5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

As you might have heard, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a very difficult game. Taken at face value you probably wouldn't expect that given how colorful and friendly the game appears. It's been a rude awakening for many players.

Some of this difficulty comes from the sheer challenge of survival in the game's harsh environment, while a major portion of it stems from the fact that the game explains only a small portion of everything it has to offer. Due to this, tips and guides are of huge benefit to many players who want to get the most out of the game with the least amount of frustration.

I've been through hell and back, and have learned a lot during my journey. Below are the things I wish I knew before starting Breath of the Wild.

1. Master The Elements

Although seemingly insignificant early in the adventure, elements are a huge part of Breath of the Wild. As you will come to find out during your adventure to one of the first four shrines, cold resistance is something that you actually require to make progress in some cases. Later on there other resistances that you will need.

There are several ways to gain resistance, the most available of which is through cooking. By heading to a campfire to cook certain foods, you can arm yourself with a resource that will greatly benefit you in some situations. Most of these incorporate Spicy Peppers, by the way.

You can also increase resistance through some types of armor. These are earned further into your journey, but you will want to keep them for the long haul. At some point they will come in very handy, even if they have lower defense then and armor you acquire later.

In addition to this, some of your offense of tools incorporate elemental qualities. Take for example arrow types, or even some of the Rune abilities that you have such as Cryonis which raises a pillar of ice. Many of the enemies you encounter will have a weakness to one of these elements, providing opportunity for you to exploit what they hate most.

2. Become The Best Chef You Can Be

Cooking isn't just a secondary activity to do, it is one of the pillars of survival in Breath of the Wild, and given the game's difficulty that is nothing to gloss over.

There are hundreds of recipes, all producing foods that provide different benefits. While most foods will simply heal your health, quite a number of them will boost your stats in some way which is particularly the case with elixirs.

It might be a bit cumbersome to gather ingredients before heading to a campfire to cook, but it's well worth your time. There are foods that will provide bonus defense, greater resistance to the elements, or even temporarily give you a larger heart pool.

Related: A Guide To Cooking And The Best Recipes In Breath of the Wild

These stat boosts are instrumental in fighting the games tougher enemies, particularly the bosses. You're going to die a lot no matter how good of the game are you are, and a few extra hearts will go a long way toward making sure you stay alive.

3. Prioritize Hearts

When I first started Breath of the Wild I was quickly frustrated by how little stamina Link has. As a result of this, every time I was provided an option to either invest in health or stamina, I chose the latter.

As I would come to find out, that was a mistake.

The reason for this is stamina that constantly replenishes. It might prove inconvenient to run out of stamina fast, but hearts can be a direct difference between life or death. Later in the game you will encounter enemies that will swipe several hearts from you in a single blow. If you have invested in hearts, you will find yourself face down in the mud in a heartbeat.

Perhaps more importantly, there are a couple of elements in the game that are gated by your health bar. I don't want to spoil what these are, but one of them is something that at some point you're going to be very interested in.

4. The Unexplained

There are a lot of things that the game doesn't ever necessarily teach you. These are things that you may discover, or you might not. Due to this behavior, what you're about to read could be considered a spoiler, so you've been warned.

The first unexplained thing to note is that you can ride a horse. This requires that you tame one out in the wild, of which there are many. No, you will not be able to ride the legendary Epona (not without an amiibo, anyway), but at least you have more options this time around. To tame a horse simply stealth behind it and then hit the button prompt when nearby. If you take it to a stable, you can even name it and make it yours.

There is a housing element to the game. This requires meeting a certain NPC near Hateno, and giving him a huge amount of rupees and wood. Although expensive, this house can be customized and serves as a great place for sleeping.

The third and final unexplained element of the game is how inventory expansion is handled. This begins with you meeting Hestu the Korok near the Kakiriro Bridge, who will have you kill some nearby enemies before looting a chest. You can then begin collecting Korok Seeds around the game world, and given them to him. Upon doing so you will expand your inventory, providing opportunity to carry many more items at any given time.

5. Quick Tips

To round this guide off, let's quickly go through some smaller tips that you should know.

  • Manually save if necessary to avoid losing progress. Auto-saves only happen once every few minutes.
  • Always carry a hammer. You will need this for mining ore, which is great for earning rupees, among other things.
  • Don't be afraid to climb. Many of the game's best treasures are on top of hills and cliffs.
  • The environment is your friend. You can set grass aflame, and roll boulders into enemies. Pay attention to what's around you and think creatively.
  • Don't forget to make use of fast travel. Shrine entrances serve as travel points. On that note, be sure to prioritize visiting shrines to unlock these points.
  • Stop climbing to stop your stamina from draining. You can do this to look around and see where to go next without the danger of falling. Also, don't jump when climbing to go farther with the stamina bar, and climbing when it's raining is dangerous.
  • Turn off the HUD in the settings by enabling 'Pro' mode. It's unnecessary and clutters your screen.
  • Be social. NPCs are everywhere, and very few of them exist for no reason. The quests and opportunities they offer are hugely beneficial. 
  • Bombs are useful in combat. When in a pinch, toss a bomb at an enemy to stagger them, providing opportunity to attack. This applies to many enemies.
  • When a lightning storm strikes, unequip everything that has metal on it. Items that will get you struck by lightning will indicate such on your inventory screen.

If you have any other tips for our readers, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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