommend selling ancient parts. You can find them by interacting with broken guardians or defeating a guardian (some hints on that later!), but they are very valuable to upgrade your Runes and Sheikah Slate, so don't sell them!
Cooking is a new feature for the Zelda series. It provides a way to replenish your health, stamina or even gain a temporary stat boost.
Collect Lots of Food and Ingredients
One great thing about the inventory in Breath of the Wild is that it's unlimited for materials; you don't get capped off on how many pages of ingredients that you can carry. So hoard away: collect every mushroom, herb and plant you see. And hunt lots of animals!
Hunt With Arrows
You can kill animals using your regular weapons, but it can be hard to sneak up on them as they're all quite skittish. I prefer to use my bow and arrow to hunt. You'll learn that different animals yield different meat with varying levels of quality. Hunting is probably one of my favourite things to do in the game!
Cooking Gives You Special Effects
You don't need to eat to live in Breath of the Wild, but cooking can give you special effects in the game. In addition to restoring your hearts or giving you additional hearts, cooked meals can also give you stamina increases, defence or attack bonuses, protection from cold, heat, or electricity and more.
Learn Which Stat Upgrades Certain Ingredients Provide
Cooking is not completely explained to you in the game, but if you go into the inventory and read the descriptions of the materials they will tell you what sort of stat increase they give. Try different combinations to learn recipes and meals that'll give you a good stat increase.
Cook Every Time You Come Across a Cooking Spot
I've gotten in the habit of cooking every time I come across a cooking area in the game (the cooking pot placed over a fire). You find them in stables, cities/towns and sometimes in monster-infested areas. I also find it good practice to cook until all three pages of my food inventory are filled, that way I always have plenty of meals to eat when I'm fighting a tough enemy or boss.
Try to Find “Hearty” Foods
Anything with “hearty” in the title will give you extra hearts when cooked, i.e., hearty truffle, hearty durian, hearty radish, big hearty radish. You can cook these alone to fully recover your hearts and earn you some temporary hearts (which only go away when removed by an enemy attack).
You can find a full list of recipes in-game here!
Weapons, Armour and Combat
Even though exploring the land and cooking delicious dishes is fun, you still have a princess to save. These tips will help you prepare to face the Divine Beasts or any monster that comes your way.
Which Divine Beast to Complete First?
I recommend taking on Divine Beast Vah Ruta (the Elephant beast) first. It's the easiest of the four to take on, gives you a pretty good bonus upon completing it, and following the story that leads up to Vah Ruta also rewards you with some good weapons, items and armour. I also think the game does a better job of explaining how the beasts work and how to get to them by following this storyline. i.e., if you do this beast first, you'll know exactly what to do when it's time to fight the others!
Bonus: And you get to meet Sidon! You'll understand why that's worth mentioning once you meet him.
Things Struck by Lightning Will Have a Special Effect in Your Inventory
The game will give you hints, but it's pretty obvious to know when your items will cause you to be struck by lightning during a storm. Open up your inventory and look at your shields, weapons and bows; if there's a lightning effect on them, that means they'll attract lightning (basically, anything that's not just wooden). The same goes when you make it to Death Mountain; all wooden items will catch fire (and will have a smoke effect on them while you're there).
Don't Get Attached to Weapons
Here's the thing: All items in this game (except one, but that's not until much later) will eventually break and you'll be unable to use it. So don't get attached to the great sword or awesome bow that you found. After a few hits, it'll break, and you can find a new one soon, anyway.
Kill Monsters for Better Weapons
One of the main ways you can get new weapons is through combat. Killing Bokoblins, Moblins, Lizalfos, Wizzrobes and more will cause them to drop whatever item they were holding for you to pick up and then use yourself.
An “Up” Arrow on a Weapon Means It's Better Than What You're Currently Holding
When you interact with a dropped weapon, you'll notice that it has either an up or down arrow, or a straight line. These indicators let you know if the item is better, worse than or the same as the item you're currently holding.
Pause and Eat Meals Mid-Combat
Some RPGs don't allow you to pause mid-combat, but Breath of the Wild does. I mentioned this above, but not only can you literally teleport away mid-combat, but you can also pause the game and eat meals to increase your hearts, or increase your stats. Use this to your advantage!
Farm Arrows by Killing Lizalfos
I love arrows and hunting with bows, so I found that I needed LOTS of them in the game. Now, you can certainly buy arrows from travelling merchants, in stables or in towns, but you can also farm them by killing Lizalfos—particularly the ones along the path to Zora's domain. Each one drops 5x arrows, so after going there once, I gained 100 arrows! Then you can go back after a few days (when enemies regenerate) or after a blood moon and do it again.
Kill Enemies with Opposite Items
It should be pretty obvious, but if you find a Wizzrobe that shoots fire, you can shoot him with an ice arrow and he'll die in one shot. On the other hand, you can kill an Ice-Breath Lizalfos with a fire arrow in one shot.
Level up Armour for Better Stats
You can level up your armour by finding faeries and interacting with them. You'll have to trade rupees and materials, but you can level up your armour to have better defence or protection from the elements.
Parry Guardians to Kill Them
Initially, I'll say to avoid Guardians. They're very powerful early game and can kill you in one strike.
However, once you're more comfortable with controls, and probably after you've completed the Ta’Loh Naeg shrine (which comes pretty early in the game), you can parry and shoot the Guardian with its own laser beam.
To parry, take your shield out. It doesn't need to be a special one—any standard shield will do. As soon as you face up against a Guardian, press down on the left-trigger and hold your shield in front of you. Hold it there until you see the blue light flash. As soon as the blue light flashes, hit the "A" button, and your shield will deflect the blue laser beam back at the Guardian and kill it!
Some stronger Guardians will require you to hit them with a few beams of light, but you can do it! Practice a few times with some of the Guardians in the Great Plateau, and then get out there and start taking those suckers down!
What Have You Learned?
That's it for the ultimate Breath of the Wild beginner's guide! Are there any other beginner tips and tricks that you've learned since playing? Let us know in the comments section below!
© 2019 Brittany Brown
Luke on March 27, 2020:
Actually, a trick a learned is to always a torch, a Korok leaf(for sailing), a metal or stone weapon(for death mountain), and a wooden weapon(For lightning storms). Always carry these-you don't want to get caught off guard!
Brittany Brown (author) from Sydney, Australia on September 19, 2019:
Awesome, Dan! Glad it helped! Have fun :)
Dan English on September 18, 2019:
Thanks so much for this! I've not long started playing BotW and as much as i love it, there are some things that aren't explained - but this article answers all my questions! Many thanks!
Brittany Brown (author) from Sydney, Australia on March 27, 2019:
Thanks Larry! It's an awesome game, you'll love it if you ever play :)
Larry Slawson from North Carolina on March 27, 2019:
I have been wanting to play this game for quite awhile now. Looks so much fun. Thank you for sharing!