I know, Breath of the Wild basically gives you unlimited freedom, but that doesn’t mean you should do everything. Far from it. Like in every open-world game, there are lots of things you should absolutely never do in BOTW. Here are 10 things that fit this category, just to make sure you’re clear on the yesses and noes.
10. Drop Your Korok Leaf
Korok Leaves only have an attack power of 1, and there are no attack up variants (wouldn’t that be awesome), but this doesn’t mean they’re useless. If you see a boat sitting by the shore along your journey, you can’t pilot it if you don’t have the power of wind to blow it! Korok Leaves can also be used for less obvious things, like blowing bombs into enemy camps, spreading fire, and sending Bokoblins soaring off cliffs. As long as you’re not smacking your enemies with it, you can actually carry a Korok Leaf through the entirety of BOTW. Blowing without hitting someone/something won’t wear out its durability.
9. Avoid Purchasing Necessary Armor
Armor exists for a reason. People who avoid purchasing the Snowquill (cold resistance) set before embarking on the Vah Medoh quest or rely solely on fireproof elixirs for Vah Rudania won’t last long, and I’m here to make sure you’re not one of those people. Armor will provide permanent effects while elixirs and food are only temporary. You can forever forget about all that extra work that elixirs and food dump on you. No more checking your food effect timer, no more hunting down rare bugs…
8. Avoid Shrines
Other than the four on the Great Plateau, shrines are technically optional, but this doesn’t mean you should avoid them. Later on, after you finish the main questline, part of you will tell you that it would just feel right to finish all 120 of them. And trust me on this, it’ll be much harder to find them coming back later. Also, shrines turn into fast-travel points the moment you activate them, facilitating your journey across Hyrule so you don’t have to walk everywhere. You will, on top of that, need the Spirit Orbs obtained only from shrine completion (in bundles of 4) to increase your hearts and stamina.
7. Leave the Great Plateau Early
One common – and huge – mistake many players make is leaving the Great Plateau early. It’s essentially possible, but it is obviously not recommended, as the Old Man tries telling you over and over again. Listen to him! All it takes is a little patience. The paraglider will be ultimately necessary in the rest of the game, both for exploring and for the main quests, and it can only be obtained after completion of the Great Plateau questline. I understand you’re itching to experience Hyrule at its fullest, but just wait. It’s dangerous to go alone!
6. Go to Hyrule Castle Early
Going to Hyrule Castle mid-game (like, after the completion of at least 2 Divine Beast dungeons) is fine, but the early I’m talking about is right after the Great Plateau. Yes, it is technically possible like everything else in BOTW is, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Hyrule Castle is a dangerous place. There are two fearsome Lynels, elemental enemies, and pits of Malice everywhere; there’s hardly one easy thing to do in this final dungeon. Yes, Princess Zelda has been waiting for 100 years, but she can wait just a little longer, right? Link has barely any stamina or hearts at this point in the storyline, and going to the most dangerous place in Hyrule is not a good idea. She wouldn’t want him on a fatal mission, either.
5. Skip Dungeons
The Divine Beasts are optional. What?! Dungeons have never been optional like this before, but you SHOULD NOT SKIP ANY DIVINE BEASTS. Why? Each of their completion rewards, the Champions’ Blessings, will help you greatly in the fight against Calamity Ganon and your exploration of Hyrule as a whole. Daruk’s Protection is a recharging auto-parry shield, Urbosa’s Fury sends out damaging lightning to stun and kill all enemies around you, Revali’s Gale creates an updraft that can help enormously in long climbs, and Mipha’s Grace is a recharging fairy that gives you full health and 5 temporary bonus hearts. If you really want to be serious about survival in this game, you cannot skip any Divine Beasts.
4. Hit Cuccos
You know those chickens, the Cuccos, that bob their heads around as they happily roam Hyrule’s fields? Do not whack them. The first time, they might lend you an egg, but once you reach three times, they will exact their revenge – and you can be sure of that. Like in all Zelda games, Cuccos have a way of getting back at you that you don’t want to learn about. They’ll call out to summon their friends, and then assemble a whole swarm of Cuccos to bombard you with attacks. While it seems pretty dumb and petty, this Cucco attack can be lethal if you don’t have many hearts yet. Moral of the story: Never underestimate the Cuccos; they aren’t chickens when it comes to making you feel their pain.
3. Equip Metal in a Thunderstorm (Without the Thunder Helm)
Thunderstorms are no joke, and the lightning bolts are your metal detector. If you ignore the flashes of lightning that spark from metal gear you have equipped, a huge shock of lightning will come down on Link, causing him to drop the weapons/bow/shield he’s holding and deal a huge amount of damage. If you hear thunder, either warp to a thunderstorm-less area, take cover under a shelter of some sort, or equip a wooden shield, bow, or weapon (“ancient” gear won’t attract lightning). The only time this rule doesn’t apply is when you’re wearing the Thunder Helm, which will let you do whatever you please in thunderstorms. Read my article on how to get it from Gerudo Town if you want to experience this special bonus!
2. Gamble in Lurelin Village
Gambling in Lurelin Village will prove to be one of your worst decisions in BOTW if you dare to do it. Like real-life gambling, you pay money and bet which of three treasure chests has the highest amount of rupees. If you pick the wrong one, you’ll have to pay for it. There’s only a 1/3 probability of choosing the right one, and unless you have performed the Infinite Rupee Glitch or have tons of money to spend leisurely, please… avoid the seaside town’s dangerous curiosity.
1. Avoid Upgrading Armor at Great Fairy Fountains
Like I said earlier, armor exists for a reason. Great Fairy Fountains in BOTW are not like the ones in Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time: they do typically have fairies flying around the surrounding area, but their main purpose is to upgrade the defense and special effects of Link’s clothing. Do not avoid these fountains. They are costly to reveal at times, but as long as you save up and know tricks to save up rupees, they will pay off. Equipping fairy-upgraded clothing before battle will reduce damage done from your enemies. Another hidden bonus is the addition of set bonuses (effects only obtainable if you wear the entire corresponding clothing set). For instance, upgrading the Snowquill set twice via Great Fairies will unlock the Unfreezable effect, protecting you from ice-infused attacks and touching Frost Taluses. Upgrading armor via Great Fairies is not mandatory, but if you value strategy and self-protection, it will soon become a must.