Category: games

Zelda: BOTW Diary (50)

After clearing that least shrine, it’s Blood Moon Eve. I can tell, because the night before a Blood Moon, there’s a hint of the music that plays, just a note, but if you’re paying attention, you can usually hear it.

That’s my cue to head back toward Washa’s Bluff and strip.  I’m not 100% sure if it’ll be tonight or tomorrow, so I need to hurry to get there.  I transport to the nearest shrine, on Satori mountain, and check the time — it’s 11:20 pm.  I glide over as fast as I can get there, and midnight passes before I land, but there’s no resurrection tonight, so it must be tomorrow night. 

I climb up onto the big mushroom where Kass is playing his tune again, and talk to him one more time so he can run me through the song to make sure I have it right.  I listen, save my game in case I mess up and do something wrong, and then build a fire with firewood and flint, and sit by it until the next night, purely in order to make the time arrive as quickly as possible.

The time comes, and it is raining.  I glide down to where the song says I should stand, and un-equip all my clothing. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to sit here all night, or if it only happens exactly at midnight, or what I should expect, but I don’t end up having to wait long, because almost immediately something happens, my gamepad starts rumbling, and the shrine emerges from the ground nearby, right in front of me.

I walk up and activate it, and go inside. It’s a combat trial, a Modest Test of Strength, and I am able to defeat this shrine Guardian no problem. I collect some weapons and my spirit orb, and when I emerge from the shrine, Kass is nowhere to be found. His accordion music is not playing, and he’s disappeared. 

I climb the big mushroom to see if he’s there, but he’s really gone. He left his diary behind, so I read it just in case there’s a new final entry, but nope, there’s nothing.

I decide to transport to Rito Stables to see if I can find him there.  He’s there.  Last time I talked to him, he almost started telling me about his past, something about the songs his song master taught him, but he stopped himself. I’m hoping he’ll tell me now.  But, no, he just says the same thing as he did before.  OK.

Well, I decide I’ll try investigating up the mountain near Rito village, and see if anything new is going on up there. The first thing I do is transport to the shrine near the Flight Range, and I’m hoping that the Rito who I am supposed to meet will be there this time, but he’s still not there. I must need to do something in order to trigger his arrival at the range, but I have no idea what.  If I go back and talk to the people from the village, maybe they’ll tell me, but for now I just continue on exploring.  

I figure maybe I’ll figure out what I’m supposed to do at Warbler’s Nest, and head down there, but I end up getting sidetracked and never quite get there. Instead I end up exploring around the northwest side of the mountain.  I come across a bokoblin skull cave, inhabited by 7 or 8 of them, and take them out, and then a little further north it starts going downhill and I come to a lake, where there’s a dock and a raft, with a korok leaf sitting on it, inviting me to take it out for a trip on the water.  I kill an octorock by the dock, and then head out. I have to drop one weapon, and everything I have is real good stuff, so I just lay it on the raft, pick up the korok leaf, and when I get to where I’m going I drop the leaf and pick up the weapon I put down.

First, I get to a little island with a pile of bombable rocks on it, and thinking it’s a korok seed spot, I bomb it. Instead of a korok seed, a windy updraft appears where the rocks I bombed were, and I ride it up with my glider.  I land on the side of the mountain and start climbing a bit, then notice a flower that is the telltale signature of a korok seed puzzle.  I find the seed, then glide back down to the island and continue rafting across the lake.

At the far end of the lake, I see an orange light, which could be a fire, or could be a shrine.  It looks too small to be a shrine, but as I get closer my shrine sensor starts pinging, and as I reach the other shore and explore, sure enough I see that there is a shrine just on the other side of a narrow crack in the rock.  I try squeezing through, but can’t fit.  I can’t bomb it bigger, either. I try everything I can think of, but nothing works. I wish I could magically shrink myself, maybe that would do it.  But there’s no ability like that that I know of that does this.

I think maybe if I go around to the other side of this hill I’ll find another way in, so I wander about and explore. I don’t find the entrance, but I do find a hot spring that heals me if I stand in it, so I replenish my hearts, and continue looking.  There’s another skull house with monsters living in it on the top of the hill, but I try to avoid messing with them, I’m more interested in figuring out this shrine. It’s night, and they’re asleep.  But I run into a well-armed moblin skeleton, who hits me real good with a dragonbone club, taking me down to half my hearts before I know what’s going on.  I kill it easily, and get a new fresh club.  But now that I’m badly injured, I decide to go back to the spring and heal back up again.

While I’m down there, I get disoriented, and so I head back over to the crack so I can make sure I know where the shrine is supposed to be so I don’t waste time looking for the entrance in an obviously wrong place.

I notice another pile of bombable rocks, and blow it up, creating another updraft.  I glide up it, and when I land I am on a ledge.  I can see down from the ledge into a dark hole, where there’s an orange glow from a torch or fire, and I check it out, and end up finding the way to the entrance for this shrine.

This one is pretty cool.  There’s a lot of dangerous looking spiky traps, but most are easily avoided.  I have to blow up some boxes to clear a path through a blocked corridor, then there’s a slowly spinning log bridge that I have to stay balanced on top of while avoiding stepping on spiky parts, and also avoid falling into lava below.  There’s a clear path if you are patient and let it rotate for you, and I cross without difficulty.  I blow up another barrier wall, and on the other side there’s four minor shrine Guardians, of the weakest variety, who I am able to take out easily with arrows.  They hit me a few times with their blasts, but only do a heart of damage.  The next part is a simple ice puzzle, I have to create ice platforms in the shallow water of the room in order to have something I can climb up to get at a chest and a switch that opens the door to the next room.

Finally, there’s a rolling spiked ball that I have to dodge, after which I find magnetic chest on the other side of another lava river, that I grab with magnetism, and a final test in the form of a final rolling spiked ball.  This one regenerates after the first one rolls down, and I discover after running into it on its second pass. So I figure out time freezing it will allow me to get by it easily.  I clear the shrine and get another spirit orb.

I check, and this is my 7th orb, so if I can find and clear one more shrine, I should be able to pray at a village statue and get another 2 heart containers, which will be a big help.

I remember that my shrine sensor went off by the shield surfing pro’s cabin, so I transport to the one shrine that I did find there, and then hike over to the cabin, walk in, and sit by the fire until morning.  Then I head out and look for the shrine.  I find it this time, after a bit of searching, behind some ice formations that I have to melt in order to get access to the shrine.

This shrine is another combat trial, and it’s a Major Test of Strength.  I’m very well equipped though, and am able to defeat this test, although it takes me two tries, and I have to eat a meal after taking a hard hit from its axe.  Once I have it down to its final tenth or so of its life bar, it starts shooting high powered energy blasts at me non-stop, and I learn to dodge them.  It doesn’t let up, though, and I can’t get close to it, so I equip bomb arrows, and finish it off with those.  It takes 4 or 5 bomb arrows to do it, which is annoying, because bomb arrows are pretty darn expensive, and they don’t seem to do as much damage as I think they should.  Maybe I should try hitting it with an ice arrow or Time Stop and run up and hit it with a heavy weapon next time.

I broke a few weapons in this fight, but the Guardian has a sword, spear, and axe, which are all very powerful, and then the shrine rewards me with a chest containing a very powerful two handed sword, which has a damage rating of 56, which I think is the most powerful weapon in raw attack power that I’ve seen yet.  Maybe I saw a 60, it’s hard to remember.  I get my spirit orb and clear the shrine.

I return to the cabin, and try the shield surfing challenge.  I’m not very good at it, and at first I don’t even know how to do it, but I figure it out, and after 3 runs I get a mediocre time of just under  a minute, which the instructor says is marginal but good enough for me to try a new course if I want to.  I decline, for now, as I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing and can’t improve much unless I waste a lot more rupees, which I don’t want to do right now.

During one of my downhill runs, my shrine sensor started beeping, so there’s at least one more nearby shrine that I can find in this area.

But for now, this is enough, and it’s time to return back to the village to cash in my spirit orbs for those heart containers.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (49)

Outside the shrine in the Forgotten Temple, I mull over my options for extraction.  Simplest, easiest, and perhaps best would be to transport out using the Sheikah Slate. But I would like to explore this area more, and see if there’s anything else to find.

I carefully explore the room where the shrine is located, and the only way in or out that I can find is the way I came in. I don’t find anything else in the shrine room, no weapons, chests, or anything else.  So I cautiously emerge from the shrine room, and destroy the first Guardian at the doorway, breaking a Dragonbone Moblin Club in the process, and gather a bunch of ancient technology parts.  Nearby I find a chest with 5 fire arrows in it. 

I’m still a long way to the main exit of the Forgotten Temple, and there’s at least a half dozen Guardians between me and freedom. I figure I may be able to advance to a point where I can fight one at a time, from a point where I’m behind cover from the rest of the Guardians nearby, and take them out one at a time. This will be a slow process, and the biggest disadvantage of this approach is that I’ll wear out probably 1-2 weapons per Guardian, and since these Guardians don’t drop any melee weapons for me to pick up to replenish what I break, I’ll probably run out of weapons by the time I get to the end, or if not I’ll be nearly depleted of arms, and vulnerable. All the ancient technology drops I’ll pick up from destroying these Guardians won’t be worth the price in weapons.

The only thing to do, then, is to make another run for it back through the gauntlet, and dodge their fire. I visually assess the route through the room that I want to take, and go for it.  

The key to dodging Guardian blasts is to run from point of cover to point of cover, if you can, and then when under cover, wait for a while until the Guardian stands down and resets.  If you can’t do that, you can dodge their blasts by listening for the audio cue that tells you when their charging countdown is up, and then change speed or direction.  The surest method is to jump right as the blast goes off, and or to touch the sprint button for a quick burst of speed for maybe a half a second.  The Guardians also seem to have a hard time tracking you if you are gliding at full speed, so they’re unlikely to hit you if you’re gliding when they fire, unless they get lucky, or unless you’re too close or if you’re moving directly away from them, so that they don’t have to traverse to hit you.

By doing short bursts of sprinting, you can avoid depleting your stamina meter, which is it important because you need that stamina to glide, as well. There’s a few sections in the temple where you need to glide, and you’re stuck if you run out of stamina.

Long story short, I pull it off and manage to escape the Forgotten Temple.  Getting in and out were both pretty exciting, and make me realize that I’ve come a long way in terms of skill and knowledge of the game, as well as power-ups from where I was about a month ago. This would have seemed all but impossible back then, where now it’s a challenge, but do-able with a little planning and forethought.

Now that I’m outside the Temple, I don’t have a lot of options. I can either try to climb out of the canyon, or I can walk along it for its length and see how far it goes.

It goes, it turns out, an extremely long way.  I walk seemingly forever through the desolate, mostly empty canyon.  I encounter very few monsters down here.  Most frequently I run into packs of 3-4 wolves, who, being predatory animals, will try to attack if I get too close. The best thing about them is that they’re easy to kill with a Sheikah bomb, and they drop raw prime meat. Best of all, if you kill just one, the rest will run away, much like real world wolf packs.  It seems like I run to a new group of wolves about every few hundred yards, and so I stock up on a lot of meat along the way.  I occasionally see Lizals, but they’re lying dormant, easy to spot despite being camouflaged, and I mostly avoid them.  Occasionally giant chuchus will pop up, but they are also easy to bomb, or simply outrun.

I continue running down this canyon for two straight game-days.  At one point, my sheika sensor picks up a shrine nearby, but it seems like it must be above on the rim of the canyon, so I just ignore it and move on.

Here and there, I find a couple of korok seeds, but they’re pretty sparse around here. But I’m also not looking that exhaustively for them, either, so it’s possible I could have overlooked some. But anything that looks like a likely spot for a korok seed that I check out, I find a seed.  I get up to around 145 seeds.

Eventually I come upon a Goron, who invites me to play his golf game.  For 20 Rs, I can smash a ball with a hammer and get it into a hole.  No thanks.  I don’t expect the reward to be worth the time spent, so I move on.  Somehow, I end up getting turned around and come back.  Well, OK then, fine, let’s play golf.  I use the Time Stasis power to freeze the ball, hit it, and my aim is pretty good.  My first shot goes off the course, but after that I get it into the hole in 3 tries, which, with the penalty stroke, gives me a total score of 5, and earns me 50 Rs, for a net profit of +30.  Yeah, very much not worth the time.

Moving on, I continue still further down the canyon, and it seems I’m now south of Rito village (I could see the canyon from the village spire when i was scoping out the surroundings) and closer to Gerudo Desert than I am to Rito village.

My sensor picks up another shrine nearby, and this one I decide to try to find. After a little triangulation, I climb up out of the canyon, and search, and eventually find it, well hidden under a large flat rock that I have to knock out of the way with time stasis and the free iron sledgehammer that I obtained for playing Goron Golf. Maybe it’s good that I stopped there after all.

This shrine is a wind puzzle, solved with wind generated by korok leaf.  The shrine starts out with a chest containing a korok leaf, and I have to leave a weapon behind to equip it. So long, iron sledge hammer.  The shrine is one of the largest I’ve been to, and involves platforms floating on balloons, spikes that can pop balloons, wind-driven turbine switches, a lot of vertical updraft, and a couple of baby guardians to fight. It takes a long time to clear the shrine, but I’m successful on the first try without dying, so it’s not very difficult to figure out what to do, just time consuming.

There are several weapons chests in this shrine, including a Thunderspear, but I still have a Thunderspear that I found elsewhere some time ago, so I leave it, but I collect my spirit orb, and emerge, uncertain of where I should try to go next. 

Zelda: BOTW Diary (48)

Coming out of the flight archery range, there’s a road leading further to the north.  I find a small group of horses and grab one to make it a little quicker than going on foot. 

I explore the rest of the road that lead up to here, and it doesn’t go too far — it ends at a little cabin. There’s a man sitting at a campfire outside the cabin, and I talk to him. He turns out to be a Yiga ninja in disguise, and challenges me to a fight.  I suspected he might be Yiga, based on his appearance, and am ready for him.  I equip my frost spear, spears being the best weapons to take against Yiga due to their range and speed, and it freezes him.  I switch to my Dragonbone Moblin Club, and finish him off with one blow.  Dragonbone Moblin Clubs do massive damage and are a great weapon, and I’ve picked up several up here, as the monsters keep dropping them.  My horse runs off, and I can’t find it.

I proceed to explore the cabin, and it’s abandoned. There’s a diary, which I read, and the place had been inhabited by a professional shield surfer.  Shield surfing is basically snowboarding, and I gather that at some point in the game I will likely need to use this skill, although I can’t see why it would be better than gliding. Shield surfing wears out your shields, and I hate doing things that wears out my stuff. But I guess it’ll be fun and cool when I get to the point where I need to do it.

Exiting the cabin, I find the horse, luckily it had just been right outside the cabin after running away when I fought the Yiga clan ninja.  I get back on him and ride him all the way back down the mountain road to Rito Stables to register him, and I name him Radish.  Get it?

Along the way, I stop frequently, and keep finding stuff to forage and korok seeds.  There’s an area on the map called Warbler’s Den, where I run into a mystery I can’t solve: a central raised platform of rock surrounded by five stone rings, each ring having one, two, three, four, or five “fingers” coming from the top of it.  I figure I’m supposed to fire an arrow through the rings in the proper order, so I do, but nothing happens.  Then I try counting down from 5 to 1, and still nothing happens.  I’m just wasting time and arrows. 

No idea what to do here, I decide I’ll have to just come back to it later sometime, and I go further on down the road.  I hear a Hinox snoring, and spot him to my right, just past the Warbler’s Nest area.  I don’t want to engage it, and move on.  I get to the stables, register Radish, and then transport back to the shrine in Rito village.

There’s a few missions for me here.  The guards are telling me that one of their soldiers is supposed to be at the Flight Range, so I should go there again and see if he’s there now.  I also talk to the wife of a Hylian couple who are here on their honeymoon.  The wife wants baked apples, and the man wants flint, so he can bake some apples.  They pay me well for both, and the man takes nearly all of my flint.  I get a lot of rupees for them, but I don’t really need it.  But it completes two minor sidequests easily.

A young Rito girl tells me a story about the mountain peak with the tall pine tree on it.  Her grandfather went up there one day and saw a huge white bird with “something important” in its stomach.  This story doesn’t make sense to me; how can you see what’s in a bird’s stomach?  I decide I’ll go out that way and check it out.

I’ll glide out, but first I want to climb to the very top of Rito village.  I do it, and it’s not easy, but I manage.  I find a korok seed and something else at the very top, I forget but I think it’s a weapon.  I look around and check out the surroundings.  There’s a few more stone pillars like the one Rito village is built on, standing out of the water here and there.  One of them has a small depression in it, and I see another likely korok hiding place.  I glide down to it and yep, it’s a korok.

From here, the easiest glider approach to the road that will take me to Flight Range will land me right by the Hinox.  I decide to try to sneak in and see if I can steal whatever he’s guarding, and maybe it’ll be something useful.

I get in close and manage to climb into his hand and he puts me on his chest.  There’s a good sword and a good bow and a halberd that’s inferior to everything I’m carrying already.  I take what I can, but nothing is really essential, as I’m already well equipped and fully outfitted. The next thing is I need to figure out how to get off the Hinox without waking it. I try gliding off, but this makes too much noise and wakes the Hinox.

There’s a thick stone column standing nearby, and I try to run behind it, hoping that the Hinox won’t see me and will go back to sleep, but it apparently knows where I am, and is trying to find me.  We play a game of hide and seek for a few minutes, I keep going around the column, keeping it between the Hinox and me, and it keeps trying to move around to spot me.  Eventually, I slip up and he sees me, and it’s on.

Alright, Hinox, you want to fight, I’ll fight.  I quick-equip my Dragonbone Moblin Club, a good shield, my best armor, and my best bow.  The Hinox is bending way over to get a good close look at me, and so I blast him right in the eye with an arrow, stunning him.  I run up and unleash a flurry of charge attacks from the DMC, which does massive damage, taking the Hinox down about halfway.  It gets back up and tries to sit on me, but I get out of the way, and then I nail it right in the eye with another arrow, stunning it, and I finish it off with a second flurry of charge attack.

This is the easiest fight I’ve had with a Hinox, and I’m developing a bit of skill.  The better equipment and powering up that I’ve done helps too, no doubt.

I proceed up to the Flight Range, and there’s still no one there. Puzzled, I wonder here my contact is.  I don’t have all day to wait for him, but maybe he’s only here at a certain time of day.  Oh well, I guess he’ll have to wait.

I decide to head toward the big pine peak, and see if I can find that big white bird.  This is a long trip, but I’m already about halfway there. It’s a lot of hiking and climbing, though, and along the way I find a few korok seeds, a couple of monster camps, mostly moblins and lizals but some bokoblins as well, all well armed, and pretty numerous. I fight them when I need to, and don’t really have a hard time taking them out.

I also encounter another Frost Talus, and fight it.  This one is a bit easier to take down. I defrost it with a fire arrow, then run up onto its back and hit it in its soft spot with the DMC.  It only takes two or three cycles of this to bring down.  It freezes me a few times, but only hits me good one time, and I have to eat a meal to replenish my life bar after this fight.

I get to the peak with the big pine tree, and the tree has a red ribbon tied around it. This seems significant, but there’s nothing interactive about the ribbon, and it seems that it is merely decorative.  I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen up here, so I wait a bit and look around, but nothing happens.  I re-read the mission text and the girl’s story mentions her grandfather was looking to the northwest when he saw the huge bird, so I look to the northwest, and sure enough there’s a pretty large bird flying in circles a little below me.  

I figure this must be the bird, so I pull out my telescope to have a good look at it and hope it’ll clue me in as to what I’m supposed to do here.  The girl’s story said that the bird was white, but this bird is only white on its underside, and the top side is grey.  It does seem to have a fairly big stomach, but I can’t see anything in its stomach, not that  I expected to be able to.

I wonder if I’m supposed to shoot the bird with the bow, but I don’t want to do it.  Besides, at the distance it’s at, I’m not likely to hit it anyway. I decide what I’ll do is save the game here, then try gliding up to it, and see if I can get close, and maybe I’ll be able to grab it out of the sky, or something. If that doesn’t work, I’ll restore and try something else.

I jump and glide down and I do get close, but I can’t grab it, and I just sort of fly through it.  Now I’m below it, and it’s still up there.  So I restore from my save point, and when the game resumes, the bird is gone.  I wait and wait, hoping it’ll come back, but it doesn’t.  Crud.

Needing something else to do now, I scope about with my telescope, and spot a plume of smoke rising in the distance not too far from me, about two peaks over.  I glide toward it, and get about halfway, then hike and climb the rest of the way.  It’s another cabin, and this one is inhabited, by none other than the shield surfing pro.  She invites me to try shield surfing, but I’m not interested in that right now, and turn her down.  I sit by her fire until dawn, and then check out a shrine that I saw not far from her cabin, a little downhill.

I get to the shrine, and solve it.  It’s another wind test. This one involves a series of wind generators that spin turbines when they are pointed at them.  I have to point them all in the right direction to make all the turbines spin to unlock the shrine master’s chamber.  This just takes a little trial and error, and I’m in.

Walking back toward the cabin, I pick up another shrine signal, but I can’t pinpoint it.  I try going to the very top of the mountain peak, but I still don’t see it anywhere.  But while up there, I do spot a nearby tower that I haven’t yet activated, in the adjacent uncharted territory to the east.

I decide to try to glide down to it.  This is a lot further than it looked, and I have to go through two stamina potions in order to make it without falling to my death.  But once I do reach the tower, I arrive already about 2/3rd of the way up, and getting to the top is easy.  I activate it and unlock the map for this region, which is called Hebra.

From Hebra tower, I can see at least two shrines nearby.  The one that seems nearer also has what looks like a Stables nearby it, so I decide to go to that one first. Gliding to it actually takes me out of the Hebra map zone, and into the next zone, which is still uncharted.  I’m only able to make it about halfway by glider, but this area is easy terrain, open grassland and gentle slopes, and I land a short distance from the stable, and run the rest of the way there.  It’s called Serenne Stable, and it seems pretty serene.  I talk to everyone and sit by the fire until dawn, then hike to the shrine, which is a bit further away than it looked on the map, but still pretty nearby. 

This shrine is another wind generator and platform puzzle. This one involve using wind currents to blow a ball around a course and into a basin, which triggers an elevator platform to lift you up to where you can reach the shrine master’s chamber. It’s not particularly difficult, and I think I found an alternative solution that bypasses most of the challenge. There’s a magnetic box that you’re supposed to use in some manner; I just used it to block the basin there the ball is supposed to roll to activate the elevator.  Then, rather than having the ball roll around the whole course, I put it right into the basin, about 99% of the way to where it’s supposed to go.  Then I go stand on the elevator platform, and use magnesis to lift the box, allowing the ball to roll home.

Having cleared the shrine, I transport back to Hebra Tower, and glide down to the other shrine I could see from there.  As I get closer, I can see that this one too has a stable near it.  This one is called Snowfield Stables.  The shrine puzzle here is much like the other one I just solved.

After clearing this shrine, I follow the road north out of Snowfield Stable.  The road is mostly downhill, and runs to the northeast, and gradually curves to the right, making it more easterly.  The terrain gradually changes from snowy to barren and rocky, and I eventually come to a vast chasm, when my shrine sensor starts going off.

I spend a few minutes looking for the shrine topside before I conclude that it is most likely down below in the chasm.  At the bottom of the chasm I see what appears to be a vast stonework that might be another maze like the one I found in Gerudo desert.  But when I get down there, I find that the walls for this one aren’t even taller than me, and it’s just a rough terrain of what’s left of stonework foundations that must have existed for thousands of years to be in the state they’re in now.

I can’t find the shrine.  I walk back and forth over the area where the sensor indicates it is, for the better part of a day, and can’t find it.  Finally, I give up and head south to see what else is down in this gorge.  The stoneworks goes on a long way, and eventually I get to the end of it, and find that I’m at another drop-off.  I glide down and discover that I’ve been walking on the roof of a vast building, and the entrance of which is now before me.  It is an area called the Forgotten Temple.  

I climb up the face of the entrance looking for a way in, and find it after a brief search, near the dead hulk of a Guardian.  I begin to cautiously enter and look around, and in the dim light I see more Guardian hulks, and then the nearest one lights up, and I run back out toward safety, when I’m lit up by 3 or 4 more Guardian target lasers.

I try the approach again, more cautiously this time, hugging the wall and staying low, trying to keep obstacles between me and the line of sight of the Guardians I spotted, trying to get an idea of where they were.  One is to my left just as you come in, another is straight ahead on a bridge, and I think there’s another two in there, one further back and to the left, the other closer and to the right.  There’s no way I can fight all of them at once with them all targeting me.

The options seem to be: to sneak through; to make a mad dash for it; or to find an approach that allows me to divide and conquer, fighting one at a time, from a position where I have cover protecting me from the rest of them.

I try the sneak approach first, four or five times, but each time one of them picks me up and lights me up, and I have to run back out for safety.  I’m quick and fortunate and make it each time, but it’s close each time, I dive for cover at the last second and just make it. 

Each time I get a little bit better idea of how the place is laid out, and it helps me refine my approach for the next run.  I observe that just past the entrance corridor, there’s a drop, and a large expanse, where there’s an  updraft.  I can glide across that, and get to a bridge where the middle Guardian hulk is.  If I get that far, I’m not sure what I can do; maybe keep running, maybe find a good cover spot where I can lay low and plan the next stage.

I go for it, and four or five Guardians all start tracking me with their lasers.  With the speed of the glider, their blasts all miss just behind me, and I land on the bridge with the central Guardian right next to me.  I shoot it in the sensor with an arrow, disrupting it, and start pounding it with my weapon, doing significant damage.  It only has 500 hit points, and I bring it down after blinding it with an arrow a second time.  As it happened, my landing spot perfectly shielded me so that none of the other Guardians were capable of targeting me, and with the central one destroyed, I am safe for the moment.  After the bridge, there’s a second expanse with another updraft, and another two, maybe three half-dead Guardian hulks between me and another wide hallway leading into a deeper chamber further back.

Considering how well that worked, I elect to go for the mad dash approach a second time, and manage to penetrate their defenses, gliding past their laser blasts, and land out of their range, and in the rear chamber I find the shrine.  It’s actually in a spot almost directly below the point where I had marked on the map my best guess as to where I was detecting it.  So I guess I am starting to get the hang of triangulation with the sensor.

I go into the shrine, and this one has no puzzle for me.  I am given a powerful fire sword and a spirit orb.  I decide to leave the sword, for now, because I have so many powerful weapons as it is right now, and I feel like I’m cleaning out the best stuff from every zone in the land without actually facing the major obstacles of each zone in turn, and if I don’t leave some of the good stuff for later, I’ll use it up on weaker, inconsequential enemies first, and then really be screwed when it comes time to fight the Divine Beasts, or Ganon.  Now that the shrine is unlocked, I can come back to it any time, and it will hold my weapon for me until I need it.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (47)

I guess while I’m waiting for the Blood Moon so I can stand on Washa’s Bluff naked and bring forth a new shrine, I guess I should check out the Illumeni Plateau.

I glide over from the highest nearest point of Washa’s Bluff, and climb up the rest of the way to the top.  It is dry and barren compared to Washa’s Bluff, no plant life but a few tumbleweed and dried out shrubs and some trees that died before they grew taller than Link.  I walk over to a rock formation and it comes alive.  Another Stone Talus fight.

I’m not carrying an iron sledge hammer, and it’s night, and suddenly three moblin skeletons pop up, and some kees, and a few chuchus to boot, and it’s a lot more than I was looking for, so I decide to transport out.  I teleport to Hateno village and go to my house, where there is always a free sledge hammer for the taking.  I swap it into my inventory, and then go to bed to sleep until morning, wake up fully refreshed, and teleport back to the shrine by the cherry tree on Satori mountain, and glide back to Washa’s Bluff, hop over to Illumeni Plateau, and fight the Talus in the daytime.  I have a pretty good fight, and it drops a lot of gems, as usual, but I score at least two rubies from this one, so it’s a pretty nice haul.

Scouting the rest of the plateau, I find nothing of interest, so I bring up the map and use my telescope to see what else is in the general area that might be worth checking out while I wait for the next Blood Moon. 

Past the Tabantha Tower, the most recent tower I’ve activated, the one with the evil goo, there’s a road leading further north, and I haven’t gone down it, so I decide to do that.

I glide down in that direction, and as I get closer I spot a stand of pine trees and a treehouse hideout, and I come in for a landing to check it out.  I’m expecting bokoblins, but see no one around.  This one is looking abandoned.  But suddenly, before I know it, three lizals are on top of me.  They have a chameleon-like power that allows them to blend in, and these ones are green as the grass, and I never noticed them until they were right on top of me.

I quick-equip sword and shield, and manage to take them out without getting too badly injured myself.  There seems to be no way up this treehouse, so I climb a nearby tree to jump off of it and glide down, and there’s a rusty halberd, a rusty clayomore, and a chest with a Solider’s Bow, which is a decent bow if nothing special.  I could have skipped this encounter.

Back to the road, it passes through a narrow gap between two tall rocks.  I smell ambush, and I can already see a lizal standing guard on the road leading into the pass. I glide down to the rocks above, and follow them along the road, and spot a second lizal, down below.  I decide to take this one out, and drop bombs on him until he’s dead.  I glide down to pick up the loot drops, and then three more skeletal lizals pop up out of the ground and surprise attack me, but I quickly take them down, and now I have even more loot.  A couple bows, a spear, a couple boomeranges, body parts for brewing elixirs, and a couple of skeleton arms.  I can’t carry all the weapons, so I make my choices and continue on.  

The road curves around to the left, and then continues west, going downhill.  Up ahead, I see yet another stable, and decide to check in.

This one is called Rito Stable, and is close to Rito village, home of the bird-people. Most stables have a shrine right nearby, but this one doesn’t seem to, although I can see not too far away at Rito village there is a shrine, and there’s another shrine visible a short distance away to the north uphill.

Kass is here, and sings me the song of the battle against Ganon from 10,000 years ago.  There’s a few other people to talk to, but not much especially interesting. 

I continue down the road, and come to a small foot bridge, cross it, and I’m in Rito village.  It is the tall stone structure that I had spotted from Tabantha Tower that I thought looked like a skyscraper-sized magic wand.  A path spirals upward around the stone tower, and all along it there are little shops and homes, and I talk to many Rito there.  They tell me about the Divine Beast above us, Vah Medoh, and how it appeared recently and is threatening.  They sent their warriors to investigate it but some were injured and some didn’t come back.   They are safe on the ground, but Vah Medoh attacks them if they fly too high in the air, and it’s demoralizing to be a Rito and not be able to fly very high.  The Rito are mostly reluctant to talk to me about their troubles, since I’m Hylian and an outsider, but they seem to recognize that I’m a warrior, and of good heart, so they seem to warm up to me a bit as I talk to more of them.

I go to the shrine here, and it’s a wind puzzle. There are fans, which blow turbines if they are pointed at them.  The puzzle is to arrange the fans so that they turn every turbine.  There’s also a treasure chest, which I grab, and after a little trial and error, I solve the main puzzle and claim my spirit orb.

I talk to the Rito elder, who asks me to help them deal with Vah Medoh, and in order to do that I need to find one of their soldiers.  I’m not sure where he is.

I try climbing up further, but the walkway ends, and then there’s a lot more stone towering above me.  I try to climb it and get nearly to the top, but run out of stamina and fall.  I catch myself and land on a part of the village where there’s a launching point that will take me to close to the other nearby shrine that I had spotted, so I decide to check that one out.  

I glide over, and it’s very cold, but with my warm doublet, ruby headband, and snow shoes, I’m comfortable.  I fight a few monsters, skeleton moblins and bokoblins on horseback, all well-armed, and then get to the shrine.  This shrine is another wind puzzle.  It’s a very tall shaft with platforms hanging in space, and each platform has a fan blowing upward, creating an updraft that I can ride up with the glider to make it to the next platform.  I nearly get to the top, and then get stuck, as there’s no apparent path to get to the last platform where the shrine master waits.  I pause the game and it displays the name of the shrine again, which gives me a clue about how to find a hidden path up to the very top, and I solve the puzzle.  

A little further on the road out of the shrine, I come to a small building. There’s a sign outside of it that says “flight range” which looks like a practice course for flying creatures to do archery.  I can see a number of targets from where I stand, and shoot 3 or 4 of them.  I expect I’ll receive something for this, but nothing happens.  Upon looking a bit further, I can see still more targets.  Apparently, I’m supposed to glide out and fire arrows while in mid-air.  This is tricky, but when you shoot an arrow while gliding, you have to put away the glider, and you begin to fall.  But time slows down, and you get a chance to aim.  But this burns up a lot of stamina.  So I guess the idea is to glide, see a target, quickly take aim and destroy it, then switch back to glider and get back to someplace safe to land.  There’s a lot of updraft on the course, so it should be doable, with practice.  I am not very good at this  yet, and screw up, but it’s night, and so maybe if I come back later someone will be here, who can talk to me about the challenge and give me some tips…

Zelda: BOTW Diary (46)

A few steps from the entrance of the A Major Test of Strength shrine in the area past the bridge, marked Ancient Columns on the map, I find another memory photo location. 

This memory triggered is not a very pleasant one.  Zelda is trying to unlock the shrine, but is unable to because it is only unlockable by the one who wields the Sword of Destiny. She’s trying to figure out another way to open it, when Link rides up on a horse. Zelda is not happy to see him, tells him she doesn’t need protecting, and to begone.  I can’t help but think about the Legend of Zelda cartoon that aired when I was a kid, and imagine Link saying: “Well, I only happen to be holding the one and only sword that seals the darkness, so I thought maybe you’d want some help here!  Excuuuse me, princess!”

I proceed from the area further along the road, keeping to the high ground, until I’m close enough to see the Tower for this region.  It is covered in evil looking purple goo, which I know from my encounter with it in the Labyrinth in Gerudo that it is harmful if touched.  Looking up the road ahead of me, I spy at least three heavily armed moblins, and elect to not try taking them on, as it would only serve to wear out weapons that I don’t need to waste.  I glide from my location to a high spot on the far side of the rise where the tower stands, far away from the road leading to it, and manage to avoid the moblins notice.  From what I’ve noticed, moblins seem to have rather dim senses.  But also, I am wearing some of my stealth outfit, so I’m sure that helps.

So I need to figure a way up this tower that doesn’t involve touching the goo.  There’s goo all around the tower, but maybe there’s some way I can get around it.  But if I take a long route, it will sap all my stamina, and then I won’t make it.

There are a few free-standing columns about the tower, and I try climbing the nearest one, to see if perhaps from there I’ll be able to glide to a spot on the tower above the goo with a clear shot straight to the top.  There’s no such route visible from the first column, so I glide over to the second, climb it, and check again.  And so on, to the third column, where I spot a disturbing looking eyeball creature below, down at the base of the tower, in the goo. 

I don’t know what the thing is, but it doesn’t seem to see me, despite having multiple eyes, or if it does, it doesn’t seem to care that I’m there.  I look down at it a while, and zoom in using the Sheikah scope for a close-up.  It looks a bit like a Beholder from Dungeons and Dragons.

I don’t know what else to do with it, so I fire an arrow at it.  I use a flame arrow, and am fortunate enough to hit it on the first try.  The fire arrow is powerful enough to kill the thing in one shot, and as it dies, something happens, an earthquake or something shifts the goo, and a column nearby where the eyeball-creature was topples, leaning into the tower, creating a climbable bridge to get me over the goo!

I run over to this spot, walk up the leaning column, and climb the tower, activate it, and download the map data for the region I’m in.

I take a moment to survey the surrounding landscape, and spot a number of interesting geographical features:  a tower of rock that looks like a skyscraper-sized magic wand, or something; a likely fairy fountain spot, very nearby; a couple of shrines; and a few other odd geographic sites that unless I miss my guess are likely korok seed spots.

I have a mission to see that fairy and give her 500 rupees, so I glide that way and unlock her.  She is grateful, and offers to upgrade my clothes, and so I upgrade everything I can.  I have plenty of the materials she needs to do everything.  I upgrade my climbing gear and my stealth gear and my cold resistant jewelry that I bought in Gerudo, and my rubber pants and helmet from Faron. So far as I can tell, this doesn’t augment the special power of these items, only their armor value. But I don’t really know the underlying mechanics, so it’s possible that by augmenting the base protective value of these pieces of gear, they also improve the elemental property for resisting that type of damage.

I also manage to catch 3 of 4 fairies that are floating about the pond, restocking my fairy supply.  Good, I always need more fairies.

Having succeeded in the fairy quest, I decide to return back the way I came to see the man at the Stables who sent me out here with his money to offer to the fairy.  I head down the road back toward the Stable, and it’s night time.  I spot a moblin sitting by a fire, and it looks like I’ve found a camp.  I get a little closer, and I sure have.  The moblin is the only one awake, and is apparently on guard, watching over SIX sleeping bokoblins — and not weak-looking red ones.

I in no way need to mess with these monsters, but I feel like the game is challenging me to see if I can defeat this many enemies at once.  I think about trying to sneakstrike them, but with the awake moblin watching over them, that’s going to be just about impossible.   I don’t have any ranged weapon that can one-shot the moblin — maybe a bomb arrow would do it, if I could score a headshot, but even then, the upgraded moblins have a lot of hit points.

I try it, and it wakes up the whole camp, as one might expect. I don’t score the head shot, and I don’t take out the moblin. It does set all the bokoblins on fire, though, but this does only a little damage to each of them.  It seems that bomb arrows do great damage if they score a direct hit, but their splash damage and the damage from the secondary fire that is generated isn’t necessarily a lot.  It can take out a crowd of low-level enemies, but anything powerful can just shrug it off.  For an arrow that costs 50 Rs, it seems a bit underwhelming for use against more powerful opponents.  

I switch to regular arrows and try to headshot the remaining enemies from long range, which is pretty difficult and I loose a bunch of arrows but in the end I take out the whole camp at no actual risk to me, albeit at great expense.  I’m down to about 60-70 normal arrows, 8 bomb arrows, and a little under 40 of the other kinds of special arrows — fire, lightning, cold.

I go down and loot their camp, and they’re well equipped. I upgrade a couple of my weapons, discarding weaker stuff that had been filling my slots, and move on.

On my way back, the road goes down into a valley or canyon, and I stick to the high ground, and take a ridge running along the right side of the road.  This leads me to a section of the road where I spot the helicopter drones patrolling the valley below.  I’m above them, and they don’t seem to see me or pay me any notice.  

I want to assess how strong they are, and whether I can take them out, so I create a save point and engage.  Holy crap are these things tough. It’s clear that the designers intend for these things to be enemies that you sneak past and run from.  I hit the nearest one with a bomb arrow, and it does a sliver of damage, barely anything at all.  Immediately, it retaliates with a massive blast from its underturret, and the only thing that saves me is the fact that I’m far enough back from the edge of the cliff that the blast impacts the cliff wall, shielding me.

A wall of explosion and flames flares up in front of me, temporarily obscuring my vision, and when it clears I see the drone is hovering there, looking around for a bit, as though checking to see that it got me. I back away, and a few seconds later it resumes patrolling its programmed route.

I nail it again with another arrow, and the same thing happens.  No matter what I do, it never leaves its zone that it guards, and it only deviates from its patrol route if I hit it with an attack, and only then just for a momentary pause while it scans the area looking for targets.

I decide to see if I can take one of these things out, and just how much it would take.  I run through every special arrow I have. There’s a few misses among those, but I nail the thing with 8 bomb arrows and between 100 and 115 fire, ice, and electric arrows before it finally drops.  Every time I hit it, it fires a retributive blast at me with its eye-cannon, and I’m able to establish a pattern, a routine, of hitting it, backing off to use the cliff wall for a shield, and then running back up to nail it a few more times while it’s stationary and scanning for targets.  I hit it 1-3 times per cycle around its patrol route, and it takes maybe an hour to bring the thing down — and in game time, it probably takes a day and a half.  It’s a pretty epic fight, in a way, but in another way, it’s tedious — it’s a repetitive cycle where I attack, do damage, run away to disengage, it retaliates but never follows up, and never deviates from its programming, and this is the only reason I’m able to wear it down.  It’s very powerful, but not smart — if it were smart, it would call in reinforcements, at the very least alerting its partner, or summoning a ground party, or divert from its route long enough to ensure that it has effectively neutralized the threat that it keeps detecting.  All it would have needed to do to defeat me is fly to an altitude that gave it a firing angle that denied me the cover I had from the cliff face. 

It’s an accomplishment to bring it down, even so, but in no way worth the high cost of arrows, so I restore from my save point and continue on.

The two drones are patrolling around two tall pillars of stone in the middle of the canyon road, and I spot a couple of treasure chests on them.  I try to glide in to see what’s in them, and the drones pay me no heed. They appear to be looking down only, and are only interested in something on the road below if they see it, or in attacking me if I attack it.  If I leave them alone, they pretty much leave me alone.  So I leave them alone.  One of the treasure chests contains an opal, and another contains a flame rod, and it’s a powerful one that fires 3 fireballs at a time,and has a +7 attack bonus.  Worth it.

I wait until the coast is clear and then glide down off the treasure chest pillar to the road below and run. I manage to avoid detection, and the drones leave me alone. I get to the bridge, cross without incident, and make my way back to the stables.  I talk to the guy who sent me to the fairy fountain, and he thanks me.  Link holds his hand out as though he’s expecting payment, and the man tells him that his reward was getting to see the fairy.  Yeah, really, Link.  That dude said 500 Rs was all he had. What more do you want?  You collected 3 fairies and got your clothes upgraded and you got to see another fairy.  Don’t be greedy, dude.

Another guy at the stable tells me that there’s a strange platform on Washa’s Bluff.  I hadn’t been on the Bluff, only around it, so I decide that’s the next thing I’ll check out.  It’s a long walk, but not too bad.

On my way there, I’m attacked by a swarm of 20-30 Keese, and this time I’m ready for them, see them coming, and lob a bomb into the swarm just as it swoops in at me, and blow it up with perfect timing, taking out about half the swarm and the rest of them abort their attack and fly away.  Cool!  I collect a bunch of Keese parts.

The Bluff is large, and it takes a minute or two to travel from the road side of it to the far side, where a few of those giant mushroom-like structures are growing, like a small grove of tall trees, and I find the platform.  It’s a circular man-made looking platform made from stone or metal, it’s hard to say, and I can’t tell what it’s for or what to do with it.  

I can hear the accordion music of my bird-man friend Kass nearby, so I try to look for him.  He’s up on top of the tallest mushroom platform, and I have no idea how I can get up there.  It looks like trying to climb is out of the question, as the mushroom caps are quite wide, and I’d be inverted upside down, climbing on the ceiling to get to the edge.

I try it anyway, and find that I can do it.  There’s a series of steps, I first climb a small shroom, use it to jump/glide to a larger one nearby, and do the same to get to the tallest one, where Kass is, and I just barely make it.  I get up there, and he has a little house or something, more like a gazebo, in the middle of the mushroom cap.  He has a book of his songs and notes in the gazebo, so I take a minute and read through them all, and get some tantalizing clues about places I haven’t been to yet and songs I haven’t heard.

I then go up to Kass and talk to him, and he explains this place. That platform is where I need to stand during a Blood Moon, and I need to take off all my clothes and that will cause the shrine to appear.  Cool.

I don’t know when the next blood moon will be, but there was one just after I cleared out that shrine with the Major Test of Strength, so it’s going to be a while.  Probably longer than I’m going to care to wait. But I’m not sure what else I can do.

I glide down to the platform and stand on it, and about the same time I do that, I observe a strange teal glow from a distant mountain.  It’s not as far away as the other end of the world, but a neighboring mountain.  I wonder if the timing is coincidence or if standing on this platform triggered something over there.  I look at it on my scope, and it’s the spot where I was earlier in the day, the mountain with the shrine I transported in to, and more specifically it’s the place with the beautiful cherry tree in full blossom.

I decide that I have to check this out immediately, and transport back to that shrine, and quickly run over to the cherry tree.

Here, I see an amazing sight:  a gathering of maybe a dozen or twenty of those strange glowing blue rabbits that you sometimes see at night and if you shoot them they don’t die by drop coins and run away.  And they’re all surrounding a glowing blue, goat-like creature.  I stand at a distance, and it’s pretty clear that I need to keep quiet and avoid detection or they’ll just disappear on me.  I don’t know what to do, so I take pictures, and zoom in for a better look.  The goat thing has four eyes — two faces really — and is very strange — but beautiful.  It seems to exude power, but it doesn’t really do anything, other than just walk around in the vicinity near the cherry tree.

I’m baffled.  This feels like an X-files moment.  I’m witnessing something paranormal and out of this world.  In a world with magic and ancient technology and weird monsters and skeletons rising out of the grave every night like clockwork, and dead monsters resurrecting once a month, somehow this seems extraordinary and truly magical.

I observe this strange gathering for as long as I can, but eventually I get too close and cause some of the rabbit-like creatures to disappear.  Then I get a little closer, and as soon as I touch the water in the pool where the goat-creature is standing, it disappears from view.  I back out of the pool, and a few seconds it re-appears, only to disappear again for good a short time after that.  The rest of the rabbit-creatures are gone as well.

WTF was that?  What do I do?  Will it ever happen again?

In the Hyrule Compenium, the goat creature’s entry reveals that it is called the Lord of the Mountain.

But I have no idea what to make of it, other than I feel privileged to see a wondrous spiritual thing that probably no mortal was ever meant to.

There seems to be no quest associated with this; if it’s just a thing that serves no other purpose but to create a sense of wonder and awe about the world of Hyrule, my hat is off to the developers.  Bravo.  They really created a moment, and I almost hope that there’s no further explanation, and they let the mystery remain a mystery.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (45)

I wake up in Hateno village at my house early in the morning, and have a look at my map. Looking at the region I had been exploring yesterday, there are a lot of places I had passed by but did not truly explore. Unsure of what I might find, I transport back to the shrine on Satori Mountain, and being a slow, spiral descent around it to see if I can find anything interesting. There’s a lot of crows up here, for some reason, and I mean a lot.  Most bird wildlife comes in groups of three, but up here, it seems like there are dozens of crows about. I wonder if it could mean something.

Partway down on the north face of the mountain, I come to what appears to be an abandoned camp tucked away between a split rock topping the mountain like a miniature Dueling Peaks.  There’s a cooking pot under a dead fire, and some signs that someone has been here recently, but I see no one.  I take what I find that I can use, and feel like a thief for doing so. 

A little below the camp site, I come to a flat part of land with a small orchard of apple trees.  There are many dozens of apples here, on the ground and still on the tree.  I find a wood cutter’s axe, but I don’t feel like felling the trees and ruin the orchard just to get at the apples more efficiently. Then I find a farmer’s hoe, and discover to my delight that smacking the tree trunk with the hoe will knock loose apples down, saving me time spent climbing up to get them.  I pick a massive amount of apples, and last I had really paid attention, I was down to around 20 or so, as I’d sold a bunch off and had eaten a bunch more for little quick-heals, but when I look again, I’m back up to nearly 140.

I continue onward, and explore down to Rutile Lake, more of a pond, really, in a wooded area between Mount Satori and the larger mountains to the south.  I find plenty of korok seeds here, a few abandoned weapons, some buried chests, plentiful forage, and only a few monsters to fight.

It rains off and on, and I am a bit discouraged because of how the rain slows my progress when I need to climb up to explore somewhere. But here, I’m mainly going downward, and it doesn’t impede me too much, 

After I get done with this area, I proceed further down, into a low-lying gully at the foot of the larger mountain at the south, and here I find a stand of the baobab-like trees.  They’re so tall, and wide, and they just look like there should be something at the top of them to reward me for climbing all the way up, but after reaching the top of 4 or 5, I’ve found nothing, and there’s a lot more trees to explore, and I don’t feel like taking that much time to maybe find something largely inconsequential.

At the end of the gully, the elevation drops even further, and far below me, perhaps 100 feet, maybe 200, there’s a river.  The far bank is a lower elevation than where I’m standing, so I try gliding down there, and check around for more korok seeds.  I don’t find any immediately, but after going down to the river itself, I find two more.  There’s plenty more forage around, as well, and I take whatever I find, mostly mushrooms.

I poke around to the north a short distance, until I get between two high points that are labeled Washa’s Bluff and Illumeni Plateau on the map.  I then backtrack, to explore the rest of the valley to the west, and go through the Lake Illumeni area, and stumble upon two moblins in a wooded area, and take both out with ease.  They have such poor vision that they don’t see me until I’m right on them, and are so slow that even with a two handed club, which is one of my slowest weapons, I still manage to hit them first, and do so hard enough that it stuns them long enough for me to follow up with a second attack, which is all I need to kill them.

This area has some ruins in it, barely anything more than a stone foundation and a decaying wagon, but I search and find some minor things like an amber gem.

Having finished my sweep of this area, I proceed to the north, along the outside slope of Illumeni Plateau, along the edge of a deep canyon that borders the known map region.  Continuing the broadest orbit of my spiral sweep of the area, I circle around the base of Illumeni Plateau and Washa’s Bluff, and as I come around to the east end of this area, I spot a bridge spanning the canyon, and the road that I have traveled up previously on my first excursion to this area.  

I still didn’t check out the Plateau or the Bluff, but rather than return to explore those spots, I decide to head to the bridge and see what I can find on the other side.

It is raining as I approach, and as I get a bit closer, I can hear faint, familiar accordion music from my Rito friend, Kass the bird-man.  I find him on the far side of the bridge, sitting on some odd looking rock formations, and he sings me a song about firing an arrow through two rings to make a shrine appear.  Seems straightforward enough; the rock formations here have a multitude of rings, but I can’t seem to find any two that line up easily.  I explore a bit wider, and find a pair that look like I can just barely take a shot at this challenge.  It takes only three arrows, and then I succeed in my trial, and the shrine erupts out of the ground.  Kass is impressed that I found the secret so easily, and I go back to the shrine to see if I can pass the test.

This trial involves standing on floor switches to tilt platforms in order to make a ball roll down a ramp to land in a basin.  I have to time the order in which I stand on the switches to make the ball drop to the correct path, and land two balls in two basins.  It’s very easy, and I collect my spirit orb quickly.  After I emerge from the shrine, Kass is nowhere to be found.

I wander a bit east, into the meadow past where I met Kass, and find a small herd of horses.  Figuring it will be quicker travelling if I can snag one, I manage to grab one and tame it.  Then I hear the sound of a slumbering Hinox nearby. I’m not looking for a fight right now, but I look around and find the Hinox, and give it a wide berth lest I disturb its repose, and travel onward.  

I want to ride the horse back to Outskirts Stable and see what its ratings are and possibly register it.  On my way back, I am nearly there, when I spot a shooting star in the sky, just at the edge of my vision.  It seems to crash into the mountainside, and then I observe a shaft of light piercing the sky, marking the spot where it had landed. Obviously, I’m meant to investigate this.

I mark the point on the map, and then take my new horse off the road, and get as close to the landing spot as I possibly can, dismount, and climb the rest of the way.  It’s a good distance, but more walking uphill than climbing, and I get there in a few minutes time.  I find a meteorite, and pick it up. I’m not sure what I can do with it, but I’m sure its use will become apparent in time.

I make my way back down the mountain, search for a bit until I find the horse again, and ride him back to the Stable, where I go to register him and find that he’s not a particularly strong horse, so I don’t bother.

Instead, I transport back to the shrine on the top of Mount Satori, and return to the vicinity of the Illumeni Plateau and Washa’s Bluff, intending to explore them.  Instead, though, I get to a point where I see something more interesting:  a windmill. It looks like a metal tower with a weather vane on the top, and at first I see just one, but soon I spot a second, and then several more, going off down into the canyon into the unmapped part of the world.  A bit further past the first windmill that I spotted, I see a new shrine, and decide to head toward it.  

I don’t get too far, when I spot a bokoblin rider. He sees me about the same time, and gives a shout and starts riding in my direction.  Quickly, I see three or four more riders, and then more.  Altogether, it looks like there maybe as many as 6 or 7 of them — and I’m out in the open, without a horse of my own, I have little hope of outrunning them or outfighting them.  If I’m lucky, they’ll be relatively weak and I’ll be able to take one or two out quickly, but if they surround me and gang up, they may knock me around a lot and might be able to kill me by knocking me from one to the next and beating me every time I’m about to get back to my feet.

There’s a large boulder just to the right of me that I passed a short way back, so I retreat to it, climb up, and now they can ride around me and shoot arrows, but otherwise I’m fairly safe.  This turns out to be a tactical masterstroke.  The bokoblins aren’t terribly good shots under the best of circumstances, but on horseback, riding at full gallop, they’re positively terrible.  They fire dozens of arrows at me and I hear them clattering about my feet, but none really stand much of a chance of hitting me, although eventually one or two manage to — although for barely any damage.  Meanwhile, I’m able to stand off and return fire with my own bow, and it does the job rather more effectively.  I knock bokoblins off their horses, and then follow up with 2-3 more arrows to put them down permanently.  The moving ones are rather difficult targets to hit, but occasionally they’ll stop to scream, or to try to take an aimed shot, and once they do, I’m able to plug them, often scoring a headshot for extra damage.  It takes 2-3 arrows each, and I miss quite a few shots, and so go through maybe 20 arrows or so, before they’re defeated.  

I climb down and pick up as many dropped arrows as I’m able to find, but it’s only a handful.  Then a straggler rider comes up and hits me.  I didn’t notice him at first, and he snuck up, the bastard.  I get back on my feet and run over to a nearby horse, jump on it, and try to fight the bokoblin on more even terms, but for some reason I’m struggling to close to melee distance with him, while he nails me repeatedly with 3-4 arrows, and takes my health down to where it’s starting to become a concern.  I get knocked off the horse again, and get angry, and just sprint after him on foot, and finally connect with a spear weapon, unhorsing him, and deal him a mortal blow. I’m low on health now and need to consume a meal to replenish. 

I continue on now, and arrive at the shrine. As I approach it, I spot another Stable, and grow excited, because I’ve come to love Stables. They are smaller than villages, but pack a lot of adventure and story into a smaller space, and I always get several leads on things that I can do in the general area.

But first, the shrine. I get to it, and this one is a ball puzzle called Aim for the Moment. There’s a large ball, continuously being launched into the air by a piston-like platform that goes up and down. It’s on a platform slightly above the ground floor, and behind a fence.  I puzzle over this for a while, trying to work out what I need to do. Somehow I need to get the ball out of this loop, and knock it into a basin below the piston platform.

A short distance from the starting point, there’s a small slightly raised platform that I can stand on.  When I stand there, I can see the ball flying up and down pretty clearly.  I try using the time-stop power on it, and it’s in range, so I stop it in mid-air, but after the effect wears off it just goes back to being launched up in the air again by the piston.  I try again, this time waiting for the ball to be high in the air, above the fence that stands between me and it, and here I have a clear shot with my arrows.  I shoot three or four arrows into it to impart some kinetic energy, hoping that it’ll knock it out of the way enough that it won’t fall back on to the piston, and maybe will rebound off the far wall and come back to rest in the basin.  It doesn’t really move enough, and resumes bouncing after it unfreezes.  But I apparently knocked it offcenter just enough so that it eventually lands askew and rolls off the piston platform, and ends up rolling into the basin.

This in turn activates the platform I’m on, which shoots me up into the air.  I spot an alcove high up on the wall, where I see a switch pedestal.  I take aim with my bow and manage to hit the switch, which unlocks the door to the shrine master’s chamber.  I collect a treasure chest that I noticed in the room, behind where the bouncing ball was, using the piston platform to launch me high enough into the air that I can glide down to where the chest is.  Then I go to the shrine master, and claim my spirit orb.

I visit the stable, and talk to everyone there, and get a few new missions.  There’s apparently a fairy pond nearby here, and one of the travelers at the stable wishes he could go, but he can’t manage the trip, as it’s too difficult.  He asks me to take the fairy an offering of 500 rupees, and so I accept. Pikango the painter is here too, and he tells me another location for one of my memory photos is nearby.

I decide to go seek the fairy first, as it is near a tower, and unlocking the tower will reveal more of the world map to me.  I head down the road, and spot a drone copter flying above the road, patrolling, and I try to avoid its detection by diverting to the left and hiding behind a small hill, and manage to evade it.  A bit further up the road, very nearby, there’s another hill to the left of the road, and on the top of it is a shrine that I can see clearly.  I head toward it, climbing up the far side of the hill to stay well clear of the copter drone.  I get up there without any real difficulty, and unlock it and enter.

This shrine is another combat trial, and it’s called A Major Test of Strength.  I’d seen another Major Test of Strength shrine earlier, on a little island on the east end of the Hyrule map, and it kicked my ass repeatedly. I doubt I’ll fare much better here, but I decide to give it a try.  I have a few more heart containers in my health meter, and some very good weapons.

I equip a lizal forked boomerang, guardian shield and my strongest bow with lightning arrows, and step into the arena.  The shrine guardian comes out, and it’s similarly equipped as the other guardian I fought on the Major Test at the island shrine, but this one somehow seems less aggressive.  It’s attack timing seems slower, its defense seems a bit less tight, and I’m able to stun it with electric shocks from the arrows, run up and hit it several times, then back out of its way before it unleashses its attacks, which mostly miss feebly.  Then I nail it with another electric arrow, run in, and pound it some more. 

It has a very large health bar of 3000 hit points, and my attacks don’t do a lot to it, but gradually they wear it down. I break the forked boomerang, and switch to a stronger weapon, my greater Thunderblade, which I’d been saving for special combats.  I can’t use a shield with it, as it’s two-handed, but I discover that I can keep a shield equipped, and if I sheath the weapon, by pressing B, it allows me to bring up the shield, by holding the Z-left trigger, nearly instantly, and thus I can defend myself a bit better than I thought I could while armed with a 2-handed weapon.  It’s a little bit slower, and more button pressing, but more than manageable.

I bring the shrine Guardian down to about 1/2 of its health with the Thunderblade, when it, too breaks.  Next, I switch to my most powerful weapon, called the Blade of Duality, a monstrous 50 attack rating 2-handed greatsword that I’d found somewhere recently and had been saving for a combat such as this.  

I break this weapon on the Guardian as well, but by now it’s down to about 1/4 of its health, and I feel confident that I’ll be able to beat it.  I’ve taken damage from a few of its attacks, though, and had to eat two prepared foods in order to bring my hitpoints back up. But I note that my improved armor and my larger life bar now mean that one attack from this thing is not enough to one-shot me into fairy resurrection territory — and that’s a very good thing, because at the moment I have 0 fairies.

It does one of those spinning attacks that are unavoidable, but I manage to duck behind a pillar, which absorbs the attack for me, and then blast it again with a lightning arrow, stunning it, and run in and wail on it with the Blade of Duality.

After the Blade of Duality breaks, I switch to a Guardian Axe+ that I had won in a previous combat shrine challenge.  I beat on the guardian until it can’t walk anymore, but now it’s using its beam weapon to shoot super blasts at me, and it destroys two of my shields, and forces me to eat another meal.  I can’t get close enough to hit it with a melee weapon, and arrows don’t seem to stun it any longer.  It only has a little bit of life bar left, but I need to take it down quickly.  I switch to bomb arrows, and it takes three of them to do the job.  

It explodes, sending a shower of ancient parts and drops its weapons and shield, which I pick up, and then I go collect my spirit orb.

I’ve done it! I defeated a Major Test of Strength!  It took nearly everything I had, but it was do-able.  I have clearly made tangible progress in this game!

I have a small celebration involving alcohol.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (44)

Back at the Outskirts, Pikango the painter told me that one of my memory photo locations was nearby, and someone else at the stable told me of a pure white horse that had been spotted in the area nearby, so I go to check both out.
 
I head out walking down the road headed north, cross a bridge and start heading uphill and west.  Around a bend to the right, I go further uphill, and I find the white horse, almost exactly in the spot I had guess-marked the map.  I try to catch him, but he’s too spirited and breaks free. 
 
I look for the memory photo site, and find it easily, at a fountain where there’s a prominent statue of a rearing horse. After going weeks wandering about Hyrule and not finding any, it seems that any time I run into Pikango in a new location, he tells me where I can find one, and it’s making life easier than I had made it out to be when I had no clue how to find them.
 
Somehow or other, I didn’t learn very well from the very first interaction with him that this was the way the game would provide clues to me about the 12 memory locations. In the early going, when I had only been to Kakariko village and Dueling Peaks Stables, my understanding and expectation for these places wasn’t fully formed yet; I didn’t expect to run into recurring characters in many locations throughout the land, and that many of these characters would fulfill a similar role in whatever part of the world I’d happen to run into them.
 
I don’t know precisely how the game could have communicated this to me better, and I don’t know that it needed to, exactly — maybe it was just something that I needed to figure out, or maybe I did it to myself by avoiding reading too much about the game so that I could have the experience of discovering these things on my own, rather than following a walkthrough that would rob me of the joys of solving problems on my own.
 
But I did spend about a 2-3 week period feeling lost and without direction, and spent probably close to 100 hours, where I hiked all over the place, wondering how to find a second location to unlock Link’s memory, finding dozens of korok seeds and occasionally a shrine or two, but not making much progress at all on the main quests. 
 
I think that, if I’d been a bit more constrained to following the roads, I might have bumped into more friendly characters who I could interact with and learn things about the world, and this might have helped.  Being able to climb any nearby mountain relatively easily and then glide a long distance made for a more disjointed and solitary experience, which in retrospect I believe contributed to a disjointed unfolding of the game’s story to me, which resulted in me getting off-track and not knowing how to resume the main quest. 
 
What I did in the meantime wasn’t unenjoyable, but I’m not sure I could have endured such a long period of not knowing where to go or what to do next if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m shut in my house on a shelter-in-place order in response to a global pandemic, and have a lot of time on my hands that normally I would not have.
 
I don’t know that I’d say I’m complaining about having had that experience; but I did spend a long time wondering WTF I was supposed to do and how to get back on track with the main mission.  I spent a lot of that time using either Kakariko or Hateno as a central hub from which I’d go exploring, rather than finding a next village or stable, but now that I’ve found several more, it’s starting to make more sense to me the role that they serve in presenting Link’s core mission to the player.
 
I recall that initially I pretty much did what people told me I should do, and it felt like the game was leading me on a path:  the old man revealed himself to be the spirit of the King of Hyrule, and he suggested to go east to Kakariko, so I followed his advice.  At Kakariko, I did what people told me to do, and found a shrine, my first memory photo location, and then Impa suggested that I travel onward to Hateno village.  And in Hateno village I had a number of local side quests and minor quests, but from there, little direction about where to go next. Bolson the house builder suggested that I could find one of his crew far to the north, but when I went north, I found the Lanayru mountain area to be difficult going, and haven’t pressed any further beyond in that direction, and instead tried going south.  Maybe I was supposed to keep going north?  The people in the beach village of Lurelin and the jungle area in Faron haven’t given me a lot of leads. 
 
I guess this was where the game was designed to let go a bit from hand-holding and let me decide what to do. And from that point onward, my further exploration had been hampered a bit by dangerous environments:  the damaging cold of Lanayru mountain, the lightning storms in the jungle area, deadlier monsters for which I was not yet prepared. And so it has taken me all this time to acquire enough heart containers and inventory slots to fill with decent weapons so that I can make forward progress — but forward has been anything but a clear direction, as this game is not at all linear. 
 
Then again, I don’t think that’s any different from the original LoZ, either.  How many hours did I wander about the overworld looking for dungeon entrances, bombing every rock, pushing on every statue, and burning every bush? When this occurs to me, it fills me with a nostalgia, and I realize that I’m having that same experience again now, and if I allow myself to be patient, the reward of finally figuring out these things on my own is worth it. This is not a game to play in a hurry, at least not on your first run.
 
Granted, BOTW is an open world adventure game, but was this what the designers expected my experience to be like? It seems that the game’s design is such that it intends to reward world exploration, and wants you to go off-road every chance you get.  Everything is beautiful and calls to you to go there to see it up close and in person.  The developers truly wasted no space in this vast world. And nearly every spot along the way gives the player some reward for traveling there — in addition to the beautiful vistas, there’s often a korok seed, a shrine, or a treasure chest. It’s almost too much — when I get to the top of a hill or a tree and there isn’t something there for me to pick up, I find myself wondering “Well, why is this place even here?” 
 
And while I have complained that these rewards aren’t meaningful enough, they’re enough that they encourage me to continue seeking them.
 
At any rate, back to the adventure at hand: 
 
I find the memory photo location at the horse statue, and I watch the video clip, but it doesn’t really tell me much. It seems these story fragments serve mainly to heighten dramatic tension and establish the sense of desperation that existed 100 years ago when Link fell in the battle against Ganon. 
The thing about that is, a century since then, the situation has no urgency, and little desperation.  People seem to go about their lives, and their towns are safe.  It’s far from ideal, but it’s not like Ganon’s wiped everyone out by now, and yet he’s had a century to do so where he easily could have, I would think.  Supposedly I guess Princess  Zelda has been holding him back with her power for all this time, but there’s no explanation as to how a stalemate could exist for so long, and. well, I’d like one.  Because it seems a bit farfetched.  Zelda must be ancient, unless she’s also in suspended animation or gone through reverse aging, but we don’t really know.  If she’s old, it could be her powers are weakening.  But something tells me when we see her she’ll be Link’s age.  Or if  not, she’ll probably return to Link’s age after visiting Purah.  I guess maybe she could just be in spirit form now, or trapped in a spirit world where aging doesn’t happen.
 
It’d be nice if these unlocked memories also provided a bit more in the way of clues as to what I need to do, how to deal with a Divine Beast, where to go, an item that I need to recover, something.
 
Anyhow, after unlocking the memory, I return to the Outskirts Stable and at the cook pot there, I concoct a stamina potion, using a Hinox part and four frogs that boost your max stamina, then head back to find the horse again. I do so, and this time it goes easily.  More so than the Giant Horse.  This horse has a good top speed and high stamina and strength, and I run back to the Stable to register it. 
 
On the way back, it’s dark, and I spot a strange orange glow up on the mountain near the road I’m traveling. I can’t go up there just now, but I scope it on the map and mark it for later.  I don’t see a shrine, and the glow doesn’t look like a shrine or a tower, so it’s a bit mysterious what it could be.  Coming back toward the stables, over the bridge, I run into a bokoblin marauder harassing another Hylian traveler on the road, and I stop to fight it from horseback, charging it with a spear, repeatedly until I defeat it. I talk to the guy to make sure he’s alright, and I think he gives me something, rupees or some minor reward, like a food.  I get back to the stable and register the horse, naming him Horsimus, replacing Horstimus, who I had to let go because I didn’t have any free horse slots.
 
I show the old man who was interested in the white horse, and he thanks me and gives me Zelda’s personal bridle and saddle, so the horse may be properly outfitted in something befitting a horse that is thought to be descended from royal stock. 
 
I take the horse out to explore the mountain in search of the source of that orange glow. I get to the base of the mountain near the spot I had marked on the map, dismount, and begin climbing. This takes me aways further than I had guessed from looking at it on scope. Distances are deceiving in this game, and I always think things don’t look that far away, and it turns out they’re always a little or a lot further than I estimate.
 
Making my way up, I find a few korok seeds, and run into enemies any time the ground levels out.  I don’t have too hard a time handling them.  The mountain gets steep and I get to a spot where I can’t get up to the next level even with my augmented stamina, and so I have to walk around the base of the mountain, looking for an easier route.  
 
This ends up taking a lot longer than I had planned, but I end up basically exploring most of the mountain.  On the map, I’m back in the Gerudo Highlands now, and it gets to an altitude where it’s permanently icy, and I need to carry my flame spear in order to stay warm enough without using my cold resistance foods.  This makes combats a little trickier, as I don’t have much life left in this spear, and I can’t afford to waste it on weak enemies. But I’m not going out of my way to get into fights anyway, and manage to avoid most of them, and deal with weaker enemies by using bombs, either blowing them off the edge of the level I’m on, or taking them out.
 
I get to the very top of the mountain, and find nothing much.  A couple of korok seeds, a White Wizzorobe, patrolling around three oddly shaped blocks of ice, which I melt with arrows to see what happens, and they melt, which is tantalizing at first, but nothing else interesting happens.  This area seems like it should have some significance, but I can’t really say that I found any.  Further upward, I encounter some lizals here and there, and at the very top, a bokoblin cave, but none of it turns out anything great, not even a skull treasure chest as a reward for clearing this one out, although in the surrounding area I do find a couple of treasure chests half-buried in snowbanks.  I rely mostly on fire arrows this time, and they’re very effective, as well as good for keeping me warm when I have to switch to the bow.  Fortunately, I have a large supply of these.
 
I eventually make my way back to the side of the mountain where I spotted the glow, and by this time it’s dark again, which makes finding the glow a little easier, although I had the spot perfectly marked on the map.  What I find when I get closer is that the glow fades away and disappears.  I’m on a snowy ledge with a small boulder, the kind I can lift over my head.  And below is another snow covered ledge, this one with a circle of similar sized boulders, with one missing.  I’ve seen a ton of these in various locations, and they’re all korok seeds.  This one is no exception, although getting the boulder down to the lower ledge without dropping it off the mountain completely is a trick.  But I manage it, after a few tries and restoring from my save point, and claim my reward.
 
Looking out a bit further, I spot something odd-looking in the distance, and decide to glide down to it to get a closer look.  It turns out to be a large ice formation, and it’s being patrolled by three White Wizzorobes — the kind I had such a hard time dealing with on my first encounter, where there was only one to deal with.  These three don’t seem to spot me, as I am quite a far distance out.  I have difficulty hitting them with arrows at that range, but after several attempts, I connect with one with a fire arrow, and it snuffs out of existence in one shot.  Fire items are super effective on things that are vulnerable to fire. I eventually take down the other two, and none of the three seems to notice when one of his buddies gets killed, which means I can continue to plink at them without much risk to myself.  They’re more or less oblivious, except when I have a near miss, and they stop what they’re doing to look at the spot where the arrow impacted nearby, as though studying it.  This is perfect for me, though, as it means they’re holding still an right near a spot I just hit, so I can follow up with a second shot, adjusting my aim slightly, and *wink* they go out of existence in a poof of steam.
 
Some of the my missed shots hit the ice formation, and it melts a little bit, so I continue shooting at it, until it all melts away completely, and a shrine is revealed beneath it.
 
I glide down to the shrine and enter it.  This challenge involves carrying an ice cube through an obstacle course made of flame jets.  I need to use the magnesis power to manipulate a large metal box to shield me from the flames while carrying the ice cube to the end of the shrine, where I offer it to the master, and he gives me my orb.  I also claim a frost blade sword, a decent weapon on par with the Thunderblade.
 
There’s a lot more territory up here to explore yet, but I think for now it’s a good time for me to return to my Horsimus and head back to the stable to board him and rest.
 
I had left Horsimus at a spot not far from where I’m at now, but a direct line there involves climbing up this mountain again. But that’s within my capability, so I go to it.  At the first level spot, I find myself face to face with a bear.  He’s close and spots me, and I have only seconds to decide whether to try to fight, or run.  The bear rears up on its hind legs, and what happens next is pretty great.  I run up to it, get behind, and press the A button, and mount the bear, riding him like a horse!  The bear is surprisingly docile and I soothe him almost immediately, although he gets cranky easily and requires more frequent soothing to prevent him from throwing me, and he doesn’t seem to take direction quite as well as horses do.  I want to find a path down the mountain so I can ride him to the nearest stable and see if they’ll register him, but it seems that there’s no direction down from here that doesn’t involve climbing down a sheer cliff, so after a bit I give up and dismount, and the bear just goes off, leaving me alone.
 
I re-check the map to get my bearings again, and resume heading back to where I had parked Horsimus, and end up wandering through the same region where I had awakened the Frost Talus on my first trip up Gerudo Heights.
 
This time, I decide to stay and fight it.  Fighting a Frost Talus is a bit different from fighting a normal Stone Talus. I find that if I try to climb the thing, it freezes me solid, which makes me an easy target for it to finish off with a mighty blow. So this one I’ll have to take out from a distance.  I shoot it with fire arrows, and this de-frosts it temporarily, giving me a few seconds that I could use to climb up it if I wanted to. But I don’t even have an iron sledge hammer in my inventory, and the only smashing weapon I do have is a dragon bone moblin bat — a pretty decent weapon, it has an attack power rating of 27, over double what a sledge hammer has.  
 
I run up, and standing on the ground behind the Talus, I unleash a charged attack, spinning and hitting multiple times, doing a hefty amount of damage, until my club shatters, and now the only weapons that I have that will work on this guy, I think, are fire arrows, bomb arrows, and sheikah bombs.  And the Talus still has about half of its life bar left.  I keep my distance and shoot arrows at it, and they do slight damage if I connect with the body or limbs, but keep it defrosted, and when I manage to hit his weak point, it does a lot better damage.  The fight goes on for several minutes, but I manage to bring it down, and he drops a bunch of gems that I quickly scoop up.
 
I’m also pretty injured by this point, and just want to get back home, so I adjust my priorities to reach Horsimus as directly as possible, not stopping to pick up or investigate anything.  I glide down the mountain, taking several stops to do so, and eventually make it down to where I left Horsimus.  I call him over to me, and we ride back to the Outskirts Stable.  I board him there, and then transport back to the shrine in the river by where I fought the skeleton Hinox, because there’s a bear in that woods, too, and it’s close to the Dueling Peaks Stable.  I find the bear, and manage to mount him and ride him down to the river where there are some bokoblins, and I expect the bear will help fight them, but he doesn’t seem to have any kind of attack, and doesn’t even want to fight.  He just gets upset and tries to throw me.  So I calm him down and run away.  We get back to the stable, but the stable refuses to register him.  They’re horses only.  Well, that sucks. I dismount the horse right there and let him wander about the place.  People start freaking out that there’s a bear loose, and acting fearful, which is a great touch on the part of the designers.  But then, the bear just suddenly disappears, literally despawning and vanishing in front of my eyes.  Bye bear, I’ll always remember you.
 
Now I want to know why I can’t ride the water buffalo that I encounter in the mountains.  
 
I am at about half hearts, so I transport to Hateno village, where I sleep in my own bed to recover my life energy.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (43)

I want to complete a few of the sidequests at the Stables I recently discovered. There’s a rumor about a pure white horse at a hill nearby, which I would like to check out. But I do not find the name of the hill on the map. It must be on one of the regions I have yet to activate the Sheikah Tower.  Maybe if I venture out I will find it anyway.

I try heading north up the road from Central Tower, to see how far north into central Hyrule I can get.  I see Hyrule castle off in the distance, and it is pulsating with an evil looking purple glow. I’ve seen it off in the distance many times before, but never this close, and I aim to get closer.  The road I am on seems like it was once well traveled, though now abandoned and disused.  I encounter little on the way.  The field are wide open with low, rolling hills, and a tree here and there, a busted wagon occasionally, and little else. 

I make my way easily until I spot a Guardian up dead ahead, patrolling.  Looking to see if I can simply detour around it, I spot a second Guardian to my right, on the other side of the road.  Neither seems to see me for the time being, so I have some time to try to formulate a plan.

I note the grass is fairly tall, and I wonder if, using my stealth outfit, I might be able to sneak slowly past and go between them.  I decide to try, and get about halfway between them before they both spot me, the eastern one first, and then as I duck down below a low ruined rock wall, and begin to equip my weapons, figuring I’ll see if I can take it out, the other one spots me.  The first Guardian is right up against the other side of the wall, and I’m in its blind spot, but I’m directly in line of sight of the other Guardian, and have nowhere to hide. 

I pull out the Sheikah slate and bring up a safe shrine on speed dial, going back to Central Tower.  I head out from there again, this time to the northwest, up to an area called the Giant’s Woods, where I discover a sleeping Hinox. I am not interested in fighting this one right now, and leave him alone, and fortunately he does not stir.  

There are a couple of horses about, and I think maybe if I ride a fast enough horse, I could get by the guardians. These horses look like the more wild type, and so I try to get one.  They’re very skittish, though, and won’t let me get close enough to grab one. I chase them around a while, eventually grabbing one, but not the one I really wanted. There’s also no sign of this supposed pure white horse, either, although that does not surprise me as I am still not in the right spot for that, and still don’t know the location where it is to be found.

I do manage to grab a horse as it runs past me, spooked, and get it under control. I ride it back to the Outskirts and register it, naming it Horstimus.  I want to name it Horstimus Prime, but horses can only have names that are nine letters long. He’s not quite as good as Horsier, in terms of stats, though.

I decide I don’t want to try to ride past the Guardians after all, after talking to the old man about the white horse again, it sounds like it’s more west of where I’ve tried to go so far, and I decide to strike out on foot, as it looks like there’ll be a lot of climbing in that direction.

I go out that way, following a road at first, and uncover a couple more koroks.  And it’s not too long before I am diverting offroad for this purpose, when I detect a shrine nearby.  I start climbing up a mountain, and it starts raining, making it difficult for me to continue up.  I’m very close to the shrine, but don’t see it yet, when I spot what looks like a bomb-able rock doorway, so I head over to it, and blow it up, and there’s nothing — a false door.

I head back the way I came from, and the pinging gets louder.  I continue to move up and to the south a short distance I find the shrine. This one has a bunch of objects that I have to move using magnesis, to swing from platform to platform, and to move massive spiked balls out of my way, and to create a staircase out of some platforms that slide along rails.  It requires a bit of thought, and planning, but is not overly difficult.

I continue further up the mountain, and near the top of it, I find a beautiful cherry tree blossoming, and I get to see it in the last minutes of sunset, and it’s really beautiful.  I just knew that there had to be a blossoming cherry tree somewhere in this world.  In the vicinity of the tree, I find a couple more korok seeds.  

I have an excellent view of terrain that I’ve only been able to see from a great distance from this spot, and so I spend considerable time just looking through my scope, marking shrines on the map, and gauging how likely I am able to reach them.  But I’m really more interested in Towers.

I spot a couple of shrines, and a couple of towers.  I decide to try to glide as far toward the nearest tower, and then run the rest of the way, and not get distracted by anything other than an obvious korok seed or a shrine, and if I don’t see it in plain sight I’m ignoring it.  I get maybe 2/3 or so of the way by gliding, and land right nearby a woman being attacked by a bokoblin. I come to her aid, but she seemed to be handling herself OK.  She gives me something, and tells me about a doctor who makes a monster extract of some kind, which can make better elixirs.  I make a mental note of it and move on, the tower is not much farther.

As I get to the tower, I can see that the surroundings here are a bit more alien than the rest of Hyrule.  There’s a forest off to my left of what appears to be enormous, tree-sized mushrooms. And a massive thunderstorm seems to be permanently above it.  I keep running on, and as I approach the Tower, I can see that it’s emerging from the middle of a flooded shallow lake.  

As I get even closer, I observe that it’s not actually shallow — the shallow parts are actually the flat tops of submerged mushrooms.  The actual depths go far below to what used to be the mushroom jungle floor.  The tower appears to be well guarded, with a number of yellow lizals and three yellow wizzorobes surrounding it on all sides, and with the water, the electrified powers of these monsters are going to make them really tricky to deal with.  I carefully take out the closest wizzorobe with enhanced arrows, finding that the fire ones maybe do the best damage.  If I make the first shot connect, it stuns him, making follow up shots easy to connect.  I end up needing to kill 2 or 3 lizals as well, in order to clear an approach to the tower.

I don’t need to clear the entire area around the tower, thankfully, and am able to get up the tower once I knock out the monsters on the side nearest to me.  The actual climb itself goes smoothly.

At the top, I activate the tower, download the map data, and talk to an odd man who is stuck up there. He studies the bird-men, and is interested in flight.  I tell him about my glider, and he asks me to do a test glide from the tower to see how far I can get. 

I get pretty far, and return automatically, and he gives me 100 rupees for my trouble, but this is after he takes a 20 rupee registration fee.  On the glide, my shrine sensor goes off and so I take a second swing out that way to look for it.  I find it rather easily, and land there and clear it out.  This on is a ball puzzle involving some waterways and a tilting chunk of the room.  It take a while to puzzle out how to solve it, but it’s not too bad once I figure it out.

I had also spotted a small lake a little past the shrine, with a tree growing on an island in the middle of it, and it looks like a likely korok spot, so I head over to it, but it’s actually an abandoned-looking enemy outpost.  It’s dark and raining when I get there, and lightning crashes around continually, and I switch into my rubber gear, and it saves me as a lightning blast clips me one time, but doesn’t do a whole lot of damage due to the protective gear.

I pick up what loot I can from the outpost, and move on.  Morning breaks, and the rain immediately ceases, and it’s suddenly a beautiful clear day.  I’m pretty close to Hyrule Castle at this point, although it’s still a pretty safe distance away. I think about scouting it out, if I can.  I start by scoping it from the top of this ridge that I’m standing on, when I spot what appears to be some kind of flying drone quadcopter patrolling the area from the sky.  Oh hell no.

I don’t like the look of that one bit, and decide that I’m going to stay way the hell away from those things.  I do spot a shrine inside a cave a little further up ahead, and I reason that if I am quick, I should be able to glide right to it, and get in before a drone copter spots me.

I glide in, but as I get closer what looked like a cave from a far distance is actually covered over in rock rubble, and then the whole side of the rock slope that the cave entrance is about halfway up is covered with thorns.  I crash the glider right into the thorns and take damage.  I think they look flamable, and taking out my flame spear, I find that indeed they are.  A little burst of flame, and the brambles burn away, and I’m able to blow up the rock wall and enter the cave, where I find the shrine.

The challenge here is a Minor Test of Strength, another combat trial, and this one I am able to prevail capably.  I do take a little damage in the fight, but I take the shrine Guardian down with relative ease.

By now I have more than enough spirit orbs for another heart container, so I return to Kakariko to pray at the statue for it, and do a fairy run, pulling down 3 more fairies to replenish the ones I’d used up during the fights on this excursion.

I also have over 55 rushrooms, so I transport to the Gerudo stables, to trade them to the old man for the diamond.

That’s enough for now, I think, and wonder what the next logical step should be.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (42)

I want to find the memory spot from the photograph that the old painter at the stable told me about, and it’s to the West, by a lake.  The road leads out that way.  As I get closer, I can see that I have some choices.  I can either go straight to the area where the old man told me I’d find the spot where the photo was taken, or, if I go a little further down the road, I’ll reach another tower that I can unlock, and get map data which will likely be helpful in pinpointing the exact spot where the photo was taken.

The tower doesn’t look too difficult and it’s nearby, and not too far out of my way, and if I can reach it and activate it, I’ll be able to return here any time I want with ease. So it’s a pretty easy decision.

I head toward the tower, and come to an area where there are some ruined old stone buildings.  I carefully pick my way through them looking for any chests that I can loot along the way, and find  couple.  

When I get about halfway through, I spot a Guardian, a fully active one, patrolling the ruins.  It hasn’t spotted me yet, but it’s in my way, and as soon as I leave the ruins, it’s going to be on top of me like nothing.  There’s no two ways about it, I’m going to have to take it on and take it out if I’m going to advance any further.

Or maybe not.  Maybe I can take a slight detour and sneak around it, using cover to block its view, and get past it without fighting.

I try it, and as I’m sneaking around a broken stone tower, I get lit up from the other side.  There’s another guardian!  I don’t see where it is, only have a vague idea of its general direction, and I need to get out of its view or I’ll be toast.  I duck around the corner of the tower, getting cover from the second Guardian, only to immediately be acquired by the first one.  Now both are locked onto me, and my only chance is to run back to the cover of the stone building that I was sneaking from.  

I make a dash for it, and of course the controller goofs up, I always either press down on the left stick and activate sneak/crouch right when I need to sprint, or I press down on the right stick and activate my telescope right when I need to be able to see in 3rd person so I can navigate obstacles cleanly.  So what would have been an exciting and epic dash for safety instead turns into a comedy of errors, I get blasted into cinders, and respawn.

This time, I decide to try to isolate the first Guardian, the one in the middle of the ruins.  I carefully sneak up, moving from rubble pile to rubble pile, and get pretty close.  Soon I’m on the other side of the pile it’s next to, and if one of us rounds the corner, we’ll be face to face.  

Just then, a bokoblin on horseback starts riding up, and of course it spots me.  It charges right at me, and now I have no choice but to delay engaging the Guardian, and hope I can manage to take out the bokoblin in one arrow, without the Guardian noticing.  

I manage to pull it off, and nail the bokoblin right in the face with an arrow, knocking it off its horse and somehow the Guardian fails to detect the bow twang. Maybe my stealth gear helped.  Then again, the bokoblin rider saw me straight on, so maybe not.

Maintaining the element of surprise is crucial with Guardians, as is keeping a cool nerve when aiming.  If you can nail it in the eye with your bow, it’s blind for a few seconds until it resets itself, and its only real weapon is that fearsome laser.  In close, with a chopping weapon that does decent damage, it’s easy to cut their legs off, immobilizing and hopefully upending them, and once that’s done, they’re mostly harmless, and you can just smash them to bits from their blind side.  If need be, you can hit them repeatedly with arrows, but if you’re good and quick, it only takes one or two, and then it’s done.  

This combat goes off exactly to plan, perfectly executed. The only real downside to fighting these things is that they have a ton of hit points, so you’re almost always going to wreck a good weapon or two, maybe even three, before you take them down.  After this fight, I am a bit short on heavy hitting weapons that I can hope to take out the second Guardian with.  

I reason that I can likely get to the tower without the second one noticing, as long as I’m careful about it and observe its patrol range for a bit before finding a smart path from the ruined town to the tower.

It turns out though that this place is crawling with live Guardians. No more ambulatory ones, but two or three more half-dead hulks surrounding the tower, and I end up having to take them all out in order to have a safe ascent.  Twice I attempt to climb the spire only to get laser painted, and have to bail, jumping down off the tower and getting to cover at just the last second.  

I finally have found that their blasts are not auto-kills, but if you jump or dash just at the very last second when they fire, they’ll barely miss you if you’re not behind cover yet.

These smashed Guardians are not hard to sneak in close to using the available cover, and once I’m there, I can easily come up from behind when their rotating eye is on the far side, wait for it to track around to face me, and then nail it point blank, and hold down a charged shot for extra damage to finish them off more quickly.  It usually takes 2 arrows to do it, and I end up going through a lot more of my weapons, and am starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel now, by the time I finish off the last derelict Guardian.  There’s no way I have a good enough weapon to take on the last one that is still walking up and down the road near the tower. 

But if I keep to the far side of the tower, it won’t see me, and I can climb up safely. I do this, and activate the tower and download my map data update.

From here, I need to find a way safely down from the tower and glide as close to the spot where I think the camera photo was taken, and I’ll have accomplished all my objectives.  

I take a moment to survey the surrounding countryside, and note the location of a few more shrines, mark them on the map for later, and then spend a few minutes observing the patrolling Guardian.  I see the pattern it follows, and decide that I should be able to make it if I glide off of the tower at the right time.  The Guardian takes a short walk down each of three directions on a three-way intersection of the road, and when I goes down the middle fork, I think it’s next going to head right, so I take off, gliding toward the left.  But the Guardian goes down the left fork, and is close enough to me that it spots me.  I try to run for it and get behind tree cover, but it’s not thick enough, and the Guardian keeps lighting me up with its laser aimfinder.  I manage to dodge two, then three blasts, but the fourth one nails me, and I am incinerated.

The second attempt at this plan works without a hitch, though, I properly wait for the Guardian to go off toward the right side, and glide a little further left than I did the first time, and get into the wooded area and out of sight safely.

There are a lot of wild animals about in this woods, and a couple of bokoblins, and a moblin, but I am able to defeat them all pretty easily.  As I head toward the spot on the map where I figure the photo was taken, I scavenge all sorts of forage — meat, monster parts, and vegetables and mushrooms.  I also find a couple of korok seeds.

Eventually, I pinpoint the spot on the map where the photo was taken, and unlock the memory.  Link and Zelda are walking together, and she challenges him by asking how well he really knows how to use his sword.  He seems young and untested in the memory.

I head back from the memory spot, and find myself back near the ruins that I had hid out in and looted, and I spot the horse that the bokoblin rider had charged me on, and I grab him, and we go on a little joyride.

I push further west, past the newly unlocked Central Tower, and follow roads a ways, until I get to a large round ruined building that remind me of the Roman Colosseum in our world.  As I get closer, I spot the silhouette of a Lynel proudly marching around inside, and decide I better not go any further, so I turn around and head back the way I came.

I find two more shrines, the second of which is nearby yet another Stables, this one is called the Outskirts.  I clear both shrines, and neither one is particularly hard, but a little tricky, requiring a bit of thinking.  One of them has a very powerful sword in it, which does more damage than any other weapon I’ve found so far, with an attack power of 50.

The people at this stable tell me clues that give me hope that I will be able to find the Master Sword soon, and I’m also told about a pure white horse that I should try to capture. And one guy at the stable will give me 100 rupees any time I bring him gourmet prime meat from a hunting trip.

By now I have over 3000 rupees saved up, there has been an abundance of rupees in this area, and I should be able afford a few things at the Geruda jewelers. But I think I have a few more things that I need to accomplish here before I return there.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (41)

Now that Gerudo town has opened up to me, things have gotten more exciting.
 
I went through the city, and met a woman who needed flint to run her business making jewelry.  I have a shitload of flint, so I gave her what she needed, and now her business is open again and I can buy jeweled items that will confer bonus resistance to various elemental effects.  It’s all super expensive though, and I just spent most of my money on the Kakariko stealth outfit, so I only have about 220 rupees.
 
The most expensive item requires three diamonds and 1500 rupees, but it gives resistance to Guardians, which seems like it would be worth the expense to procure. The thing is, in all my time playing the game so far, I have only found ONE diamond.  There’s a man back at the wasteland stable who says he will give me a diamond in exchange for 55 rushrooms.  Rushrooms grow mostly along sheer climbing surfaces, and I don’t usually prioritize going out of my way to get them because it’s time consuming to climb to them, and if I happen to be climbing I’m more interested in getting to the top safely than I am in diverting to pick a mushroom, so I’ve only managed to get about 40 so far. And who knows where I might find a third diamond.  Most of the rest of the stuff also looks like it should be worthwhile and I can afford it once I replenish my rupees. But I also worry about managing my inventory slots.  Perhaps the worst thing about this game is that I can’t properly hoard items and aspire to obtain a “complete” set of one of everything.  But while I am annoyed by this, I recognize that it makes the game more balanced and challenging.  But I really wish that I could take chests that I find back home and put things in them, or bury them in places that I can mark on the map and return to later. This would make chests far more interesting and useful than they currently are.  Most of the time when I find a chest, I am disappointed because the stuff I have already is better than what’s in it, or if not then I don’t have any open inventory slots anyway.  But if I could put useful stuff away to use later, by now I’d probably have over a hundred of the more common weapons and shield and bows stockpiled, and I’d need a warehouse to keep them in that’s bigger than the Labyrinth of Lomei.
 
I find there’s a second sand seal place on the east end of town.  There, they tell me about sand seal races. I figure renting a seal will sign me up for the race, so I take one out, but it just lets me use it for general transportation.  I head out due east from Gerudo, and very quickly I come to a Gerudo outpost building, very close to Vah Naboris, the Divine Camel Beast of legend. It’s dangerous to stay outside for more than a few seconds, so I get inside quickly, and talk to the Gerudo vai who is there to monitor the situation.  From the window, I can look right outside and see Vah Naboris, and it looks like he’s right next to us!
 
I discover that this outpost has a bed that I can sleep in to recover from injuries, so I do so. There seems to be nothing more that I can do here, so I leave, but my stubby walrus ride is nowhere to be found, and I have to hoof it all the way back to town.
 
On the way, I stumble onto the seal racing course, and talk to the people there. There’s no seal races due to Vah Naboris disrupting them, so if I want to see or participate in any races, I guess I’m going to have to deal with the Divine Beast first.  
 
I continue back to Gerudo town. When I get there, I run into the guy who’s running circles around the town, looking for a vai to woo, the guy with the fancy sand boots. I talk to him again, and since I’m in drag, he thinks I’m a woman, so he is nicer to me, and I lead him on and he gives me a pair of snow shoes so that I can go into the north and find something, that if I get it, he’ll give me the sand shoes.  Side quest activated.
 
I’m a bit far from the gates to the city, so I climb over the wall in the south east corner, and find myself in a courtyard where a Gerudo is tending to a blue sand seal.  I talk to her, and she tells me the seal belongs to the Gerudo chief, and that the seal is an oracle, and it will tell me secrets in exchange for fruits.  I give it some fruits, and it tells me a couple of things, neither of which are particularly memorable or important-seeming, and I’ve forgotten them by now.  Whoops.  It’s amusing but stuff I pretty much figured out by now.
 
I see a stairway leading to an adjacent room, and walk up them. Here, I find the chief of Gerudo’s courtly hall.  I walk up and talk and am revealed to be a voe, but also the champion Link, hero of old, resurrected and returned to save the land, so they decide I can stay.  I keep dressed as a vai, though.  I’m not sure whether it’s acceptable or not to change back to my old clothes, and besides these are more comfortable in this heat.  They tell me that in order to calm Vah Naboris, I will need to recover a stolen heirloom called the Thunder Helm.  If I have this, it will protect me from the lightning so that I can approach close enough to do the thing. I still don’t know what to do when I get close, but now I know how I can get close.  The Gerudo guards tell me more about the thieves who took the Thunderhelm, and a general idea of where I might find them.
 
A civilian Gerudo is telling me about her husband who has fallen ill and needs the guts from some monster that I’ve never heard of in order to make a cure.  Another side quest activated. I wonder how these women keep husbands around if they’re not allowed in Gerudo. Do they all move out of the town?  Or what? It seems inconvenient.
 
Finally, I have a bunch of things I can do, and some of them even have to do with saving the world. After all this time, I still have just 7 heart containers on my life meter, and I wonder if I’ve leveled up enough to what I need to. Regular encounters with moderately powerful enemies still feel like a serious threat unless I am able to use the terrain to my advantage and keep a safe distance from my foes.  Somehow or other, it feels like I should have found a lot more shrines in my travels than I have, and as much as I’ve covered of the parts of Hyrule that I’ve been to, my shrine sensor hasn’t been pinging a whole lot, yet there’s a lot of regions with low shrine density, compared to the first few regions I went through en route to Kakariko and Hateno villages.
 
I think about the shrines that I’ve been to but haven’t completed, and wonder if I can overcome the ones with the combat challenges. I decide that with my good equipment and 7 heart containers, it’s at least worth another try.  
 
I warp to the first one, called A Minor Test of Strength, and defeat this shrine guardian easily.  Next, I try A Modest Test of Strength.  This one is considerably more challenging.  It takes me down twice, but with four fairies in inventory, I manage to prevail.  In this fight, the guardian seems to keep its distance from me, which makes it harder to hit.  When I do get up close, it uses its shield well, and I have a hard time landing a blow on it.  Then I get knocked back, and when I get up I have to do it all again.  It also has a charge attack, which I’m able to handle by getting behind one of the columns holding up the ceiling, and using it as a shield.  This destroys the column, but is effective at blocking the attack one time.  Additionally, it has a spinning laser turret attack which I can’t seem to dodge, and it’s a tough one to deal with.  I manage to get in a few good hits, using a jumping attack as well as a shield parry to open up some opportunities.  But after the second time I get knocked down, I switch to a bomb arrow attack, running backward and nailing it again and again, my aim improved through focus, and I manage to hit it every time.  But now I have broken my Thunderblade and my two tri-forked lizal boomerangs, and am running low on good weapons again.  I doubt very much that I’m capable of defeating the Major Test of Strength shrine, but perhaps when I get a bit more combat experience and some even better weapons.
 
I return to Kakariko village and get another three fairies from the fairy pond. I upgrade the clothing I bought from the Gerudo jeweler, as well.  And I try to buy more arrows, but the store is completely out of normal arrows.  I have over 170, though, so it’s OK.
 
I want still more fairies, so I try the other pond where I found them sometimes, but none are there.  I wonder what causes things to be there or not be there when I go looking for them.  It seems stores will replenish stock slowly on some kind of timer, but I’ve never seen the Kakariko arrow shop completely out of arrows, and they haven’t replenished since my previous visit when I cleaned them out.  And fairies are sometimes where I find them, sometimes not, but they seem to be there more often when I have few or no fairies in inventory, and when I haven’t been there in a while, and at night. It is a bit mysterious.
 
The second fairy pond is nearby the big river that runs along the road to Kakariko village and stable by Dueling Peaks. It occurs to me that I really haven’t explored much north of this river.  Crossing it seemed unnecessary, and I never bothered to explore that area of central Hyrule from the Great Plateau to Dueling Peaks.  Figuring I’ll probably find a few shrines in the area, I decide to give it an explore.  I cross the river, and follow it along on its north bank.
 
It’s mostly rolling plains with some rocks and some lightly wooded areas, and relatively few monsters, and those that I do encounter are all pretty weak, and I’m not in any danger from them.  I take them out if I need to get them out of the way, the most annoying ones are the octorocks.  I find a bunch more korok seeds, and eventually I make it to the area by Dueling Peaks Tower, where there are several bokoblin camps dotting the shoreline.  It’s night and I’m able to sneakstrike the entire camp, after taking out the sentry with an arrow.  The stealth suit makes it easy. They have a lot of loot for being low level creatures, and I end up finding a bunch of arrows and rupees.
 
The water has many hidden chests submerged here and there, and a few floating boxes, and I find more gems and rupees and a Traveler’s Sword.  Remembering the young boy from Hateno village had given me a quest to bring him this sword, and having an open inventory slot, I pick it up to show him later. I continue to sweep north along the west face of Dueling Peaks, and do a little climbing, picking some rushrooms along the way, trying to get to 55 so I can trade them to the old man at Gerudo Stables so I can get a second diamond.
 
Up the mountain a bit, I come to a flat grassy field with a bunch of rocks. I suspect a Stone Talus lives here, and sure enough there is one.  He wakes up, and this one is a Senior Talus.  I find him very easy to defeat.  I don’t even have an iron sledge hammer, but I do have a bokoblin bat, which I had picked up from the camp that I had raided, and it does good damage against it.  It breaks about halfway through the job, though, and I have to finish the Talus off with Sheikah bombs.  With the bombs now upgraded, this doesn’t take as long.  I just stand on the Talus’s higher shoulder, and then roll the bomb down to his tail end, and set it off. This Talus is especially inept at fighting, and never once manages to do me an injury, but he drops beaucoup gems when I defeat him.  I pick up everything I can find, and continue on my way.
 
A little further north, I’m coming around to the northern slope of Dueling Peaks, when I spot a fully functional Guardian off in the distance, not that far away.  I seriously misjudge the distance, as I try firing an arrow toward it and it falls way short.  I get closer, and try again, and same thing.  I get still closer, and still my arrow drops a little short.
 
Overconfident, I decide to rush in on my glider and drop in from above to do a little extra damage on my first strike.  This goes poorly and I botch the maneuver, and end up having to fight it up close.  I manage to cut off two or three of its legs, but when it charges up its laser blast, I mess up my arrow shot, and fail to stun it, and it blasts me, knocking me down, and setting me and my surroundings on fire.  A fairy is the only thing that keeps me up.
 
As I struggle back to my feet, the thing is already readying another blast.  I try to hit it with an arrow, but again fail, and again the Guardian blasts me.  it gets me a third time, and I’m figuring I’ll probably have to do this fight over again, but somehow I manage to get the upper hand, finally nailing it in the eye with an arrow so that it is stunned, then running in close again and cutting a few more legs, and it becomes helpless. Turned on its side, underbelly exposed, I finish it off.
 
It drops a whole bunch of parts, and I now have the ancient cores that I need to do my final Sheikah slate enhancement.  I’m badly injured and it’s a good time to return to Hateno and Purah’s lab.  I go there, and she upgrades my Stasis power, and then I go visit the little boy in the village who wanted to see the traveler’s sword, and show it to him.  He gives me a 20 rupee reward. Next he wants to see a flame wand.  I had one earlier but it’s gone now.
 
I go back to my house and sleep to regain health, and cook a few dishes to replenish my meals inventory.  Then I transport back to Dueling Peaks tower, and continue my exploration of the northwest face of the northern peak. 
 
I’m trying to return back to where I defeated the Guardian, and I’m pretty close to that spot, which I didn’t mark so I’m not entirely sure where it is, when I hear the familiar Guardian fight music start up and see a targeting laser on me.  Another one?! I didn’t see any more Guardians in this area, and I have no idea where it is or how close, but I just need to GTFO, so I sprint to the edge of the mountain and jump off, and glide away.  The thing blasts at me twice, missing both times, and I eventually descent to where it can no longer target me, and am safe for the moment.  
 
I move down into the riverlands below, and explore more.  Off in the distance I can see a couple of shrines sitting out in the open, and I head in that general direction, stopping to pick up any forage and korok seeds I find along the way.  There are more bokoblins about, and a mounted one attacks me.  I shoot him off his mount with an arrow, and take his horse, then run into another bokoblin on horseback, and try to fight this one hand to hand from horseback, but this doesn’t go as well, and I get knocked off.  I get back up and shoot him off with another arrow, but I’m pretty beat up and have to take a meal break.
 
I get back on the horse I took, and head into a wooded area, where there’s a bunch of forage available for picking.  I dismount to grab as much of the nearby good stuff that I can grab, and have to deal with a couple of pesky octorocks.  I lose track of the horse and can’t find it again.  Oh well
 
I emerge from the woods and see that I’m getting close to the shrines.  There’s one on the other side of a river, and a conveniently located bridge seems to lead right to it.  The other shrine near here is on a small island in the middle of the river.
 
A bokoblin is on the bridge harassing a Hylian, so I run up and save them, but I’m a little late and they got KO’d, and when they wake up are not appreciative at all.  I did my best, sorry. 
 
I go down to the small island first, and this shrine is surrounded by flowers that a Hylian woman planted and tends.  She tells me not to step on the flowers, but I don’t see any clear path to get to the shrine.  I try several times, but each time I mess up and she gets increasingly upset, until she flips out and kicks my ass.  I was trying to climb a nearby tree and glide in, and kept failing at it.  After I wake up from her ass-kicking, I find that there is a subtle trail that leads, maze-like to the shrine entrance, and I manage to get in this time.
 
The shrine is super easy.  Just a series of floating platforms that I have to walk on and cross little artificial river channels.  I don’t even need the platforms, since I have the Cryonis power.  I don’t know why they bothered with this, other than it serves as a very easy tutorial that covers swimming mechanics and currents and climbing onto floating platforms.
 
I get the spirit orb and some ice arrows, and then head over to the shrine across the bridge.
 
As I get closer, I see yet another Stables, and…. Hestu! OMG!  What up, broccoli beard!  I have 120 korok seeds, and I buy 4 additional weapons slots and one additional arrow slot from him before he says he just remembered how to get to Korok Forest, far to the north, and invites me to visit him there sometime.  The first slot costs 2, then 3, then 5, then 8, so it seems that the price goes up according to the Fibonacci sequence, which means those final slots are going to be pretty darn expensive.  Still, I’ve managed to expand my weapons carrying capacity by almost 2x, which is a huge, huge improvement.  I’m going to have a lot easier time getting around prepared now.
 
The painter man who I first met in Kakariko, and have encountered at other stables in the jungle zone and in Gerudo is also here, and he takes a look at my photos and tells me a clue about where one of my 12 memory photos is, and it’s not far from here.  So this is great.
 
My further adventures in Gerudo are going to have to wait a bit longer.