Breath of the Wild has been lauded for its open ended gameplay. Since its reveal, this particular entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise has sold itself on its "go anywhere, do anything" mentality. While its unguided nature is incredibly appealing to some, others may feel daunted at the lack of direction given to the player in the game. Not everyone feels entirely comfortable with having so much freedom, especially when Hyrule is so huge that you can fit 140 Vatican cities inside of it.
If you enjoy exploring for yourself, this is a wonderful thing. In fact, if you want to maintain a pristine sense of discovery, and you have not yet completed the game, I suggest that you stop reading this article now.
If you're one of those people who prefers a bit more guidance in your games, fret no further, for I've come to present to you...
The Hyrulean Travel Guide*
*Please note that this guide is only in reference to the main quest. I highly suggest exploring more of Hyrule in between the major dungeons of the game. It will be as spoiler free as possible.
So, you've left The Great Plateau and been tasked with heading towards Kakariko Village. This is the point where the game truly opens up; you can go kill Ganon right now. But if you're reading this, you probably don't want to do that just yet. In fact, you won't be entering Hyrule Castle for a while, so it's best to put that out of your head for a while.
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The first step is easy enough: head towards Kakariko and meet with Impa. Impa will give you a second task, which is actually four tasks in disguise. She asks you to meet up with each of the four major races of Hyrule, marking them on your map with yellow dots.
Don't Forget Your Camera
Before we begin, it should be mentioned that it will be highly beneficial for you to climb every Shiekah tower you find along the way. Unveiling portions of the map will make things much smoother for you.
Impa mentions that you should check out Hateno village first. Definitely do this, as it gives you a very important item: the camera. All you need to do is a small, hard-to-miss quest where you light some torches, and this incredibly useful tool is yours for the rest of the game. You can also upgrade your other tools here, which is good to keep in mind for later.
Got the camera from Hateno? Good, let's move on.
Now you've really been thrown to the wind. The main quest is giving you four choices! Where are you supposed to go? Which race is where? What's the "best" order to meet them in?
Journey to the West
- Difficulty: 4/10
- Recommended Items: Cold resistant food, such as Spicy Sauteed Peppers (obtained by cooking Spicy Peppers)
- Main Plot Relevance: Minimal
I'd highly recommend that you begin your journey by heading to the western dot. This will lead you to the village of the Rito, a race of bird people who are currently plagued by the bird-beast, Vah Medoh. You can even see the beast flying over this portion of the map from almost anywhere in Hyrule, making it the perfect compass for your journey to what is known as the Tabantha region.
There's a few reasons I think the Rito quest is the best fit for the first major leg of your journey.
- The Rito village is the smallest village with the least involved storyline.
- The quest leading up to the main dungeon is much easier than the other three quests, involving only a short bout of target practice.
- Tabantha is all hills and fields, and is very "vanilla" in its approach to its visual aesthetic. Everything about it screams "starter area."
- The dungeon is by far the simplest of the four.
- The power you get for completing this dungeon will boost you high into the air, which is extremely useful for climbing tall mountains, which you will most definitely encounter throughout the rest of the game.
The only thing to watch out for is the Hebra region to the north. That's by far the most challenging area in the game, so I'd stay away from there for now.
You'll also need to bring some cold resistant food with you, as you likely won't be able to afford the cold resistant clothing sold in the village straight away. For an easy way to farm money, I suggest farming apples, cooking five together, and selling the resulting fruit for 50 rupees a piece - it's a great way to make money early on. Apples can be found by cutting down trees in several areas, including Hateno Village, Kakariko Village, and The Great Plateau.
The Trek to Zora's Domain
- Difficulty: 6/10
- Recommended Items: Stamina boosting elixirs (monster parts + creature) for climbing wet mountains
- Main Plot Relevance: Extremely relevant
Now would be a good time to head to the other side of the map, towards the wetlands east of Kakariko Village. Upon climbing the tower in the region, you'll meet a friendly Zora who will begin directing you to their domain. From there on, you'll be guided by another friendly face as you slowly make your way through the rainy Lanayru region towards Zora's Domain.
Going here next is advisable because:
- You are guided every step of the way. While the trek to the city itself is fairly challenging, with plenty of enemies and hills to climb, you won't ever find yourself getting lost.
- While completing the Zora questline, you'll receive a piece of armor that allows you to swim faster, as well as swim up waterfalls, making your journey across the waters of Hyrule that much easier.
- The story here will introduce you to the Lynel enemy type, which, as you will quickly learn, is way out of your league for the moment. Mark this enemy for later, and use it as a benchmark for your progress. Finally taking it down is a momentous occasion.
- The dungeon, Vah Ruta, is slightly more complex than the Rito dungeon, gradually ramping up the difficulty for the player.
- This is the only city in the game where almost all of the residents were alive 100 years ago, giving you a clearer idea of who Link is and what kind of person he was. While this could fit in nicely at any point of the game, it's nice to get to know your protagonist better sooner rather than later.
Death Mountain Ascent
- Difficulty: 6/10
- Recommended Items: Fireproof Elixirs, Metal Equipment (Wooden equipment will burn)
- Main Plot Relevance: Moderate
Next up on the list is the Goron city, located under Death Mountain in the Eldin region, to the north. Since Death Mountain is scorching hot, you'll need Fireproof Elixirs for this; a girl named Gaile sells these at Foothill Stable, which is right at the foot of the mountain. Three elixirs is more than enough to get you to Goron City, where you can then buy flame resistant armor.
Why should you go here next? There's two major reasons you should head north before you head south:
- The other remaining dungeon, the Gerudo's divine beast, is by far the most challenging.
- The power you receive for completing the Goron dungeon, Vah Rudania, will help you in your fight against the next dungeon's boss. Like the Gerudo dungeon itself, its boss is by far the most difficult of the four to beat, and the defensive Goron power gives you a nice edge.
The quest to get to the Goron's dungeon is about equal in difficulty and length to the Zora's, making it the logical next step on your journey.
The Lost Woods
"Wait, what?" You ask. "I thought you said the Gerudo were next!"
They are, but there's a rather important detour you should make before crossing the desert. You're going to be infiltrating an enemy camp full of powerful foes, as well as facing the most challenging of the four main dungeons, and there's a rather nifty power-up in this region that will come in quite handy in the trials to come.
There's a fifth race in addition to the Rito, Zora, Gorons, and Gerudo. By this point, you've likely found some of them already - the adorable forest dwelling Koroks; little pillow-esque tree creatures with leaves for faces that you'll recognize if you've played Wind Waker. Unlike the others, the Koroks don't have their own dungeon - at least, not in the traditional sense.
By this point, you've likely heard about the Sword that Seals Evil. Link had it in his journey 100 years ago, but it's been conspicuously absent since his awakening on The Great Plateau. It turns out that it's been hidden away directly north of Hyrule Castle, in a grove long-time Zelda fans will recognize the name of immediately: The Lost Woods. Deep within The Lost Woods is Korok Forest, where the Master Sword lies, guarded by the ancient Deku Tree.
You'll need 13 hearts to pull out the Blade of Evil's Bane. With the three heart containers you've received from the previous three dungeons, that makes this a much less daunting task to overcome. This means that you'll need to complete 28 shrines in order to pull out the sword, which is a fairly easy job to accomplish.
This sword has 30 attack power, and will run out of energy instead of breaking. After a set amount of time, it will recharge, and you can use it again. It also does double damage against Guardians and anything infected by Ganon's ugly goop.
Once you have Link's trademark Master Sword, there's only one place left to go for the main quest.
- Difficulty: 9/10
- Recommended Items: Heat resistant food (Hydromelons sold in the first outpost that you arrive at provide this when cooked)
- Main Plot Relevance: Moderate
The Gerudo Desert is the perfect climax to the main journey. It boasts what is far and away the most involved pre-dungeon quest, and the dungeon and boss themselves are likewise quite difficult.
Other than the difficulty, there are some other things to consider about this segment of the game:
- The region itself will test your mettle, becoming as deathly cold at night as it is searing hot during the day. You'll need your cold resistant clothing along with some heat resistant food until you can buy the Gerudo clothes in this region, which offer natural heat resistance.
- Unlike the other areas, where you could get by with food, the Gerudo clothing is mandatory to advance the story. This means that you'll need to shell out 600 rupees in order to buy them. If you've come here last, this shouldn't be a problem.
- The side quests in the Gerudo town involve going to some of the most dangerous areas in the game, including the far reaches of the desert itself and the Gerudo Highlands. The Gerudo Highlands is mostly mountains, making the power you received from the Rito dungeon a very useful tool in scaling its snowy cliff sides.
Onward to Fight Evil
At this point, the only thing left to do in the main story is to beat Ganon, so I suppose that concludes our tour. Feel free to explore the rest of Hyrule at your leisure, but keep in mind that the northwestern part of the map, the Hebra region, tends to have the trickiest shrines and sidequests.
Of course, as open ended as Breath of the Wild is, there is no "right" order to complete the main quest. However, I believe that tackling the dungeons in this order is the closest that you can get to a natural progression in difficulty.
Did you find this guide helpful? If you already completed the game, what order did you do the dungeons in?