Thursday, March 29, 2018

Breath of the Wild Master Log, Entry 8

For the final part of my Master Mode run it was time to take on the Champions' Ballad, Eventide Island and the Trial of the Sword. What they all have in common are challenges, where the game takes away your stuff, so waiting until the end of the game, where you have all the Stamina and Heart Containers in the world, seemed like a good decision. But it also had the disadvantage that I wouldn't get the DLC rewards before the very end, where they aren't of any real use anymore...

Death #2

For the "One-Hit Obliterator" Trial I decided to don the Phantom Ganon Armor for a change... However, this led to my second death in the game, not far from the location of the first one, where I died after "gliding" from the cliff in front of the Shrine of Resurrection.

My mistake was that I thought the "Disguise" set bonus of the Phantom Ganon Armor works exactly like Majora's Mask. It's a Ganon costume, after all. But apparently it only works with Stal enemies and I paid with my life for this mistake, because I got hit by some Thunderbolts thrown by the Bokoblins at the first camp, who weren't really impressed by my "disguise".

I didn't die otherwise outside the shrines (and only once during that ridiculous Rohta Chigah Shrine with the many spikes) and I probably would have been pretty mad about this mistake, if it wasn't for that first death early in the game. So, my Hero's Path was tainted in any case and now my first death wouldn't taunt me anymore, since I died exactly, where I expected to die. The Forest of Spirits really was graveyard in this game. If I ever replay the game on Master Mode, I would try to achieve an entirely death-free run, however. It's doable, as long as you're careful on the Great Plateau, both during the tutorial phase and the "One-Hit Obliterator" madness.

But since I didn't have to worry about not dying anymore, I decided to fully explore the foggy Great Plateau during this trial. I didn't do this the first time on Normal Mode, because I wanted it to be done quickly, but I was curious what I could have missed. Well, turns out that I didn't miss anything at all!

All the other enemies that you normally find on the Great Plateau were gone. I was looking forward to killing both the Stone Talus and the White-Maned Lynel in one hit, but they weren't present anymore. Most of the enemies hang at the four points, where the trial tells you to go. There are some exceptions like multiple Ice Keese around Mount Hylia and some electric enemies at the bog near the Oman Au Shrine. There's also a new Decayed Guardian at the Temple of Time, but the Decayed Guardians at the Eastern Abbey are all gone.

And the enemy camps all look empty like this:

As you can see in the above screenshot, I've put Majora's Mask on after my initial mistake, which looks pretty nice together with the Phantom Ganon cape. But it also helps a lot with the enemies during this trial. The enemies tend to check you out personally, instead of sounding an alarm, where you can just lure them away and take them out one by one with the One-Hit Obliterator. Very useful.

But in general this seemed like the best opportunity to use the different DLC armor pieces in action. Since you die in one hit anyway, the lack of enhancements doesn't matter here, so you can go fight some Guardians in style:

Of course you can always choose to do so, but I personally prefer to have the defense at any time. And overall I did have a lot more fun with this part of the DLC than the first time.

The Realm of Nitpicky Memories

Off to the most relaxing part of the DLC, I was probably most busy being nitpicky about the "tacked on" nature of the content. I didn't even pay that much attention to certain things during my first playthrough of DLC Pack 2, The Champions' Ballad, but if you take the time to look, some things seem a little unpolished. Again, the devil is in the details here.

For example, if you go to Riju before doing the trial with the orb, she will say that this was yet another important Gerudo heirloom stolen by the Yiga just now, but they only treasured it for the hero, so when Link recovers the thing, he can use it as he pleases and doesn't have to bring it back like the Thunder Helm, which he only was allowed to borrow, because it is an important Gerudo heirloom and he can't just have it...

That doesn't make any sense left and right... They never mentioned this "heirloom" before and didn't think about giving it to Link, even though it was meant for him. And if this wasn't enough nonsense, the Yiga steal this thing in the exact second, where you're initiating Urbosa's trials. How convenient!

But I like the idea of throwing an orb down that giant hole at the Yiga Clan Hideout, where it would have been hilarious, if the dead body of Master Kohga would have blocked the orb slot. It's also nice, how the Kihiro Moh Shrine had a puzzle with lots of orbs to go with the theme. So, overall it certainly was one of the better trials in the Champions' Ballad, but I still didn't like the unnecessary Gerudo heirloom nonsense.

Another thing that I didn't like was how Kass essentially got cloned during the Champions' Ballad act. Well, he and other characters like Beedle, who are always present at the stables, already seem to have some sort of teleportation ability, but when Kass performs Revali's Song next to Divine Beast Vah Medoh, he really is in two places at once, because you can spot him all the way down playing with his children. When you talk to him, he even acts like he hasn't seen you in a while...

This seems rather sloppy and at least Nintendo should have thought of removing Kass from Rito Village during the time, where the Champions' Ballad Main Quest is active.

Well, I played Urbosa's part first, because having the fast reload for Urbosa's Fury was super helpful with the Realm of Memories, and went clockwise from there: Revali, Daruk and finally Mipha.

I chose Mipha for last, because Waterblight Ganon seemed like the hardest of the Realms of Memories. Thunderblight without full electricity protection can be tough as well, but I used a triple Shock Resistance dish before going into the fight, which works much like with the Trial of the Sword.

During the Windblight Ganon fight you only get a measly Feathered Edge, which breaks quickly, so it's best to use it for Urbosa's Furies as long as you have it. But the rest of the fight is doable with arrows alone. Fireblight Ganon is easily the easiest of the three, since you get multiple spin-to-win tools here.

It's really the environments that make the Blight fights tougher than they actually are, which is probably why they seem much easier inside the Sanctum. And Waterblight Ganon is the worst offender here, where he floods the room with water during the second half. This caused me quite some trouble, because for some reason, Link sometimes wouldn't draw his bow, when I jumped off a Cryonis block. So, I landed in the water and then had issues with getting back on land, while Waterblight would bombarded me with ice blocks... But if you use Urbosa's Fury, the ten arrows that you get are enough to beat him.

One thing that I didn't fully realize the first time was that Nintendo sort of recreated each official artwork of the Champions in their respective memories, the same artworks that were also used for the amiibo figures. It was really apparent during Urbosa's cutscene, where she makes her special stance by looking over her shoulder, but I didn't notice it with the other Champions until now.

Otherwise it still feels weird how you have to fight a bunch of Guardian Skywatchers and Turrets during Mipha's trial. Following the theme of upgraded overworld bosses, they probably could have introduced higher tiers of Hinox for the DLC, where you would have to fight a Silver Hinox on Upland Zorona for the trial. This could be a Golden Hinox in Master Mode, while all the Black Hinox could have been upgraded to silvers in that mode... This way the Hinox would have the five typical tiers, instead of stopping at the black tier.

Also, there's apparently another impossible chest with a Soldier's / Knight's / Royal Bow in the same area, at the north tip of Upland Zorana. I never knew this before, because the Sheikah Sensor+ doesn't pick it up, but according to and similar sites it's there.

Final Trial Revisited

As much as I liked this "dungeon" the first time as underwhelming I found it to be the second time. I was done with the "Final Trial" in less than 30 minutes and while the other four Divine Beasts aren't really long either, they at least felt like interesting places to explore, where I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the sense of adventure. You have these gigantic beasts inside the environment and you walk all around their outer shells, experiment with moving the beasts or parts of their bodies and so on.

Here you just get four chamber with typical shrine trials and you're done. And while there's a sense of mystery around this whole thing, there's no outside to explore or anything. It's not bad and it does something different with the Divine Beast mechanics, but it isn't really outstanding either.

The boss, however, is still boss and certainly the absolute highlight of the DLC...

It's funny, how you can actually distract him by dropping Mighty Bananas. This even helps during the phase, where he uses his Clone Jitsu.

About one of the rewards that you get for clearing the Champions' Ballad...

Otherwise I finally got my beloved bike back:

Sadly, it won't be of much use at this point. I've already found everything on the overworld, so using the bike would be just for fun now. But at least this way I've learned to appreciate horses much more. Thanks to the Ancient Saddle I've been using horses a lot more frequently during this run and they are probably even more convenient than the Master Cycle Zero in various situations. They're faster, you don't have to fuel them and you don't to hold the "A" button the entire time, which is a lot more comfortable.

The bike is still more fun and it has much better off road capabilities, while you also don't have to worry about it dying. So, it seems quite balanced and depending on the situation I would chose one or the other.

Stranded on Eventide +

This time the "Final Trial" wasn't really the final trial for me, because there was still the Trial of the Sword left and another Sheikah Shrine: the one on Eventide Island. Both of these trials have in common that you will lose your entire inventory except for (some of) the key items. And with no armor and the upgraded enemies, it seemed like the best idea to wait until the end of the game, where you have lots of health and stamina.

So, I kept the island for later including the chests around it in the sea, which was a good source of Rupees.

And overall I like Eventide so much more than the Trial of the Sword. The atmosphere on the deserted island is fantastic and makes me hope for a sequel that takes entirely place on some large tropical island. Being stranded on Eventide has a nice touch to it and it's not just about confronting the enemies, but also about exploring the island for all its resources and maybe even finding a way around the enemies. It's the survival gameplay of Breath of the Wild at its best.

I know that you can just drop some good weapons before the trial, like on your raft or on the small island with the chest, and pick the up after the trial has started. But I didn't want to "cheat" this way, not so late in the game. So, I took the challenge the way it was intended.

Unlike in the Trial of the Sword you can actually use your Master Cycle Zero during the trial, which is funny, but probably not very useful. You can't use any amiibo, however, the game prevents you from it.

Also unlike in the Trial of the Sword, your Champion abilities are still active here. And "Urbosa's Fury +" fully trivialized the trial, because you can just eradicate all the enemies with it without any longer loading times. So, in the end this whole thing was a lot easier than expected...

It was still fun to experiment a little bit. For example, I tried to defeat the Hinox with thunder strikes (real ones, not the ones from Urbosa's Fury) this time, by pushing a metal weapon onto him with Magnesis, but the damage wasn't as high as expected. Also, when I hid up in the cliffs to try this, the Hinox dug up explosive barrels out of nowhere and threw them after me...

I didn't even knew that they could do this, but this seems to be a nice throwback to the classic Hinox enemy from A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening, which threw bombs at you. But it's nice to see that I keep learning new things about this game, even after hundreds of hours of playtime.

I still wish that you could replay the trial at any time, because this would be fun.


So, after I was done with both the Champion's Ballad and Eventide Island, I expected to have a map completion of 100% again. But this wasn't the case, I ended up with 99.75% and was still missing a couple of locations. I found two of them rather quickly by studying the map:

  • Statue of the Eighth Heroine
  • Maw of Death Mountain

I was at both of these places, but I didn't trigger the names there. I took a picture of the Statue of the Eighth Heroine from a distance, but I didn't get close to the statue. And I walked around the "bridge" at the Maw of Death Mountain, collecting all the Koroks. This is what happens, when you just follow points on a map, instead of really exploring the places.

When I found the last Korok in my Normal Mode run, where I avoided using any guide maps, I automatically ended up at 100.00%, because I've walked over every square meter of the map by that time. But if you know, where everything is located, and skip some of the empty space, you might miss a location name or two...

However, I then was stuck at 99.91% and I couldn't find the last one. For a moment I was even afraid that I've been the victim of some bug, but it would be the first time that I've heard about this. I was studying MrCheeze's Waypoint Map, but I couldn't find what was missing. The only thing left seemed to be the "Hyrule Kingdom" location that you first read after leaving the Great Plateau. I was worried that you might be able to miss that, if you land too far away from the Plateau. But then I checked my Normal Mode map and it wasn't there either...

Well, after I went fully through this checklist, I finally found the culprit:

The Gerudo Desert Gateway. Yes, this is what happens, if you just follow points on a map and try to be efficient about it. I never went through the gate to the desert, because there is nothing there to find. I went above it for the Koroks. And later I entered the desert by gliding from the Wasteland Tower straight to Vah Naboris.

Enhancing Wild Things

To enhance the final set of armor in the game you need all types of dragon parts twice, as well as four Star Fragments, but I got those covered already from my previous farming sessions. But you also need Acorns, Courser Bee Honey and Energetic Rhino Beetles (15 of each), where I was still lacking the last two. Time to farm!

As for the Courser Bee Honey, there is some on the Great Plateau, but you can find many in one spot at both Fort Hateno and Rutile Lake (on the southwest side of Satori Mountain). Satori Mountain in general is a good source for many materials.

For the Energetic Rhino Beetles I then figured out any easy farming strategy. Go to East Akkala Stable, skip until morning, collect them with the Stealth set equipped, repeat. There are lots of them in the woods nearby.

What do you mean? I found like a dozen of them in half an hour...

Also, was missing a Bladed Rhino Beetle and a Sanke Carp in my inventory as materials, but both could be found in and around Kakariko. Apparently the Sanke Carps never gets dropped by any of the amiibo or otherwise I should have gotten them before.

It's not a necessity for a 100% savegame, but I still like to have at least one of each material inside my inventory.

Anyway, I'm almost done with enhancing all the armor. The additional shrines of the Champions' Ballad housed two Giant Ancient Cores, which was exactly what I needed to upgrade the Ancient Helm. I got another one from farming Guardians for my inventory collection, so I was good here. Now, only the Twilight and Sky amiibo tunic sets still need to be upgraded, where I currently need 16 more Star Fragments, which is just a matter of time.

I want to have all enhanceable sets fully upgraded in my inventory at the end, but I don't really count this as part of 100% completion either, since most of them can be sold again and you currently can't have all the armor at once anyway. Only the eight armor pieces that can't be sold (Champions' Tunic, Thunder Helm, Zora set and Wild set) should be there and if possible also fully enhanced. But I will post my "full" armor collection soon, once it's finished.

The Real Final Trial

You could say that I saved the worst for last with the Trial of the Sword. You can do this a lot earlier in the game, but for this type of challenge I simply preferred having the maximum of stamina and hearts. Also, this was the one part of the game, where I was not looking forward to it and where I felt really uneasy about it. You know, the same feeling that you have before an important test. I don't like it, when video games make you feel this way, because they shouldn't. I play video games to relax. They should be fun and engaging, not stressful.

The only other challenge in the Zelda series that made me feel like this was the Hero's Trial in the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. But in case of the Trial of the Sword it was more about the lack of practice, because I've only beaten it once in Normal Mode, and one particular room in the Beginning Trials. Overall it's by far not as bad as the Hero's Trial.

And I've studied this impressive No Damage Run by sva161620, which helped quite a lot and really boosted my motivation to do this. There are lots of good tricks in there and I like, how he doesn't rely on techniques like bow spinning or perfect parries, where it's easy to screw up. Instead he uses methods that can be copied by anyone, which is a good learning experience. So, if you're having troubles with the Trial of the Sword, go watch this video. Be aware that he makes it looks easy, but you don't have to copy the speed and perfection. And it really helps to know how to avoid damage in all of the scenarios.

It's also a good idea to prepare with food before the trials, because you can take any status effects, extra stamina and extra hearts into the trial. So, eat some food for two yellow Stamina Wheels and to get your hearts to 30. Also, in Master Mode you certainly want that triple Attack boost, because offense is really the best defense here, where you need to cook three Mighty Bananas, one Mighty Thistle and a dragon horn for the effect that lasts for 30 minutes, which is enough to get through each trial.

So, with that I was finally fully prepared to enter the trial...

The Beginning Trials are really the hardest part of all this, specifically the tenth floor, where you have to fight two Silver Lizalfos, who like to fully regenerate inside the water. It was already quite tough with two Black Lizalfos in Normal Mode, but the Master Mode version seems really unbalanced, especially for something that is supposed to be the "Beginning Trials", where you'd think that this is the easiest. It seems almost like an oversight by Nintendo, because the rest of the trials were usually kept fair, where you can succeed on wits and strategy.

But in this case you just don't have the equipment for it. They will kill you quickly, because you don't have the protection. Their spit alone does like five or six hearts of damage. And they will last, because your weapons aren't that good. I've heard people say that they did it with the Lightning Rod from the previous floor by attacking the Lizalfos in the water, but this didn't really work too well for me. Other strategies involve to burn them to death in a fire trap, but that's hard to pull off.

The video above uses "Chain Sneakstrikes" as the method to do it, but you're essentially abusing a flaw with the AI here. Whenever you perform a Sneakstrike on an enemy, they will turn around afterwards, ignoring anything before them. So, if you do a Sneakstrike and then walk in front of the enemy, you can immediately do another Sneakstrike afterwards. You can keep repeating this, until the enemy is dead, and with this method even the strongest tiers aren't an issue, because Sneakstrikes do eight times the damage of your weapon. You can just quickly kill those two Silver Lizalfos with them.

So much for theory, in praxis it's also not easy to pull off, because the Lizalfos have a habit of noticing you, while you sneak up to them. This is why the guy in the video shoots arrows in front of them, so they are distracted. But even this might not help. My first try was a complete catastrophe and I had to leave the trial to give up.

I did it on my second try, but even that didn't went smoothly at all. I could take out the first Silver Lizalfos exactly like in the video, which was a huge help. But the second Silver Lizaflos kept noticing me, where I had to run back to the beginning of the jetty, hoping that the Lizalfos would reset to its original position, which sometimes they don't. They face inwards, which makes sneaking up to them impossible. But sometimes they turn around, when you get closer, which is a little weird... But it's much easier to deal with only one Lizalfos than two, which is why I ultimately succeeded with some patience.

Floors 11 and 12 afterwards are probably not even worth mentioning. Don't use the raft on Floor 11, but slowly take the archers out from Cryonis blocks. Then push the Bokoblins into the water with a Korok Leave and try the same with a heavy weapon on the Silver Moblin. Fighting a Hinox without taking damage was routine by now. Stasis+, shoot the eye, attack close, retreat, repeat.

And after I was done, I was in good need for a Hestu Dance Party. Collecting all 900 Korok Seeds never felt so rewarding, because you can just enjoy Hestu's stash expansion dances again and again. And after beating the Beginning Trials, it was party time!

Because I was somewhat stressed by these trials, I didn't attempt it all in one evening. I've beaten the Beginning Trials on Monday (sometime after 0AM), then did the Middle Trials on Tuesday evening and the Final Trials yesterday evening. The rest of the time I've spent with farming materials (mostly Star Fragments) to relax.

But I've bested both the Middle Trials and the Final Trials on my first try, where the Beginning Trials really are the toughest. You just have much more room for error and much better gear in the other trials. I would even say that the difficulty goes down with each one.

The Middle Trials start easy with the air rooms, where you can kill most enemies by pushing them into the abyss. The darkness rooms can be tough, however, because it has some strong enemies in there that you can hardly see. Even the Black Hinox managed to hit me hart despite my Hinox killing routine, because I couldn't see, where I was going... Well, I never was a fan of the artificial dark areas in the game, it just looks wrong. And if it wasn't for this part, the Middle Trials would be really enjoyable and fun.

Fighting the Guardians Scouts in the last part also felt surprisingly easy, almost as if they didn't scale up, but there are also lots of neat tricks here, like pushing them into the water, dropping a huge metal box on them or burning them to death.

Now, the Final Trials are certainly the longest, where my damage boost only lasted into the middle of the ice floors, but long enough to take down the Silver Moblin and the Gold Bokoblin on Floor 15. But it also felt like the easiest of the three trials, because you get plenty of food and good weapons, while most of the enemies don't scale here and can be easily killed in one hit: Stal enemies, Fire- and Ice-Breath Lizalfos, Chuchus, Pebblits and even the Guardians thanks to the nine Ancient Arrows that you can find.

I did fight the first Guardian Stalker and also the first Guardian Turret normally to save some Ancient Arrows, where I had exactly the two left at the end (I used one on each Lynel, one on the Gold Moblin on Floor 14 and the rest on the other active Guardians). I just wanted to be save in case I screw up hitting the Lynel on the final floor in that chaos.

And I almost screwed up badly by forgetting to collect that Blizzard Rod on Floor 15, which is a real life saver on the final floor as well, because it stops the entire army of riding Blue Bokoblins. It makes this almost too easy. And even, if you screw up somehow, there are plenty of fairies and multiple "hearty" ingredients to bring you back to form. You can actually cook up a triple defense meal for the final floor, which helped as much as that Ancient Arrow and the Blizzard Rod.

So, with that I was done and could finally claim the true Master Sword... again.

So, what to do with this new shiny sword? Felling lots of trees, of course!

Link is a true force of nature and the real Calamity in this game.

I needed to collect the firewood for some Star Fragment farming, because that's like the only thing left to do at this point. Well, I made very good use of both the enhanced Master Sword and the Master Cycle Zero during my Normal Mode run, when I kept looking for the remaining Koroks, but here I didn't get both of these until the end, sadly.

Of course this was my own choice and I could have gotten them a lot earlier, but challenges like the Trial of the Sword or the Realms of Memories give me an incentive to wait until I have gotten all the Spirit Orbs. With similar challenges in past Zelda games, like the Cave of Ordeals in Twilight Princess, I also usually did them at the end of the game. In some cases you couldn't even do it before, because the game prevents you from entering the final floors in some way.

The Best Shield

What's even more pointless than getting the best sword at the end of the game? Right, getting the best shield at the end of the game! I waited so long to get the Hylian Shield, because I wanted to wait for its yellow modifiers to appear, which only happens late. The best possible one to get is "Shield Guard Up + 54" and here it is:

After you've beaten the Stalnox in Hyrule Castle, you can just save your game right before opening the chest and reload as long, until you get your desired modifier. That's save scumming for you. There is also "Durability Up +" modifier for the shield, but it has a hidden random stat to it and it's not that useful, because with the high Shield Guard value of 144 your Hylian Shield will rarely ever take damage.

I still don't like this, because it adds yet another thing to the game that won't last and can't be gotten back, because the Hylian Shield sold by Granté won't have modifiers. So, ultimately this is just a collectible that I probably will never use and just keep in my inventory for bragging rights.

Apropos bragging, with the last Hinox I also finally got all Medals of Honor and with that all key items in Master Mode:

I also still had to buy the rest of the pictures from Symin to get that Classified Envelope, where I needed to pay 18,500 Rupees for the weapon pictures. And I have to say that with buying all the pictures, purchasing armor and paying for the Great Faries I always had a good use for Rupees. It fully added up, one half-way efficient run of Master Mode scored me enough Rupees to purchase everything. Of course I had to sell some minerals to make this work, but I still have enough left to enhance the rest of the amiibo gear. So, only Star Fragments and dragon parts required some long-time farming.

Final Hero's Path

This is how my Hero's Path of my entire Master Mode run looks like:

I did get all 900 Koroks and all treasure chests again, except for those that are glitched. So, any empty space on the Hero's Path has absolutely nothing except for maybe some material sources that can be ignored.

You can also clearly see, where the Star Fragment farming took place with paths emitted from the same travel gates. They almost looks like the third of a star, a "star fragment" so to say.

According to my Wii U I've spent a total of 175 hours to complete the game in Master Mode. That's less than a third of my original playthrough, but still quite a lot considering I've tried to be somewhat efficient by clearing one area after another this time. That's a whole new level for Zelda games, where in the past even the longest Zelda games only took around 30 to 40 hours at maximum to be completed a second time, when you know what to do and where to find everything. Even playing through a Zelda game for the first time never really scratched the hundred hour mark, but Breath of the Wild is certainly in a different league here. It's quite the time investment, but an enjoyable one.

The End(?)

This is it for my Master Mode run of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Wii U. I also own the Switch version of the game, but I don't have a Nintendo Switch yet. Once I do, it's likely that I will do another complete Master Mode run on that system, where I want to focus on fully completing Hyrule Compendium with personal pictures, which will be a new challenge, because you have to fight Lynels very early, before they start upgrading. But I won't be doing this anytime soon.

For now this savegame will act as a playground, where I want to practice my fighting skills from time to time. There are so many crazy things that you can do combat-wise in this game and I want to experiment with this somewhat in the future, where a fully completed Master Mode file will serve as the perfect platform to do this.

Master Mode Progress:

  • Divine Beasts Freed: All
  • Main Quests: 20/20
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Side Quests: 90/90
  • Memories: 23/23
  • Shrines: 136/136
  • Koroks: 900/900
  • Talus: 40/40
  • Hinox: 40/40
  • Molduga: 4/4
  • Map Completion: 100.00%

All done, again! Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Breath of the Wild Master Log, Entry 7

Star Fragment and Dragon Part Farming

To enhance all the armor in the game, especially if you have all the amiibo pieces, you will need lots of Star Fragments. 88 in total, if I'm not mistaken. And this is why after the last entry I proceeded with farming them, so that I don't have to do it all at the end and I can enhance most armor pieces, when I approach the last Great Fairy.

Ideally the golden enemies in Master Mode would drop Star Fragments (more often), but that's not the case, so you have to do it the old-fashioned way. I was experimenting with Star Fragment farming a little bit, where I followed suggestions from GameFAQs and people I know. One was to do it next to your house in Hateno, because you don't need any resources at all, since you can simply skip times with the Cooking Pot in front of your house or via your bed. You then have to look towards Hateno Tower...

This sounds nice in theory, but I often had the issues that the Star Fragments would drop somewhere behind the cliff with the tower, where you don't see it...

So, in the end the quickest method still seems to be the Dueling Peaks one, where you have the full overview of every possible landing spot. I probably should go through the basics here again for everyone, who doesn't know how this works. Bring some wood and ideally also a flaming weapon, then follow these steps:

  1. Warp to the Shee Vaneer Shrine on top of the Dueling Peaks.
  2. Sit by a fire until morning.
  3. Sit by a fire until night.
  4. Face west on top of the mountain, looking between the Great Plateau and the Central Tower. Try to have any large surfaces of water out of your sight, e.g. Lake Hylia.
  5. Wait for the star to fall. You can fully idle during this time and do something else, e.g. surf on your Smartphone and read this blog.
  6. After the star finally dropped, mark it on your map with the scope and warp to the nearest location (often the Great Plateau Tower).
  7. Repeat.

The skipping to the next morning is key here. People often forget that and just skip from one night to the next, in which case the star won't fall. You want it to become morning first, then you can skip to the next night. You you can also simply wait for 5AM and do something else in the meantime, where I personally like to combine this with dragon part farming to get all those scales, claws, fangs and horns that you need.

This worked extremely well, because the three dragons tend to instantly appear in certain spots, when you follow the day-to-night-skipping method for Star Fragment farming. You just need to teleport to the following shrines for the respective dragons:

  • Shae Loya Shrine at Tabantha Bridge → Dinraal
  • Qukah Nata Shrine at Lake Floria → Farosh
  • Dow Na'eh Shrine at Lanayru Promenade → Naydra

Update: When you're done with Revali's Song, you can also use the Shira Gomar Shrine at the Tanagar Canyon for Dinraal.

The fastest here is Farosh, who comes out of Riola Spring the minute you teleport to the Qukah Nata Shrine. Naydra takes the longest, because it appears over Mount Lanayru and you can see it descend once you've climbed the ruins of Lanayru Promenade:

You could also warp to Mount Lanayru directly, but hitting Naydra there usually has the disadvantage that the dragon parts fly off into the far distance, where it's hard to find them and it completely cancels any time advantage that you might have up there. At Lanayru Promenade things are simple and certainly not as disorienting.

You should wear armor with the Fireproof, Unshockable / Lightning Proof and Unfreezable effects respectively to protect you from the dragon emissions. In case of Naydra it's enough to wear Zant's Helmet from the last DLC, which offers the "Unfreezable" bonus. I had to use the Rubber armor set for Farosh, but it's also enough to use the Thunder Helm, once you have it.

Back to the Arena

To score kill points for the best possible Hylian Shield I probably still need some more Lynel kills, where you always have a White-Maned Lynel at the Great Plateau.

Early in the game this guy is a significant threat that you might want to avoid, but later on he's the easiest source for Savage Lynel Crushers, the most powerful weapon in the game.

As long as I didn't clear my last Divine Beast yet, I could also return to the Coliseum Ruins for an easy Silver Lynel. Afterwards there's only one left in Hyrule Castle, which is not as convenient.

And even after all this time I got a lot better at fighting these guys. Well, for the most part this means that I'm cheesing the rodeo method. Score a headshot, mount the Lynel, stab, stab, stab and score additional headshots in slow motion after being thrown off. When you attack the Lynel, while riding on his back, it doesn't cost any durability, which you can abuse greatly. I personally don't like this, however, because now you have a reason to preserve your most powerful weapon(s) just for the rodeo hits.

But there are some other tricks, like crouching below a Crusher Lynel, while he's doing his 720° spin attack. I can only advise to take a look at RinHaraSaki's Youtube Channel, which has some amazing fighting montages (like Open Your Eyes) and neat tutorials about Breath of the Wild combat tricks. I was quite surprised about what's possible and this really inspired me to try out some new techniques. The combat in this game is utterly amazing.

Gerudo Canyon Curiosities

Well, other than farming all the things, there was still one big area left in the game for me to conquer: Gerudo. Saving the best for last. I thought about entering the area via the Gerudo Highlands for a change, but I ultimately took the classic Gerudo Canyon route, because it seemed more convenient for completion.

For example there is one guy at the canyon road, who needs a normal-sized horse. If you know this in advance, you can prepare by bringing any horse from near the north end of the Great Plateau, where you usually have some packs running around.

Anyway, I've encountered a couple of secrets on my way through the canyon, which starts with the Test of Will. Normally the Gorons prevent you from wearing pieces of the Flamebreaker armor during the test, but they don't account for the Vah Rudania Divine Helm:

You can also use the Island Lobster Shirt to help you out with the heat in the first test. So, all these added armor pieces really trivialize some of the tasks and challenges in the game.

Also, I've discovered more locations of the lowest tier enemies:

Also, I had a very lucky Star Fragment drop near the Wasteland Tower, where a Star Fragment landed right on top of a Korok Puzzle at a cliff wall:

I'd wish I had so much luck, when I was actively searching for all the Koroks in Normal Mode, instead of following a guide map... A situation like this would have been a jackpot.

Circling Vah Naboris

As an experiment for this run, I wanted to know, how much of the Gerudo Desert can be completed, while the Divine Beast Vah Naboris is still roaming the area causing sandstorms...

Well, it turned that you can do almost everything. You can go for all the shrines but one, you can defeat all four Moldugas and do most of the Side Quests around town, except two of them, which apparently won't trigger before the Thunder Helm is on the table ("The Mystery Poluter" and "The Search for Barta"). The only "major" thing you can't do in the desert yet is the Sand Seal Race, because Vah Naboris was blocking the race track.

You can still enter the sandstorm area, however, where Vah Naboris slowly targets you with its lightning strikes:

Even with the Rubber armor set and the "Unshockable" set bonus this does plenty of damage, so you wouldn't want to spent too much time in its proximity, but you can easily get all the chests and Koroks around the sandstorm area. So, the only thing that Vah Naboris occupies is really the race track.

With having access to the Kara Kara Bazaar (where I still find it annoying that this place doesn't have its own shrine for no reason), I could finally complete the Tarrey Town quest line, where I already could get the complete Desert Voe set thanks to Rhondson.

For one of the Side Quests in Tarrey Town I also needed more Tabantha Wheat, where I noticed that cutting grass near the Rito Stable brings out many Hot-Footed Frogs. This would have been very helpful to know earlier, because this method is much faster than running after the frogs in the Hyrule Ridge area.

Back to the desert, I started clearing everything beginning in the southeast with Mount Granajh. From there I made surprisingly short work of the South Lomei Labyrinth... Originally it was my first labyrinth in my Normal Mode run, so it left an impression on me at the time, but this time I went directly for the treasure chest in the southeast quarter, where from there I quickly found the entrance to the shrine in the center:

I didn't look up any solution maps, it just happened. Now, both the North Lomei Labyrinth and the Lomei Labyrinth Island still took me a while on my second playthrough, while this one was completely done (found the shrine and all chests) within minutes and without any trouble, so I could move on fairly quickly to clear everything else around the desert...

Tricks in the Desert

A nice trick that I've learned has to do with the triple tree or triple cacti Korok puzzles that you can find in many places...

The desert also has many enemy camps, where I'm getting more and more confident in my fighting skills, other than dueling Lynels. For example I've learned to appreciate the "bow spin" technique quite a lot, where you start spinning with a two-handed weapon and then both switch to your bow and do a dash cancel at the same time. This makes you spin with your bow in your hand, while the two-hander still does damage on your back, it even doubles the hits per second.

In addition this makes any elemental effect go on as long as you keep spinning, where you can lock enemies in constant freezing damage with a Giant Frostblade or keep shocking them to death with a Giant Thunderblade hitting something metallic. Any metal chest inside the enemy camps will do fine, but this is something where even the amiibo Rune can support you in combat by dropping a metal chest, whenever you need it.

But I've even used Korok puzzle blocks and I became more and more a beast, where Master Mode with its tanky enemies finally starting being a lot of fun to a point and where I wouldn't want to return to Normal Mode at all.

However, the camp chests are certainly not worth the resources or trouble. Since I didn't have Urbosa's Fury yet, fights still could get quite resource-intensive, where in one case I broke several Savage Lynel weapons to clear a camp of Golden and Silver Lizalfos, just to get a Gerudo Spear as the reward... That's the game giving you the finger.

Yes, there are the platforms with weak enemies sometimes giving you good stuff in Master Mode, but there aren't many in the Gerudo area - in fact I only found some at the Sheikah Towers and that was about it.

Return of the Yiga

The most annoying this thing in this game are the "randomly" spawning enemies, especially the Stal ones. Oh, getting off your horse for a change? Say hello to a group of Stal Moblins! Oh, want to sneak up to a Lizalfos? Let his Stal buddies alarm him in the last second! Oh, you want to tame a horse? Have some Chuchus to scare it off! Oh, you like exploring the environment in peace? Kiss some Electric Keese!

It's not fun and because they all die in one or two hits, you're inclined to not waste any of your good weapons on them and either carry always one junk weapon with you or use Bombs, where both is inconvenient. So, ultimately it's just annoying.

Putting off Vah Naboris till the end of my Master Mode run did have the disadvantage of not being able to use Urbosa's Fury for the longest time, but it certainly had the advantage that it significantly reduced the number of random encounters with the Yiga. Those don't start actively pursuing you, until you've entered their based and defeated Master Kohga. In my Normal Mode run I did this very early in the game, so I was constantly annoyed by them in addition to all the Stals, Keese and Chuchus. Not so in my Master Mode experience.

And because I did the Yiga Clan Hideout early in my first playthrough, I didn't consider fighting my way through the place. And I didn't even know at the time that the Yiga Blademasters inside the Hideout will one-hit you to create some cheap challenge as an incentive to actually use stealth here.

But since I've already died once in the beginning of my Master Mode run, I had nothing to loose here. As with the Lynel on Ploymus Mountain there was no reason to sneak and I wanted to push through the place with guns blazing. So, I donned my Fierce Deity armor, readied my best sword, equipped my almost unlimited arsenal of Shock Arrows and... stood in front of closed doors.

It turns out that you actually have to speak to Riju first here, otherwise the Yiga will have closed their shop. I thought about surprising Riju by already bringing the Thunder Helm to our first conversation for some altered dialogues, but apparently this isn't possible.

Still, after my audience with her I went back to proceed with my initial plan. Annihilate all Yiga! And at this point it was easy enough...

I find the promise of being killed by one hit quite stressful, naturally, but it's still more fun than doing stealth. I never liked the stealth sections in Zelda games and it's neat how this game gives you the option to fight, sort of.

So, here's my Hero's Path right when entering Vah Naboris. Compare that with my Korok Mask run through the desert from last time and it certainly leaves a lot more empty space.

That cross from the beginning of the game, where I accidentally fell off that infamous cliff, is still taunting me, however... I probably should have restarted at that point to have a deathless run of Master Mode at the end. But at least it let's me take risks like battling my way through the Yiga Clan Hideout, which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise, since the game keeps your deaths in the Hero's Path for the next 200 hours of moving around the overworld, even if you rollback to a previous savegame for some reason.

So, for a deathless run you really can't die at all, which wasn't the case with Zelda games like Link's Awakening or Ocarina of Time, where you could just turn off or not save the game to stay at the pretty "000" death counter.

Vah Naboris Revisited

Vah Naboris was the first Divine Beast during my first playthrough, but this time I saved the best for last. It's certainly the one Divine Beast that comes closest to being an intricate "dungeon", though I have to say that I missed the possibility to actively control the beast itself in some way at any time. This is only achieved indirectly via electrical circuits, where you can "only" control the three cylinders in the belly of the beast.

But it's certainly the most complex of the Divine Beasts and I really enjoy the atmosphere of riding this thing through the desert. This is the one Divine Beast, where you really can feel how it's a "living" thing inside the environment.

What else? Thunderblight gave me more trouble than he did in Hyrule Castle, where it might be that the Blights have more health in their Divine Beasts. But that's about it.

Everything for a Pair of Boots

After Vah Naboris was down, I could finish the remaining quests around Gerudo Town and finally score the Thunder Helm. It's funny, how you get a total of three distinct gear items from Urbosa, while the other Champions only have one.

Also, at this point you have to make sure that your armor inventory is not full or otherwise you will potentially miss the Thunder Helm. Riju doesn't check for a full inventory unlike other characters, who are giving you armor pieces, where the Thunder Helm ceases to exist, unless you go back to an older savegame, where it wasn't lost yet. With only one automatic and one manual save this is easy to miss in Master Mode, however, and you wouldn't be the first.

So, make sure that you're not on full five pages (one hundred pieces of armor), which at this point is entirely likely. Even if you don't have any duplicates, you might be full, because there 107 pieces of individual armor in the game. So, you have to get rid of at least seven items. I sold the three basic armor items from the Great Plateau and I also didn't get any of the Kilton masks, since Majora's Mask made them fully obsolete. I did keep all of the DLC stuff this time, so my armor collection will be different from my Normal Mode file, where I kept both the Great Plateau and Kilton items, even two duplicate pieces of the Hylian armor, but sold three of the DLC sets.

I do like the order of armor items, when you leave out the three Plateau rags, though. With the exception of the Ancient set, where I tend to use the inconveniently placed Divine Helms on the last page anyway, all of my favorite armor sets have all their items on the same line: the Stealth, Climber and Fierce Deity sets. Which is practical, though it would be even better, if there were a quick-equip feature, where you only have to select one armor item for the full set...

Well, I did get the dark series from Kilton, so now I had five spaces left and what's missing is the final set of armor and the two pairs of boots that you can get from the loser, who hangs outside of Gerudo Town. For this I needed to go to the Gerudo Highlands, which was the last area in the game that I had to clear.

But clearing the Gerudo Highlands is 99% just doing this:

Pulling treasure chests out of the snow with Magnesis. There are tons of them there, as if it constantly hailed treasure chests on that place. Otherwise it's only three shrines, about 25 Koroks and the two pictures that you need for the boots.

Well, I did find my 900th Korok there, so this is done "already":



Here's the Hero's Path for the Gerudo Highlands:

After getting both the Sand and the Snow Boots, I needed to collect some Swift Violets to fully enhance them both (30 are needed), which I did in the Hebra area, where a couple of enemy camps were still waiting to be dominated.

Well, by now I got all enhanceable non-amiibo armor to ★★★★ with one exception: the Ancient Helm. That ugly thing needs two Ancient Cores, where I started farming Guardians around Hyrule Castle.

But no luck. I've enhanced the four Divine Helms to the max already, so there is no need for the Ancient Helm to be fully enhanced, because I will probably never use it. But that goes for many armor pieces and I've still enhanced them. It's just annoying, how low the drop rate for these things are.

Oh, and I've been wondering about this the last time, but you don't actually have to take a picture of the picture on Impa's wall to trigger the final memory. You can still find it and Link simply doesn't look at his Sheikah Slate then.

So, for the last part I've saved the major DLC quests and Eventide Island, so basically all challenges,where the game takes some of your stuff away. This will be "fun" in Master Mode for sure.

Master Mode Progress:

  • Divine Beasts Freed: All
  • Main Quests: 15/20
  • Shrine Quests: 41/42
  • Side Quests: 88/90
  • Memories: 18/23
  • Shrines: 119/136
  • Koroks: 900/900
  • Talus: 40/40
  • Hinox: 38/40
  • Molduga: 4/4
  • Map Completion: 98.20%