Category: games

Zelda: BOTW Diary (83)

I transport back out to the eastern edge of Gerudo and collect 30 more Swift Violets over the course of an hour or two.  The time passes pretty quickly, and I have what I need sooner than I expect. Along the way, I find three or four more korok seeds, around the north end of the valley at the border of the canyon and the Great Plateau.  It’s an area I really only passed through once, and it’s not surprising that I overlooked these things, but as I’m spending time foraging here, and I’ve gained experience spotting the hidden puzzles and natural features where koroks are often found, I find them easier to spot.  A lone tree or rock, a tall spot, anything really that seems out of the ordinary, if it stands out to you, and you go to check it out, most likely it will reward you, in one way or another.  I also find a hidden cave behind a bomb-able wall, inside which I discover a treasure chest buried under boulders.  One of the boulders is magnetic, and I use it to push the rest of them out of the way.  The chest contains a Great Thunderblade, so I discard the ordinary Thunderblade I just picked up from the last shrine I cleared, still unused.  Such a waste.

Now all I need is rare and ultra-rare stuff:  ancient cores, star fragments, Lynel horn and hoofs, and Dinraal and Naydra horn.

I still have a couple of quests to complete, one around Zora’s Domain, Eventide Island, one memory photo location to find at Hyrule Castle, and two more shrines beside Eventide, somewhere on the map, where I have no idea.

Returning to Zora’s Domain, I decide to spend the rest of my session working on the Ancient Stone Tablets sidequest.  I only have four tablets left to find, but I’m not sure which ones they are, as I haven’t marked any of the ones I found on the map as I went around.  I return where the quest started, and talk to Jiahto, who tells me their locations.  Or at least a clue enough to find them pretty easy.  I take my time going about it, using the walking as an excuse to gather any available forage, check out likely korok seed spots, and so forth.  I fight the Hinox again, and the Lynel, and get the Hinox Guts and Lynel hoof that I need, but I think I still may need more Lynel horn.  While I’m looking for one of the stone tablet locations, I find a ruined stone building that collapsed semi-submerged in a small lake.  I scan it with magnesis-vision, and see a chest in the water.  I bring it up and find the Zora armor helmet, completing my Zora suit.  Yes!  I’d been wondering whether I’d get the helmet as a reward for completing this quest, but I guess I kindof did.

There are a lot of lizals and a few moblins up on this part of the mountains to the north of Zora’s Domain, and they drop lots of arrows, so I bring my normal arrow stash up to over 120, which is great.

I also find a Stone Talus to the east of the dam, along J’Abu’s Ridge, who I fight, resulting in my boulder breaker breaking.  The fight is awkward, due to the placement of this Talus’s vulnerable spot being low and on the talus’s back, rather than on his top, meaning I can’t really climb up on this back to hit it, and when I’m on the ground it’s too high up to reach easily.  I manage to hit it a few times from high elevation, with bombs, and with jump strikes, but take a lot of damage during the fight, and basically get the crap kicked out of me by the Talus.  I eat a meal and recover my hearts, press on, and eventually manage to connect with a blow and take it down.  It drops mostly amber.

While I’m looking for the 2nd to the last of the Stone Tablet locations, it gets dark and I spot a shooting star! I am in the middle of a fight with some lizals, but manage to kill the three of them very quickly, and spot the star fragment’s beacon and get a pretty good mark for it on my sheikah scope.  There’s a shrine near it, so I transport out that way, then climb a bit to reconnoiter and re-establish a heading to the fragment.  I manage to pick it up, and it’s not far from the spot I marked on the map, only a little bit further.  I run up to grab it, and a moblin stalfos pops out of the ground just behind it.  I run up quickly and grab the fragment before anything can happen to it, and then take down the moblin stalfos.

I return back to the Ancient Tablet quest, transporting to Vah Ruto and find the two remaining tablets. Jiahto gives me a diamond as a reward.  Along the way, I’ve managed to find a total of 8 new korok seeds.  When I find 10, I can add a shield slot to my inventory.

I return to the Great Fairy by Kakariko to see what else I can get upgraded.  I take the Barbarian armor leg wraps up to the next level.  Now the Barbarian helmet and pants are both one level short of maxed.  I max out the Zora armor helmet, all with stuff I have in inventory already, so no new material quests for it, yay.  And I upgrade the Diamond Circlet to max, using the star fragment.

Now the only things I need are Dinraal (3) and Naydra horn (2), and 4 Ancient Cores, and I think I’m all done.

I never did buy the cold weather armor from Rito village, but I don’t actually need to; I always did fine with the Warm Doublet, Snow Shoes, and Ruby Circlet in the cold regions, and just didn’t get into very many fights where I needed to rely on armor.  I guess if I had an extra 3-4,000 rupees I’d buy it just for the sake of having it, and then I’d have to max it out as well.  

The only other thing I can think of that I could spend rupees on is sheikah slate album images, and there’s probably a good 20-30k worth of those yet for me to buy, which will probably take a while, but maybe once I finish with my equipment upgrades, I will be able to cash out most of the forage materials and turn it into close to that much money.

I guess once I get done doing all that, I’ll take on Ganon and finish the game.  It’s been several months, and I’ve enjoyed it.

I check my user account profile on the Switch, and see that I’ve logged 280 hours of game play by now.  I’ve definitely taken my time with beating this game, I have not been trying to get through it quickly, and have been trying to find as much as I can, experiment with the game, and see everything that it has to offer.  If I had wanted to complete it quickly, I probably could have, although I probably would have had to focus on learning how to fight more effectively, as I would have needed to take a lot less heart containers and a lot less powerful armor and weapons into the final battle with Ganon.

Then again, I’m not sure if I would have been able to run through the game much faster than I did, unless I resorted to following a walkthrough. The game really did not lead me in any one direction or tell me what I should be doing, and just let me do whatever I felt like doing with no urgency or push to complete anything in particular, which meant that in order to make progress in the game I really had to explore each region that I went through pretty thoroughly, just looking for clues about what I could/should be doing there.

Doing that would have really spoiled the game for me, and I’m glad I didn’t.  Figuring out how to do everything myself was much more rewarding.  The game is not hard-core difficult, in terms of hand-eye coordination, so most of the enjoyment that I get out of the game is from exploring and figuring out puzzles.  The combat system, while honestly pretty good, isn’t the main draw for me — although, I do imagine that if/when I go back and try playing any of the 3-D Zelda titles that came out after Ocarina of Time, I’ll really appreciate how good the BOTW combat engine is compared to previous installations in the franchise.

I did have times where I felt challenged in combat, rather than completely outclassed, but mainly it was due to not knowing how to fight a boss effectively, or not knowing the controls well enough to know what to do/how to do it.  I’m still not terribly great at exploiting the combat engine with special moves and combos, but with everything powered up to near max, I’ve had a rather easy time with most fights, lately.  My weapons and armor are just so powerful compared to the challenge level of the lizals, moblins, and bokoblins I run into.  Yiga Bowmen and Swordsmen are more a nuisance than a challenge, since they always need to be dealt with.  The skeleton versions of these enemies are much less challenging, due to having far less hitpoints.  The “special” monsters like the Stone Talus, Hinox, and Muldoga are easy to defeat once you know their behavior and what works on them.  The piddly enemies like the chuchus, kees, baby stone talus, and wolves are so low-challenge they barely rate mention, and mostly feel like filler, intended to get me to press buttons a bit more.  I don’t mind that they start out easy to fight, beginning players need something after all to learn on.  But I wish that they got more interesting the deeper into the game I got.  But they have a very shallow set of tactics and never vary in how they behave.

Lynels still give me a challenge, but that’s really about it. And with them it’s all a matter of having a good fight.  If I can hit my headshots with the bow, it’s a good fight, and if I can’t, they kick my ass and I spam my way through the encounter by leaning heavily on my healing meals. 

Everything other than Lynels, I can lazily brute-force my way through, if I want to, although I generally at least try to pull off a fancy move and use my shield and target focus.  But I don’t use most of the other moves — the parrying, the quick dodge are things that I just can’t seem to figure out the timing/positioning for, and never get them to happen accidentally.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (82)

There’s two things that I’ve noticed about Breath of the Wild as I’ve played through most of it so far.

One is that my multi-shot bows seem to consume multiple arrows per shot, contrary to what I’ve read.  When I pull one out to use against my toughest foes, I find myself going through half my arrows after the fight is done.  I expect that there must have been a patch that decided to nerf the multi-shot bows by having them consume ammo at 2-5x the usual rate, and I’m sad about it.  I can’t complain that it’s not fair, but everything I’ve been able to find in writing about multi-shot bows says that they “curiously” only take one arrow from inventory per shot, as though they magically multiply in flight.

As a result I’ve been consuming a whole lot of arrows as I’ve been going into combat with Lynels using the Savage Lynel Bows, for the extra damage they deal, and since the Lynels I’m fighting generally drop a multi-shot bow, it’s not like I’m going to run out of the things.  But as they consume arrows at such a rate, it’s a worse option than I’d hoped it would be based on everything I’d read about them.

Two: I think it’s cool that boomerangs are in the game, and I think it’s interesting that they’re basically melee weapons that are a little more interesting to throw at enemies.  In the original LoZ, of course, the boomerang was basically Link’s main secondary weapon through most of the game.  In LoZ it had a multitude of uses, from being able to grab items at a distance to stunning many of Link’s enemies to killing the very weak ones.  It wasn’t the most powerful secondary weapon — the magic wand, bow, and bombs all had more power, but its usefulness at grabbing items at a distance and stunning enemies made it highly advantageous to keep equipped most of the time.  And of course, bombs and the bow had finite ammo, while the boomerang was infinitely reusable.  

In Breath of the Wild, though, there’s basically no additional uses for boomerangs outside of combat, and they’re not even particularly good at returning to the hand when thrown.  They drop to the ground when they hit something (admittedly this is realistic, which probably befits the greater realism in the 3-D Zelda games) and they’re not automatic catches when they do return to you. 

As well, when they’re in flight, you don’t have a melee weapon to fall back on, leaving you a bit vulnerable for close-in enemies.  And you can’t easily throw in any direction, as you could in LoZ.  It was often the case that I’d sword in front of me, while shooting the boomerang in a different direction, to deal with an enemy threatening me from the flank or behind or whatever.  In BOTW, I hardly ever throw a weapon, because mostly I miss with them and disarm myself, and when I don’t I often break the weapon.  It’s supposed to be advantageous to throw badly damaged weapons, as they do double damage when they break on their final hit.  But I basically never bother with this move, as when I’ve tried I’ve almost always missed, and ended up leaving myself defenseless and open to a counter-attack, and end up taking more damage, and losing a weapon.

But wouldn’t it have been fun if there had been a few boomerang-specific challenges, perhaps shrine puzzles that you could solve by a carefully aimed boomerang toss, using the curved path of its flight to pass through multiple rings or hit multiple targets, or perhaps to retrieve items that are out of reach.

It’s not a major disappointment, or anything, just an observance of a missed opportunity to have a callback to the classic game.

Back to the adventure…

I am still working on maxing out all my clothing upgrades, and this time I decide to try to obtain the Swift Violets that I need to upgrade my snow and sand boots.  I know they grow on mountainsides, and with all the climbing I’ve done, you’d think I’d have a bunch, but I always prioritized making it to the top of whatever I was climbing to over collecting the stuff that grows on the way up.

I look up the best places to find Swift Violets, and apparently they are plentiful in the highlands on the east end of Gerudo. I transport out there to a nearby shrine, and set my Sheikah sensor to detect them — one of the few times I’ve actually made use of this capability.  Before too long, my sensor is pinging, and it’s still a bit of a trick to find them, because you never know whether they’re above or below, and when they’re below they’re especially hard to spot due to the limitations of the camera system, you can’t lean way out over the edge in order to look down and get a clear view of the cliff face.

Eventually, though, after much walking about and climbing, I manage to get my inventory up to 15 Violets, which is what I need for my next upgrade.  I might need more, but for now this is good.

I’m nearby the low-lying desert valley/canyon where there are two Lynels on patrol, and I do need a few more Lynel hoofs and horns for Barbarian armor suit upgrades, so I go find the Silver Lynel nearest the south end of the valley, and pick a fight with him. 

He is terrible!  I am still barely a match for this one, the silvers are very powerful.  This one wields a massive club which any time it connects with me, drops my health by about half, even while wearing good armor.  He fires lightning arrows, which I counter by donning my rubber armor suit, to protect me against the shock damage and from dropping my equipment. 

He is fast, and the ground is a bit uneven, which makes targeting him for headshots with the bow tricky.  This is my favored method of fighting Lynels — stun them with an arrow to the head, and then hit them a few times, mount them, hit them a few more times, and as you’re thrown free, hit them a few more times with mid-air arrows, ideally for additional headshots.  My aim and timing are poor this time, and he hits me again and again, knocking me reeling, and I take so much time getting back to my feet that he’s back on me just as soon as I’m getting ready to face his direction so I can try to get off another shot.  About half the time he hits me before I’m ready, or just as I’m about to get a shot lined up.  I end up wasting about 5-6 durian fruit meals, and use up nearly all my arrows, but I do bring him down, finally.  

He drops some horns and hoofs, and I hope it’ll be enough to upgrade something, but I’m probably going to need to fight 1-2 more Lynels at the very least before I can max out the Barbarian suit.  The club he drops is a Savage Lynel Club, and it’s the most powerful weapon I’ve seen yet, with an attack rating of 78, which is 4 better than my Ancient Battle Axe++.  No wonder it hit so hard.

I transport to Kakariko village — my Sheikah slate photo album says that Swift carrots are found there, and I don’t know that they’re found anywhere else.  I know I can buy them from the store, so I just go there.  I don’t really know my way around Kakariko village all that well, despite having been there countless times. I always get turned around, the buildings all look a like, and I get disoriented easily.  So it takes me about a day and a half of wandering just to find where the damn carrots are grown, and then I find the shop that sells them.  I probably checked every building 2-3 times but the right one before I finally found it.  

I buy my carrots, I need 10, I can afford them, good.  While I’m looking for the carrots, I enter a small house, where I talk to a young woman who tells me that they wish they could see fireflies, which opens a sidequest I never discovered in all my previous visits. 

This one’s easy; I have a bunch of fireflies in my inventory, so I talk to the woman again, and she wishes she could see them.  I guess I’m not just supposed to give them to her, as you do in so many other similar quests for people who are asking for stuff.  So I take them out of my inventory and hold them, then release them into the room of her house. 

She’s happy and gives me 50 rupees, and says that she wishes someone named Claree, who I assume lives in the village — I don’t pay that close attention to names half the time — would probably love to see a picture of this, so I take a snapshot with the Sheikah Slate camera, just in case that’s something I need to do. 

Later, I find that Claree is the girl behind the counter at the clothing store in the village, but I can’t seem to talk to her about the fireflies.  I guess this person who I gave the fireflies to is the girl who normally stands outside the store during the day to bring in customers; at night she stays at this small house that’s set far back away from the road, and I’d never been inside it before, at least not at night when she’s there to kick off the firefly quest.  I don’t know if Claree is ever not behind the counter, but I know the girl who manages the counter at the Hateno village inn would give a different dialog tree if you came behind the counter to talk to her; here, I can’t seem to get behind the counter to try this.  So I’m not sure what to do or if there’s just nothing more to this sidequest.

I’m about to go head up to the fairy to upgrade my clothes, when I see one of the guards has a red exclamation mark above his head, meaning I should talk to him.  He says the sheikah orb that Impa and Paya have been guarding has been stolen!

I go into Impa’s house and talk to them, and learn that it must have happened at night, but they didn’t see anything.  It’s a mystery.  I have to find out who may know anything, and try to find the thief.  There’s an old woman who acts suspicious, but it turns out that she only has been stealing swift carrots, which are her favorite food, from the garden at night.  She begs me not to tell anyone, and I’m like, whatever, have all the carrots you want.  I’m not a carrot narc.

I decide to head up the hill to where the pedestal is, figuring that there’s bound to be something going on up there that’s connected to the theft, and sure enough on the way up there I see one of the villagers up by the local Shrine (where months ago I learned some of the advanced combat techniques, then promptly forgot how to do them, never bothered to learn them, because I try to avoid melee combat as much as I can.  And upon re-visiting the shrine, it’s now cleared and empty, and I can’t re-take the challenge any longer to develop the sense of timing needed to pull off the parry and dodge moves that enable me to unleash a flurry of counter-strikes.  I’m not bitter about it or anything.)  Anyway, I talk to the guy, and he says the guard Dorian went back into the woods, but he wasn’t sure what for.

I head there, and Dorian is talking to a Yiga clan swordsman, who has been blackmailing him to work for them. It turns out Dorian used to work for the Yiga clan, but broke ties with them, and has been afraid for his family ever since then.  I have to defeat the swordsman myself — Dorian doesn’t aid in any way — I was half expecting him to, and end up being mortally wounded during the fight, redeeming himself to save me or something.  But after I defeat the swordsman, he confesses and begs me to keep his secret.  He is loyal to the village now, and swears to fight the Yiga at all costs.

He tells me that he cannot unlock the shrine using the orb, but that he believes I can, since I am the legendary hero who it was foretold could do it, and of course I can.  I put the orb into the pedestal, and a shrine appears from the ground in front of us.  There’s no challenge here, just a chest containing a Sword of Duality and a Spirit Orb. 

I now have four orbs, and can add another heart container to my life meter, which will leave me needing just one last heart container to finally fill out my meter to the maximum.  I leave the Sword of Duality behind — it’s a great two-handed sword with an attack rating of 64, but I have so many Royal Claymores that have an attack rating of 62 that I don’t have room for it, and I’m not discarding an unused Royal Claymore just to pick up an extra +2 to attack.  I’ll come back for it someday if I need to, and just leave it for the future, as I have done with so many other shrine chest weapons all over the world map.

I go to the nearby fairy, and upgrade my stuff.  I still have a few more upgrades to go, and need to get more materials in order to finish maxing out my stuff.

I need to go talk to Impa and Paya to wrap up any loose ends pertaining to the shrine quest.  Paya tells me she is glad that the sacred orb has proven helpful to me, and Impa tells me that I should go and face Ganon now, because she is not sure how much longer Zelda can hold out against him.

I want to try to farm some Naydra scales and horns, so I can complete upgrading my outfits.  I run out of Kakariko, past the Great Fairy Fountain, along the road to Lanayru, and veer to the North where the road forks, and follow the mountain ridge as far as I can towards Lanayru.  I have not been along this way before, and I find a few Korok seeds, bringing my total up to 55, which is enough to buy the last melee weapon slot for my inventory.  There’s a korok hidden under a rock at the top of a tree by a pond with a small waterfall and numerous deer grazing and wading in the water, and nearby there, I find an archery test which is one of the most difficult ones I have had to face.  Two balloons, at about maximum range for the Royal bow, arcing past each other periodically, and I have to lead them and aim my shot slightly above point of impact to arc the arrow to its mark.  It takes many arrows to get the timing and range close, but I eventually zero in close enough and manage two lucky shots to claim the prize. It probably costs me about 10 arrows to accomplish this, leaving me with only about 20 left. Which, is actually a lot of arrows if you had to carry them around in real life, but at the rate I go through them, it’s not much.

After I win this seed, I see Kass the birdman off in the distance, playing his accordion, which is just faintly audible in the distance.  I make a point to come back to him later. Right now I am focused on Naydra.

I also happen across a slumbering blue Hinox along the way, and needing some Hinox parts, take the opportunity to claim them. I try the stand in the hand trick, and as happens to me 2/3 of the time, the trick fails, I clip through the Hinox or slide off of him, causing him to wake up.  I just start button mashing and hit him as many times as I can with the Master Sword, and end up getting him down by 2/3 before he is even displaying his health bar, and get him all the way down before he manages even one attack.  he drops Hinox Guts, which is what I needed, and few Royal weapons: bow, halberd, broadsword; and a bunch of food and some other body parts.  I take everything I can carry, leave the rest, and move on.

At a certain point near the west end of Lanayru Bay, just past where I fought the Hinox, I notice two trees growing near each other, looking a bit like goal posts.  Earlier when I was farming Swift Violets, the first location I tried was on the east face of the Dueling Peaks, the northern peak by the Dueling Peaks stable shrine.  I didn’t have any luck following the sensor signal there, and gave up, but before I did, I summited the northern peak and observed two trees in a similar orientation, with some nearby boulders, which, when I rolled one through, revealed a korok seed.  

I look around for another such boulder, but am unable to find one.  Eventually, though, Naydral appears and flies almost directly overhead.  I launch myself off the mountain and try to fly as close to him as I can, and manage to score a hit with the bow and knock a scale loose from him.  I run to pick it up, and then run around the area looking for more korok seeds and foraging whatever else I can find while waiting for Naydra to re-appear again.

He does, and I try to get a shard of his horn, but it’s so hard to accurately gauge the range to him, and my bow doesn’t ever seem to be capable of reaching him.  No matter how close he seems, no matter how much of the screen he takes up with his immense form, I still seem to always be well out of range of the bow I’m using and my arrows fall short.  I fail to connect, and waste a bunch of arrows.  

I had just recently saved, so I restore and try again, but Naydra doesn’t show up this time for many more hours.  I don’t understand the timing of when he appears, or what triggers force him not to spawn.

I was hoping I could pick up another piece of horn, and then I could to go the Korok village to visit Hestu and max out my melee weapon inventory slots.  I wait until Naydra appears again, and get up very close to him but still only manage a scale hit, and don’t claim my piece of horn that I needed, but at least I managed to get a scale.  

Giving up for the moment, I transport to the Korok village, visit Hestu, and exchange my 55 korok seeds for my final melee weapon inventory slot, then visit the korok shop and buy out all their arrows.  For good measure, I transport to Gerudo Town and Hateno village and buy out all their arrows as well.  This only brings me up to around 50 arrows, though.  I’d like to get about 3x that many.  But it’s a start.

I finally remember about Kass.

Kass usually means something hidden nearby, and a puzzle to solve, so I go back and talk to him, and he’s standing next to a Sheikah pedestal.  He sings me a song about a forest creature with a crown of bone, who will reveal a shrine if I mount him.  Seems straightforward enough.  At first I wonder if maybe this song is in reference to the Lord of the Mountain, but I don’t think he has a crown of bone.  It seems much more likely that the song is about the local deer, who seem especially plentiful nearby, and some of whom have antlers, which sounds more like a “crown of bone” to me, although antler isn’t bone.

I try sneaking up on a deer, and just happen to glide in at one who doesn’t have antlers, but land perfectly on it, mounting it and tame it quickly.  It turns out that they are indeed ride-able.  I ride it over to the pedestal, and nothing happens.

I go find a deer with antlers, and do the same thing, and this solves the puzzle.  A shrine rumbles forth out of the ground, and I enter. 

This one has a puzzle.  There’s a switch, which can be triggered by hitting it, which when triggered causes a block to rotate around a circle.  I need to ride the block around the circle, stopping to open a chest, and then activate a switch, which opens the gate to the shrine master’s chamber, then get to the shrine master.

To make it complicated, there’s a pillar in the middle of the room that makes reaching the switch difficult from anywhere but the first two positions.

The solution isn’t that difficult.  There’s a metal box sitting on a platform adjacent to the switch, with a laser beam blasting it.  I use magnesis to move the block, and the laser hits the switch, triggering it.  I need the metal box in order to set it on the switch so it will hold the shrine door open so I can enter it.  I place the metal box on the floor switch, and the shrine opens.  I go back to the hit-activated switch, and I lay a square bomb next to it.  I stand on the rotating platform, and hit the laser block with time-stop, which interrupts the laser beam.  When the time-stop wears off, the beam fires again, triggering the switch, and I rotate to the platform where I can open the chest.  I get a Great Thunderblade.  Next, I fire an arrow at the switch, which is an easy shot from this position, and the moving platform rotates to the next station, where I would need to activate the floor switch to open the shrine gate if I hadn’t already done so with the metal box.  I just need to activate the hit-activated switch one more time to move the platform I’m standing on to the final position.  To accomplish this, I detonate the square bomb, which triggers the switch a final time, rotating the block I’m standing on into position in front of the shrine master’s chamber, and I’m able to walk right in.  Easy.

I claim my Spirit Orb and leave.  I return to Kakariko village and pray at the goddess statue, and receive my 2nd to last heart container.  I visit the Great Fairy and take note of all the stuff I still need to get to finish upgrading my gear:

  • 1 Star Fragment
  • 2 Naydral’s Horn
  • 1 Dinraal’s Horn
  • 4 Lynel Hoof (I have 3 already, need one more)
  • 5 Ancient Core (I have 1, need 4 more)
  • 30 Swift Violets (I have 2, need 28).

The swift violets are easy, just time consuming.  The Lynel Hoof is not hard.  The dragon pieces are proving very difficult for me to harvest.  I guess I need to obtain a good long-range bow.  The powerful Royal and Lynel bows do a lot of damage, but only have a short range, and what I need for this is speed, range, and accuracy.  Damage is not particularly relevant.  The Star Fragment and Ancient Cores are pretty rare.  I can just kill Guardians until they drop enough Ancient Cores, but that may take a lot of encounters.  I don’t know how frequently they drop, but I don’t think it’s as often as one per Guardian.  But I’ve gotten pretty good at fighting them, and the Master Sword doesn’t break, so I can mine the Ancient Cores for basically free, not counting the cost of labor.  The Star Fragment will require a lot of patience and/or luck, but fortunately I only need one, and since I’ve seen at least one drop as Lynel loot, maybe I can get lucky with my next Lynel kill and get one that way.

If I can find another 10 korok seeds along the way, I can expand my shield inventory further.  I’m not that worried about it, but if I can do it, I will.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (81)

I need one more Hinox Guts for my armor upgrade materials, so I go out to the one by the jungle, and kill him, but he doesn’t drop any guts.  I pick up a few Hearty Durian fruits, so I can cook them up later for healing meals, as I’m down to only about 5 or so left after fighting the Lynels last time.

I still need to find a Hinox, and I know there’s one nearby Zora’s Domain who shouldn’t be hard to kill.  I also have a sidequest or two left from Zora’s Domain, so I decide to go out that way.  I transport to the shrine there, and the one quest I have remaining is the Ceremonial Song.  A little girl is singing a song by Mipha’s statue, about a waterfall and a “scale of light”. She mentions a Zora named Trello, who I find, and who tells me that he’s lost a ceremonial copy of Mipha’s trident in the waters beneath the bridge below.

I drop down and find the trident, and pull it out of the water using magnesis and cryonis.  I take it back to Trello and show it to him, and he says to keep it, and mentions the song that the girl by the statue sings, and says there might be something more to the lyrics.

The lyrics confuse me, mentioning a “scale of light”, and the falls that I’m supposed to present it at are a nearby waterfall called Veiled Falls on the map.  I hike out there, it’s only a very short distance out of the Zora city center. In the pool below the falls, there’s a sheikah pedestal, like I’ve seen many times before, which is key to opening a shrine.

I have a few Farosh scales in my inventory, so I try dropping one on the pedestal, and nothing happens. I guess it must be one of the other dragon scales, then.  Since Naydra seems to home around Mount Lanayru, and is the nearest one, I guess I’m supposed to get one of its scales.

I transport to Mount Lanayru and wait around for Naydra to appear, hoping I can get near enough to shoot it and get a scale.  I read that a good place to stand is on the south side of Lanayru Bay, along the north slope of the mountain.  I go there, and it’s not long before Naydra shows up.  I manage to hit him once with an arrow, and he sheds a scale, which falls all the way to the north side of the bay, landing in the shallows.

So I have to climb the mountain and gain altitude enough to glide across the water to land nearby.  I manage to do this, and retrieve the scale, and then transport back to Zora’s Domain, walk to the falls, and drop it and… nothing happens.

Puzzled, I wonder about what else I might need to do.  I try equipping the trident, since that obviously has something to do with the puzzle.  Still nothing happens.  I try using the trident to strike the scale, and it flies off the pedestal and slides into the waterfall.  I swim over and retrieve it.

Now I’m stuck.  I don’t have any Dinraal’s Scales, so I can’t test with it unless I manage to get one.  That’s going to take time, and I still don’t even know if it’ll work, and it seems unlikely, given that Dinraal is a firey dragon and the song mentions a “scale of light” and not a “scale of fire”.  And it seems to me that fire would not be a good match for a water culture.  Plus Dinraal is from way far away from here.  So all the clues point away from that being a solution.

I think about what else in the game has scales.  There’s fish.  I have plenty of fish in my ingredients inventory, but not any individual fish scales.  There’s also Lizals, and I have a lot of Lizal parts, but none of them are scales either.  There’s tails, which I guess have scales on them.  But that also seems like a potential solution to a puzzle that is a bit too far removed to be a good enough fit to be a likely solution.

Unclear on how to proceed, I decide to look up the solution on the web, rather than spend all night trying to figure it out.  The solution is simple; I just need to do a mid-air attack with the zora spear into the pedestal.  I can’t trigger it by jump-attacking, I have to get higher than that, so shooting up the falls with the zora armor, and then glide down, and toward the bottom of the glide, do the attack, and I drive the trident straight down into the pedestal, which unlocks the shrine.

I go inside, and there’s no challenge, just a chest with 100 rupees and a spirit orb.

I now have 3 spirit orbs in inventory, so there must be just 5 shrines left.  My next shrine will give me the spirit orb to complete my penultimate heart container.

I walk on down to the Hinox who sleeps near Zora’s Domain, wake him up, murder him, and go to the fairy near Kakariko village to get my final upgrade for my Fireproof armor suit.  

Now it’s time to finish up the Barbarian armor suit, which requires more Lynel parts. I know of a Lynel who I haven’t faced down with yet, and decide to head to the Colosseum-like ruins located just north of the Great Plateau. I transport to the nearby stable and run the rest of the way on foot.  Along the way, I keep encountering Yiga swordsmen, bowmen, and thieves (the ones who wield the circular spiked weapon.  I’m wearing good armor so they do not hurt me much at all, but they are an annoying nuisance when I’m trying to just make progress down the road.  You can’t run away from them very easily, because they can teleport right back in front of you again.  I also kill some bokoblins who are harassing Hylian travelers, on two separate occasions. These are pre-scripted encounters that I have run through before, so nothing new happens with them.

I finally get to the stadium, and while wearing my Ancient Armor and Greaves, along with my Lynel Mask, I walk in.  The Lynel doesn’t seem to be fooled for very long at all as I approach, and it doesn’t buy me any opportunity to get close in and deal a sneak attack or anything.  Maybe it allows me to run past a Lynel at a slightly closer distance without them getting aggressive, but it doesn’t seem to be much of a mask.  I forget to take it of and switch to better armor for my head piece, but the Ancient armor pieces I have on are fully powered up, and protect me quite well against the Lynel.

The Lynel wields a flame sword, and shoots lightning arrows, and does his usual charge attacks, fire breathing attack, and fierce roar attacks, which damage me enough to make me eat one Durian fruit meal for a re-charge, but he manages to miss me quite a bit with his attacks, and when he does hit they don’t do a lot of damage.  The Ancient armor set is pretty good.

I wear the lynel down and manage to headshot him with the bow more often than not, which allows me to mount and do extra hits, which add up quickly.  As well, during my dismounts, I master the art of camera direction, which enables me to be flying through the air while facing the lynel’s backside, which allows me to get off my mid-air arrow shot much faster, which in turn enables me to get off 3-4 shots while I’m in the air in slow-motion, and with a multi-shot bow, nailing headshots, those add up pretty quickly.

After defeating the Lynel I go through the rest of the stadium to explore and loot.  In the outer ring of the building, I discover numerous well-outfitted bokbolins, lizalfos, and moblins, on each tier, waiting for me to come up and fight them.  They’re equipped with flame, ice, and electric weapons, making this stadium a good place to go to get all your elemental weapons if that’s what you want in your inventory.

I defeat the monsters, but mostly leave their weapon drops behind, other than when I break something and need to fill a slot with a replacement.

On the top of the outer wall of the stadium, I find a hidden treasure chest, which contains an amber gem, and then I climb a bit up into the hillside that the stadium seems to have been built into.  Or maybe there was a landslide which covered one side of the stadium.  It seems weird that they would build a structure like this into the side of a hill.  At any rate, not much up there, but I do find a korok seed.

I’m now up to 46 seeds in my inventory, so I go back to the Korok village to see if Hestu can upgrade my weapons carrying capacity any more yet.  But he needs 55 more seeds to max out my weapons slots, and only 10 more for another shield slot.  But I don’t really need another shield slot, and would rather save up for another weapon slot, if I can manage to find another 9 koroks in the world that I haven’t discovered yet.  I’m sure more are out there.

I transport back to my home in Hateno village and look at my weapons racks, and while most of the stuff I have stored on them is high end, it’s not as good as what I’m considering my weak end of my current inventory.  So I rotate out the stuff on my walls and put up nicer stuff that I have extra of.  Royal class weapons instead of Knight class.

I guess there’s only a few things left in the world for me to do now:

  1. Fight a few more lynels and finish upgrading the Barbarian armor suit.
  2. Eventide Island challenge
  3. Find the last of my memory photo spots, somewhere in Hyrule Castle.
  4. Four more shrines to find (in addition to Eventide island), most likely in Central Hyrule in the vicinity of Hyrule Castle, I’d guess, as that’s the area on the map where I’ve ventured the least a this point. Otherwise I have no idea where they are.
  5. Finish up the weapon connoisseur side quest in Hateno village, if I ever acquire an Ancient short sword.
  6. The stable quest for the guy who wants recipes for royal Hylian cuisine.
  7. Fight Ganon and beat the game.

After that, there’s still the DLC packs that I haven’t touched yet, but likely will.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (80)

Back to farming and foraging for materials to upgrade my armor.  I need Hinox and Lynel parts most, plus I also need a bunch of Hightail lizards and Swift Violets.  I also need some rare stuff like Ancient Cores and Star fragments.  And I need a Dinraal’s scale, and one more Farosh’s horn.

I transport out to Eldin and fight the Lynel out by the Leviathan skeleton.  I screw up the first two attempts at this fight and restore from my save point.  The third time it goes well.  I nail the lynel in the face with arrows, mount him, and hit him 5 times, get thrown off, hit him in the back of the head a few times with more arrows on the way down, and repeat.  I manage about 3-4 cycles of this, and then mess up the timing once and he gets me for a good hit, I have to eat and replenish, and then he does it again, and I have to take another meal to replenish.  But after that I recover and take him down.  

The Lynel drops a strar fragment (!),  and his usual compliment of top tier weapons, about 20 lightning arrows, and the usual hoofs, guts, and horns.

I notice a stone circle nearby this Lynel’s patrol area, and find another korork seed here.  

Then Dinraal the dragon makes his appearance, and I manage to collect my scale this time. 

After picking up the scale, a Blood Moon occurs, and I get to fight the Lynel again.  This time I fight him just about as well as the first time, maybe a little worse, but 2-3 meals to replenish my life meter after my mistakes, and I win.

I transport out to the shrine near the fairy by Tarrey Town, visit the Fairy, and upgrade my clothes, boosting one of my Barbarian Armor pieces and my Ancient Greaves.  

Then I head to Tarreytown and buy out their arrow shop.  It’s late at night, and down below at the lake’s bank, I see that Fang And Bone is open below.  I have a bunch more monster parts that i can exchange for Mon, and so I do so, and get enough to buy myself the rest of the Dark Link outfit, as well as a Lynel Mask, and a Lizal mask, and then I’m down to not enough Mon to buy anything.  

I’m not really sure that I have a lot of interest in the rest of the stuff that Kilton has for sale, but there are the boko and moblin masks left, some horse gear, monster elixir, and a spring loaded hammer.  But I have very little practical need for any of this stuff, and would only be buying it out of curiosity to see what it does, and this late in the game most likely whatever it does will be disappointing.

I transport up to the shrine near East Akkala Stables, and take a short walk West to the Spring of Power, where I make an offering of Dinraal’s scale, to reveal the shrine here.  This shrine, unlike the other shrines in the game that you reveal by completing shrine quests, has an actual challenge inside:  a Major Test of Strength. 

I arm myself, and step forward to do battle with the shrine guardian.  With the Savage Lynel Sword that I took from the Lynel I just defeated, plus a Guardian shield and shock arrows, this fight goes pretty quickly.  I manage to break the Lynel Sword, but I don’t take more than a heart and a half of damage from this guardian, which is awesome.  

The guardian drops another shield, an axe or spear (I forget), and sword, so I pick up what I can that is worthwhile for my current inventory.  The shrine also has a chest with a flame spear with an attack bonus, but I don’t take it.  I get my spirit orb, and leave.

I transport back to the shrine south of Tarreytown and pray at the statue there, and receive another heart container.  Now I am just two heart containers shy of two full rows, and I still have two more spirit orbs.  I guess there are 10 shrines left in the game for me to find somewhere.

I now probably need to kill 1-2 more Lynels, 1 Hinox, and pick up two shards of Naydra’s Horn, and pick 14 Swift Violets and collect about 20 Hightail Lizards, and I’ll be maxed out.  Once I do that, all that remains uncompleted for the game apart from hundreds of still-undiscovered korok seeds, is the 10 remaining shrines, plus Ganon.

Pac Man Championship Edition NES Demake

In 2007, Pac Man creator Toru Iwatani gave me all the reason I needed to buy an XBox 360 when Namco released his farewell game, Pac Man Championship Edition.

The original Pac Man Championship Edition for XBox 360

Easily the best Pac Man game ever made, it was a fantastic modernization of the classic game which updated the design to maximize Flow, the zen-like state of consciousness sometimes called being “in the Zone”. Featuring a split maze, where completing one side spawns a prize on the opposite side, which, when eaten, refreshes the completed side, the game is perfectly set up for non-stop maze running and high score runs, where your goal is to maximize points in a timed run through a combination of eating dots, prizes, and ghosts.

I learned yesterday that a NES demake of Pac-Man CE has been released on the latest Namco Museum anthology, available on Nintendo Switch.

Graphical glitches aside, this is absolutely amazing!

The demake has actually been around for several years, and is available for download if you can find it.  You can play it in a NES emulator, or on real hardware, if you have an Everdrive. It’s implemented on MMC3 and weighs in at 257kb.

The original Pac Man CE was designed for 16:9 TV screens, while the NES is obviously engineered to display its graphics on an NTSC 4:3 display at 240i resolution. So to work around the limitations, the demake uses an ingenious programming technique to scroll the maze, using the NES’s video buffer to create an infinite horizontal wrap when you use the warp tunnels.

This is a must-play, must-own if you’re a fan of Pac Man or the NES. It’s also worth owning on the Switch. Apart from online leaderboards, it is fully featured, quite faithful to the XBox 360 original, and extremely well done.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (79)

I am looking for things to do beyond farming forage materials that I need to upgrade my various armor suits, but not things that are directly related to finishing the main quest to defeat Ganon today.

I think about taking on the Eventide Island challenge and getting that crossed off my list, finally, but I don’t feel like it today. 

Instead, I try transporting to Gerudo and see if I can get the sidequest completed for the little girl, Dalia, who wants to start an orchard but can’t due to the garbage in the water.  I go there, and it’s daytime, so Dalia is out, and she has new things to say to me when I talk to her this time.  After talking to her, I climb up on the walls and talk to Calyban, the Gerudo vai who is eating melons all day long, and she is still rude and doesn’t want to be bothered at first, but I tell her about Dalia’s problem, and she feels a bit guilty, and offers to quit polluting the water with her melon rinds if I bring her some wild berries.  I happen to have the 10 berries she needs in my inventory already, so I just talk to her again and give them to her.  She takes them, and apologizes, then goes to help Dalia clean up the garbage.  After this, I talk to Dalia and she is happy and starting to plant wildberry plants, because Calyban gave her the berries that I gave her.  

This completes the quest, and so I go to visit Riju, to see if I’ve solved all of Gerudo Town’s problems yet, so I can borrow the Thunder Helm. But apparently there is still more for me to do in this town, only I don’t know what else there is.  I go around and talk to everyone I can find, and don’t pick up any new leads.

I’m puzzled by this, but perhaps it’s one of those things where it depends on what time of day it is.  Several of the Gerudo I speak to do seem to have problems but non starts a quest.  There’s a vai who complains that she has a headache, and another one who I keep interrupting when I go to her house and she’s practicing talking to men in her bedroom, and gets embarrassed that I’ve seen her doing this. I’d help her out if I could, and I’ve met a few Hylian fellows who are looking to score with some Gerudo hotties, but nothing ever seems to come out of these conversations.  I guess Link is just not in the matchmaking business.

There’s the old woman who sits by the goddess statue and likes to talk and tell me about how she traveled all over Hyrule looking for the heart-shaped lake where you’re supposed to meet your true love.  I go back to the tavern, and the women who you can eavesdrop on are talking about one of their friends who went out by this lake; I’ve already helped her hook up with a Hylian dude, a long time ago, but hearing them talk makes me think maybe I should go back out there and see if there’s anything new going on with them.  I do so, and there’s nothing new going on with them at all.  

So… I dunno.  Somewhere in Gerudo Town there’s someone, at least one more someone, with a problem that I’m supposed to solve, and I guess I’ll find them someday, or not.

Since I’m way the heck out east now, I think about what else I could do.  I’m near the coastline, and I am in need of Hightail lizards, for my armor upgrades.  I forget which suit I need these for, maybe the climbing gear, I forget.  But I need a bunch.  I recall that there seemed to be many lizards along the shoreline on the beach, so I go for a very long walk down the southern coast of Hyrule, and find a couple of the lizards, but only about 3 Hightails.  I also find numerous crabs, and maybe a half dozen korok seeds that I hadn’t found on my first pass through the area.  In Faron I run into another stalnox, the skeletal Hinox who sleep during the day as a pile of giant bones, and then wake up at night, and defeat it, earning a Great Flameblade, which I swap out for my old Great Flameblade, which was probably starting to get close to being badly damaged anyway.  I mine ore wherever I find it along the way, and kill lots of lizalfos, and bokoblin skeletons, keese, and chuchus who harass me along the way, a few bokoblins on horseback, a couple of Yiga bowmen, a Stone Talus, and a Guardian on the beach, who drops an Ancient Core, which is another item that I need.  I think I need at least 6-8 Ancient Cores, though, and it’s going to take a long time at this rate to get that many.

A little bit further on down the beach past where I fought the Guardian, I come across a Hylian woman on the beach who is caressing a Sheikah orb like it’s her favorite thing in the world.  She is calling it Roscoe, and seems off her rocker.  I try to talk to her; there’s a nearby shrine pedestal, where I know if I put the orb in it, I will reveal a new shrine that I can clear, but she won’t let go of the orb until I show her four photos of guardians.  

That’s going to take a lot of work to track down the different types of Guardians that she wants to see, but I’ll make an effort to do it when I run into them.  

I continue along the beach still further, and come to a river channel that leads inland to where Lake Tower is.  I follow the river, along the east bank, and find a few more korok seeds.  This is an area I hadn’t really been through previously.  I also find yet another stalnox skeleton, but it’s day time and so inert; this is the third Stalnox I’ve discovered now in the game.

I explore around the area and find some treasure chests, and get some more rupees and gems out of them.  Then I see a few horses, and one of them looks like a good one, so I tame it and ride it to the nearest stable, which is Highland Stable to the southeast.  I get there and try to register it, but it’s not as good as my horses that I already have, so I don’t bother.

I still need a bunch of Hightail lizards and have a new sidequest to photograph Guardians, so I continue on with those objectives.

I guess I’ll take on the Guardian photo safari first, since I know where I can find at least two of the types of Guardians that the weird woman wanted to see.

I transport out to the Akkala Maze and photograph the flying Guardian and walking guardian there.  Then I transport to a shrine where there’s a combat trial and photograph the guardian there, and warp out back to the nearest shrine to where I met the weird Hylian Girl, and run over, show her the photos, and she gives me “Roscoe” and I unlock the shrine.  There is no trial here, I just get a spirit orb and a chest.

Next, I decide to return to Gerudo. There’s one more place I didn’t check in Gerudo for more sidequests: the military training academy.  I go there, and sure enough there’s a quest for me.  Barta (I think she’s the one who I rescued from the Yiga Clan when I went to recover the Thunder Helm) has gone missing (again); this time she was last seen by the Leviathan skeleton out in the desert.  I transport to the shrine there, and find her.  She is exhausted and near death, and her last request is to taste a Hearty Durian one last time.  I give her one from my inventory, and it heals her (of course) and she’s fine again. I tell her the royal Gerudo Guard is looking for her, and she returns home.  Mission accomplished. 

I talk to Riju, and she agrees to let me borrow the Thunder Helm.  It is a bit underwhelming:  3 defensive rating, and cannot be enhanced, and immunity to lightning. But it doesn’t seem to work — I still take damage from lightning strikes, Farosh, and other elemental attacks, but I guess it doesn’t cause me to drop my weapon.  But it doesn’t repel lightning to being attracted to me if I’m holding anything metal, and the lightning still does damage.  Maybe (probably?) not extra damage for being elementally vulnerable due to holding metal, but WTF, the dang helmet created a huge bubble of lightning repulsion when we went up against Vah Naboris, so come on!  I think the Thunder Helm is a huge disappointment, and would just give it back to Riju, as it’s worse than just wearing the complete Rubber Suit from what I can tell.

I spend the rest of the session running around the desert, looking for Yellow Lizalfos to kill for their tails; I need a total of 20 in order to max out the remaining pieces of the Rubber Suit.  It takes hours, but I eventually manage to get all the Yellow tails I need. With all the practice, I get pretty good at taking down Lizalfos when I’m prepared for them.  They like to lie dormant, and camouflage themselves, but you can easily see them, due to their shape.  I just run up and toss a bomb at them, blow them away, and run up, and ready another bomb as soon as I can, and keep hitting them with it, knocking them around, stunning them, causing them to drop their weapon.   If they get too close to me to use the bomb on them, I whip out my weapon and hit them 3-4 times, and when they go down, I run right over and hit them 2-3 times extra while they’re down.  Depending on the strength of my weapon, and the toughness of the particular Lizalfos, they don’t last very long, and I keep them stun-locked to where they can’t manage much if any counter-attack.

I also found a great many chests in the desert as well.  And one additional shrine, out in the western part of the Gerudo Desert barrens, there’s a set of four stone braziers in a square; I lit them all with my great fireblade, and a shrine appeared.  This one had a minor test of strength trial, and I defeated this guardian easily, loosing only 1 1/2 hearts.  The Ancient Armor really helps protect you from them, and the Master Sword apparently does extra damage to them as well.  Plus, I’m just getting better at learning how to exploit their weaknesses though tactics.

While exploring the desert, I find three more swift violets, which means I have enough to enhance to maximum one of my two pieces of climbing gear that still needs to be enhanced.

I have enough spirit orbs to add another Heart Container to my life bar, and that will leave me two short of two rows of hearts, which is the maximum you can  have.  I think there’s now fewer than 10 shrines left in the game for me to discover, and I know where two of them are.  The rest are likely somewhere in Central Hyrule, near Hyrule Castle, or else very well hidden elsewhere.  There’s so much territory in the world map that it’s easy to completely miss an area, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve been just about everywhere.  I know there’s still some places that I have only barely explored, but they’re no longer entire regions, and are more like small sub-areas where natural boundaries channeled me into other areas of the map that I explored instead when I first came through the region.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (78)

Today I spent a lot of time farming.  

I got all the stealthfin trout I needed to upgrade my stealth suit to the maximum.

I got all the smotherwing butterflies that I need to upgrade my fireproof suit to the maximum.  

I got Farosh’s Horn, but I think I still need some more of that in order to do further enhancements.

I need a bunch more yellow lizalfos tails to completely upgrade my rubber suit to the maximum.

I need more Hinox and Lynel parts to enhance other stuff.

I need at least SIX Ancient Cores, which are pretty hard to come by; even fully mobile Guardians don’t seem to drop them very often.

I need Dinraal’s scale so I can unlock the shrine at the Spring of Strength.  It seems like it should be easy to get, but I keep just missing him.

I need Star fragments, if I can find any more.  If I see a shooting star, that will have to become my #1 priority over anything else in the game, due to how rare they drop.

I need a bunch more Swift Violets to finish enhancing my climbing gear to maximum.

Ever since the days of the NES, I’ve found that one of the joys of adventure games is maxing out your character, getting all the equipment and powering up all the way.  Even when I don’t really need to do it to beat the game, I still like to do it.  I’m about 100% certain that I don’t need to do it, I can in all likelihood go and fight Calamity Ganon right now, and have everything I need to prevail.  But still I want to max out my armor enhancements for everything, even though I basically don’t need to ever wear a lot of these suits.

I like to have it, just to have it.

I wish I could keep the high end weapons forever. The Savage Lynel Sword with the Attack Rating of 68, best for a 1-handed weapon I’ve found; The Boulder Crusher, Goron Champion Daruk’s weapon; The Guardian Axe++; a Royal Claymore and Royal Broadsword; a Savage Lynel Spear, one each of the Thunder, Flame, and Frost spears; maybe one each of either the one- or two-handed elemental swords; maybe a Dragonbone Moblin Club or Dragonbone Boko Bat, just so I’d have a good wooden weapon for use where metal isn’t ideal.   That would probably about fill out my melee weapon inventory pretty nicely.  If I could have those all permanently, never breaking, never wearing out, I’d be all too pleased.

For bows, I’d take multi-shot Savage Lynel Bows that fire x3 or x5 arrows, and some of the bows that do long-range shots with a zoom magnifier, because those come in so handy.  Plus 255 or 999 or whatever the max is for every kind of arrow.

Then life would be pretty complete.  A Hylian can dream.

For the stealthfin trout, I drop in at the tower near the entrance to the Lost Woods and walk along the shore of the wide river that borders it, and walk a long way, not seeing many fish, but occasionally seeing 3-4 that I can catch, and I get what I need.

Along the west end of the Lost Woods, I see an island out in the middle of the river, and it seems worth checking out.  It’s small, with steep banks rising up maybe 20-30 feet out of the water.  I swim over and climb up, and am attacked almost immediately upon reaching level ground by a bunch of skeletons.  They’re well armed, the bokoblin even fires bomb arrows at me, and I have to run around a lot to keep from being targeted.  I manage to take them out relatively easily, although I do take a lot of damage.  After finishing up the fight, there seems to be nothing at all else to do on this island.  It’s a lot of weapon drops of pretty decent weapons but they’re all below my power level now, and I don’t need any of them.  I was expecting there to be a korok seed, maybe even a shrine on the island, but there seems to be nothing here, other than a test to do battle with a bunch of weak skeletons who have above-average arms.

Next, I visit Gerudo Desert to farm Yellow Lizalfos tails.  I manage to get a few, enough to enhance one of my Rubber suit pieces, but I need a lot more.  I find the lizals a lot easier to kill now that I have these high-powered weapons, they do the job in 2-3 hits, oftentimes, which makes the fights take a lot less time.  For some reason, though, it seems I encounter way more green, red, and purple lizals, not the yellow ones I need.  So I kill about 3-4 times the number of lizals I really need, and don’t get all that many yellow tails for my effort.

I do run into a couple of guys in the desert, who are apparently lost, and rescue them from some marauding bokoblins.  They don’t really thank me, and don’t give me any kind of reward. They just talk about how they’re going to go to Gerudo and live like Kings, getting with all the foxy Gerudo ladies.  These guys are like the Beavis and Butt-head of Hyrule.   They’re never going to get into Gerudo, and they’re never going to score.  For a minute, I think I’m supposed to do something for them, like lead them to Gerudo Town, or I don’t know, but they don’t say anything more after I talk to them a few times, and they don’t follow me, or do anything. So I just continue on, leaving them.

I return to Floria Falls and have another fight with the Lynel there, and the Hinox.  The Lynel fight goes pretty well.  I only need to heal one time during the fight, my upgraded armor protects me well, and I manage to dodge pretty well.  I struggle to nail the Lynel in the face with my arrows, though, and because of this I don’t get to mount him to do a flurry of free attacks very often, until toward the end I finally manage to start hitting him. But I am able to hit him a decent amount with regular melee attacks, and he seems to have a hard time connecting with me when he swings his spear.  Mostly he hits me with his fire attacks and charges.

After the Lynel dies, I pick up the loot and then drop down to where the Hinox sleeps, and try to glide to land right on his belly, but somehow or other I screw this up, he wakes, and I just have to fight him.  It goes very easy, I manage to put 8-10 blows on him, which takes his health down to maybe 10-15%, and then finish him off with a couple of arrows.  He manages to throw a tree at me, and it barely does any damage.  I get a free bundle of wood out of it.

I transport back up to the falls, and swim up them in the Zora suit, then change into the Rubber suit and wait for Farosh. When he appears, I chip his horn and get the pickups I needed.

Then I go to the Fairy and enhance what I can, and take careful notes of how much I need of everything else that I need in order to finish upgrading my armor, and call it a night.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (77)

Back to searching for Mei, the lost Zora wife who was washed down river by the rains of Vah Ruta.

I continue following the river.  The river forks and I follow the bend left and south, passing to the east of Hyrule Castle.  This is probably closer to Ganon than I’ve ever been in the game, and this region of Hyrule is one I’ve avoided purposefully, assuming that it was likely full of stronger monsters than I was ready to face, for much of the game.

Now that I’ve defeated the four Ganon blight mini bosses and restored control over the Divine Beasts, and have some of the best weapons in the game, and my armor is powered up, and I have nearly two full rows of heart containers, though, maybe I’m ready.  I could probably use a bit more practice with swordplay, but I can take on just about anything in this game now and come out on top, I’m more than pretty sure.

Along this stretch of the river bank, there’s not much more to harass me than octorocks and the occasional chuchus or bokbolin skeleton.  And, a bit more rarely, a Yiga swordsman.  Those guys are really starting to annoy me, as they force me to use a lot more arrows than I’d like to, and I have yet to figure out how to get through their defenses reliably with the sword. They either seem to dodge back out of the way, or counter-attack and hit me with a knockback blow that drops me to the ground. My armor withstands most of their attack, so the damage is only slight, but it’s just really annoying to have to pick myself up off the ground and try to close distance to within striking range, only to have him jump out of the way impossibly fast at the last second, and then counter-attack with another strike that knocks me back again, and repeat.  I take to shooting them in the head with the bow, and it takes 4-5 arrows, usually, to do them in.

As I travel down the river, I find more korok seeds, and by the time I get to the end of this installment of the adventure, my total in-inventory is back up to around 40, and I’ve found about 290 total in the game.

My quest to find missing Mei takes me all the way down to Lake Hylia, and it’s a very long trip, especially allowing for any and all sidebars to solve a korok puzzle, fight a monster, pull a treasure chest out of the water, or pick up some forage materials.  I don’t wander too far away from the bank of the river, except two or three times.

First, I find a Hinox sleeping nearby the shore, and needing Hinox guts for some of my armor upgrades, I take him on and take him down, killing him easily, before he can really get going.  He drops a lot of cooked meals, some royal-class weapons, and some guts.

Once, I found a monster camp that looked bigger than the average monster camp.  Built into hillside, it was a super-complex composed of multiple big skull caves, covered by calamity goo, and also with some boiling mud to go with it.  I cleaned it out and was rewarded with some replacement Royal Broadswords to make up for the royal broadswords I broke clearing it out.

I guess I kinda just break even with this encounter, and because the defeated enemies will be resurrected with the next blood moon, it feels like a hollow and pointless victory. But I do prevail.

A bit further to the south, I spot a column of smoke rising from a little hill, not far from the shore, and run over to it, to find an adventuring Hylian woman who greets me and invites me to take a look around the countryside from up here, because it’s easy to find suspicious looking things from a high vantage point.  I do so, and I do see a couple of odd geographical points, but I’m not letting myself be distracted from my main quest right now, and I just mark them with the sheikah scope for later, and move on.

I get down to the bridge that I crossed on my first trip away from the Great Plateau, when I was heading for Kakariko village, and continue to follow the river south to Lake Hylia, stopping along the way here and there to solve a few korok puzzles.

All the way I’m looking for Mei, not even knowing what she looks like, but figuring that a Zora will stand out.  I’m expecting to find her prone and unconscious, laying on the bank of the river, but that’s not actually what happens.

When I get to Lake Hylia, I’ve still seen no sign or clues as to her whereabouts.  Lake Hylia has a very large bridge spanning it, and I use it to get to the mid-point, and try to have a look around.  There’s some islands to either side of the bridge, and the larger and more numerous ones are to the west of the bridge.  I figure I’ll start there, and glide down to investigate them.

There are numerous lizalfos among the islands, off shore in the water, zooming about. Engaging them is tough.  They are well armed, and the more powerful white and purple striped kind that I think of as “shamans”, which I guess is a throwback to my D&D roots, where the larger groups of orcs and goblins would be lead by a leader with higher hit dice and better arms and armor, and often referred to as a shaman.  These lizals wield Royal Claymores, which are not weapons you want to get hit by.  I manage to avoid this, but mainly because they seem to prefer to stand offshore and spit at me repeatedly, which doesn’t do much damage, but sure is annoying.

I shoot shock arrows at them, and while they go decent damage, these shaman lizals are so tough that I could nail them 10-15 times with shock arrows before they drop.  I don’t have all day. 

I find a few hidden treasure chests on the smaller islands, and the largest island in the group has a shrine on it.  I unlock it and enter, and it’s a puzzle shrine, where there’s a large stone block that can be send up a vertical rail, using bombs as propulsion.  The ceiling is bombable rocks.  The solution is to place a square bomb on top of the block, and blow it up to the roof using the round bomb, and then explode the square bomb when the block reaches the top, to break up the ceiling.  Then do it a second time, this time riding the block and using its momentum to throw you up into the air, where you can glide and reach a chest and the shrine master.

Emerging from the shrine, I encounter a second Lizalfos shaman, fight him, and then explore the remaining islands.  I finally find Mei, she’s out by the last island in the circle from where I started.  I talk to her, she really just forgot herself and was having such a good time fishing she didn’t realize that she had gone missing. She gives me five fish and a silver rupee and heads for home.  

Mission accomplished.  That was quite a long journey, and I’m feeling pretty exhausted.

The Xenoblade Chronicles crossover quest that they gave me says that one of the red shooting stars is visible in the southern sky, standing at the midpoint of the largest bridge in Hyrule, and the bridge across Lake Hylia is surely that bridge.  I transport to the nearby tower, and glide down from there to the mid-point of the bridge.  This area is guarded by more lizals, but these ones are the garden variety basic green lizal, and are easily dispatched.  Having done so, I have a few hours of game time to kill waiting for night and the shooting star.

Looking around, I find a couple more korok seeds along the bridge, and one ring of stones that I’m supposed to throw a stone into, but it’s so high up, I keep missing, and I doubt I’ll ever get that one.  Maybe I can put a rock on the raft down by the lake shore and run it out there, instead of trying to drop it form off the bridge, which is at least 100 feet above the water.

Night comes, and before very long I see the red shooting star fly through the sky, and land on the shore on the west side of the bridge, to the south, right by where the raft is, actually.  I glide down there, and open the chest, and it’s another piece of the Scavanger armor set.

The final shooting star is supposed to be seen from the top of the “pierced white mountain”, which I think might be a reference to Mount Lanayru, but it turns out that it’s really the tallest peak in Hebra, as I find out after giving up and googling for the answer.  I don’t understand the “pierced” reference to know how I would figure out that it’s this peak in Hebra.

I transport to the shrine nearest the peak, and have to melt my way through some ice blocks that block the entrance to the cave where the shrine resides, then I have a bit of a climb to get to the peak.  I get up there and it’s soon night time, and I see the shooting star.  I glide down to the crash site, and find another chest, with the last remaining piece in the Scavenger armor set.  Sidequest complete.

To round out the night’s mission, I run out to Korok woods to fish for stealthfin trout, then to Eldin mountain to try to find more smotherwing butterflies, but I only find three trout and one lousy butterfly.  Then I transport to East Akkala stable, and buy another three butterflies from Beedle, and head to the Akkala fairy to upgrade my gear.

I still don’t have everything I need to upgrade all my stuff, and won’t for quite some time yet to come, but I’m getting there.  I upgrade two or three pieces of my kit, and call it a session.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (76)

Pikango tells me one of my photos looks like it was taken nearby, across the river, in a wooded area northeast of a swamp. I head out from Wetland stable to check it out.

Near the Wetland Stable, by the river bank, there’s a man named Izra looking into the water.  I approach him and talk, and he tells me he sees a treasure chest in the water that he can’t get to, but wishes he knew what is inside of.  I guess this is the designers’ way of making sure that you know about underwater chests in case you’ve never seen one by now.  Since I’ve seen probably over a hundred, I know exactly what to do.  I use magnesis to pull it out of the water, and open it.  It’s a royal broadsword, and I have to ditch one of the royal broadswords already in inventory in order to take it out and show it to Izra.  Izra says I can keep the sword, and he is impressed by my powers.  Thanks, Izra.

I cross the river and there’s a footpath leading to the south along the bank.  As I walk along it, I’m attacked by three Yiga swordsmen, one at a time, in separate incidents.  They have some new attack modes that I haven’t seen them pull before:  an attack that transmits through the ground, creating an updraft that I can use to glide away to escape it, but if I don’t it knocks me off my feet; I use the glider to get away, and drop down on the swordsman.  These guys are nimble and get out of my way quickly, so I resort to taking shots at them with the bow when they are out of range, just so I can get some damage in.  I can also stun them with a bomb.  They’re hard to hit with a sword.

The third swordsman dies right at the site of the memory photo location.

I watch the memory.  Link and Zelda are on the run, in full retreat after a disastrous defeat at the hands of Calamity Ganon. The Guardians, the Four Divine Beasts, all have turned against them and all seems lost.  Zelda blames herself for failing to harness her powers. Link awkwardly comforts her.

I have but one remaining photo to find.

I turn my attention now to completing side quests.  I look over my Adventure Log and see what’s left.  There’s a bunch of Zora Domain quests, and a couple of shrine quests:  the Spring of Power, the Eventide Island.  I haven’t been able to get a Dinraal scale, still, and I don’t feel like attempting Eventide right now.  I want to wrap up things that are quick and easy.

There’s an odd sidequest called Xenoblade Chronicles Crossover, which has to do with these red falling stars that you can find in the sky in different places.  I think originally there were 4 or 5 of them to find, and now there’s just 3.  I have occasionally spotted a red falling star at night when I’ve been out adventuring, but haven’t really sought them out.  The first one was way early in the game, when I left Kakariko village for my first memory photo quest on the road to Lanayru.  There are clues for each of the remaining ones; one is in the Left Eye, which I take to mean the Left Eye of Skull Lake.  I transport to the shrine there a few hours before nightfall, and sure enough, not long after 9pm a red shooting star falls from the sky.  

Now that I’ve tracked down star fragments, I think I should find here this one lands, and see what it drops.  I spot the beacon as it shines, and mark it on the map, and head in that direction.  It is not terribly far away, and it’s a chest.  I open it, and there’s a suit of armor inside.  It’s low-powered, and confers a bonus to swimming, the same as the Zora armor I already have.  So I don’t really need this, but I guess it’s neat.

I wonder how many other unique/rare items I missed by not trying to find the landing spot of a red meteor.  Now, there are just two more left in the world to find.  One is at the longest bridge, which has to be the bridge at Lake Hylia.  The other, I’m not sure.

I have a lot of Zora quests to complete, so I transport to Zora’s Domain and start on it.

The first one is to slay a Hinox who lives nearby.  No problem.  I run out there and brutally murder the sleeping Hinox, and it only manages to get off a single attack at me before I drop him.

Next is the matter of the missing Mei, who was washed away down river by the torrents of mighty Vah Ruta. I start off going down to the river below Zora’s Domain and follow it.  Along the way, I find a korok seed or two, a hidden treasure chest, a few weak green lizals, who seem to drop a bunch of arrows, to the tune of 5-10 each, which makes me glad to kill them.  There’s also some ore spots to bomb, but mostly I’m looking for Mei.  I have no idea where to find her, and her husband said that she could have washed all the way down to Lake Hylia which is a LONG way away.

I continue to travel down the twisting Zora river, and encounter a young Zora girl, who seems like she’s way too young to be out by herself, especially this far out, with so many lizalfos about. I talk to her, and she is sending a letter down the river in a bottle. She has a pen pal, and I guess she has a crush on him, but she wants to know what kind of person they are, so she asks me to go and follow the note as it goes down the river, and see who has been receiving them.

This is a pretty involved side quest.  I have to follow this thing down the river, keeping it safe from breakage, and it’s slow going.  I can hop in the water with my aqua gear equipped so I can swim fast, and just let the current take me, but it seems to go a little faster than me.  If I just tread water, it doesn’t take any stamina, but if I move, I use up my stamina bar and I can’t recover without getting out of the water and standing.  

This is the way I do it on the first attempt, which fails when the bottle gets stuck at one point, and I pick it up and try to throw it in the water, but it breaks on the rock wall of the far bank.

Cursing, I run all the way back to the little girl and she says no problem, she’ll just send another note, and I can follow that one.

I do it again, and this time am successful.  The note rides the current all the way to a lizal complex, where I have to fight several lizalfos, and also break a barrier fence in the water that is designed to catch flotsam that streams downriver.  In the midst of the combat, I lose track of where the note went, and have to look everywhere, underneath all the platforms in case it got stuck again.  I can’t find it and am about to give up, when in the far distance on the shore of a cove, I spot something that is too tiny to see clearly, but I think may be it. 

I whip out my Sheikah scope and get a better look, and that’s what it is.  Relieved, I run out that way, and as I get closer I see a Hylian man who is living out of a lean-to. 

We talk and he tells me he wants to go meet his pen pal and soul mate.  I think this is creepy, because this man is fully grown and looks to be in his 30s or so, while the girl could have been about 4 or 5, maybe 6 at most, at least in human equivalent.  It does seem that Zora live longer than Hylians, but how much is unclear, as there are numerous Hylians who are advanced in their years but who were adults around the time of 100 years ago when Hyrule fell to Ganon, but there are Zora who are also from that time who are still apparently fit and in later years of their life, but not absolutely ancient.

Still, if Zora live longer than humans, then a young, immature Zora would be worse to date, one would think.  This seems icky-creepy, and basically cross-species pedophilia, and I’m disturbed by it.  WTF, Nintendo?

Seriously, WTF?  The inter-species thing is pretty weird to begin with, but for F’s sake, make the Zora chick old enough to be dating. 

According to the adventure log, I’m supposed to transport back to Zora’s domain to see what’s going on with them.  I find them, and they’re a happy couple now.  Ick.  I was really hoping that they would meet and realize that they were not right for each other because their ages are so off, but remain friends… but no, they’re lovey dovey love birds in love.  Ew.

In thanks they give me 300 rupees, which considering the effort involved in tracking the stupid note, is barely adequate.  I actually consider restoring back to a point before I accepted the quest, but unfortunately the game doesn’t record save points going back that far, and autosaves have already overwritten past that point.

Seriously, Nintendo.  Update the character model for the Finley when you release another patch for this.  She does not need to look like a freaking toddler. That’s all you need to do to rescue this.

Back to the search for missing Mei.

I transport down to a shrine near the point in the river that I reached when I was following the note, and go past there to a stretch of the river that is familiar to me — I’d been this way relatively recently, when I was exploring the roads north of Hyrule Castle and trying to find the map towers to the northern provinces. 

I’m at the point in the river where there’s an island with the shrine that was covered in thorny brambles that I had to burn away, and the bridge that crossed the river where I had to throw stones into a circle to bring out the korok who lived at the bottom of the bridge, and kept getting attacked by octorocks and Yiga swordsmen.

I haven’t seen a sign of Mei, and despite coming so far, there’s a long, long way between here and Lake Hylia, and I’m sure I’ve skipped over tons and tons of shoreline, and Mei could be literally anywhere.  It seems like an extremely wide area to have to search to find her.  I consider cheating and looking up the location(s) where shy may be found, but I don’t do it.  I think this is the game designers’ way of giving me reasons to explore this part of the world map, so I will do it, even though it might take me an extra week or longer, or I might never find her.

A short distance past the bridge, I come to an area where there seem to be a large number of the giant skull caves, and many of them are semi-submerged in the river water, and all of them are green, as though covered in moss.  A noticeable change in the geography.  A short distance in to this new region, and my shrine sensor starts pinging off.

I take a brief detour and head in the direction of the shrine signal.  Walking towards it, I come to a large, hollow Deku Tree stump, inside of which I encounter a yellow wizzorobe and a couple of baby stone taluses, all of whom I kill pretty easily, and then I’m attacked by some weak bokoblin skeletons because it’s night.  I destroy them quickly, and continue searching for the shrine.  I find it eventually, inside another hollow Deku Tree stump, and enter it.

It’s another Modest Test of Strength.  I gear up and fight the shrine guardian.  It’s not a difficult challenge by now, I know what to expect.  I’ve picked up on a few things as well.  For example, when the shrine guardian gets to about 1/2 of its hitpoints, it starts doing this turret spin move where it shoots a laser in a circular pattern, which generates an updraft.  I’d never tried jumping the laser before, always just got hit and knocked back by it.  But now I know that I can ride those updrafts and it enables me to get in close and deliver a hit on it with my melee weapon rather than relying on bomb arrows to finish it off. 

I feel like I still have a lot of things that I need to learn in order to fight proficiently.  For the most part I just run up to things and bash them, and don’t do trick moves like the jumping dodges, backflips, parries, and shield strikes that require a better sense of timing than I have.  And for the most part the combat challenges in this game are really lightweight, making it an easy enough game for casual gamers to play in without feeling too frustrated. 

I’ve definitely been frustrated at times in this game, but it’s mostly been because I can’t figure out where a shrine is that’s been pinging nearby forever, or I can’t figure out the solution to a puzzle.  If I get completely stomped in a fight, I don’t think it’s because the fight was unfair, I think it’s because I lack weapons, armor, and heart containers.  But, really, I probably could handle a lot more combat if I really knew how to work Link’s move set and extract maximum advantage from it.  

But mostly, due to the temporary, fragile nature of your weapons, I do everything I can to avoid melee, and instead fight as much as possible using dirty tricks and indirect methods like bombs, dropping boulders from above, and metallic items that I can slam enemies with using magnesis.  So in a lot of ways, the game dis-inivited me from discovering, practicing, and mastering the advanced combat moves in the game.  I think of this a weakness of the game’s design. Only now that I’m fighting Lynels am I starting to understand that there’s some deeper power moves that I haven’t really tapped into.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (75)

After the wedding of Hudson and his Gerudo gal, I go around Tarrey Town and talk to everyone.  Bolson and Karson are still hanging out, but after I talk to Bolson he says he needs to head back to Hateno, so he and Karson bid me farewell. 

The little girl who is sick and wants to eat cake is still sick and still wants to eat cake.  There is an old retired couple who moved to Tarrey Town, and the wife is a cake chef from the old days to the royal family, but I can’t seem to figure out how to get her interested in making the cake for the sick girl.  The mother tells me I should talk to the husband when he comes home at night, but when I wait for night to come and return to their house to talk to him, he’s having a discussion with the wife, and she tells me it’s personal and asks me to leave, so I do.

There’s another new house in Tarrey Town, where I walk in, and up on the roof porch patio there’s a young man who tells me he is studying to be an ancient technology scientist, and has collected some suits of armor that I can buy.  He is selling the Rubber suit, the Barbarian suit, and one of the other suits, I forget which one, maybe the Zora suit?  All for very expensive prices, and I already have them and don’t need them.  He also has the snow boots and the sand boots, for sale at a reasonable 800 Rs.  But I have these already and don’t need them.  So he’s basically pointless at this stage of the game, but if I had done the Akkala quests earlier in the game, I might have gotten the boots more easily out of him, and then been annoyed at spending 12k on a suit of armor that I could just find in the course of my travels as I complete quests and clear shrines.  

I still need more stealthfin trout in order to upgrade my stealth suit, so I transport to the shrine at Lake Saria in the Korok Forest, which is the only place I know of to find them, and pick up another four.

I need a Dinraal scale in order to complete the Spring of Power shrine quest, but he keeps evading me.  I tried to find Dinrall in Tabantha Canyon, where he flies through daily, but he wasn’t near the Forgotten Temple when I went there.  I know he also appears around Eldin Mountain, near the giant Leviathan skeleton.  According to the internet he spawns there daily at 9am, and it’s a sure thing to catch him there.  

I transport to a shrine near the Leviathan bones, and hike over. I also need to pick up more Smotherwing Butterflies, but they’re so hard to see, and so very rare.  I do manage to find 5 this trip, but I spotted at least 3 more that I couldn’t catch.  

When I get to Dinraal’s morning spawn spot, I wait and watch but no Dinraal.  I find a korok seed in the eye socket of the skull of the Leviathan, and another korok seed or two, and a bombable rock wall that a chest is hiding behind in the vicinity.  Past the tail of the Leviathan skeleton there’s a Lynel on patrol, and I need some hoofs and horns to upgrade some of my armor, so I decide to challenge it to combat.  

The fight goes pretty well, and I defeat the lynel, but in doing so I end up consuming sevral Hearty Durian meals and use a Mipha’s Grace and break a sword.  I keep being slow on the draw with the bow and getting hit just before I can get a shot off.  I go through about 20-30 arrows in this fight, as well, but when I do manage to connect with an arrow, I stun him with the shot to the head and can mount him for some free attacks.  The Lynel drops a Savage Lynel Sword, which is the most powerful one-handed sword I’ve found in the game now, and a shield with a defense rating of 70, which is the best I’ve found in the game.  I get lynel guts, two hoofs, and I think two horns as well.  

I give up again on waiting for Dinraal to appear, and go scouring the mountainside looking for butterflies.  I go all the way around the coast line of a magma lake and find 5 of them, and a few fireproof lizards as well, and many, many ore deposits and baby stone taluses who all drop lots of gemstones, but it’s mostly flint, rock salt, and amber, with a very occasional sapphire or ruby.  I also fight a Igneus Stone Talus at one point, who drops about 8 opals and a couple of other gems.  There are many octorocks, fire chuchus, and fire kees along the way as well, and a couple of fire lizals.

This foraging safari ends up taking several hours, and by the time I’ve orbited the lake, I see Dinraal flying through the sky, and I have a shot at him, but I don’t have the range on my bow, my shot falls short, and I don’t get my scale; he gets away from me.

I note that the time of his appearance is more like midnight, not the morning time the internet says he appears.  I don’t know why or how my copy of the game could be different, but it’s curious.

I have gathered enough butterflies to do some upgrades, so I transport back to the fairy fountain near Tarrey Town and get whatever I can upgraded.  I am still in need of more smotherwing butterflies, though, and rather than spend a million years crouch-walking around Death Mountain trying to find them, I look up to see if there’s anywhere else they can be found, and the internet tells me that Beedle sells them at East Akkala Stable and also at Wetland Stable.  

I look on the map for Wetland Stable, and can’t find it anywhere.  Could it be that after all this time there’s still an undiscovered Stable that I somehow haven’t found? 

There is!  It’s in the marshy lands near the tower to the north of Kakariko village, which was one of the first towers I unlocked in the days after making it to Kakariko, but at the time I was so weak and underpowered that I didn’t feel like I could safely travel through this part of the world, so I just unlocked the map in that part of the world and stayed away until much later, having returned only relatively recently, and then mainly stayed in Zora’s Domain area, not the west area where this Stable is located.

I transport back out to the tower in the swampy area, and scout around, and spot an orange glow to the west that looks like a shrine I haven’t cleared yet.  I mark it on the map and glide out that way.  I really haven’t been through this marsh land at all, and gliding over it I see there’s a lot of ruins and many spots where I can encounter monsters to fight.  I glide over most of it, and land just past the swamp, in a grassy area a little east and north of the shrine that I’d spotted from the tower.

I run off in that direction and have a monster encounter.  There’s a ruined building where I see a column of smoke rising, and I take a little detour to investigate; it’s bokoblins.  I have found and fought a similar group in a similar situation somewhere else on the map, but I don’t recall where, exactly.  Probably in the vicinity of Eldin Tower or Akkala tower.  These ones are not too tough and I just run in and fight them all, heedless of their attacks or numbers.  After defeating them I loot the bodies and take what I can that is useful, which isn’t much. 

I move on, heading back toward the shrine.  Just as I get there, I see a shooting star in the sky, and track the star fragment down to the ground, where I see its beacon glowing in the distance.  I need more star fragments, too, so I opt to skip the shrine and head right for it.  I try to mark it with my scope marker on the map, but it’s hard to pinpoint the exact spot, and I only get kinda close.  

In my excitement and haste, I forget that I can unlock the shrine to enable it as a transport destination, and just run out after the star fragment.  

It’s a lot longer run than I was expecting, and I keep running into monsters along the way.  A shitload of skeleton enemies, chuchus, and a huge flock of kees harass me, yiga warriors, and two guardians.  I end up running out all the way into deep central Hyrule about directly south of Hyrule Castle, when after I fight the second Guardian, I lose track of the star fragment beacon, and I guess it has faded out and disappeared.  

I’m annoyed at having gone so far to come up short, but at least I’ve managed to find at least one more ancient core, which I need for upgrades to the Ancient Armor suit as well as to make more ancient weapons at the Akkala tech lab.  In fighting hte second Guardian, I discover that Guardian weapons are particularly effective against them — using a Guardian sword against it, it only takes one hit to sever a leg, where most other weapons take at least two hits.  I suppose this should not be a total surprise, maybe it’s even obvious, but it’s good to note their effectiveness, as in the last part of the game I can pretty well expect to run into many more Guardians.

In the vicinity of the stand of trees where I thought the star fragment had come to rest, there’s a little stone courtyard, where I find another one of Link’s memory photo locations.  I recognize it even before I see the shimmering cloud that indicates the memory spot, because I’ve looked at the photo many times, and it’s easy to recognize.

I recall the memory; Link is receiving some kind of ceremonial blessing from Zelda at this location, to bind him to the Master Sword.  The Four Champions stand on, watching, and commenting to each other.  One of them mentions that Link is the living embodiment of Zelda’s failure, and a constant reminder that she hasn’t managed to unleash or tap into her own powers, or something.  I guess that means they have a strained relationship.  He is loyal, brave, trustworthy, and skilled, and she still seems to have a hard time personally accepting his  heroic deeds of valor in the service of the kingdom of Hyrule, even while she is duty bound to honor them officially.  This is a sad story, and the lack of harmony between Link and Zelda seems tragic.  Perhaps this is why Ganon is always able to return to menace the land again and again.

Now I have a long hike back to the stable that I had just reached, but forgotten to unlock the shrine as a transport destination.  Considering how long that took me, I am not really looking forward to retracing my steps back.  And I’m annoyed at having lost the star fragment, even though finding the lost memory and picking up another ancient core are somewhat good consolation prizes.

Rather than run all that way back over cross country, I opt to transport to the shrine near Riverside Stable, and take my faithful and first mount, Horsey.  We run out, and along the way I stop to find a korok seed or two, and while doing that I keep getting attacked by stalfos and Yiga clansmen.

Eventually, I get all the way back to the Wetland Stable, where I buy three Smotherwing Butterflies from Beedle, talk to Pikango the painter about another nearby memory photo location, talk to a little kid briefly who knows the local geography, and talk to a guy who is pretend/practicing sword play with a torch he mockingly calls the Master Torch.  I equip the Master Sword and talk to him to see if he’s interested in it, but he doesn’t believe it’s real.  I demonstrate by firing a sword beam, but he doesn’t seem programmed to respond to that in any way.  I consider shooting him with the sword beam, but I don’t think it’ll do anything, and seems like kindof a dick move, even for someone who isn’t showing proper respect, it’s not something a hero would do, so I don’t do it.  But I want to.

I go the shrine and unlock it, enter, and it’s a water puzzle, that requires creation of ice blocks to create steps to climb a waterfall, to lift a gate to gain access to a chest where I find a Royal Broadsword, which is a really nice weapon for this area of the map, although by now I have plenty of high level weapons that are its equal or better.  And then I have to navigate a short river-filled corridor with strong currents, and glide down off of a waterfall at the end, to reach the shrine master’s chamber and receive my Spirit Orb.

Emerging from the shrine, I talk to Kass the bird-man, who I ignored earlier, and he asks me if I had seen the shrine that I just finished clearing.  I gather he might have had more to say about it if I hadn’t already just cleared it. He offers to sing me a song of old Hyrule, so I take him up on it, but it’s the same song he’s sung in many other locales.  I don’t know why they don’t give him a different verse to sing in each place, it would keep the game fresh and more interesting.

It seems there’s still a lot of game left in this game.  Large areas of the map that I still haven’t adequately explored; 19 more shrines remain to be discovered, and I am only certain of the location of two of them.  Hundreds of undiscovered korok seeds, and who knows how many little sidequests from various people around the land.  Certainly at least a few more stable quests and definitely at least one in Tarrey Town, and a couple in Zora’s Domain, one in Gerudo, and possibly another one or two in other villages.

I could go straight to Ganon and defeat him to end the game now, if I desired, but I’d like to come close to 100% completion after having done so much.  I don’t care to find every last korok seed in the game, as I’m not that obsessive, and I’ve read that there’s supposedly close to 1000 korok seeds throughout the world, and I’ve barely found a quarter of those, if that.  I’ll pick up every one that I can, but I’m not going to scour every pixel on the map to find every last one, that’s just insane.