Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Shalaka! Hestu and Korok Seeds

botwspoilers

Up until now, I haven’t mentioned the Korok seed gathering that I’d been doing from time to time. Anytime you see something slightly out of the ordinary, or climb to the top of a place that seems interesting, and find a rock to pick up, there’s usually a Korok hiding there. I really like this because it keeps me on the lookout for little mini-puzzles, and it rewards exploration in little ways.

Plus, they’re just dang cute.

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Anyhow, I didn’t know there was a purpose to the seeds until about this point in the game. I was riding out of the village, and the night was settling in. I saw a strange shape waiting along side the road. I approached it carefully… because after meeting with Impa, I’d been getting jumped by disguised assassins from the Yiga clan. And they’re pretty nasty.

It turns out this tree-guy is okay. His name is Hestu, and nearby baddies have stolen his maracas.

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This sounds like a job for Link!

It really wasn’t that difficult to clean out the camp, which was just up over the hill. I took care of that quickly…

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…and returned the instruments back to their grateful owner…

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Only, that’s not where this story ends. The problem was, there was nothing inside the maracas to make sound for some reason. But Hestu cut me an interesting deal because…

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So, as I bring him the seeds I’ve collected for his maracas, he gives me new slots for weapons, shields and bows. I jumped on this opportunity immediately! The more weapons I can carry, the better!

Upgrades cost an increasing amount of seeds the more that you buy. It starts at one seed, then two, then three, and keeps going. This is individually based on type, so your first weapon slot is 1 seed, your first bow slot is 1 seed, etc. After upgrading a certain amount of times, he will move on to his next location in the game.

There are a total of 900 Korok seeds you can find in the game, but you don’t need anywhere that many to unlock all the inventory upgrades. I doubt I’ll be spending that much time and effort to find all of them, myself, though it’s another fun little system in this game.

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Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Arriving in Kakariko Village

botwspoilers

A while back, a certain Old Man advised me to seek out Impa in Kakariko Village. So, after I took some time among horses, I headed up that way. This was the first village I came across in the game.

I have to say that I really love the atmosphere of this place. It’s serene and peaceful, giving a good feeling of what life must have been like before the calamity struck. This is the settlement of the Sheikah, and most of them know what it means that Link comes riding in wearing the Slate.

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It’s actually kinda nice that Link is already established as a knight and hero, especially to those who remember him. Instead of being some upstart no one knows about or some forseen prophecy coming true, Link really was already a part of this story 100 years ago.

Seeing the NPCs react to his return in various ways is interesting. And while amnesia is still a bit of a trope, the fact Link doesn’t remember allows the player to take on his role and learn the past through his discoveries. From a storytelling point of view, this works.

So there’s several things that happened in this village. Most of them are spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Most importantly, I met with Impa. And she knew exactly what was up.

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This is where the game’s story starts to open up. She informs me that long ago, Zelda and Link fought against Ganon with the help of 4 Divine Beasts and their Champions. This has a sorta mecha-feel to it since these Divine Beasts are huge magic-technological structures in the shape of 4 animals, and the Champions remind me a lot of pilots.

These Divine Beasts were taken over and turned against Hyrule by Ganon, which was what led to the major defeat 100 years ago. Impa’s quest is, therefore, to find these Divine Beasts and release them from Ganon’s control. Having them on Link’s side is probably a very logical and good idea.

Anyhow, these beasts are scattered across the map. And for the first time, I took a good look at it and saw how large the world really is!

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And that’s really that for what Impa said. I now have a quest to seek out these Divine Beasts, which will send me into contact with the other races/peoples of the world. Sounds cool.

The next thing I did was pick up a new set of armor. I got this neat hooded set, which was a big improvement over the basic shirt and pants I woke up with.

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The village has several small quests for NPCs which I won’t go into, but suffice to say, I stuck around several in-game days to complete as many of these as I could find.

I also found the Shrine at the top of the hill where I had my first battle challenge. This one was meant to teach you about dodging, parry, and other attack techniques you can only do when locked in on an enemy. I did pass the challenge, but I’m still not very practiced in any of the things the game tried to teach me there.

At least I got this cool sword.

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Travelling even further up the hill, I ran across this strange… flower structure. After paying it some gil, I found myself face to face with… uh…

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Yeah… I’ll talk more about her later as I didn’t actually know what her purpose was until a few RL days after I found this place.

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Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Under the Blood Moon

botwspoilers

So while I was out and about trying to learn how to tame and ride my first horse, something very odd began to happen. Something I’d never seen in the game before.

I noticed that it was getting dark, and the rain moved in. Then, something red began to glow on the horizon.

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Oh crap, what is this? 

I didn’t know if I was about to die, if it was some sort of enemy, or what it meant. Thankfully, the game had it covered, and Zelda narrated the meaning behind what was my first ever Blood Moon.

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Blood moons happen from time to time during the course of the game. I tried to see if this was just a random night, or if there was a set pattern to this, but everything I’m reading seems to say their occurrence is random.

Apparently there’s a fan theory that blood moons are more likely to appear if you’ve killed a lot of enemies. Nothing proven here, either.

What we do know is during a blood moon, enemies that you’ve killed will respawn. Also, I’ve read that the materials you’ve gathered like mushrooms, ore, and herbs, will respawn.

I don’t know if enemies are harder during a blood moon as I’ve never gone out of my way to fight during this time. The thing to be careful of is not to be caught in a camp you cleared out during one of these things… or you’ll find yourself in bad company fast.

Also, this is a good time to try cooking as you can get bonuses to your food during a blood moon.

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Before the blood moon, I did wonder if enemies in the game would ever respawn in areas I’d cleared. It took several days outside of the Plateau before my first blood moon, when my question was finally answered.

I think using a mechanic like a blood moon for enemy respawn is a fantastic idea. This way, you clear camps without worry, have the reward of seeing the enemy defeated for a while, then after respawn, you can come back if you need to fight for weapons or gather more materials.

One guide noted that Guardians respawn in Shrines you’ve cleared as well, so that means you can go back and pick up more guardian weapons from them. Good idea!

Anyhow, this mechanic just goes to show how much thought was put into the BotW systems. I even watched a video last night that justified why weapons break in the game… I guess after thinking about it this way, it does make sense. I still grumble a bit about it, but I suppose I understand.

Next time, Link finally gets to move on in the storyline. I promise!

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Wild Horse Catching and Taming Guide

botwspoilers

I was informed that there were stables on the other side of Twin Peaks, and that should be my next goal. I was all for this, because where there are stables, there are horses. And you guys know how much of a horse lover I am by now!

I knew nothing about the mount system in this game, so as I made my way towards the first stables, I wondered how much I’d have to save to buy my first horse. I was slowly gathering rupees, which I’d just begun seeing once I left the plateau. So, imagine my surprise when I got there and was told horses could be mine… for free!

In fact, they started teasing me about it the moment I talked to the first NPCs I saw outside the stable.

Why, yes. Yes, I am!

Oh, absolutely. Link even has a pony tail (get it?).

Yes! Yes! Yes!

So they go on to tell me that you can just catch a wild horse and tame them. I was head over heels with excitement! I didn’t expect this game to have a horse catching/taming system in the slightest! But they did give me a bit of advice…

Patterned horses are easier to catch, but have lower stats (will get to stats in a moment). Horses that are more solid colors are harder to catch, but have better stats overall. There does seem to be some inbetweens, too. For example, a paint horse has some lower stats than a blanket pinto does, though both of them were about the same difficulty to catch.

Catching Your Wild Horse

There are several herds of horses out on the plains near the stables. Just have to look around to find them. Also, be careful because a few of the Guardians out there do activate, which can lead to sudden death.

Once you find a horse that catches your eye, crouch down and sneak towards it. On the Switch, that’s pressing in on the left joystick.

Keep in mind that you need to try to be behind the horse. They will see you sneaking up in front of them.

Also, if you alert one of the horses in the herd, they will often send the whole herd scattering, so be careful.

Once you’re close enough to the horse, you’ll be prompted to press A to mount.

The horse will then try to buck you off, depending on how spirited they are (more solid colored horses are more spirited). Start hammering the top L button as fast as possible to wear them down. If you do get bucked off, follow the horse and keep trying. I read that your attempts to catch them do stack as long as you do it within a short period of time.

Once you’re on the horse’s back, your controls will change. This is reflected down at the bottom of the screen.

The horse is not tamed yet, and may not always respond to your commands.

But the first thing you should do is get them to the stables to register them.

Registering Your New Horse

So ride your new horse to the stables and go to the front window to talk to the guy there. You can talk to NPCs while mounted by holding ZL and pressing A at the same time.

Registering costs 20 rupees, but earns you an automatic saddle and bridle. You can also name your horse.

However, before you register, you’ll see something important: the horses’ stats.

Here’s what my first horse’s stats looked like:

Strength – How a horse holds up if they get in a battle. Horses will usually try to flee battle, but if they get hit, more strength is better. Yes, horses can die.

Speed – Overall top speed. Faster is faster, but also makes it harder to maneuver your horse.

Stamina – How many spur icons you have on the screen while riding, allowing you to urge the horse to break into a run.

Then, of course, there’s Temperament, which is self explanatory and the Bond you’re forming with your horse through taming.

Taming Your Wild Horse

Now, it’s time to tame your wild horse. You can do this by pressing the L button to soothe the horse, which increases the horse’s affection towards you.

But you can’t just do this randomly. The kids at the stable suggested to only soothe when the horse does something that you asked it to. Sorta like rewarding the horse for obeying a command.

The easiest way I’ve found to tame horses is to ride them toward fences — they will automatically jump over (or balk at the attempt). Soothing them right after a successful jump always earns affection. 

Taming doesn’t take too long, and is really worth it. There’s nothing worse than fighting with your not-tame horse to go in the direction you need to when enemies leap out of the bush!

Horse Tips

  • You can only register 5 horses at a time.
  • If you already have 5 horses registered, when you try to register another, the stables will prompt you to release a horse of your choice.
  • Horses can die, but they can also be revived.
  • Horses will automatically follow a road without your guidance. So if you ride them to the road, you can just let them do all the navigation work.
  • You can take out a horse at any stable you come across, even if you left the horse somewhere else in the world.
  • Your horse is always marked on the map, and you can use the horse whistle to call them as long as you’re in range.
  • You can customize your horse’s looks at some stables.
  • There are special horses and horse quests, so be on the lookout!
  • You can get Epona in game from scanning an Amiibo. While Epona has good stats, she doesn’t have the best stats of all horses in the game, believe it or not.
  • Added Tip: You can also feed the horse apples to tame it! I didn’t know that — thanks My Gaymer Blog!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Don’t Do It, Link!!

botwspoilers

Last week, I left Link just as he was breaking out into the big, wide world. Today, I want to tell a story of a single incident that colored this experience for me in a good way.

As I started exploring the world outside of the sheltered plateau, the breadth of the calamity really started to set in.  Yeah, I know that NPCs kept telling me the story of how Hyrule fell 100 years ago. I saw the ruins and busted down walls and everything.

But it wasn’t until I got into the ruined outposts, saw the remains of the giant, time-torn flags, and just the desolation what was once strong forts and civilization that the scope of this really hit me. This was accented all the more upon meeting a single random NPC on a bridge.

I hadn’t seen another person in a long time (not counting the Old Man). This was the first I’d met outside the starting area. In fact, when I saw a shape on the bridge in the distance, I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t just another monster.

It wasn’t. It was a lonely, friendly bridge guard named Brigo.

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I chatted with Brigo for a while, and he told me about how he’d seen the towers rise up in the distance. How this was a portent for something bad to come. And how there was something strange on the island area out along the middle of the river over which the bridge spanned.

I could see a rusted-out Guardian husk lying on that island, but I wasn’t sure if that was what Brigo was talking about or not. So, to get a better look, I jumped up on the bridge railing.

What happened next was both completely unexpected and charmed my socks off.

Brigo saw Link jump on the bridge railing. 

I didn’t realize this until Brigo started shouting at Link, an equivalent of “Don’t jump! Don’t do it!”

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I was amused at poor Brigo’s expense, but also completely blown away by this exchange. Here was an NPC who was just out to do his job, talking Link down from the edge. Of course, the drop wasn’t very far, and I had a paraglider, but he didn’t know that.

What a bro.

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Complementary Bad .Gif

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Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Earning My Wings

botwspoilers

Now that I’m done with all the Shrines, it’s time to meet up with the Old Man once again and claim my prize – the paraglider. This item is essential to leaving the “tutorial” zone… which doesn’t really feel that much like a tutorial zone, actually.

Come to find out, this is a plateau with no way off except for the paraglider. This is a pretty clever way to block player progress with a fairly natural landform, rather than just building walls or putting NPCs there to stop you.

I also learned that the Spirit Orbs I’ve been collecting in each Shrine have a very important use. You can go to the statue of the goddess and pray, which allows you to trade 4 of them for either an additional heart container or a block of stamina.

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I’m not fully sure which one is better at this point in the game, but because I read more experience players saying you will absolutely need hearts in the future, I went with that. Later, you can find a way to exchange hearts for stamina, but I’ll talk about that when I get there.

Anyhow, so I go to meet the Old Man and things get real.

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Did you think I was going to spoil the guy’s identity? Nah. Go find out for yourself!

So, being full of secrets as he is, he not only told me who he was, who Link was, but helped to connect the plot-dots about what went down in Hyrule 100 years ago. Most importantly, though, he gave me the paraglider… finally.

Oh, and I got a new quest…

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Okay, sure.

Instead of going on that suicide run, I decided to follow the Old Man’s suggestion to find Impa. Since each Shrine and Tower serves as a warp spot, I knew I could come back to this area any time I wanted.

Eager to explore the rest of the world (and man, is it HUGE), I took my first glide off of the plateau into what looked like the ruins of a great kingdom.

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And the game let me know that indeed, it once was…

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With the world wide open to me, let’s see what awaits Link!

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Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Cooking – The Real Endgame

botwspoilers

So, last time I left Link, he was just being duped into running through three more Shrines in order to obtain the coveted paraglider from the Old Man. But instead of telling you all about my adventures to get the other runes from the Shrines, I want to talk about something even more important — cooking!

The Snowy Places

One of the Shrines I needed to reach was located at the top of a snowy mountain. The moment you set foot in the snowy area, Link’s temperature plummets and he starts to freeze. Over time, he loses hearts until he dies.

There are several ways to approach the cold, including finding warm clothes (which I never did.. I need to go back and look for them). Another option is to light fires along the way. Yet another is to use the hot peppers you find right outside the snowy entrance and cook them into food. This food will give you defense against the cold for a certain amount of time.

I’d already spoiled myself for this part, and decided that I was going to figure out how to use the peppers and cook so I could approach the snowy land.

Learning to Hunt & Gather

Before you can cook, you have to have ingredients. Gathering things like apples and acorns is easy enough. But as I was wandering the forest, I saw some birds and pigs out there. I also saw the Old Man, who looked like he was trying to hunt them.

That’s when it occurred to me that hunting was a thing in this game. I was delighted.

So, first, you gotta find game. Then, you have to crouch down and approach slowly.

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When you’ve got a clear shot with your bow, take it. Depending on the strength of the bow, you may get a one shot kill, or you may have to chase your prey around.

A successful hunt is rewarded with meat!

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How to Cook

The first thing you need in order to cook is a lit fire under a pot. You can sometimes find these in monster camps, or you can light one of your own.

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Cooking is a little quirky because you don’t just press the A button to activate the process. Instead, while standing next to the fire, you open your inventory.

While in your inventory, select a food item and choose to Hold it. This allows you to stack up to 5 items. They don’t all have to be the same ingredient, but if you stack more of a certain food type, you will strengthen its effect. For example, putting more peppers in a meal makes the cold resistance effect last longer. 

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Now, while holding the ingredients, press B to Return to game. I know this is odd, but that’s how it works.

While standing next to the fire, you’ll have the option to Cook what you’re holding. You get this pleasing little jingle and Link happily hums as the food sizzles in the platter. Then… you get to see your cooking results!

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Oh… yeah. If you get too outlandish in what you toss in, you can mess it up, too. Don’t mix food with monster parts! :p

However, cooking creatures and monster parts creates potions. Usually the description on the ingredients will let you know what effects you can expect.

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Just keep in mind that you can only cook one type of effect into food or potions at a time. So don’t waste ingredients that have special effects by trying to mix those together.

Overall, cooking is a fun little crafting system that I’ve grown to really enjoy. When you just want some time to pass, you can settle down next to the fire and see what happens when you start mixing food together. You sometimes get amazing results!

Shrine Trials

And, now back to the Shrine trials. I was too engrossed in the game to remember to take many pictures of this part. I cleared each Shrine, and each one gave my Slate a new rune with a new power. So, now Link can play with Bombs, create Pillars of Ice from water and Stop Time on specific objects in the world.

The interesting thing is that these skills are pretty much all that Link needs to get through puzzles for the rest of the game. You just have to figure out how to use them to your advantage.

It’s more than just puzzles in Shrines, though. These skills let you figure out mini-puzzles in the open world, too.

For example, some treasure chests hiding in ponds are metal and can be lifted up out of the water using the magnet. Or things sunk in water can be lifted out using the ice pillar.

Here, there was a platform in the middle of a pond that I could reach by making a series of ice pillars and jumping across them.

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You just have to stay aware and figure out how to approach what you see around you. There is usually more than one way to beat the puzzles, though, which is really cool!

Next time, Link finally scores his paraglider. See you then!

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