The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be the most difficult Zelda game ever released. It asks you to survive amid harsh conditions and gives you few tools beyond what you can scavenge. Then you have to defeat Ganon with whatever you can muster.
A large part of that difficulty stems from the game’s insistence that should you figure things out on your own. That’s great for some players, but for those of you who wish the game would give you just a little bit more info, use our Breath of the Wild survival tips to get started on the right foot.
Talk to everyone
This may be obvious for players used to big role-playing games, but you should talk to everyone you can. Many people you encounter out in the world, whether they’re simply walking down the road or residing in villages, will sell you stuff or give you side quests. If you’re strapped for time or don’t want to speak to every single person, simply walk up to people and look at the name that pops overhead. If the name has a red circle with a exclamation point in it, you know they will have a side quest for you. You will definitely miss some interesting and useful conversations if you limit yourself to those conversations, though.
Check anything that looks suspicious
If a rock looks like it doesn’t belong there, pick it up. If a tree seems out of place, climb it. If you find anything in the world that seems at all suspicious, it’s almost guaranteed there’s something valuable hidden there.
Turn camera sensitivity up
Go into the settings menu and turn your camera sensitivity up ASAP. The default movement speed is way too slow, and with a faster camera, you’ll be better equipped to keep track of large groups of enemies.
Mine with bombs
You’ll find ore deposits everywhere in Hyrule. You can mine them pretty efficiently with a blunt weapon like a club or sledgehammer, but it’s even easier to hit them with bombs and save durability on your items. The only downside is the valuable ore can then go flying, so don’t blow it if you’re near a ledge.
Catch fish by swimming
You might be waiting for Breath of the Wild to introduce a fishing rod like past Zelda games, but there actually isn’t one. To catch fish, simply swim near them and tap “A” to grab them. Use the dash button to your advantage.
Sneak more quickly
You can move more quickly when you’re sneaking if you tap the jump button while crouched. It will cause you to lunge forward without breaking out of sneak mode, which is useful for catching up to enemies you’re trying to get the jump on.
Learn to cook
Breath doesn’t do a great job telling you exactly how to cook. It’s easy, though: open the menu, select the ingredient you want, and hit “A” and select “hold.” That puts the ingredients in Link’s arms. Select up to four additional ingredients, then close the menu and press “A” again to drop them into a cooking pot. Experiment by mixing different types and amounts of food to produce different kinds of healing items. Make sure to read the descriptions of your ingredients, which will tell you potential status effects they may add.
Cook food, make money
If you’re hurting for rupees early on, a good way to earn some cash is by making lots of food and then selling it. Depending what you cook, it can sell for a high price, and this doubles as a great way to experiment with recipes.
Kakariko Village, which you find early in the game, is a good hub for selling your culinary creations; there’s a cookpot right outside the ingredient vendor’s house.
We’ll have a comprehensive cooking guide soon, but there’s one tip that will help you make the best possible food right off the bat: when in doubt, stack the same ingredients. Four or five of the same mushroom or fruit together makes extremely potent food.
There are recipes on posters
When you’re looking for new recipes, simply check the walls of any stable, village, or other peopled location in Hyrule. The most popular type of wall art in the land is apparently posters of recipes.
Monster parts aren’t just for elixirs
Read the descriptions for the various items you pick up. Some monster parts are good for more than just cooking elixirs. Chuchu jelly can be used as grenades, for example, and Octorok sacs can be attached to objects in the world — like, say, exploding barrels — to make them float. There’s nothing like aerial bombing a mob of goblins.
Take pictures of everything
After you get the camera, take pictures of everything to add as much as you can to your compendium. You can use the Sheikah Sensor to track anything in your compendium, and you never know what you might need to find for a late-game recipe or upgrade.
Sort your inventory with “Y”
You can sort your inventory pages with the “Y” button, which makes it easier to keep track of your ingredients and wardrobe.
Don’t freak out about the blood moon
When the blood moon rises over Hyrule, it can seem like something catastrophic is happening. But it just means that enemies you’ve killed out in the world are resetting. Don’t worry too much about it.
You can make a campfire anywhere
Cut down trees and chop them up to make wood, then mine ore to get flint. Drop them both on the ground from the menu, and then strike the flint with any metal weapon. Now you have a fire where you can advance time to morning, noon, or night.
You can’t climb in the rain
You’ll slide downward and lose as much progress as you make if you try to climb in the rain. Wait for the weather to stop by passing the time at a campfire. And if the weather doesn’t stop, figure out another way up, because in some places it rains forever.
Don’t get struck by lightning
You’ll die often if you don’t figure out how to avoid getting struck by lightning. Simply unequip any swords, melee weapons, or bows that are made of metal. Common sense goes a long way in this game.
How to adventure efficiently
Select the right quest
Early on, Breath of the Wild gives you multiple quests. Make sure you have the one you want to pursue selected by opening the inventory menu (the “plus” button) and tabbing to the left — you’ll get an objective marker on your map.
Mark your map often
You can leave a variety of symbols on your map, including treasure chests, rupee icons, swords, and more. Use the large colored beacons to mark things you want to do immediately, since they always appear on your mini-map. But don’t be shy about using the other symbols to mark anything you might want to check out again in the future, from a puzzle you can’t quite figure out to a tough enemy you want to fight another time.
You can’t kill everything right away
When you’re running around Hyrule, if you see a huge enemy that looks like it could grind you into dust with its pinky finger, it probably can. Don’t try to fight enemies that are too powerful for you. Instead, mark them with a skull icon on the map and come back when you have more health, better weapons, and more potent food/elixirs.
Hitching a ride
How to make boats go
Grab a Korok Leaf from cutting down trees and use it to put wind in any raft’s sails. Bet you wish you’d thought of that on your own.
Horses follow roads
You’ll be able to get a horse early on, and once you do, it’s important to note that horses will automatically follow roads without you having to steer them. Now lean back and check out the scenery while you trot along.
How to shield surf
You can shield surf on any shield and down any incline by holding up your shield (left trigger), pressing the “X” button to jump, then holding the “A” button. Watch out, though — unless you’re on sand or snow, this will degrade your shield’s durability.
Slow-mo your bow
If you jump from a height and aim your bow, the world will slow down and let you aim carefully. Be careful, as this uses a lot of stamina.
For the first time in a Zelda game, headshots actually matter when you’re using a bow. Aim for the head to get a significant damage boost on most enemies, not to mention the chance to stun them for a short time.
Throw weapons that are about to break
You’ll do a lot of damage by throwing weapons, and even more damage on the hit that breaks the weapon. So throw weapons that are about to break to maximize damage.
Use the elements to your advantage
If your enemies are standing in water, electrocute them with shock arrows. If there are large metal objects around, use magnesis to toss them around. If your foes are crouched in dry grass, light that grass on fire.
Warp out of danger
If you find yourself in a losing battle and think you’re about to die and potentially lose some progress, simply open the map and warp back to safety. There are no restrictions on when you can do this, so feel free to abuse it. Survive any way you can.
Take advantage of your tools
Use updrafts to fly
You can use the updrafts from fire to fly with your paraglider. This even works with campfires, so you can easily reach a high ledge without climbing.
Use magnesis to find things underwater
If you see a chest underwater, it doesn’t mean you have to come back when you get the iron boots, because there are no iron boots in this game. Simply use magnesis to lift the item to the shore.
Stock up on fairies
There are fairy fountains scattered around Hyrule, at which you can consult with great fairies and upgrade your armor. These fountains are also home to smaller fairies that should be familiar to Zelda fans. You don’t need a bottle to catch them, though; simply sneak up to them and nab ‘em with “A.” As in past Zelda games, fairies can bring you back to life if you fall in battle. Get as many as you can.
You can save-scum a little bit
Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you save whenever you want. You can use this to try and save-scum — that is, saving before trying something difficult and reloading the save if you screw it up. However, the game is wise to this and will sometimes start you in a different spot than the one you saved in, thwarting your scummy ways. Don’t rely on it.
You can re-spec your health and stamina upgrades
There’s a shrine in Hateno Village that will let you swap your upgrades around. If, for example, you find yourself wishing you’d invested more spirit orbs in health than in stamina, you can trade in your stamina upgrades and buy more hearts for a small fee. This might prove useful later in the game.
Just for fun
You can buy a house
There’s a fabulous man named Bolson in Hateno Village who will let you buy a house. It’s expensive, but worth it — you can display weapons, bows and shields inside, effectively preserving them without needing to carry them around. And buying the house starts a whole separate side quest line with its own rewards.
Dye your clothes black
Also in Hateno Village is a shop where you can dye your clothes, armor, and other outfits. Collect lots of flint and dye them all black. Because what else would you do?
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