Basic Tips, Tutorials and Tricks

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#1 Posted by reasonableman (165 posts) -

Breath of the Wild is pretty tutorial light. Or, more accurately, the whole game is built like a tutorial, with little lessons all over the place. They're easy to miss, though, especially the tooltips that pop up the first time you gain an ability, and there are so many loading screen ones that it can be difficult to catch one you read halfway until hours later. So I figured it'd be nice to have a place for people to post helpful techniques. Bear in mind, though, you're kinda ruining the game for yourself if you don't at least try figuring this stuff out yourself, so it might be nice to hide especially specific info behind a spoiler tag.

To start, I've been working on compiling all of your basic options in combat:

  • Press Y once to unsheathe your weapon. This is pretty self-explanatory, but: while unsheathed, your weapon will be held at an angle that can cause it to catch fire more easily than when it's on your back. It's also more easily knocked out of your hands by electrical attacks.
  • Press B to sheathe your weapon, or cancel an attack. Useful for un-nocking arrows if you draw one and change your mind, as well as to break out of long attack animations with larger weapons.
  • Press and hold the left (<) or right (>) buttons to change shields and melee weapons respectively with the right stick. Release the button to equip the highlighted item. It seems to be deliberately difficult to do while maintaining movement, as you have to take your thumb off the left stick to press the directional buttons, and keep your right thumb on the right stick to actually change weapons. As such, you can sometimes save a little momentum by using the (+) inventory menu instead, even though it takes longer.
  • Press Y while your weapon is unsheathed for a simple forward strike. Generally, one-handed weapons offer a swift, short-range attack and allow you to hold a shield, spears offer a longer reach but a narrower angle of attack, and all other weapons are two-handed, slow, and can launch smaller enemies and their shields. In addition to the one-handed, spear, and heavy categories, you also have blunt and sharp weapons, as well as metal, wood, and some special weapons. All weapons have a power stat that determines per-strike damage, a hidden durability stat that determines how quickly they break, and have a chance that increases with your progress in the game to have a bonus enhancement of some kind. Others have elemental types, creating ice, fire, or electricity, that can have appropriate effects on enemies, Link, and environment alike.
  • Hold Y for a moment while unsheathed to do a charge attack. Generally, one-handed weapons will perform the traditional spin attack, covering a wider area the longer you charge and the more stamina you burn. Spears will attack multiple times in a flurry, attacking more with longer charges, and other two-handers will do a slow whirlwind that you can use while moving, ending in a downward strike. These are primarily useful against bosses and large, slow enemies, as groups will interrupt your swing with hits.
  • Jump (X) and attack (Y) in midair to do a jump attack. Depending on the exact timing, this will often cause you to jump further with a slight double-jump effect. Enemies can be caught in the downswing, as well as an area-of-effect burst that goes off when you land. This burst gets bigger the further you drop during the attack. Dropping too far, however, will result in you taking damage. You can also do a drop attack by simply pressing Y in midair without having jumped beforehand; for instance, if you are dropping from a glider.
  • Sprint by holding B, just as you would outside of combat, and you'll dodge most attacks and projectiles, as long as you don't run in a straight line. Enemies that don't have perfect aim will have a lot of difficulty keeping up. Tapping the B button can extend this ability beyond the normal limits of your stamina, as there's a brief time after letting off the button where you keep moving faster than a normal run, while your stamina still recovers. There's another way to run even more consistently, but it's a pain to pull off and seems like a designer oversight, not an intended method.
  • Sprint (B) and attack (Y) to do a (seemingly undocumented) thrust attack. Generally, you'll thrust whatever weapon you're using very quickly in the direction you were sprinting.
  • Press and hold ZL to lock on to an enemy, or if there are no enemies around, enter a 'strafing' movement mode. Either way, it will also raise your shield if you don't have a two handed-weapon equipped AND wielded. Shields will absorb damage done by enemy attacks and eventually break, absorbing all damage from the last attack in the process. Locking on is useful without a shield, though, as it makes it much more likely for attacks to hit; even ranged ones. It isn't guaranteed, however, and basically just keeps you facing your opponent. All shields have a power stat that tells you how often they'll stagger an opponent with a successful block, and a hidden durability stat that determines how much damage they can take.
  • Jump (X) or fall and hold out your shield (ZL) and press A to shield surf. It will damage your shield relatively slowly, and allow you to move downhill with substantial speed. You can smoothly transition from surfing, to gliding, and back again if you happen to jump off a cliff while surfing.
  • Lock-on or strafe (ZL) and jump (X) to dodge. Dodging allows you to jump either up and down in place (as usual) or in one of the four cardinal directions relative to you enemy, which you can use to dodge attacks. Jumping to one side or the other allows you to dodge some attacks, and jumping backwards (which does a lovely backflip) will dodge others. Either way, if you perfectly time your dodge, you'll be prompted to do a "Flurry Rush," a devastating but delicious-sounding series of basic Y-button strikes on your defenseless opponent, provided you can reach them. Even if you don't manage a flurry rush, dodges can be used for effective attacks: combining with a thrust attack by sprinting at your foe (B), thrusting (Y), and then backflipping out of the way of their counterattack (ZL + left stick down + X) can make for an effective hit-and-run technique.
  • Lock-on or strafe (ZL) and then press A to do a shield parry. Note the word shield; it won't work with two-handed weapons. A parry will briefly open your defense, dropping your guard for two moments, but if perfectly timed, it will deflect rather than absorb incoming attacks (meaning the shield takes no durability damage). In some cases, it will stun enemies; in others, it will reflect their attacks back. It's a dangerous technique, but incredibly powerful if performed successfully.
  • Holding R will allow you to throw your equipped melee weapon. Some are boomerangs, that will return to you when thrown (but must be caught (A)!), but all others will simply strike an opponent and break. Side note: a weapon that breaks on an attack will deal double damage, meaning that most thrown weapons will deal double damage for your trouble.
  • Pressing ZR draws your bow. Holding ZR draws your bow and nocks an arrow. Releasing it will loose the arrow, and pressing B instead will put it back in your quiver, allowing you to change bows and arrows without worrying about negligent discharges. Use the left and right buttons (<)(>) to change arrow types and bows respectively just as you would shields and melee weapons. Note that if you draw a bow in midair, time will slow to a crawl to allow you to aim; so much so that seeking out ways to jump at faraway or fast-moving enemies becomes vital. Also, striking an enemy in the head or eye will cause a critical hit, dealing double damage and, importantly, knocking them over. Also also, remember you can lock on with ZL to make it easier to keep track of enemies during a close-range bowfight. There are six types of arrows; standard ones can also be lit on fire temporarily (the fire burns out, but the arrow remains). The three elemental types create a burst of their element on impact (but don't produce it while drawn or equipped), and there are also bomb arrows that explode on impact and ancient guardian arrows that banish regular enemies, and deal massive damage to guardians.

There's kind of a lot in this game, so offer up whatever you can to help out!

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#2 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (2816 posts) -

I like the concept of this thread, but you've gone a bit overboard. I don't think all that text essentially telling people what the buttons do is really necessary. If someone needs a forum post to grasp the most basic functionality of the game, I don't know how they can play any game.

Anyway, I'll contribute something.

You can go into Hyrule Castle whenever you want without fear of triggering the endgame. You can get in via a dock in the northern moat without having to deal with any guardians if you enter the water from north of the castle. If you go in early on, you can make your way through the first few rooms and snag some pretty sweet gear and then head on out, which will really set up you up nice for a while. Among the stuff you can nab is the iconic Hylian Shield which is the best shield in game. It has amazing durability, I've been using it exclusively for the past 35 hours and it still hasn't broken, so don't be afraid to use it.

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#3 Posted by Justin258 (14700 posts) -

If your bow breaks, you don't have to go back into the pause menu to equip a new one. Hold ZR and right and you'll have the bow quick select menu.

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#4 Posted by reasonableman (165 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: You'd think it'd be unnecessary, but I run into folks playing the game who have missed loads of this stuff all the time. Either that, or they just haven't internalized it, or don't realize where it's useful. I figured it best to get the basic stuff out of the way first, and fill in more obscure things down the thread.

For instance: any wooden weapon will burn, but torches burn without being damaged. It can be a pain to sacrifice a slot to them, though, in which case you can simply draw your bow and light a regular arrow instead; it will transport fire for a fairly long time, eventually going out without damaging your bow or the arrow. You don't have to loose it to burn things with it, either.

Electric damage will cause most enemies to drop whatever they're holding, so keep an electric weapon around to use in case you're running low on weapons or shields; zap enemies and take theirs to break, instead!

Late in the game, bombs won't do enough damage to really hurt most enemies, but they'll still ragdoll them. Knock smaller opponents down hills, into holes, or off cliffs, as long as they don't have anything valuable you want. They're also your best bet for logging, if you need to chop down trees for firewood.

Climbing in the rain is possible, but not efficient, and it requires careful timing. You'll slip a fair distance every so often, but the timing on your slips is actually consistent: to make progress rather than waste your time, you need to climb just a few steps (four or five handholds at regular climbing speed), then jump up; you'll slip after the jump, but maintain your progress from the climb, as long as your timing was good.

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#5 Edited by dr_monocle (386 posts) -

@justin258: I have maybe 30 hours on this right now and I didn't know that...

Pop magnesis up every now and again when you're running around. Especially near bodies of water.

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#6 Edited by Boniti (101 posts) -

Minor spoilers regarding what were my first five hours of the game!

Once you've gotten the stasis upgrade, you can use it when near any decayed guardian to check if it's going to wake up and blow you up or not. If they're glowing (stasisable) then they will activate once you approach. If not, it's totally safe. This seems to work from an exceptionally long range, I think close to when guardians load in, so I have found it super reliable.

Also, the shrine indicator won't alert you to nearby shrines if they are not uncovered (i.e. underground). I have found some exceptions with this, but generally it doesn't.

Something handy I learned about two handed combat is that it is best to leave your weapon sheathed whenever you aren't attacking. the primary downside to the two handed weapons are that you don't have a shield, but any time that you have your weapon put away and you are locked on you still have the shield out. It does take a second to get the weapon out, but I have generally found that I have had enough time to get out my weapon and start attacking whenever I see an opening, and it means that there isn't any downside to the spears or claymores.

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#7 Edited by caska (260 posts) -

@justin258: WHHAATTT?! I was thinking it was so silly for them to have shortcuts for everything else and not this...

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#8 Edited by AlisterCat (7647 posts) -

Pick up every rock you find. I must have lifted 1000 rocks by now.

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#9 Posted by Franstone (1488 posts) -

@justin258: Mind = Blown
I was wondering why the hell this was the only weapon I needed to return to the inventory to equip, apparently it isn't! Thanks!

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#10 Posted by Capum15 (5802 posts) -

@boniti: You can also check for them using a certain upgrade a (theoretically) short bit after you leave the starting area.

Once you get the Camera, you can look at them and if one's alive it should put a box with a name around it, or if you're too far from it, it'll have a [?].

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#11 Posted by Efesell (2741 posts) -

If you ever get tired of guardians..

They have one of the easiest parry windows in the game. If you parry when you see the eye gather energy for a shot you will almost always send that beam right back into its face. Stationary ones are harder since they don't get right up in your business but it's still real quick learning curve.

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#12 Edited by Bedouin (116 posts) -
  • Don't sweat what you allocate your spirit orbs to in terms of more life vs. more stamina. There is a shrine in Hateno Village where you can, for a fee, change around any life or stamina points you have used.
  • Most people know you can use magnesis on the metal boxes around the world to damage enemies or knock them off cliffs. However you can usually find food and money in these if you bust them open which you can do with bombs or by dropping them on each other.
  • Bombs are a very efficient way to catch fish.
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#13 Edited by Rejizzle (764 posts) -
  • While Shield Surfing, press Y to perform a 360. In addition to looking cool, the spin will damage nearby enemies.
  • While climbing, if your stamina gauge is in the red your jump will travel slightly farther than usual.
  • All of those dead Guardians you see can be searched. Simply approach them, and press A when prompted. They typically drop an ancient screw or gear.
  • Finally, talk to everyone. Not only do they provide quests and information on the world, most tips you're likely to see on this page are explicitly told to you by NPCs. They can just be difficult to find.
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#14 Posted by n00bs7ay3r (240 posts) -

That special chime you get sometimes when you cook that you may just think means you cooked the right ingredients in the right way to make something good, is actually a critical cook. It means that whatever you cooked will be better than what it would normally be. You chances of getting one increase if you cook during a blood moon.

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#15 Edited by Forcen (2355 posts) -

Just discovered you can drop bombs and detonate them while flying without removing the glider, just press L to drop and L again to detonate when a bomb is selected.

I played 75+ hours without realizing this..

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#16 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (2816 posts) -

The guard rating number on shields is never explained, and what it actually does is kind of weird.

All shields block 100% of damage, no matter their guard rating. Different shields also have wildly varying durability, but that has nothing to do with guard rating.

Rather, the guard rating determines a shield's effectiveness at parry disarming. A successfully timed parry will always stagger the enemy, or in the case of a guardian reflect the shot back. However, if your shield's guard rating exceeds the attack rating of the weapon the enemy is using, they will drop their weapon upon a successful parry.

For example: If you're using a Boko Shield (guard rating 3) and the enemy you're fighting is using a Tree Branch (attack rating of 2), if you parry their attack they will drop their weapon. However, if they're using a Traveler's Sword (attack rating 5), your parry will stagger them but they will hold on to their weapon.

Essentially, what this all means is that the prominent number displayed on shields in the same place you'd see attack on weapons or defense on armor only really applies to niche situations. If you're someone like me that fights via blocks and dodges and almost never parries, the shield rating is essentially meaningless. In the case of shields, higher numbers aren't always better, because the hidden durability stat is the true strength of a shield if you don't parry often.

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#17 Posted by thatdudeguy (315 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: Thank you for the shield explanation! I was wondering why damage didn't seem to change between shields and this makes perfect sense.

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