The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild tips and tricks (plus secrets and more)
- Getting Started
- Animals – Taming and Hunting
- Cooking and Ingredients
- Divine Beasts
Hearts and Stamina
There are a total of 120 shrines in the game, which means there are 120 spirit orbs. That equals 30 possible heart and stamina upgrades. There are a total of 30 hearts possible in the game – including the four you earn for defeating the Divine Beast. As for stamina, you can earn three full wheels, which takes 10 stamina upgrades (or 40 orbs).
You can’t completely max out Link. If you choose to add all 30 hearts, you will only get two and 2/5 of the stamina possible. If you opt for all three stamina wheels, you max out at 27 hearts.
You can reassign your hearts and stamina choices at any time, and it won’t cost you much. Just make your way to Hateno Village and head to the hill on the opposite side of the village’s entrance. Look for a statue similar to the statues you pray to when you have enough spirit orbs. Speak to that statue and it will offer to buy your upgrades for 100 rupees. You can then buy them back and put them in any order you want for 120 rupees, so the whole thing just costs you 20 rupees.
- You can earn temporary additional hearts and stamina, designated by yellow hearts and a separate, yellow stamina wheel. You can add these through cooking certain meals or staying at an inn. The hearts and stamina don’t regenerate.
- If you stay at an inn, always choose the more expensive option. It will give you an additional heart.
- There are a few locations – including Gordo City and Zora’s Domain – where you can pay for a more expensive sleeping option. That will give you three temporary hearts and another stamina wheel.
The Lost Woods
Located north of Hyrule Castle, you’ll find the Lost Woods. This area is entirely optional, but if you skip it you’ll miss out on a few important things.
To reach the Lost Woods, you need to enter it from the south. If you try to parachute in, it will respawn you where you jumped from. You must enter on foot. Once you are in, you’ll need to navigate your way through a maze of trees and fog. If you wander off the proper path, it will teleport you back to the last clearing you were in.
There’s an easy way to navigate, but you’ll need to be fast. Walk at a moderate pace, then if you see the fog closing in on you, turn and sprint in the opposite direction. Once you get the timing down, just keep doing that until you see landmarks like burning torches or a path through two giant rocks. It won’t take long.
At the center of the Lost Woods you’ll find Korok Forest. There you’ll find the Master Sword and the korok that can upgrade your inventory in exchange for korok seeds. You’ll also find a shrine (useful to fast travel), and at the top of the Deku tree a Side Quest involving riddles and the collection of ingredients.
You can collect the Master Sword as soon as you have enough hearts – you’ll need 13, and temporary hearts don’t count. Once you have them, you can claim the sword. It only has an attack power of 30, but there are some significant advantages to owning it. To start, it never breaks. Using it against normal enemies requires a cooldown period, but it is effective against ancient enemies, including Gannon. Don’t bother grabbing it until you’re ready to head toward the final area or if you plan to explore Hyrule Castle.
- Exchanging korok seeds for inventory slots can get costly. The first upgrade costs one seed, the second costs two, the third three, and on. The three categories – weapons, shields, and bows – are all considered separate, so the first upgrade in any category will cost one, the second two, etc., etc.
- When you exit the Forest to the south, head west to find a Side Quest where you follow a young korok. It will lead you to a shrine.
- If you are having trouble following the young korok (he’s hard to see), place markers on your map so if you need to replay it, you know where to go.
The Sheikah Slate is an incredibly useful tool – in fact, it’s integral to the game. You’ll use it constantly for everything from sorting your inventory to taking pictures to accessing your missions. But first, you should get it repaired.
Try to complete the Side Quest “Slated for Upgrades” early. You will receive it from Impa in Kakariko Village, and it will require you to find the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab and speak to Purah. Once you do, you’ll have full functionality for your Sheikah Slate.
- Save the ancient materials, you find (Ancient Screw, Shaft, and Spring). You’ll need to give these to Purah to upgrade some of your rune powers.
- Select the Primary, shrine, or Side Mission ou want to follow in your Slate. It will track the quest and help you navigate.
- Save often. Use it as a safety net if you are walking int a new area.
- Use the Slate to view distant objects, then put a pin in them for later exploration. If you run low on pins, switch them in the map for a different icon.
There are 120 shrines in Breath of the Wild, not counting the shrines that you need to activate when you retrace Zelda’s footsteps (Shrine of Wisdom, Shrine of Power, and the Shrine of Courage). When you find them, they will be orange in color; completing them turns them blue. These shrines are broken up into three types: puzzles using your Runes, fights with an enemy of varying degrees of difficulty, and shrines where the challenge is simply finding them.
Almost every shrine also has at least one chest. The puzzle shrines will require you to work for the chest, while the others simply present them to you. If you are having trouble with the chest, just skip it. You may miss a good item like a weapon, but it won’t be something you can’t afford to miss.
For the puzzles, there’s no one answer on how to pass them. There are dozens of puzzles, each with its own solution – often multiple solutions. If you are at one of these shrines and aren’t sure what to do, start by turning on the magnesis and stasis runes and see if anything can be affected. If so, that’s your first clue. If not, keep looking.
For the battle areas, it will tell you how difficult the fight is going to be when you enter. The “Major” fights may be a little tough at first, but if you have weapons in the high 20s or higher and a few attack elixirs, you should have no problem. Just make sure to dodge the laser blasts.
The third type of shrine can be the most difficult as they are hidden throughout Hyrule. A good rule is that if you see a structure or something odd – an area with a spot for a metal ball or several massive statues, for instance – investigate. Getting the shrine to appear is the challenge. Once you do you can simply walk in and take the chest and the orb.
A complete map of the Shrine locations can be found above (courtesy of Press Start).
- As noted in the “Hearts and Stamina” section, after spending the orbs you can later reassign them.
- More shrines will be introduced in the DLC.
- Once you’ve collected enough orbs to fill 10 to 12 heart containers, you should be strong enough to survive the most powerful attacks of everyone but the bosses.
- After unlocking your second tower, you’ll receive the Shrine Scanner. When you are anywhere near a shrine, you’ll hear a ping sounds and see an icon that looks like an antennae. The closer you get, the more the scanner will ping.
- Most settlements feature a statue you can pray to and swap orbs for a heart or stamina increase.
- If you complete all 120 shrines, you’ll receive the “Wild” set, a cap, tunic, and boots that look like the classic Link outfit. Wearing them all gives you a set bonus that makes the Master Sword more powerful.
Towns and Villages
Scattered throughout Hyrule you’ll find several settlements of varying size. Each are worth exploring, and most have something unique about them that is worth focusing on.
When you first enter a settlement, find the inn. If you need health, stay the night, then talk to anyone nearby. They can usually give you an idea on where to go and who to speak with. After that, check out the stores. If there is a rare ingredient you haven’t seen before, stock up. While you’re at it, sell anything you’re confident you can part with. Make sure to stock up on arrows at every opportunity as well.
At some of the larger settlements you’ll also be able to buy upgraded armor and even dye your clothes. Take your time exploring, and make sure you speak to everyone.
- If you take the game’s advice and head for the Zora Domain early, you’ll unlock the inn with the water beds. Fast travel back here before any major encounter, pay the 80 rupees for a night, and you’ll leave with a temporary stamina wheel and three yellow hearts.
- In many locations, the settlements will be different at night versus day. Listen to what the people say and pay attention to when they say things happen.
- In a few of the settlements and stables, you’ll find an artist and a fellow traveler. Speak to him and he’ll give you hints on where to find any nearby Hidden Memories. If you don’t have time to explore right away, place a stamp on the general area in your map and come back later.
Weapons and Clothing
A major factor in Breath of the Wild is weapon decay. Eventually, your swords, shields, and bows will break. Add in the limited inventory (even with upgrades), and rotating your old weapons with healthy ones is essential.
Unless you are desperate, you should only pick up the weapons with an equal or higher attack rating. When you see one on the ground, as long as you’ve already identified it (and it doesn’t just say “???”), there will be an arrow by it designating if it is better, worse, or the same as what you have.
The weapon you select also has an effect on the combat. Two handed weapons are slow, but more powerful. You sacrifice a shield, so you’ll need to dodge and plan for at least two swings as your momentum may carry you into trouble. Spears offer range, but are typically more fragile and less powerful. One handed weapons are the most versatile, but also slightly more rare than the others.
Clothing in the game is far less common than the weapons, and it has its own features. Each piece – shirt, pants, and headpiece – have a defensive point value. Many pieces also have a specific attribute increase that offers things like faster swimming or better defense against cold. While it might be tempting to sell off old articles, unless you have two types with the same attribute (or it doesn’t have any benefit and is weaker than what you have), keep them in your inventory. You never know when it might come in handy.
It’s also worth trying to find complete sets of clothes. If you can find all three items with the same name, you’ll receive a bonus. Don’t accept significantly weaker items just to chase this bonus though.
Your clothing can also be upgraded with specific ingredients and money. To do so, look for the Great Fairies. The first is just southeast of Kakariko Village. Once you pay the Fairy (you only need to do so once), she will appear and offer to upgrade your gear – if you have the right ingredients. The first upgrade is generally simple enough, but the second requires rare ingredients.
- Some towns have a clothing dyer who will change the color of your outfit – as long as you have the right ingredients.
- The Master Sword will never break (see the Lost Woods section above).
- Buy and collect standard arrows at every opportunity. Buy the more powerful arrows when you can, but save them for special occasions.
- Save as many ancient arrows for the final area as you can. Don’t waste them on normal enemies.
- Practice with each type of weapon and get the timing down. Learning to dodge and doing a perfect guard – holding the shield ready and hitting A at the right time – will help significantly.
- You can “surf” on your shield. At the edge of a cliff or any slope hit ZL to raise your shield. Jump and then press A, and you will begin “surfing” downhill. From this position you can still use your bow.
- Shields can break when surfing, so don’t waste a good one.
- Charge your attacks by holding Y down, but don’t rely on it. Moving and striking quickly can be far more effective.
- You can store weapons in your house (see the general tips section on how to buy a house).
- When your weapon is about to break, throw it at an enemy. It will score a powerful hit and give you a moment to choose a new one.
- A korok leaf can create wind. This will come in handy in a few situations, especially if you want to start a massive fire
- When you first start, keep an axe on hand to chop down trees. You can later ditch it and use bombs.
- Aiming the bow while in the air momentarily slows time down.
- If you have a rusty weapon, look for an octorok. When it starts to inhale, throw the sword at it. It will suck it in and spit it back in good condition.
- Completing all 120 shrines unlocks the “Wild” outfit, which looks like the classic Link outfit and provides a bonus to the Master Sword when worn as a set.
- You can purchase the Dark Link outfit from the Fang and Bone shop (you must first complete the “A Shady Customer” sidequest, then find the store at night near a town.
- When upgraded, the Ancient Armor set is the most powerful.
- Once upgraded, the Ancient Armor set offers the “Prophecy” bonus, making you more resistant to Guardian attacks.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild tips, tricks, secrets, and more
- After you beat the game, if you reload you’ll notice an auto-save with a star by it. Reload and it and you will start before the last boss. You will also see a completion percentage, as well as a tally for the number of missions and side missions you have completed versus what are available in the game.
- Don’t hesitate to reload. The game features a generous auto-save feature, and you can save at any time.
- It’s worth destroying any glittering rocks you find in the wild. They will often reward you with gems you can sell.
- You can buy a house in Hateno Village for 3,000 rupees – you’ll also need 30 wood stacks. It is entirely optional, but if you have the rupees it’s worth doing. Once you have the house you can pay to furnish it – it costs 100 rupees per piece of furnishing. There are nine pieces in total. At the very least, by a bed.
- If you need money, you can complete the “Misko, the Great Bandit” quest. You’ll receive it at the Dueling Peaks Stable. Once it is active, head southeast toward Hickaly Woods. Follow the river south until you find a waterfall. Climb the cliff and look for a cave blocked by rocks that can be destroyed with a bomb. There you’ll find the treasure.
- If you are in a combat situation where you just can’t win, you can fast travel away, even while being hit.
- Save any diamonds you may find. You can use them to build a weapon at Zora’s Domain.
- After beating a major quest (like a Divine Beast), take a few minutes to go back and talk to anyone nearby, especially those in a settlement. They may offer you rewards.
- If you see an area covered by dead leaves, burn it. There are frequently secrets there.
- You can burn entire fields if you like. If you are facing several enemies at once, lead them into a clear with high grass and set it ablaze.
- Use the magnesis rune to pull treasure chests out of mud and from under water. You’ll also find chests buried underground that can be pulled up.
- Keep an eye on the temperature gauge located next to the HUD. If it gets too hot or too cold you will take damage – unless you are properly dressed or have the proper elixir handy.
- You can burn fields to create updraft that will help you glide further. Just get to a high point and shoot a fire arrow down on a grassy area.
- You can attach otorock guts to an item to make them float away.
- If you have a fairy in your inventory, if you die it will automatically revive you (and then disappear). You can carry three at a time, so you have a huge safety net with them in your collection.
- In forests around Hyrule, you’ll find a glow in the dark rabbit. Shoot it or hit it and you’ll earn rupees.