Friday, February 9, 2024

Tears of the Kingdom Adventure Log, Entry 31

on the cliffs of Death Mountain, with my hover bike and Korok Mask, looking at the sunset

This will be a continuation from the last entry, where I'm tying up its loose ends. This means that I've managed to locate the final missing Hinox and Talus, as well as the last Addisons for some rewards, where I'm not all too happy about it all went. In addition, I'm faced with a new mystery about missing side quests...


The Last Medals

After my last search, I had exactly one more Hinox and one more Talus to find, but I also had been pretty much everywhere on the surface world. Hinox are easy enough to spot, even the collapsed Stalnox, so I couldn't imagine that I might have missed any on the overworld, which means that I was back to the Depths again. And indeed, the last one was chilling right south of the Hylia Canyon Mine, at a slope where I had simply never been before.

Hinox Monster Medal - An award presented by the monster-control crew in appreciation for defeating every Hinox in Hyrule. It's very fancy and shaped like the monster it represents.

For the last Talus it was pretty much the same outcome, but my thought process was different here and it took me hours to find it. I really couldn't be sure where it was, because on the surface they can be camouflaged rather well. My biggest worry was that there is still one somewhere in a cave, where I even started to re-explore some larger ones and got super excited when I found one in the "Byroad to Lanayru Wetlands". But I had already defeated that one and simply forgot to mark it on my map...

So, I then started counting them, which led to 31 in the Depths and 55 on the surface. I thought that 55 to 32 is a nicer split in numbers (even though you can't be sure in this game with a random total of 31 Old Maps) and I couldn't rule out the Depths in any case, which meant that it was time for one last hover-bike-powered scan. So, I went from where I was in the south counter-clockwise over the map, checking any gaps in the Hero's Path and also lighting up some of the darker corners, where the Lightroots don't shine.

It's a bit of an irony that the "Ancient Observation Deck" is in one of the darkest areas of the Depths and this is a spot where I kept searching, because there is a big gap here with no giant monsters around and it seemed like a place where it's easy to have missed something. But that this wasn't the case...

a gloomy Talus on my scope

This endeavor kept me busy for about two evenings, until I finally spotted the last Talus on a ledge in the far northwest. For a moment I even doubted that this is really the last one and not just another Talus I forgot to mark on my map, but it was truly still undefeated.

Ascending through the last Talus

Thing is that it was very close to a Flux Construct, which act like beacons. So, that one probably kept attracting my attention away from the rare Stone Talus. I've then noticed for the first time that the Taluses (and also the Hinox) tend to mirror their locations between Depths and the surface. Not all of them do, so there's no guarantee that one will lead to another, but it can be a clue and in this particular case it could have helped, because it was right below a Battle Talus north of the Dragon Bone Mire. Well, it doesn't matter now, because I've finally found them all...

Stone Talus Monster Medal - An award presented by the monster-control crew in appreciation for defeating every Stone Talus in Hyrule. It's very fancy and shaped like the monster it represents.

Gralens: "Impossible... You're saying that each and every large and unusual beast has been torn asunder?!"

If I ever replay the game I will certainly use a guide map, now that I've mapped them all out myself. To be honest, I arrived at a point where it's tempting to already do so and where no one would blame me for doing so. But I know myself, where I usually regret looking things up like this, because it's a lot more satisfying to discover them on your own, instead of just checking off boxes. There is just this special feeling of finally having found the very last thing you're looking for, a moment of pure bliss. And as much as this game drags on for me personally, I do enjoy playing it for what it's worth, so I don't just want to cross-check things online to be finally done with it.

That being said, the game could make things easier. It's a bit paradoxical at times, where it lures in completionists only to behave very unfriendly towards them. The giant monsters are a good example, where there would be no good reason to hunt them all if it wasn't for the medals. The game keeps track of which bosses you have defeated, but it offers no help in finding them all.

It really doesn't make sense, also from a story perspective. Thematically, receiving medals from some sort of military for defeating all the bosses makes a lot more sense than from some monster lover, that's for sure. But why would it even matter when there's the Blood Moon? The monster-control crew already keeps going in circles because of it and by the time you get the medals the majority of the monsters will already have respawned, unless you're doing some crazy challenge.

And who is even keeping track of all these? Everyone down in the Depths is either a Yiga or going to become one, so who is having an eye of all the "large and unusual beasts" down there? But they have the numbers and they know when Link has defeated one. So, why aren't these reports forwarded to Link, so that he can be directed towards any boss that is still undefeated? In fact, it all starts with a series of side quests about such monster sightings. It would be an immense help if Gralens simply told Link where to find another target. It doesn't have to be the exact spot, but giving the player an area to search would already make this a lot more fun and engaging.

staring into the darkness of the Depths as Fierce Deity Link

In addition, there really should be unique rewards from defeating these beasts, like with the Shrines of Light, so that they are a worthwhile goal in any case. If defeating four of them were to score you another Heart Container, then you really would have a good reason to go fight all these monsters. Maybe in the next game...

In any case, I should be done 100% with the Depths now, unless I'm missing a location name somewhere. But if my math is correct, then I should only need the rest of the Koroks for the 100% map completion. That's also a topic in itself... Why can't there be a completion rate for each layer of the map? This would be helpful in many ways if you could tell that you've achieved everything in the skies or the Depths separately.

The giant monsters also should be part of the map and map completion, really. They already should have been in Breath of the Wild, just so that you can use your markers on things that you find personally interesting and not things that you need to keep track of. The same goes for Addison's signs...


Well, hunting for the monsters still went better than putting up all those Hudson signs, where part of the the reason was that I didn't have enough markers for both activities and therefore had no real overview of the existing signs. For a while I even thought that I might find all the Koroks before all of Addison's locations. And I already was at a point where I kept thinking that there could only be one left. But there were two more heartbreaks, before I got to the final one.

next to Addison holding a sign in a canyon-like area

The first was at Oseira Plains, quite prominently up on the slope leading to the junkyard. This was a case where looking for Koroks can detract from other stuff, because you tend to gravitate away from the open spaces towards corners or hills. That's a bad habit from Breath of the Wild, actually, because there could have been a backpack Korok waiting on that slope as well...

The second one was slightly in the off, at the "road" going above Skull Lake, where I wasn't all too surprised to have missed this. This felt more like a possible Korok hiding spot to me, but finding Addison was even better. Still, he had one more sign to place somewhere...

at night at Death Mountain

And that somewhere wasn't too far away, it was right next to the Bridge of Eldin, though it took me two whole evenings and many detours to finally find it.... This place was a lot more dumbfounding to me, because the new railroad that goes around Death Mountain is quite prominent and I've explored this circular area of cooled lava multiple times, because it really invites you to go in circles around the mountain top. I guess, I didn't notice Addison between all the minecart stuff, but that's really my only explanation.

It helps to look for him during the night, though. He carries a lantern and then stands out in the dark, which is how I've spotted him immediately this time. So, if you're still looking for him yourself, this is the best advice I can give...

Addison: "I am! I'm all out of signs!"

Now, that's one more big world-spanning exploration quest finished. I already knew that there was going to be a reward and what it was, and you probably also know, but just in case I'm going to put this as another spoiler:

Despite this being similar to the caves, they are handled completely differently by the game. Caves are marked on your map and checked off if you got its Bubbul Gem, while Addison's signs are something that you need to track manually. You can always consult the Lord of the Mountain to find any missing caves, while there is no help in tracking down Addison.

Ideally, you could ask someone at Tarrey Town, preferably Rhondson, who doesn't really have much to do after you acquired the Dream Home. She could tell you another location where they've sent Addison to. Like with the boss monsters, it doesn't have to be the exact spot, but something like "Addison is putting up another sign at Death Mountain" would already be more than enough.


Everyone Everywhere All at Once

Anyway, once Addison is out of signs you can find him at any stable, where he's developing a new obsession with the Stable Trotters. He even gets angry at you if you talk to him here more than once, because he perfectly knows himself that he's slacking off. Not that I care, he really deserves a break... The poor guy is so damaged that he's stuck in his sign-supporting pose. He really should sue Hudson, instead of admiring him.

Addison watching the Stable Trotters

But it's good to see that the Stable Trotters finally have a fan. I'm certainly not one, because they completely break the immersion once you've unlocked all the Great Fairies, together with a variety of NPCs, because they are always everywhere. If you teleport from one stable to another, they will still be there, performing, even though they shouldn't be able to.

In Breath of the Wild it was really only Beedle who kept doing this and here it was okay, because it was a meme even before the game came out that he effectively has a clone army to sell his goods everywhere. This was already the case in The Wind Waker and this made it easier to connive. In Tears of the Kingdom, however, it's not only Beedle, but a whole band who's doing this. And now there's Addison, too. It would make sense if he's stuck at a stable in Akkala, but he's at all of them, too.

In addition, there are several traveling NPCs who you can meet in specific places, like the cheese-loving lady that hangs around the geoglyphs. If you go from one geoglyph right to the next, she will be there before you. It just takes you out of the game, because even if everyone had their own Purah Pad and kept teleporting around like maniacs, they wouldn't do it in a way where you're to never miss them.

The game really should keep track of where certain NPCs are. Make the Stable Trotters perform at a certain stable for a day and then move on to the next. Why do they even have that stupid Breezer if you never see them using it? It would make things a lot more immersive if NPCs were truly traveling from A to B in Hyrule, instead of just following scripted routines. And it would also make meeting them more special.


While looking for the last Hudson signs, I also made good progress with finding more Koroks, where this is easily the most paradoxical part of completing the latest two Zelda games. You can make a strong argument for how you're not supposed to find them all – you need less than half of them to fully upgrade your inventories and the reward for getting all is a giant piece of poo. It was seemingly the developers' intention that obtaining Korok Seeds is something that you do while exploring, but not what you explore for.

Yet, at the same time, your total number of Korok Seeds is one of the things you always see when loading the game, giving them the same importance as shrines and Lightroots. Unlike the bosses and Hudson signs, they are also part of the map completion, where I have arrived at the last percent with 25 more Koroks to find... If I want that 100%, I will need to obtain all 1000 Korok Seeds. It's that simple. I would do so anyway, but it's not like there is truly zero incentive to locate all the Korok puzzles.

Anyway, there are a couple of patterns that you can use to locate potentially missing Koroks. To a degree this was already the case in Breath of the Wild, but it became a much more obvious patter in Tears of the Kingdom: there is a Korok under almost every bridge. There are some exceptions, of course, mostly bridges that are very close to the water, e.g. the Horwell Bridge, but for the most part this is a good rule to follow.

a Korok in the Death Mountain area, with view of Hyrule Castle behind him

Another "rule" that came clear to me is that Koroks are found in the locations that had the memories in Breath of the Wild. Again, it's not all of them, but this led me to another Korok at the west end of Death Mountain. This was always one of the tougher memory spots to locate in Breath of the Wild, because it just all looks the same in this area, but there's now the new road going around this small plateau, so it's much easier to find.

Well, I'm confident that I will discover them all on my own eventually... But the search has slowed down quite a lot, which is normal. The less Koroks there are still left to find, the slower your progress will be, because there is no indication of where to look for the missing ones. I've already complained lots about this in Breath of the Wild, where sadly this is one of the things that didn't improve with the sequel.

By the way, if you look closely at the above screenshot, you can spot a very low sky island in the background, to the left. I think this might be the lowest floating sky island in the game, where it's actually shown on the surface map, instead of the sky map:

The weird square space right above the Pico Pond Cave... that's this sky island. There is yet another chest with a Large Zonai Charge on there, so not the most exciting find, but still interesting that this is a thing.

Star Fragment Grind

While looking for all the above things, I kept going to certain Skyview Towers at night to catch a falling Star Fragment, because I still needed a couple dozen for the rest of the classic tunics. At one point I grew tired of it and decided to just grind the rest by rotating between three towers:

  • Rabella Wetlands Skyview Tower
  • Gerudo Canyon Skyview Tower
  • Thyphlo Ruins Skyview Tower

They all have a high probability of a falling Star Fragment and a pot nearby. So, what you want to do is skip to the next morning, then skip to the next night, sky dive to catch a shooting star, teleport to the next tower, and repeat the process. This method seemed to work reliably and I was able to farm the rest of the Star Fragments quite quickly, which means that I now truly have enhanced every piece of armor to ★★★★, where eligible.

at the Rabella Wetlands during dawn

And by now I've also gathered ten more Star Fragments, which I'm finally free to use for other stuff... If you explore at night, because you're looking for Addison or so, you will also come across them in the old way often. Just probably not often enough.

Hide Quests

Now, I'm getting closer and closer to completing this game. I will take a break from all the searching and focus on some other things in the upcoming days, like completing the compendium and cookbook. However, there is one area in the game where I'm lacking for no apparent reason and this is side quests. I'm missing 14 in total right now and they are not yet in my Adventure Log – I only had the one about wells open and was able to close it the last time.

But that's an entire village worth of side quests still out there and I have no clue where to look for them. I went back to all the villages and stables, but I wasn't able to find any persons with those red exclamation marks above them. I considered that you may have some side quests with the Yiga, while wearing their full armor set, but this wasn't the case either (and it would feel wrong to help them).

So, I went through the list of existing side quests and tried to find anything that stood out, where I realized that I was still missing "Misko's Treasure of Awakening II". You probably don't remember this, but in entry 18 I had found the corresponding piece of armor at the Coliseum Ruins without any hints and then went for the rest of them. When I found the last part of the set, I didn't bother to read the stone slab there, because I probably expected it to say something like "Misko here, good job finding this, have fun with the new big head of yours".

Misko's Treasure of Awakening II - Complete

But it had the missing side quest and they are all linked (pun intended), where you get the first hint at the Goronbi River Cave and then one piece of the set leads to the next. There are also more of the "Misko's Treasure" side quests, where I have the one for the Fierce Deity and the three transcripts that you get from the treasure-hunting brothers. Maybe there are even more, but I wasn't able to find anything at the other caves, I even went back to some of them to check...

It's a better lead than nothing and I wouldn't be surprised if I have more side quests missing where I already have completed the task, but didn't find the task giver. In Breath of the Wild this was the case with a couple of Shrine Quests, even.


Cooking Mama

Searching through all the villages again led me to some new, helpful discoveries, at least, most importantly in Lurelin. There's Kiana, the mother who will cook a meal for you that you haven't tested yet. This is a surefire way of completing the recipe list and falls into the category of "I wish I had noticed this sooner", because you can't just skip to the next day to get another entry. It takes a bit, where it's either ingame time or slain enemies, like in the Oracle games. I'm not sure, but I have still quite some gaps to fill.

at a bench in Lurelin Village, looking like a resort

And trying to fill them on my own hasn't been easy, where I've made no progress with enhancing horses whatsoever. I always keep helping the NPCs who are fighting Bokoblins, but by now they rarely give me anything new. Meanwhile, if you try to do anything here by intuition, this intuition will be betrayed.

Hylian Tomato Pizza - A pizza made with fresh Hylian tomato. Slices of melty Hateno cheese make it irresistible.

For example, you can make Hylian Tomato Pizza with Tabantha Wheat, Hateno Cheese, and Hylian Tomatoes, like it's taught in the cheese store at Hateno Village. Simple enough, right? Now, following this, I would expect to get some sort of mushroom pizza by adding mushrooms to the recipe or by replacing the tomatoes with mushrooms. But instead you end up with "Tomato Mushroom Stew" or "Melty Cheesy Bread". I've already said this before, but it feels so random and I just don't get it...

Well, what I get is hungry (in the middle of the night, which is bad), so read you next time!



  • Side Adventures: 59/60
  • Side Quests: 125/139 (+1)
  • Korok Seeds: 975/1000 (+87)
  • Old Maps: 31/31
  • Recipes: 126/228 (+12)
  • Map Completion: 98.99%

Compendium Completion:

  • Creatures: 73/92
  • Monsters: 90/110 (+1)
  • Materials: 40/126
  • Equipment: 160/175 (+1)

Remaining Medals:

  • Taluses: 87/87 (+1)
  • Hinox: 69/69 (+1)

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