How to avoid feeling lost in ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild’

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most open-ended game in the series since the original Legend of Zelda over 20 years ago. That game handed you a sword and told you, essentially, “good luck.” Breath of the Wild quickly gives you a multitude of tools, from bombs to a paraglider, but the message is effectively the same.

It can be easy to get lost in this dazzlingly expansive new version of Hyrule. Sometimes it can feel like the game is purposely withholding information — like you could get where you needed to go, if only it would tell you where that is. And especially early on, you might just feel totally lost and unable to figure out what to do next. With dozen of hours of the game under our belt, we’ve experienced the feeling, and we can tell you that, no matter how confusing it seems, you can always find your way.

Here are some tips for how to find your path forward.

Make sure you have the right quest selected

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There’s a point in Breath of the Wild, just after you get to Kakariko Village, where the game basically tricks you into getting lost. After you speak to Impa you receive two new main quests. One is what you should do next, while the other is a much longer-term goal. Yet that’s the one it selects for you, which leads many players to feel like there’s no obvious place for them to go next.

It’s not a nice trick, but it will hopefully teach you a lesson: Use the quest menu. Even if the game hasn’t selected the wrong quest for you, sometimes looking at where you’re going can help your goals feel more attainable.

To look at the quest menu, go to the inventory menu by pressing the + button, and press left. The quest menu lets you flick between main story, side and shrine quests with the right analog stick. The one you have selected will put an objective marker on your map and in-game radar. It might not tell you exactly where to go, but it will be in the right ballpark.

Be OK with being lost

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s story is about Link waking up after 100 years and reclaiming Hyrule from Calamity Canon. But the story of the game — of you playing the game — is about going on an adventure. And part of going on an adventure is getting lost.

Set out into the unknown. Find a high vantage point and just look around. You’re guaranteed to see something that piques your interest, whether it’s a distant shrine, a mysterious island, or a massive dragon flying through the sky. Then go there. You might get lost, and it might feel like you’re not making progress. But you can always fast travel back to the known world — your comfort zone — and if nothing else you’ve gained experiences. Those count for a lot in Breath of the Wild.

Always be prepared

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There are lots of potential barriers to making progress in this game. Even if you spot a map tower or a shrine in the distance you want to reach, you might fail to get there. Maybe the weather turned incredibly hot, or you ran headlong into a huge enemy you couldn’t hope to defeat. Maybe — and this happened to me — you fight your way to a far-off tower only to find you don’t have enough stamina to climb it.

That’s on you! Prepare for the unexpected and you won’t feel so helpless. Experiment with a cook pot (and read our cooking guide). Make cooling meals and potions so you can withstand the heat, grind out some rupees to buy the stealth gear in Kakariko so you can avoid tough enemies, and always — always — carry several stamina-boosting items with you. Stamella shrooms and restless crickets are some of the most common ingredients in the game.

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