Zelda: BOTW Diary (30)

Not all who quest are in a hurry.

I could try the Eventide Island mission again, but I don’t much feel like it. Instead I want to explore.

I end up taking about 5-6 hours and go all over Hyrule, to places I haven’t explored thoroughly.

It’s going to be hard to remember everything I did, and the order in which I did it. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I recall that in order to upgrade my Sheikah slate powers, I need to get ancient machine pieces, which can be obtained from dead Guardians. I’ve looted a bunch, and most of them have screws, springs, and gears. But the upgrades for the Bomb and Stasis powers require different parts, and they seem to be much more rare. I’ve only found one Shaft, and I need two more to upgrade the Bombs. And I forget offhand what it was that Purah said I need to upgrade the Statis power. But I know the one Shaft that I did find dropped when I killed the only Guardian I’ve managed to kill so far, so I decide to try to kill a few more.

First, I head back to the Great Plateau, and fight the two Guardians that are in the ruins area on the southeast corner by one of the four shrines. I’m well armed, and now these guardians are pretty easy to kill. I just hit them in the eye with an arrow, run up, and smash them. I get them nearly dead before they can shoot a second time, and if I need to I just back off and hit them with another arrow. I don’t get any of the parts I needed though. I transport back to Hateno village to pay Purah a visit to double check, and sure enough, I don’t have the parts she needs.

Leaving her lab, I forget all about Guardian killing and decide on a whim to wander north of Hateno village, in the cold region of Lanayru mountain. There are three pine trees on the top of three nearby peaks, and there’s got to be something up with those. I glide out and sure enough, I find a korok seed. I have several minutes on the cold resistance food I ate, so I explore a bit more, and re-visit the Spring of Wisdom. I still don’t know what to do there, and I don’t know where I’ll find the clues I need to figure it out.

I hope I can find some more serious cold weather gear that will allow me to spend indefinite time up here without having to eat special meals and watch the clock, and then I can screw around and experiment and explore more thoroughly.

I try touching the sick dragon, and it damages me, but not a lot. So, OK, I guess you don’t climb up on the dragon and pull a thorn out of its paw. Well what else could it be? I guess I’ll find out someday. I climb down and explore the east side of Lanayru, and find a couple of korok seeds, and a shrine. This shrine was another one that was well hidden, behind a bombable rock wall. It can be difficult to see on the mountain, it seems like it’s always dark when I go there, and the weather is bad, poor visibility, and so I’m lucky I found this one. Now I have a quick way to get there. I cleared the shrine, it’s tough to remember, but I think this one told me that I was worthy just for discovering it, so kindof a freebie. I think here is where I received some climbing boots, which give me another speed boost to my climbing. Sweet.

After this, I decide to explore up and down the coastline on the eastern shore of Hyrule, starting up north. I get to a low enough altitude that it doesn’t hurt to exist any longer. On my way down the trail, I fight a few lizalfos and some ice kees, who freeze me a couple of times because I don’t want to waste arrows on them.

I get down to the shore, and explore, and find several more korok seeds. Checking the map, there’s a string of islands on the north side of Lanayru, and I haven’t been up there before. The nearest is called Wintre Island, and I try to glide there from the mountain, but it’s much too far, and I don’t make it halfway there. So I give up on that, and head south down the shore. It’s desolate and rocky, and the forage isn’t great, but I do find several more korok seeds, some mineral deposits, and not a whole lot else. I get all the way to the southern point of the continent, to a region caled Mapla point, and continue back to the West, coming nearly south of Hateno village to an area called Deepback Bay on the map. Somewhere in this area, there’s a beach where I found a lot of gemstones and a couple or three more korok seeds. There’s lizalfos sleeping on the beach but they’re not too tough, and then I run into the gemstone beach, and there’s a bunch of baby stone taluses, maybe 5-6 of them, and they’re really only hurt by the iron sledge hammer, which I don’t have right now, so I bomb them and take them all out with one or two bombs.

There’s a dock with a raft around here, and I take it and swing around Mapla Point and head all the way back up to Wintre Island, where I find two more Korok seeds.

There’s what appear to be ancient Greek ruins on the land mass nearby Wintre island, and it looks interesting, so I try exploring it. Here, I find my first Lynel, and it’s a blue one. For the other enemies in the game, blue means extra strong, so I don’t know if this holds true for Lynels, or not, but this one was easily the strongest enemy I’ve encountered in the game so far. I tried fighting him, and he could one-shot me without even trying. He wielded a lightning weapon, I managed to hit him a couple of times, but he had 3000 hit points, and I don’t know what that translates to in terms of heart containers, but he definitely outclassed me.

After respawning, I decide to observe him from a safe distance, and see what i can figure out about it. He seems to be patrolling this area by the ruins, guarding it. I want to get past him, and I think I can do it. I manage to sneak by him, and it’s not hard. He patrols a fairly wide area, and when he’s on the far side of it, I duck down and sneak along the edge of the rocks, and mange to keep quiet and out of sight.

I get over to the ruins, and there’s a couple of chests sitting there. I pull them close to me using magnesis, and open them, and there’s a couple of Gold rupees, which are worth 300 rupees apiece.

I decide to leave this area for later, since if this Lynel is typical of what I’ll find up here, I’m definitely not ready for it yet.

I get back on the raft and start heading south, but it gets rainy and night time and I decide to just Sheikah slate teleport back to a more familiar part of the map, and set my destintation for the shrine near Kakariko village, where I raid the fairy pond, and find 3 fairies, which brings me up to 5 total again. I love having fairies, they’re a great life insurance policy. While I’m there, I have the fairy of the fairy pond enhance my new climbing boots.

I jump back to the Stables by Dueling Peaks, and it’s dark. I think about the Hinox skeleton that I fought it he wooded area nearby, and decide to try to find it again. I know right where it is now, and I marked it on the map. I have a lot of arrows and I am still very well armed, so I feel ready. I transport to the shrine by the river where the Hinox skeleton is, and get out there, and sure enough it’s there! I fight it, but I don’t get started until 2:30am, and at 5am the game changes to “morning” and the Hinox crumbles back into the earth and disappears. I had him down to near dead, and it escaped from me. Crap.

I transport back to the Dueling Peaks Stable, sit by the fire until night, which officially starts at 9pm, and then warp back to the Hinox skeleton, and fight it again. It’s a fun fight. I have a hard time with it, and have to do it 3-4 times before I manage to not get tripped up on running into trees while focusing on the Hinox, or having my view occluded by treetops. Apart from that, though, the combat goes really well. I hit it in the eye, and it seems easier somehow. I can run up and pound on him, and get in about 10-12 hits before he gets up and I have to run away again. I even manage to pop his eye out, and watch him search around and pop it back in to his skull. He also rips the ribs right off of his skeleton and throws them at me. He’s got some interesting attack options, I’ll give him that. I notice that when his eye pops out, it has its own health meter, and recalling how bokoblin skeletons take a hit, and then their head pops off and their skeletons crawl back and pick up the head and reassemble themselves, regenerating their healthbar, and aren’t truly destroyed until you smash the skull on the ground, I realie that this is what I need to do to defeat the Hinox skeleton, so the next time the eye comes out, I run up and smash it a couple of times, and the Hinox is defeated.

It drops a lot of loot, but the weapons it drops aren’t anything better than what I have. It does give me a Knight’s Halberd, though, which is a pretty cool spear weapon that does decent damage.

There was also a korok archery test on a nearby mountain that I found one time but didn’t have enough arrows for, and I have plenty of arrows right now, so I go back to the spot on the map where I marked it, and complete that challenge.

I continue to explore this mountain area, and end up getting back into the area of the map between Mount Taran and Ebon Mountain, an area I haven’t explored too well yet. I notice the next night that the moon is blood red, and since the monsters will all be resurrecting, I decide to warp to the shrine on Cape Cales, and do another raid on the bokoblins there so I can restock on Knight’s Broadswords.

I really don’t need to do this, though, as I’m well stocked with good weapons, and as it happens this time they do not drop any broadswords at all! I might have destroyed them all with explosions, or something, I hope. I realize that I’m near where that tall pillar of rock offshore was with that strange bird man who was playing a song about a hidden treasure. I decide to go back out that way again, and this time I find the treasure — a sunken chest nearby one of the rocks, which has a 300 gold rupee in it. I still don’t know what to make of the clue, 17 of 24 doesn’t make any sense to me; I just found the chest by searching with magnesis vision, which made it easy to spot. Maybe in the 17th hour (5pm?) of the 24 hour day, the shadow of the pillar of rock falls on this spot? I don’t know, I was there at 7pm, and didn’t want to wait around for 22 hours to see. I transport back up to the shrine on Cape Cales.

After clearing the bokoblin lair, I realize I haven’t explored much downhill from the cape, so I do so, and get into the area around Mount Dunsel. I encounter a couple of mounted bokoblins, and take them out, knocking them off their horses with the bow, and then finishing them with melee weapons. I take one of their horses, and ride it a bit, so I can go further, faster.

There’s a cluster of mountain peaks, and I kindof wander through, some of the places I’ve been to before, and I recognize it, but other parts I haven’t. This is another area of the map where I haven’t been to a whole lot, and taking a second pass through here, I find a few more kurok seeds, and pick up a few that I’d seen spots for but wasn’t able to figure out how to get them on my first pass.

Somewhere around here, I encountered another sleeping Hinox, this one was in a spectacular cavernous area in the vicinity north of Mount Dunsel. It was a red Hinox, and not too difficult to defeat. I glided in, landed on its chest, charged up a melee attack, did some good damage, and then managed to get an arrow to the eye or two to finish him off.

Not sure what to do next, I decide I want to explore more to the west of where I’m at. I lose the horse I took from the bokoblins, and transport to Lake Tower, scope around, and spot a shrine out in the open a distance away. It is too far to glide to on a straight shot, but I can get about halfway there, and then run the rest of the way in. As I get closer, I find another stable, the third so far that I’ve managed to discover. I talk to the people at the stable, save, and got clear the shrine. This shrine involves magnesis puzzles, and I have to rip a door off its hinges and turn it into a makeshift bridge to cross some gaps between platforms.

A person at the stables tells me he’s really into horses and challenges me to complete a course he has set up, and if I can do it in a good enough time, he’ll give me better horse gear. I try it, but don’t succeed. Another person tells me that there are some marauders on horses nearby, and asks me to take care of them. I get into a skirmish with 3-4 bokoblins on horseback, and take them all out easily. Then I spot another telltale orange glow of a shrine nearby, go and explore it and find it. I clear out this one too, I forget what the challenge was. Outside this shrine, there’s a woman sitting by a campfire, and she tells me about her best horse, who died, and she is hoping to reunite with it by going to a special place that is rumored to be near here where horses can be resurrected. It sounds pretty unbelievable, but who knows.

There are a lot of horses in this area, and I catch a few more, but none of them are any better than the horses I have already, so I don’t register them. A person at the stables can change your horse’s appearance, so I give Horsier a mohawk mane. I think he looks cool that way.

I take the horse on the steeple chase course, and after a few tries manage to get a sub-1:30 time, which earns me a fancy bridle, and then a few more tries and I get down to below 1:15, which earns me a fancy saddle. They don’t seem to do anything for my ability to ride, so I guess it’s just cosmetic.

I ride out and follow a pass I saw through a mountainous ridge that ran alongside the steeple chase course. I follow it, and eventually come to what looks like another fairy fountain flower. This one wants 1000 rupees, but I have plenty of rupees from all the exploration I’ve done. This is not a fairy, though, but a horse god, who tells me they have the power to resurrect a dead horse. I’ve seen Horsey jump off of a very high bridge, land in water, and swim to shore, so I don’t know what it takes to kill a horse — I did capture a horse once only to have it shot out from under me by a Guardian, just as I had succeeded in taming it, and that blast killed it. They also seem to take hits from weapons, so obviously they can die.

I continue exploring the area, just following a trail of korok seeds, mineral deposits, and hidden treasure chests, until I find myself on the south coast of Hyrle again, this time far further west than I was when I retook the fishing spot near Lurelin village. I reach a tall cliff, and far down below I see beach. I make my way down there, stopping on a few flat levels to harvest minerals, and when I get to the beach, I find a half-dead Guardian, and kill it, then I find another Guardian a little further down the beach. This one is alive and well, and wakes up, and it can walk. It kills me, I manage to hit it once with an arrow, miss it with the second arrow, and thereafter it just pummels me, it shot recharging just as my fairies bring me back to life, so I just get revived, killed, revived, killed, 5 times until I’m out of fairies and Game Over it.

I restore from my last save point, and head the opposite way, and end up exploring a long stretch of beach all the way back to that Lurelin fishing spot. Along the way I end up fighting a lot of lizalfos and a few bokoblins, including two mounted ones, and I take another horse, and ride it for a while, all the way back to the jungle zone, where I go to register it, only to find out that I’ve maxed out my horse registrations. It’s not a very good horse, so I let it go.

Since I’m back here again, I decide to go back to what I was doing 8 or 9 hours ago, in real time, and try to find that shrine that’s just east of the bridge. I still can’t find it. Any time I’m there, it pours and thunders and doesn’t stop. I try to climb up levels, because I can’t find any sign of a shrine on the lower levels, but the rain won’t let up, and it makes climbing impossible. At one point, I can hear accordion music, which I think is coming from the stable nearby, but the stable is far enough away that I shouldn’t be hearing any music. But I also heard this same music being played by the weird bird-man at the rock pillar in the middle of the bay near Hateno beach. I can’t tell where the music is coming from.

Frustrated, I give up on it, and walk back east, looking for a drip spot to climb, and get all the way back down to the beach again. Eventually, I do find a place I can climb back up, but it’s a very long trip to that spot, and after getting to the top of the cliff, the ground is very flat. These mountains have an unnatural, cubed-off look to them.

There’s a massive waterfall, and a few sunken treasure chests in the lake at the top of one of them. I get a bundle of ice arrows, and a sword that’s inferior to the weapons I already am carrying.

On another one of the flat mountain tops, there’s a circle of stones, with one stone in the center. I’ve seen other stone circles like it before, and they always have koroks on them. This one doesn’t, or at least it’s a puzzle that I don’t know the solution to, because nothing happens when I lift the center stone. I look around and try to figure something out, but can’t. I notice that right where the stone circle is, my shrine sensor is pinging like crazy, but I still can’t figure out where this shrine is.

I reach the end of the mountain range, so I backtrack and explore to the other end of it. I find a few more bokoblin camps, with some fairly tough bokoblins on them, and they’re decently armed. There’s a few lizalfos as well. I fight them, and win, although it wears through a few more weapons, and I end up biting it at least twice, running through the last of my fairies.

At the very top and farthest west end of the mountain, there’s a small lake, and in it there’s a magnetic iron door, which I lift out, expecting that there will be something I can do with it, or maybe it’s covering another treasure beneath it. But nothing. The lake is full of Hyrulian Bass, probably around 15 or 20 in a tiny little pond. I bomb them and harvest as many as I can.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (29)

Resumed from my previous session, standing under the lean-to in the thunderous downpour outside the stable in the Jungle zone. I stood around for about 2 minutes and decided I was bored with standing in a downpour.
 
The girl from the stables who is standing by me doesn’t have much to say, just repeating the same thing over and over again. In real life, this would have been a situation where two people could have taken time to get to know one another, but video game conversations are very, very limited imitations.
 
The rain doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon, so I teleport over to to the shrine near Lurelin village, and decide to explore the beach area just north of town.
 
I find a really nice shield, a Knight’s shield with a defensive rating of 40, nearly twice the dragonbone boko shield which are my previous best, and some ice arrows. I manage to find another korok seed, and some rupees.
 
There’s some horses near the beach, and I try to catch one, but he’s got too much spirit, and throws me. It seems the solid black horses must be something special. I either need to make a stamina boosting elixir, or else come back once I’ve completed a lot more shrines and boosted my max stamina by another quarter or half meter.
 
There’s some skeletal Lizalfos on the beach, but it’s daytime and I manage to avoid disturbing them.
 
After I’ve explored the shoreline, I decide to have another go at the Eventide Island challenge. I don’t succeed, but I have another good run on my first attempt, only to screw up on the Hinox, glitching through him as I try to charge up an attack while he’s sleeping.
 
I think what’s happening is as I start charging up my attack, it makes enough noise that the Hinox wakes up, and as soon as that happens, he starts to stand, and I just clip through his body as he starts to go vertical.
 
This time, I run away and avoid the instadeath, but then I turn around and he claps his hands together, and one-shots me anyway. I’m annoyed at the screwup and fail, but I at least got to see a new attack mode, and maybe got a little bit of insight into why I’m not able to land an attack on the sleeping giant and then run off.
 
After respawning, I decide that rather than try to do a full island run, I’ll just focus on the Hinox encounter, and experiment with it and figure out what I can and can’t do.
 
There’s a number of options:
 
I can magnetize heavy boxes from the nearby bokoblin camps, walk them over, and drop them on him from max height. I try this twice, but it’s very awkward, and doesn’t do much damage.
 
I can time-freeze two boulders atop the southeast corner, and golf them into the Hinox, but this is terribly inaccurate and doesn’t work well either. I get one to sortof nudge him and it doesn’t do very much, but it does wake him up. Maybe if I managed to land a solid, high energy strike it might do a worthwhile amount of damage, I don’t know. Although the Hinox wakes up, I’m a bit out of sight, and after a few moments he goes back to sleep. Interesting and good to know.
 
I can just walk up and try to pour on the most damage I can and fight him. This is when I notice that both of this Hinox’s legs are armored, which means that I probably can’t do any damage to him while he’s standing. Maybe with a very strong weapon I could break his shields, but most likely I’d just waste my weapon on them.
 
So my only possible way to defeat him in combat would be to hit him in the eye with arrows, knocking him down, and then run up and wail on him for as much as I can. I only have maybe 10-15 arrows, max, on a good run, and I’m only hitting him in the eye maybe 1 in 4, 5 shots.
 
Could it be I’m not meant to best this Hinox in combat?
 
I can sneak up and try to steal the orb off his necklace. This seems feasible, except there’s no way to sneak off while carrying the orb, and if I throw it, it’ll clang on the ground and wake him up too. Can I just run for it? It doesn’t seem very likely. Even if I’m not carrying a heavy object, running from a Hinox only seems to keep me barely out of its reach. I don’t think I can move fast enough.
 
Can I steal an orb, hide it, or put it out of the Hinox’s reach and run away, and see if he’ll go to sleep? I don’t know. It seems a bit far-fetched, and apart from throwing it into the sea near its sleeping place, I can’t think of a location that I could put the orb out of reach. And it might just not go back to sleep if it loses its orb.
 
I don’t get to find out. After my first good run on the island, every subsequent attempt is frustrated by wind and weather, and I have a series of bad approaches to the island.
 
I finally get onto the island in good shape again, but this time I try going to the upper bokoblin camp at the north end of the island, and get one-shotted by the moblin up there, when I get surrounded while trying to raid them. I was going to try to clear out the camp and use the higher elevation to hopefully put more energy into the droppable boxes and see if I could knock the Hinox’s health an appreciable amount that way.
 
Frustrated, I put the controller down, and give up. I know I’m close to being able to finish this challenge. It sucks that just getting to the island takes at least five minutes.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (28)

Had my best Eventide Island run yet, and got killed by a freak glitch.

I started out by taking the raft on a circle around the island, and killing all the offshore octorocks using the bow, at ranges where they aren’t any real threat. Then, I cheat a bit, and drop my best sword, shield, and bow on the raft, so that after I set foot on the island and have all my possessions removed from my inventory, I can just pick these back up again and be very well equipped. This makes the regular bokoblin encounters very easy, and removes a lot of the need to scour the island scavenging and looking for hidden weapons that are more useful than the tree branches and bokoblin arms. All there is to do then is forage as much food as possible, and cook it so that you can heal yourself as necessary, find some arrows, and go clear out the enemies and put the orbs in the altars.

I start out and do it near-perfectly, and going great, I get 2 of the 3 orbs in the altars, and all that’s left for me to do is slay the Hinox and the small bokoblin camp on the southeast corner of the island, and I’ve done it.

I decide to take out the Hinox first. I sneak up and got in the Hinox’s hand, and he puts me on his chest. I have my best weapon equipped and begin charging up my attack, when I somehow clip through the Hinox’s body, fall to the ground, waking him up. My attack charge-up got interrupted, so it is no longer charging, and I can’t see anything since I’m standing inside the Hinox, so the game stops drawing properly, and because I’m inside its body, the game engine treats this as him hitting me, and I’m one-shot dead with absolutely no way to avoid it. Bullfuckingshit.

###

I decide to take a break from making Eventide Island runs, and go back to exploring the jungle waterfall area by the new stable I found.

Exploring this region is slow going. The jungle vegetation limits visibility a lot of the time. And it’s very rainy, as well as foggy. The rain brings lightning with it, and there are electricity-based monsters that you’ll encounter. I have my rubber helmet, which protects me somewhat against the lightning, but any time it’s raining, it’s tough to explore because you can’t climb, and it’s also a bad idea to try swimming, because you need to climb to get out of the water in most places. Plus, I haven’t had a lightning strike nearby with me in the water, but I assume it will damage me.

There’s a bunch of waterfalls just outside of the Stable area, and I get down there and start exploring. I find the usual — korok seeds, floating boxes with items, sunken treasure chests with more stuff, rupees, arrows, gems, and a couple of weapons, including a two-handed boomerang. Boomerangs are weird in BOTW — not like a traditional wooden boomerang, they’re swords with a bent blade, a bit like a kukri knife, and you can melee with them or throw them, but they are more interesting thrown. I have yet to throw a weapon effectively, because I’m so bad with the analog sticks.

But today is different. Today, I found that I had purchased a Pro controller, a long time ago, and forgot that I had it. All this time, I’ve been playing either with my joycons in handheld mode, or docked using a wired gamepad. With either of these, the fine control with the analog sticks is just not there. With the Wireless Pro controller, it’s a different world entirely. The precision with the analog sticks is there, and I finally have the ability to smoothly track the camera at a slow speed and stop exactly where I want to. Now, I can shoot arrows and throw weapons with accuracy. Finally.

I’m not looking to get into combat this session, and am trying to avoid it so I can keep my weapons.

I clear out the first pool area, just north of the Stables, and it starts to get dark. I climb a cliff, and a couple of bokoblin skeletons pop out of the ground, but I run past them and get away, as they’re too slow to follow me and it’s too dark and poor visibility for them to follow. I can see them, they can’t see me. I duck down in some tall grass and hang out for a bit, looking around to see what’s around on this level that I can either climb to or investigate.

All of a sudden, a fairy-like(?) being appears in mid-air, floating in front of me. I’m not sure what it is at first, friend or foe, but soon enough, it attacks me with lighting balls, and then teleports away. I take some damage, and respond a bit clumsily, caught off-guard. I manage to hit it a few times with arrows, and have it nearly defeated. I’m armed with a dragon bone spiked boko club, a good choice in this area, being that it is made from wood and therefore doesn’t conduct electricity, yet has high damage output. It’s main downside is low durability, and after a few hits I break it, and have to switch to a metal weapon, which is a bad mistake. The lightning attacks do more damage, and seem to home in on me while I’m holding metal. Very quickly, I’m taken down, rescued by my fairy. I end up dropping my knight’s broadsword, and can’t pick it up again because I’m already back down to half a heart, and looking to avoid dying more than recover my items. I was close to taking down this enemy, but suddenly disarmed, near dead, and looking like my options are few without a wooden weapon to fight with, I turn tail, and teleport back to the shrine near the stables. It’s cowardly, but I wasn’t prepared, and wasn’t looking to get into a fight. But suddenly, I’m down one fairy, one broken club and one barely used knight’s broadsword.

And, this is one of the shortcomings of the game, I think. The fact that you can teleport any time you want, by hitting pause, and just get out of any kind of dangerous situation. Pretty much any other time, you want to get out, you just have to hit the “-” button and bring up the map, and pick anywhere you’d rather be but where you are, and in the blink of an eye you’re whisked away.

For that matter, you can also pause at any time and eat to regain health or stamina, and bail yourself out of any situation. The entire meal takes place in the pause screen, taking up zero in-game time, and potentially you might have every slot of your prepared foods inventory devoted to life refills, so as long as you can keep an eye on your health meter, you can pack away virtually infinity hearts. And unless you take so much damage that you get one-shotted, if you can hit “+” fast enough when you’re down to your last few hearts, you’re very nearly immortal. The only thing that stops you from doing that is failing to have the presence of mind to bring up the pause screen because you’re too busy dealing with what’s in front of you.

This takes away so much of the danger to the game. The fun parts are exploring, figuring out puzzles, finding things. The combat, I’m still reserving judgment, until I’ve played more with the Pro controller’s actually-usable analog sticks enough, but I think the core of it is OK, but it’s flawed in several ways — the pause-heal/escape being too easy.

I mean, the original Legend of Zelda also gave you pause-heal, so this is not completely unprecedented, but it was only up to two doses of medicine, and medicine took some time to figure out how to get. In BOTW, how many prepared food slots do I have? I don’t know, it’s more than I can visually count at a glance, that’s for sure. Two dozen, maybe? And you could warp away with the Whistle, but that was of limited usefulness — you had to wait for the whirlwind to pick you up, and you had to not move out of the horizontal row you were in, or it would miss you, which limited your dodging while you waited for it, and then you had no real control over where it would take you. It was deterministic, but you didn’t have any choice in the matter — once you signed on for the ride, you were going to where the wind was blowing you. And it might be right into another dangerous spot, or far away from a fairy pond, or medicine shop.

And on top of all that, when you do die, the penalty for death is pretty light. You respawn at your last auto-save spot, and it’s usually pretty close to where you bought it. You only lose maybe the last few minutes of your progress. I actually like this, I don’t want a harsher penalty for dying, that makes it really suck, like losing your whole inventory, or half of it. That would just put me into a mode of saving every ten feet and respawning if anything bad happened, and that’s no fun. But this combination of design choices all factor into making the game feel rather… casual.

That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. I like that the game feels like a relaxing place where I can just hang out and explore for hours.

But, some hundred or so hours into the game, and having explored perhaps a third of the world, I have to say so far I haven’t enjoyed the combat too much, and mostly have sought to avoid it as much as possible. Most encounters are not that challenging, and also aren’t that rewarding.

Random encounters serve to deplete your hearts and wear out your weapons, and leave you with nothing worth the time.

The camp raids are fun exercises in tactics and strategy, at least at first, until you’ve run through a few dozen of them, and then they feel a bit routine — the AI’s limited and predictable responses doing little to keep them fresh. You take them on, more or less because they’re there, and to be able to say you did them. But most of them do not help you to advance the story or get you closer to defeating Ganon. And I think this feels like a mistake. I want these encounters to feel meaningful, and they just don’t. Especially once the Blood Moon happens and undoes all the death I’ve dealt them.

Then there’s the Guardians, who at first seem impossible, the challenge curve shooting up near vertically — that is, until you figure out what works on them, and then they’re manageable: Shoot them in the sensor with an arrow to reset their insta-death laser countdown, and hit them with a weapon good enough to do damage, and probably be ready for it to break at least one, because you’re going to need to hit the thing a bunch of times to knock its hit points down to nil.

Fighting a Hinox is a bit more interesting, and feels almost like a boss fight. They seem to have a bag of tricks that is fairly shallow, though, too. I would have liked to see them more fully fleshed out, with some more tactics, in addition to uprooting a tree to use as an improvised club, and butt-stomping you.

How about:

  • a stampede charge where they trample you;
  • hurling boulders,
  • picking you up and bringing you close to their face for a big bite, where if you can work your arms free, you can take the opportunity to smash them in the head or put an arrow in their eye.
  • Or taking on two Hinox at once, and dodging quickly out of the way while they clumsily run into each other, hit each other, etc.

I will grant that when I encounter mounted enemies, they seem like a lot more fun. I’ve had very few mounted encounters, but I am looking forward to having hopefully more.

I know there’s supposed to be Lynels somewhere in the game, and they’re tough, but I’ve yet to run into them. And I’d run like hell if I did, until I get a lot more heart containers, and some decent armor.

But I also wish that there would be more classic Zelda enemies, like Tektites, Leevers, Pols Voice, and Like-Likes, Lanmolas, Ghinis, Darknuts, Wizzorobes, and Iron Knuckles. And Moblins that look like Moblins, you now the bulldog faced guys. Not the weird tall troll dudes. (Edit: the electric fairy creature that attacked me was a wizzorobe. )

There’s basically only a few types of encounters, at least so far:

  • Easy encounters where you are never in serious danger, and can just walk up and swing away: chuchus, kees, boko skeletons and the weaker bokoblins.
  • Ambushes, where you can see your quarry from far away, and plan an approach that will maximize the amount of damage that you do before they even know you’re there. Plan, prepare, and execute, and you earn a meager and ultimately meaningless gem or a few arrows, or earn a completion of a sidequest. But usually nothing like a wondrous new item, or new capability.
  • Somewhat challenging fights, with blue bokoblins, moblins, and lizalfos.
  • Near-impossible odds, where you just need to run away as quickly as you can, because you don’t have a good enough weapon to do enough damage to survive the encounter, like the disabled Guardians in the early part of the game, or the enemy variations with elemental buffs, like cold Lizalfos, or the electric teleporting fairy who just kicked my ass.

On the plus side, I really do like the variety of weapons, their meaningfully diverse mechanical differences.

But the enemy AI is rather too easy, in most fights, and once you figure it out, it doesn’t offer a great deal of challenge, unless you’re facing down multiple well-armed enemies when you break a weapon or get knocked down. I wish the enemy AI was a bit more cunning, a bit more cutthroat. Maybe not for the random nuisance encounters, but definitely for the more serious ones. The first time you run into something new, it’ll probably get you. But after you figure them out, they’re pretty easy to deal with.

But I do think that because of the pause-screen mechanics of eating food to recover health and using the map to teleport to any convenient wayport at any time, they designed a game that sacrifices combat that feels truly deadly.

Anyway, enough criticism.

Back at the stables, I heal up, and rest until morning at the inn. The next day, I venture out over the bridge to the east of the stables, and check out the waterfalls nearby. Midway across the bridge, my Sheikah slate starts detecting another shrine nearby, but I’m unable to find it.

Looking around for the shrine, I spot a bokoblin outpost below the bridge, just south of it, and decide to raid it. I clear it out pretty easily, breaking another broadsword in the process, but picking up a halberd and a bunch of arrows. There’s another waterfall nearby, and I check out the pool there, and find a korok seed, and another couple of sunken treasure chests.

It gets dark, and the electric dragon appears and starts shooting lightning at me again, and I again decide to transport back to safety, wait until morning, and resume exploration.

On the third day out, I cross the bridge and continue looking for the hidden shrine. I’m close, but not finding it. I’m about to try climbing up the cliffs to the next level to explore there, when it starts raining. A woman from the stables comes walking by, and I talk to her. We take shelter under a nearby lean-to, as lightning starts to crash down, and wait for the rain to let up.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (27)

Knowing how to defeat the Hinox is going to be critical to succeeding the Eventide Island challenge, and it will be a waste of time running through the challenge only to lose to the Hinox time and again. I need practice and repetition, and a way to experiment with tactics. I don’t want to read any walkthrough, I want to figure it out for myself, for the satisfaction, even though that means the challenge and frustration levels will be higher for me.

I have seen two Hinox in the game at this point: the skeletal one that rose in the forest near the first Stable that I encountered just west of the Dueling Peaks, and the second one was on my recent excursion down the road south of Hateno village. I remember precisely where I saw the second one, but I don’t know that I can find it again easily on the map, and it’s more time consuming to get to.

I wish there was a tutorial battle arena mode in this game, where you could put yourself in a small map of one of the various terrain types, and place say 1-5 enemies in there, so long as they’re of a type you’ve encountered before, and practice fighting them with whatever gear you’ve acquired so far.

Absent that, the next best thing will be to use save states to save the game just before an encounter that I need to practice, and run through it, restore, and run through it some more, as many times as I need to until I feel I’ve mastered it.

OK then. That’s what I’ll do next time I play.

While I’m thinking about it, there’s something else that I’ve found annoying with the controls, having to do with the camera control. In a tight area, such as an enclosed space, or in the woods, or in a treetop, I very often have some useless object blocking my view, such as leaves or whatever. This stuff needs to not be drawn when they block Link’s view, or our view of Link. I’d like it better if the game rendered them transparently, so that you know that they’re there, but otherwise I want to see Link clearly, and I want to see what Link is looking at clearly. Climbing a tree to get a better view of the landscape basically isn’t viable because of this, and being in a dense area of a wooded space also has this problem.

There’s a road leading out of Lurelin village, running along a valley, and I decide to explore along it. I don’t go too far past the nearby shrine, when I spot something that looks interesting up the valley wall to the right. I decide to check it out, and under some odd looking vegetation, I find another korok seed. Back toward the village, I spot a large bokoblin platform, and decide to raid it. I sneak up, do a little sniping, and manage to take out most of them. One of them spots me and runs up to fight me, and I pull out my sword and inadvertently chop down the tree I was hiding behind, but manage to kill him easily. There’s still a few more up on their stand, so I run up and kill them all. They’d been firing arrows at me non-stop while I was behind my tree taking cover, and so I expected that I would be able to harvest maybe 15-20 arrows after the fight was over, but I guess when the tree fell it destroyed them, maybe. I’m a little annoyed, but oh well.

I continue down the road, kindof zig-zagging up and down the walls of the valley to check out whatever looks interesting. I end up climbing up a ridge and walk along it for a ways, then looking down I see a bokoblin menacing a person who looks like he’s from Lurelin village. I drop down on my glider, and take the bokoblin out, dropping on him from above and doing an extra damage strike.

I talk to the fellow I rescued, and he tells me he’s leaving the village to become an scavenger, and how he’s going to get rich hunting treasures around the ruins of Hyrule.

I’m not sure where to go next, but I don’t think I’ve been down south branch of the road, so I head that way, and before not too long I reach a swampy area, where I see some formations that look like massive rib cages from some long dead beast that must have been the size of a mountain. Checking it out, I find… a sleeping Hinox! Just what I was hoping to find. I create a save state, and then approach cautiously, to see if I can get a sneakstrike in on him while he’s sleeping. This doesn’t end up working, but as soon as he wakes up I’m on him, dropping a lot of damage. This one is wearing armor on one of his legs, which makes it a little harder to fight him, since I can only do damage on one side of him. He does manage to hurt me some, but the battle goes my way this time, thanks to my equipment being some of the best weapons I’ve found. I don’t manage to score any eye shots with my arrows, but I take a few attempts at that and manage to get a little closer to hitting the head.

This Hinox has an orb on a necklace, and so I know there must be an altar nearby where I can put it, but I’ve never been to this part of the map, before, and don’t know where it could be. So I loot the area, pick up the orb, and start wandering toward a nearby low hill, hoping that I’ll either find the altar, or be able to see it from up there. The mountain is not very steep, and is more of a hill than a true mountain, but as I’m looking for a walkable path that I can take without having to put the orb down, I come to another swampy area, with another sleeping Hinox!

This one is a darker color than the first one, and probably stronger. There’s also a few bokoblins around him, sleeping, which makes me think this is going to be a rough encounter. I sleepstrike one of the bokoblins, and the Hinox doesn’t wake up. I spot another bokoblin off in the swamp, and for some reason they’re all sleeping, even though it’s the middle of the day. I snipe him with the bow, taking him out with a headshot. I turn around and head back to the slumbering Hinox, and sneakshot the next bokoblin. I don’t see any more, so I think I’m ready to take on the Hinox. I duck down and crawl up near him, and notice him stir a bit, and he raises his arm to kindof scratch himself.

I’ve seen videos showing Link in a Hinox’s hand, being lifted onto his chest, so I try to position myself, climb into the hand, and wait a few seconds, and he obliges, and now I’m on the brute’s chest, with a nice clean shot at his head. I put on my most powerful weapon and charge it up, and take a mighty swing, and it manages to drop him for maybe 1/5th of his total hitpoints. Wow, this guy is tough. Of course he wakes up and is enraged, and I get a flurry of more blows in on his legs.

I sense he’s getting ready to attack so I try to get away, and end up taking only minor damage from the splash of his butt stomp. Then he uproots a tree, and starts coming after me again. I switch to bow, equip my strongest bow, and lock target on him and try to make an eye shot. I fire probably 10 arrows, and all of them connect, but only 1 or two manage to hit him in the eye. He starts trying to cover his eye when I’m readying my bow for another shot, which makes it extra difficult. But this is at least smart AI behavior, and I like it. When I nail him with an eye shot, he is stunned momentarily, allowing me to run up and hit him a bunch of times in the legs, doing a lot of damage in the process.

In the process of running from him, I stumble on another sleeping bokoblin that I missed when I was stalking the camp, and he joins the fight. I’m hoping I can take it out quickly and avoid getting damaged, but before I can do anything, the Hinox throws a tree trunk at us both, and it hits his friend, killing him instantly, and it blocks me from taking damage. Sweet! I manage to score a final eye shot on him, and run up and take a few quick shots to the legs, and he drops.

So now I have two of these orbs, and I still dont’t know where to take them. Looking at the map of the area, I see that there’s a third swamp, and kindof a hill in the center of them, and I guess that’s where I need to go. I carry an orb up there with me, and sure enough I find three altars. I put one orb in, then go back down and find the other, bring it up, and put it in.

Then I go down to the third swamp area, and find a third Hinox. This one is the weakest of the three. I glide down from the mountaintop and land one of the rib-like projections, where I have a very nice vantage point on my sleeping quarry. I save the game here, and try a few different tactics. First, I try headshotting him with the bow, but I don’t have a very good angle to do it, and I don’t think it did any extra damage, maybe I missed the eye or even the head entirely. He wakes up and as he’s walking around, I’m still above his head level, and he doesn’t seem to have any capability to attack above him, which seems like an oversight on the programmer’s part. He’s all about attacking down, but can’t deal with an enemy at treetop level above him. I’d love it if he tore down the rib, or battered it so hard with the tree trunk that it shakes me out and causes me to fall down, or something like that, but none of this happens. I guess the programmers didn’t anticipate anyone would do this.

Well they should have. It would have been great to see the Hinox trying to leap up to grab me, just out of reach, and maybe to grab onto the rib and hang from it, his weight causing it to bend, snap, and if I don’t jump off in time, catapult me through the air, flinging me miles away, if I can even survive the sudden acceleration, much less the landing.

He seems to know where I am, and is standing almost directly beneath me. Now, I could pretty easily just stand here and spam bombs onto him, for however long it takes to bring him down the safe way, but I don’t want to be at it for hours, so I just restore from my save point, and this time I try gliding in and land on his chest. This doesn’t wake him, and I manage to do a sneakstrike with a charged attack. He wakes up, I try to get a few more eye shots on him with the bow, but I don’t manage to get close this time. He gets a lucky hit on me and sends me sprawling, and one of my fairies resuscitates me. Enough playing around, I run up and chop his legs down, and he dies pretty quickly.

I grab his orb and take it up the mountain, and a shrine emerges from the ground. I enter it, and there’s no puzzle or challenge for this one, the shrine master tells me that I’m already worthy by defeating the three giant brothers. I am rewared with a Thunder Blade and a spirit orb. This one looks like it is the bigger version of the Thunder Blade sword that I found in the sunken treasure chest off of Lurelin harbor.

What I don’t get about the Thunder Blade is that it’s clearly a legendary weapon, and I don’t think item drops from Shrine Chests respawn (or do they?) So, if the Blood Moon restores all the dead monsters back to life, and all the really good weapons eventually wear out and break, but don’t replenish, isn’t this a problem? I’m hoping not, that I’m wrong and there’s ways to find these weapons again after they’re used up. Otherwise, this game could be too hard for me if I am taking my time and don’t save my best unique weapons for the encounters they are meant for..

So, great, I have a bit more confidence that I can take out this Hinox on Eventide Island, maybe, with a bit of luck. Looting the marshy area, I find a number of treasure chests, including one with 300 rupees in it, and a lot of old rusty weapons laying about, including claymores and broadswords. It’d be cool if you could take these into town and pay someone to fix them up to make them good as new and restore their durability. But there doesn’t seem to be anything like that in this game

I teleport back to Kakariko village, buy all the arrows in the shop, and grab two fairies at the fairy pond, and sell off a bunch of forage materials for rupees, transport to Hateno, and return to my house, sleep, and save.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (26)

Once more, I attempt to conquer the Eventide Island challenge.

I try to go about it smarter. I have four spirit orbs, so I can exchange them for a heart container, which will put me up to 5 and maybe that will be all the edge I need. So I do that.  I also pay to sleep at an inn, getting the extra comfy bed, which boosts my health by one additional temporary heart, putting me at 6.

I also decide to try alternate approaches to the island. Maybe landing on the south beach side isn’t the best? I seem to run into enemies there immediately, maybe there’s a better way on the north side of the island. One theme that seems to be recurring in BOTW is that taking the direct and straightforward approach is usually the hardest way to go, and if you go around there’s almost always an advantage that you can find that will make things a lot easier.

I try overshooting the island to the west and come around. There’s a few rocks offshore, and the raft gets around them OK. I decided to explore the rocks, and found a treasure chest in the water, and in it there are 10 arrows. Unfortunately, as soon as I set foot on the rocks, the challenge begins, my equipment is taken away from me, and I haven’t yet been able to take out a single aquatic octorock, and there are two on this side of the island, and they both wake up and start shelling me, and I’m completely defenseless.

I take 3-4 hits just swimming to the main island, scramble up the rock, climbing too slowly, but I don’t get hit again, and I run away. I’m already down about half my health, and basically screwed myself. The bokoblin tree stand camp where I found the first orb is here, and they spot me and start shooting arrows at me. I run for it, and make it around the edge of the island, just out of the range of their vision, and disappear into the jungle.

Fire chu chus are common on the island, and they keep appearing, burning down big swaths of jungle in their wake. I avoid coming close to them, and blow them with bombs when i can do it safely.

Nearly everything I try to do, I screw up though. I suck. I admit it, but goddamnit, I suck. I just do not have the knack for fine control with the analog sticks, and it doesn’t matter whether I’m in mobile mode using the joycons, or docked and using the wired controller. Fine control is nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing sudden extreme movement overcorrection and screwup. I climb trees when I’m trying to run away. I can’t climb a tree when I want to climb it. I duck and sneak slowly away while enemies are right on me beating my ass and I’m trying to run. I get to the edge of a platform and fall down just before I’m ready to do a big jump. In short, I’m clumsy, and I shouldn’t feel like this, but I think it’s not me, it’s the controller. The dead zone is too big, and then nearly the moment you’re out of the dead zone, you’re at full motion, and this takes away all the fine, slow movement that you need to be able to do. I whip around wildly like a drunk idiot.

Most of the time, it doesn’t matter in this game. When there’s no pressure, no combat going on, and all you need to do is walk around or climb, or glide, the controls aren’t a problem. There are tremendously long stretches in this game where you don’t have to fight anything. But the moment you do, the controls matter, and doing anything that requires precision and timing is just an exercise in frustration.

I’m going to have to see about trying a Pro controller and see what kind of difference it makes.

Despite my frustration with the controls, I do manage to scout quite a bit and manage to find a few things that will make this island challenge a bit more possible:

In the boiling mud pond where I found the wood cutter’s axe, there’s also a hidden treasure chest sunk in the ground, inside of which is a claymore sword. This is a weapon with actually decent damage output, and will make combat considerably easier.  But it’s a slower weapon, as well, and fighting with it will give the weaker enemies a bit more of an opportunity to get their short in.  I’m actually fine fighting them with the boko spears and skeleton arms that I find, despite them breaking after just a few hits, they are faster, do enough damage, and are replenishable.  So I’ll save the claymore for when I really need it.

If I’m lucky, I can get a boko skeleton to drop a bow, which gives me some improved odds of sniping enemies at a safe distance, without having to rely on bomb spamming. Arrows are still in short supply, though. But if you want arrows, you can taunt the bokoblin archer sentries for a while, and they’ll shoot all the arrows you could possibly want, and all you have to do is dodge and pick them up.  The tree platform camp also has a couple of 5x arrow drops, which are great to pick up if I don’t blow them up with bombs accidentally.

There’s a couple of other rusty swords and shields laying around on the island, on the beach and elsewhere. Combined with the boko skeleton arms, boko spears, and tree branches, you can fill out your inventory slots for weapons pretty quickly.

The thunderstorms are super annoying, since you can’t savestate and restorepoint your way through this challenge, and dodging lighting is very nearly impossible.

But I figured out how to find shelter from the storm.

First, disable your weapon, or arm yourself with a wood weapon. Lightning seems to be attracted to metal. Second, get under cover, and out of the open.

Standing on the beach or on a hill is deadly. Running into the jungle and getting into the trees helps a bit. Lighting will strike trees and start fires, and trees will fall down and can hurt you, so it’s still not completely safe, but it’s a lot less risky under the canopy cover.

I found a rock formation near the bubbling mud pond that has just a little bit of an overhang to it, and I can duck and shelter in there until the storm passes. As long as monsters don’t spawn nearby, forcing you to move and equip weapons, it’s the safest option. The storms can last upwards of ten minutes or so, or at least it seems like it, so this is time consuming.

I can use the bokoblin beach camp fire to manipulate the clock, by sitting down and waiting for morning. It seems that morning is an unlikely time for a rain storm, and most of the storms occur in the late afternoon just before evening. So resetting the clock is a smart way to avoid both the deadly thunder storms, and the night enemies. By only being active in the day time once you’re armed with bow and swords, you avoid a lot of unnecessary combat, and that’s very important since you need to conserve your weapons and health.

There’s a lot of forage in the island, jungle fruits, a few wild animals, and a lot of fish just offshore. If you bomb the waters off the shore, you can get a lot of fish. All the food can be cooked by tossing it onto the bokoblin beach camp fire, and while you can’t cook mixed dishes this way, anything you cook will give you better benefit than eating it raw. Once you’re fully stocked up on mushrooms, bananas, palm fruits, and whatever else you can find, you don’t have to worry as much about taking a little damage in a fight and being unable to heal. By an amazing stroke of luck I manage to catch a fairy in the jungle one night, which effectively gives me an extra life, and my best chance so far of completing this mission.

Taking out the bokoblin beach camp and the tree stand with the first orb are both pretty easy. Taking out the bokoblins up the hill on the southeast corner of the island is a bit tougher, and if it wasn’t for the controllers screwing me up left and right, I’d probably be able to clear these guys out without too much difficulty.

There are some buffed octorocks on the island that are really annoying. The offshore ones are bad enough, but in addition to them, the ones in the jungle are particularly well disguised. They have a harder time hitting you with all the tree cover around, but they can surprise you, plus they can hide and move again and a gain. There’s one who sits under a treasure chest in the vicinity of the southwest corner of the jungle part of the island, and he’ll pop out of the ground, slamming you with the chest, which can nearly one-shot you, plus it knocks you down, briefly stunning you. And there’s a white octorock up the hill on the southeast corner, just before the big camp where you fight several bokoblins and electric chu chus. The white octorock has a wind attack that can screw you up in many ways, blowing you around, sending your arrows or bombs off course, flanking you with artillery fire just as you’re starting your attack on the camp, etc. Taking these guys out is a high priority, but even you know they’re there, they’re still dangerous, and messing up taking them out can ruin a good run.

I managed to get pretty far, putting the first orb in place, and clearing out the three bokoblin camps. That’s when I notice, down the hill from the southeast corner of the map, there’s a sleeping Hinox, and he has one of the orbs around his neck on a necklace. Mother of God. So I have to take out this Hinox with nothing stronger than my claymore sword, and a couple of arrows. There are two huge boulders on the hill, and I think rolling them down might do a bunch of damage and start the fight off with some advantage. Wrong. The boulders barely roll at all, and kinda just nudge the Hinox awake, he sees me, gets pissed off, and runs up the hill to fight me.
I’m terrible with the bow, especially if I’m trying to run and dodge, but it seems obvious that hitting this thing in the eye will do a lot of good, but I can’t pull it off. I nail him about the chest with about 5-6 arrows, shoot a few more over his head, run out of ammo, and they hardly do any damage at all. And then I’m out. I switch to the claymore, and start chopping away at his legs, and he just takes me out with a butt stomp move.

I haven’t studied the strategy guides to learn how to effectively combat these guys, but for the most part they’re slow, cumbersome brutes that seem fairly easy to dodge, if you’re halfway competent at it, which I’m definitely not. I probably didn’t manage to knock him down more than a quarter of his hitpoints, when he connects with me, finishing me off.
Maybe I’m not meant to come here until after I have more power. Maybe 5 heart containers just isn’t enough. Maybe there’s some more tactics that I should practice before I try this again.

One thing’s for sure, though, if I could save, and restore from my last bit of progress, this challenge would be a lot less frustrating and difficult.

I really love the setup and the tactics and strategy that I’m forced to discover in this situation, but I really hate getting far into it and then screwing up one thing and dying, and have to start all over again from all the way back at the Lurelin village dock, and I definitely think that the controllers are screwing me more than anything. That’s a bad form of frustration and I guess it makes the challenge level high and that makes it more memorable. But I would prefer the game allow me to save progress at certain milestones: landing the raft; placing the first orb, etc.
I might have to come back to this challenge another time, when I have more heart containers, and better ability with the controls, or possibly a better controller, and some experience fighting Hinox.

I still don’t know where the 3rd orb is.

 

Zelda: BOTW Diary (25)

In order to avoid the frustration of repeated failing and starting over with the Eventide Island challenge, I decide to complete as many of the other side quests from Lurelin village as I can.

The most challenging of these seems to be to re-take the fishing spot at Aris beach. I hike south down the beach. At first I stay low, on the shoreline, but after running into some monsters early on, I decide that it will be quicker, safer, easier to climb up the hills nearby and run along the edge of the slope near the top, and once I’m close enough to glide in, fly the rest of the way.

Monsters mostly leave you along when you’re in a climbing area, so sticking with climbing and rough terrain and avoiding roads and flat open plains and woods is a great way to avoid monsters and fighting. If you’re social distancing in Hyrule, go climb.

It’s a pretty long hike, but I get there quickly, but I do take the time to climb Tuft Mountain and visit the heart-shaped lake there. I go at night, and encounter  a beautiful Geruda woman, and a nervous, confidence-lacking Sheikah man who’s too scared to talk to her, but thinks he’s in love with her. I act as sort of an intermediary, and give the man a blue nightshade flower from my inventory, to give to her, but then he chickens out and asks me to give it to her for him. So, sigh, I do, and it works magic, she loves the flower and talks to the man. He’s clearly unworthy of this woman, but because this is how the story goes, she accepts his flower and decides to go out with him. This is a pretty classic trope for how relationships are started, and I’ve seen it in probably hundreds of examples. The thing is, it’s a pretty poor model for real world relationships. Real relationships aren’t based on being mesmerized by beauty, and being afraid to talk to someone because you don’t know how and are afraid you’ll screw up is not a credential for how well suited you are to be with someone. The reality is that this couple are not well suited to one another, and they have absolutely no basis for a relationship with each other, apart from they both went to a heart-shaped pond on top of a mountain one night and saw each other there.

But, eh, I completed the side quest. But whoever wrote that crap needs to try much harder.

I continue on to the Aris beach area, and it’s a pretty far walk. When I get there, I scope things out from the cliffs near the shore. I spot a raft docked on the shore. There’s two bokoblin platforms just offshore, and it looks like I’ll need to use the raft to get over to them. I’m not sure if it’s possible for me to glide to the platforms from where I’m standing, but I decide against it and take the raft, mainly because I want to inspect the dock area down there.

I’m well armed, well equipped, and at full health, and I’m expecting that I can handle this encounter. And I do! I’m spotted immediately, and the bokoblin sentries sound the alarm, but there’s little they can do against me, as I just run up the spiraling platform, dishing out death left and right like it’s nobody’s business. It’s a very straightforward affair, just run up slice, slice, slice, taking each one out one at a time, and continue making my way up. I get to the top of one platform, and then, using the bow, take out the sentries in their towers, one shotting each of them since they’re very weak. The toughest enemy on the platform is a moblin, who I take down with a flurry of strikes which seems to disrupt his ability to attack, and he ends up doing basically nothing to me, just stands there and takes about 8-10 hits before he dies. None of the rest of the enemies puts up much of a fight, either.

I clear out both platforms, and loot as much as I can. The best items I find are a dragonbone shield and a three-bladed lizalfos boomerang, which has a damage rating of 36, and is second only to a dragonbone spear that I found a while back with a damage rating of 45, and have been saving back at the house in Hateno.

I collect some rupees and arrows, and get back to the raft, and sail all the way back to Lurelin village. On the beach I spot a blue snail, the type that the fisherman’s wife needed for her recipe. Checking my inventory, I needed goat’s milk butter to complete her reicpe, so I teleport to Hateno to shop for it, but I don’t find it in the shop there. So I teleport to Karakiko village, and buy it there, then teleport back to Lurelin.

I talk to the fisherman, who thanks me for retaking the fishing spot, and gives me a decent reward of 100 rupees, and then I talk to the wife, who thanks me for the ingredients, and she gives me some rupees as well, I think 20 or 50. I’m invited to have dinner with them, but I guess that’s just being polite, because there’s no actual depiction of me having dinner with them, and they don’t even give me a free sample meal of the dish she made. I think that the amount of rupees she gave me doesn’t even cover the value of the snail, so it seems that the benefit of completing this quest is the enjoyment of completing it. Which mainly consists of me walking along the shore and being like “Hey, what’s that blue thing?” and finding out that it was that rare snail that I didn’t buy from the merchant during the bad rainstorm that first night in Lurelin.

The village elder had told me after I found the sunken treasure chests in the middle of the triangle of rocks just outside Lurelin harbor that he thought there was still more stuff out there to be found. I did find a couple of floating chests off the shore of the crescent-shaped peninsula between Lurelin and Eventide Island, floating in the water. I recovered their contents, I don’t recall them being particularly memorable, probably a gem and some rupees. I was actually going to try another Island challenge, but the winds were especially bad this time, and blew me into shore so hard that the beach went completely out of the water onto the sand. So I take this as a sign that I should explore the beach here.

The crescent peninsula is quite long, but exploring it is pretty rewarding, and I find several chests in the water and in the sand, as well as lots of crabs. Near the end, there’s a small bokoblin camp, which I clear out easily, using the magesis power to manipulate a heavy box to bludgeon the bokoblins into pulp.

At the very end of the crescent, there’s a korok seed, as I expected, and some decent fishing grounds. After clearing all this out, I teleport back to Lurelin village to rest and save.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (24)

Once more, I attempt to conquer the Eventide Island challenge. I try to go about it smarter. I have four spirit orbs, so I can exchange them for a heart container, which will put me up to 5 and maybe that will be all the edge I need. I also pay to sleep at an inn, getting the extra comfy bed, which boosts my health by one additional temporary heart, putting me at 6.
I also decide to try alternate approaches to the island. Maybe landing on the south beach side isn’t the best? I seem to run into enemies there immediately, maybe there’s a better way on the north side of the island. One theme that seems to be recurring in BOTW is that taking the direct and straightforward approach is usually the hardest way to go, and if you go around there’s almost always an advantage that you can find that will make things a lot easier.
I try overshooting the island to the west and come around. There’s a few rocks offshore, and the raft gets around them OK. I decided to explore the rocks, and found a treasure chest in the water, and in it there are 10 arrows. Unfortunately, as soon as I set foot on the rocks, the challenge begins, my equipment is taken away from me, and I haven’t yet been able to take out a single aquatic octorock, and there are two on this side of the island, and they both wake up and start shelling me, and I’m completely defenseless.
I take 3-4 hits just swimming to the main island, scramble up the rock, climbing too slowly, but I don’t get hit again, and I run away. I’m already down about half my health, and basically screwed myself. The bokoblin tree stand camp where I found the first orb is here, and they spot me and start shooting arrows at me. I run for it, and make it around the edge of the island, just out of the range of their vision, and disappear into the jungle.
Fire chu chus are common on the island, and they keep appearing, burning down big swaths of jungle in their wake. I avoid coming close to them, and blow them with bombs when i can do it safely.
Nearly everything I try to do, i screw up though. I suck. I admit it, but goddamnit, I suck. I just do not have the knack for fine control with the analog sticks, and it doesn’t matter whether I’m in mobile mode using the joycons, or docked and using the wired controller. Fine control is nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing sudden extreme movement overcorrection and screwup. I accidentally begin to climb trees when i’m trying to run away. I can’t climb a tree when I want to climb it. I duck and sneak slowly away while enemies are right on me beating my ass. I get to the edge and fall down just before I’m ready to do a big jump. In short, I’m clumsy, and I shouldn’t feel like this, but I think it’s not me, it’s the controller. The dead zone is too big, and then nearly the moment you’re out of the dead zone, you’re at full motion, and this takes away all the fine, slow movement that you need to be able to do. I whip around wildly like a drunk idiot.
Most of the time, it doesn’t matter in this game. When there’s no pressure, no combat going on, and all you need to do is walk around or climb, or glide, the controls aren’t a problem. There are tremendously long stretches in this game where you don’t have to fight anything. But the moment you do, the controls matter, and doing anything that requires precision and timing is just an exercise in frustration.
I’m going to have to see about trying a Pro controller and see what kind of difference it makes.
Despite my frustration with the controls, I do manage to scout quite a bit and manage to find a few things that will make this island challenge a bit more possible:
In the boiling mud pond where I found the wood cutter’s axe, there’s also a hidden treasure chest sunk in the ground, inside of which is a claymore sword. This is a weapon with actually decent damage output, and will make combat considerably easier.
If I’m lucky, I can get a boko skeleton to drop a bow, which gives me some improved odds of sniping enemies at a safe distance, without having to rely on bomb spamming. Arrows are still in short supply. But if you want arrows, you can taunt the bokoblin archer sentries for a while, and they’ll shoot all the arrows you could possibly want, and all you have to do is dodge and pick them up.
There’s a couple of other rusty swords and shields laying around on the island, on the beach and elsewhere. Combined with the boko skeleton arms, boko spears, and tree branches, you can fill out your inventory slots for weapons pretty quickly.
The thunderstorms are super annoying, since you can’t savestate and restorepoint your way through this challenge, and dodging lighting is very nearly impossible. But I figured out how to find shelter. First, disable your weapon, or arm yourself with a wood weapon. Lightning seems to be attracted to metal. Second, get under cover, and out of the open. Standing on the beach or on a hill is deadly. Running into the jungle and getting into the trees helps a bit. Lighting will strike trees and start fires, and trees will fall down and can hurt you, so it’s still not completely safe, but it’s a lot less risky under the canopy cover. I found a rock formation near the bubbling mud pond that has just a little bit of an overhang to it, and I can duck and shelter in there until the storm passes. As long as monsters don’t spawn nearby, it’s the safest option. The storms can last upwards of ten minutes or so, or at least it seems like it, so this is time consuming.
I can use the bokoblin beach camp fire to manipulate the clock, by sitting down and waiting for morning. It seems that morning is an unlikely time for a rain storm, and most of the storms occur in the late afternoon just before evening. So resetting the clock is a smart way to avoid both the deadly thunder storms, and the night enemies. By only being active in the day time once you’re armed with bow and swords, you avoid a lot of unnecessary combat, and that’s very important since you need to conserve your weapons and health.
There’s a lot of forage in the island, jungle fruits, a few wild animals, and a lot of fish just offshore. If you bomb, you can get a lot of fish. All the food can be cooked by tossing it onto the bokoblin beach camp fire, and while you can’t cook mixed dishes this way, anything you cook will give you better benefit than eating it raw. Once you’re fully stocked up on mushrooms, bananas, palm fruits, and whatever else you can find, you don’t have to worry as much about taking a little damage in a fight and being unable to heal.
Taking out the bokoblin beach camp and the tree stand with the first orb are both pretty easy. Taking out the bokoblins up the hill on the southeast corner of the island is a bit tougher, and if it wasn’t for the controllers screwing me up left and right, I’d probably be able to clear these guys out without too much difficulty.
There are some buffed octorocks on the island that are really annoying. The offshore ones are bad enough, but in addition to them, the ones in the jungle are particularly well disguised. They have a harder time hitting you with all the tree cover around, but they can surprise you, plus they can hide and move again and a gain.  There’s one who sits under a treasure chest in the vicinity of the southwest corner of the jungle part of the island, and he’ll pop out of the ground, slamming you with the chest, which can nearly one-shot you, plus it knocks you down, briefly stunning you.  And there’s a white octorock up the hill on the southeast corner, just before the big camp where you fight several bokoblins and electric chu chus. The white octorock has a wind attack that can screw you up in many ways, blowing you around, sending your arrows or bombs off course, flanking you with artillery fire just as you’re starting your attack on the camp, etc.  Taking these guys out is a high priority, but even you know they’re there, they’re still dangerous, and messing up taking them out can ruin a good run.
I managed to get pretty far, putting the first orb in place, and clearing out the three bokoblin camps.  That’s when I notice, down the hill from the southeast corner of the map, there’s a sleeping Hinox, and he has one of the orbs around his neck on a necklace.  Mother of God. So I have to take out this Hinox with nothing stronger than my claymore sword, and a couple of arrows.  There are two huge boulders on the hill, and I think rolling them down might do a bunch of damage and start the fight off with some advantage.  Wrong.  The boulders barely roll at all, and kinda just nudge the Hinox awake, he sees me, gets pissed off, and runs up the hill to fight me.
I’m terrible with the bow, especially if I’m trying to run and dodge, but it seems obvious that hitting this thing in the eye will do a lot of good, but I can’t pull it off.  I nail him about the chest with about 5-6 arrows, and they hardly do any damage at all.  And then I’m out.  I switch to the claymore, and start chopping away at his legs, and he just takes me out with a butt stomp move.  
I haven’t studied the strategy guides to learn how to effectively combat these guys, but for the most part they’re slow, cumbersome brutes that seem fairly easy to dodge, if you’re halfway competent at it, which I’m not.  I probably didn’t manage to knock him down more than a quarter of his hitpoints, when he connects with me, finishing me off in one hit.
Maybe I’m not meant to come here until after I have more power.  Maybe 5 heart containers just isn’t enough.  Maybe there’s some more tactics that I should practice before I try this again.
One thing’s for sure, though, if I could save, and restore from my last bit of progress, this challenge would be a lot less frustrating and difficult.
I really love the setup and the tactics and strategy that I’m forced to discover in this situation, but I really hate getting far into it and then screwing up one thing and dying, and have to start all over again from all the way back at the Lurelin village dock.  That’s a bad form of frustration and I guess it makes the challenge level high and that makes it more memorable.  But I would prefer the game allow me to save  progress at certain milestones:  landing the raft; placing the first orb, etc.  
I might have to come back to this challenge another time, when I have more heart containers, and better ability with the controls, or possibly a better controller, and some experience fighting Hinox.
I still don’t know where the third orb is.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (23)

I go on a little excursion down the east coast of Hyrule, going south of Hateno village, sticking close to the shoreline.  I spot a shrine off in the distance and head toward it.  As I get closer, I notice a circle of plants floating in the water, which I know if I dive into will turn up another Korok seed.  I do the deed, collect my seed, and upon turning around I notice that at the base of the cliff I dove off of is a small inlet cave, and at the back wall of the cave I can see it is very rich in mineral deposits.  I collect gemstones and rocks, and then scope out my surroundings. 

Further to the south, I spot that shrine I’d seen from above on the cliffs, and decide to head there, so I can activate it and make a new travel waypoint. I’m down at sea level now, and the shrine is up a few levels so it’ll be a climb, but it’s not too far away and I’m sure I’ll get there quickly.

It doesn’t take long, but as I get closer I stumble upon a little coastal village called Lurelin. It seems like a Florida beach resort, or maybe Caribbean, very tropical and it rains frequently.  I check out the village first, making the rounds, talking to everyone. One of the huts has a gambling game like the original “money making game” in Legend of Zelda.  I play, spend 10, win back 1.  I don’t have a lot of money and don’t want to waste more of it right now. 

The townspeople tell me a few juicy bits of information about the area.  There’s a group of monsters who have run off the local fishermen, and they hang out on the beech a ways off and far to the south.  I offer to fight them off, of course.  The wife of the man who tells me about this is trying to cook a special meal tonight, and needs me to bring her some ingredients, one of which is a rare blue snail.  I had just talked to a merchant, and while the weather was a downpour, he was offering a special deal on this very snail, and I turned him down, not wanting to spend 2/3 of my rupees to obtain this item, unsure of what I might do with it.  The rain has subsided now, and the merchant took off, and now I’m out of luck and will have to find one somewhere. 

Someone else in the village tells me of a sunken treasure rumored to be out in the water somewhere not far offshore.

Lastly, a woman from the Desert lands of Gerudo tells me of an island off in the distance that is difficult to reach, but it sounds like a place I need to go see for myself.

I take all this in, and go to the shrine, activate it, and clear it.  There is a series of balances that I need to manipulate with weighted objects, using the balance platforms as elevators to get me through obstacles. The solution is pretty easy, but owing to terrible depth perception and poor camera mechanics, I struggle with it, but there’s no penalty for failure other than time, so I clear it eventually.  I get another Knight’s broadsword, and a gem and a spirit orb. It’s a pretty good haul, for a shrine.

I zip back to my house in Hateno to drop off the extra broadsword, but discover that you only can purchase a maximum of 3 display cases for weapons, bows, and shields, and I’m already full up now.  Ok then.  This game is really anti-hoarding, for sure.

I teleport back to Lurelin, and take the raft on the dock there out into open water.  There’s a few octarocks, and occasionally wandering lizalfos swimming in the water.  The winds are really variable, and it’s very slow going into a strong headwind, but sometimes I am able to zoom ahead with the wind at my back, and it feels like I’m doing over 60 knots.  The raft is very awkward to steer, but if you go in the same direction only, you can built up a huge top speed, and evade enemies easily, or if you’re lucky enough that they’re in your path, you can ram them and take them down.

I notice a very large school of fish in the water, something like 20-30 fish all together, like nothing I’ve seen in the game before, except for the big flocks of kees that I ran into near the gated bridge by the Great Plateau. Normally you don’t see more than 3-4 fish swimming together.  I’m flying by and cant’ stop to try to harvest them, though.  If you drop a bomb into the water, you can kill a whole bunch of fish all at once, and they float to the top and are easy to collect, since they don’t try to get away anymore.

I head up the cost to the North, toward that island the Gerudo woman told me about.  Between Lurelin and the island, there’s a kind of floating platform, like a stone-age oil derrick, where three lizalfos are standing. They look tough, and I’m not looking to tangle with them, but I just sail by and they pay me no mind.

I reach the island at top speed with the wind at my back and plow into the beach, grounding the raft. No sooner do I set foot off the raft when a voice speaks to me, saying it will take away my possessions and give me a challenge to complete.  Somewhere on the island are three orbs, and I must find them and place them on three altars.  Then I will get my belongings back and be rewarded somehow. It feels a bit like the challenges issued at shrines, but seems a bit more difficult.

The island is crawling with monsters.  Almost immediately, I’m being mortared by offshore octoarocks, so I run into the jungle to take cover, only to discover kees, chu chus, fire chu chus, bokoblin skeletons, and more octarocks hiding in the jungle.  I’m unarmed, no equipment, and so all I can do is just run. There are numerous large rocks on the ground, which I can lift, and throw and if I get lucky, maybe do a little damage, but they’re slow, awkward, and slow me down.  I do manage to take out a chu chu with one, but then the boko skeletons rise up and start chasing me and all I can do is try to run from them.  I do manage to get away, and happen to find a stick on the ground, which I pick up and use to kill a boko skeleton, and obtain his arm for a slightly better weapon.  I keep finding tree branches on the ground, and they’re all I can use, just barely better than nothing, breaking after 2-3 hits.  I fight and manage to defeat everyone nearby, but then it starts raining, it’s night, and it’s a thunderstorm.  Lightning crashes all around, and there’s no cover.

I’m somehow very fortunate and manage to avoid getting killed by lightning, and after a bit of exploring, have found various items:  some crabs, some fruits of various types, a few mushrooms.  More sticks, a boat oar, a traveler’s broadsword, a small, weak, but very useful shield.  My whole inventory is gone, even my clothes, but I find that I got to keep my Sheikah slate powers, as well as my paraglider.  This means I can use bombs and magnetism to even the odds up a bit. I try to Save my game, but the game won’t let me save here.  Uh oh. Shit just got real.

Sticking to the cover of the jungle canopy, I stealthily sneak along the beach line of the south coast of the island, and stumble upon a small beach camp of three bokoblins. Its slightly downhill from me to them, enough so that I can just get a lucky bomb toss close enough to take them out. The camp is small, but there’s a lot for the taking here.  Three boko spears, on which are spitted three roasted Hylian bass. Another sword, more crabs, and a few pieces of fruit. I’m suddenly well equipped, albeit with low-end weapons, and lacking a bow, although I manage to find about 5 arrows in a bundle.

I get to the southwest corner of the island, and find the first of the three altars, on a rock just offshore.  I puzzle over how I’ll get an orb into it, but figure my Sheikah ice powers can probably come in handy to build a bridge of sorts. But first I need to find an orb somewhere.

I head  into the jungle and find some bananas growing, and decide that in order to maximize my chances of surviving this island, I’m going to need to cook as much food as possible so I can use it to heal myself if I get into a fight and get hurt.  I take all my forage back to the bokoblin beach camp and use the fire there to cook everything.  It takes several minutes, but I now have a decent stockpile of healing, which makes me feel very good about my chances from here out.

I go back to the banana patch area, and continue scouting.  I observe a Woodsman’s axe embedded in a tree stump in the middle of a shallow pond, wade into it, and die in what’s apparently quicksand.  This is cheap, and annoys me, but OK, they got me.  Fortunately, drowning death doesn’t result in a Game Over, but respawns you on shore minus a few hearts.  I use magnesis power to pull the axe out of the stump and bring it to me, and now all I need to be in business is a bow.

A little further into the jungle, I emerge from the other side and find a small bokoblin tree stand with a total of three bokoblins.  Two red, one of them on a sentry tower, and one blue.  The sentry tower is near enough that I can bomb it, and when I do, the tower collapses.  The bokoblin is injured, but doesn’t seem to know what hit him, and doesn’t alert his fellows.  I manage to take him out easily with another bomb.  

The other two bokoblins are sill oblivious, which I’m grateful for, but in all honesty it breaks the suspension of disbelief and makes the encounter feel like a videogame with the same dumb AI that you can snipe and ambush, just like we’ve been doing since GoldenEye 007 on N64, and Metal Gear on NES before then.  These creatures lack cunning, and aren’t behaving realistically. They never learn, they never get wise, they never run off, they just reset to idle after being suspicious for a few seconds, and then go back to innocently waiting around for me to manage to murder them from outside their very limited visual range. As much as the rest of the game feels advanced over what I’ve played in previous generations, this part of the game feels underdeveloped, and a disappointing failure to advance the state of the art.  Give me some sophisticated AI that learns and adapts and attempts to outthink me, and makes me respect it as an opponent, please.

I manage to take out the second red bokoblin with a lucky bomb, and injure the blue one as well, badly enough that I don’t fear running up and finishing him with the sword.  This conquest feels satisfying, despite the sadly pathetic AI.  I manage to find a bow, several more arrows bringing my total up to somewhere around 7 or 8, and one of the three orbs. 

I carry the orb back to the first altar, and using the cryonis power, create a little pier of ice blocks, set the orb down in the shallow water next to it, and lift it up with my third and final cryonis block, walk over to near the altar, and toss the orb in.

1/3 success.

I look at the rest of the island and it looks like there’s probably something interesting up the hill on the southeast corner of the island, so I make my way carefully over there, avoiding encounters and any other dangers as much as possible.  There’s a trail that spirals up from the beach along the edge of the hill, and I get about halfway up it when I start hearing monster noises.  I decide it will be smarter, as usual, to not run into the trap by going in the front way, and climb up the back. Up here, there’s another camp fire, 3-4 bokoblins, and some kees, and a couple of yellow chu chus, the kind that have an electrified attack. At the back end of the camp I see what appear to be explosive crates, and I think if I am careful I will be able to bomb them, and take a lot of them out, then mop up the rest.

I screw up the first bomb and alert the whole group to my presence.  The bomb rolls down near my feet, and I can’t detonate it safely.  A yellow chu chu shocks me, knocking me off my feet and causing me to drop my weapon and shield.  Now I’m really screwed.  I get back up and switch weapons quickly, fight off some enemies, and manage to set off my bomb, which takes out the chu chus and flings bokoblins away from me, enabling me to regain the initiative.  I manage to win the combat, and observe what looks like the second altar, with some heavy boxes on top of it, that I should be able to move using magnesis.

Just then, it starts raining, and I start sparking with electricity.  I try to run off the hill top, but too slow and no where to run, I’m blasted by the lightning, fly off the mountain into the water below, and die, and it’s a real Game Over death.  So unfair! I was doing great!

I respawn all the way back in Lurelin, not even on the shore of the island, and my heart sinks.  This really annoys me. The boat trip is long and with the wind it can be especially annoying to fight against the headwinds.

I try three or four more attempts, and get nowhere near as far in any of them as I did with that first run.

Aggravated, I give up and see what else I can do with the boat.  I float in to the lizalfos platform, about midway to the island, and fight them, win, and loot their belongings, but there’s not much to write home about, the nicest thing being a 100 rupee chest, and a dragonbone boko shield.  I hope that if I save here, if I fail again on the island it will respawn me here, and then I won’t have so far to go.  It does, but without the raft, and I can’t get to the island, so I teleport back to Lurelin and try one more time. 

This time, instead of going to the island of trials, I decide to see what’s around the rocks I see offshore.  I get out a ways, and take out a couple of octorocks, and get out to the rock formations.  I observe that there’s three identical rocks jutting out of the water in a triangular pattern.  I surmise that there may be something in the center of the triangle, and I’m right — looking down, I can see four treasure chests at the bottom of she shallow water.  I’m drifting and it’s windy and the winds are shifting constantly, making it difficult to remain stationary.  The raft has no anchor, so I use the Cryonis power to create three pillars of ice, which I place around the raft so it will be locked into place.  Then, using magnesis power, I pull the four chests up from the depths, and open each one.  I get a few gems, and then a very nice sword, which is imbued with lightning power.  Cool!

I decide that this is enough adventure for one day, and decide to pause here.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (22)

I give up on finding the shrine, and proceed onward to the south, following the mountain range.  On my left is the the unexplored jungle zone, and on my right is a part of Hyrule that I have the map for, but haven’t been to.  I decide to see what’s over on the right.  The mountain ridge I’m running along gradually tapers down, until I reach a long, wide, curving gentle slope.  I’m high above on the hill, looking down, and see two mounted bokoblins  riding around on horses.  They look tough, and I still don’t have any good weapons, or fairies, so my only real option to deal with them is to lob bombs.  I’m very high up, and there’s no way I can get a bomb over to them on the fly, but the slope is convenient and the round bombs roll down, if I bowl them just right, they run down to where my targets are.  It takes a long time to take them out this way, but it’s safe, or so I think.  At one point, the bokoblins actually manage to spot me high atop the ridge, and begin opening fire at me with their bows, and woah, they’re firing fire arrows at me. I’ve never had that before, and it looks awesome.  Fortunately, I’m so high up that their arrows just aren’t able to reach me, but I’m surprised that they are capable of seeing me so far away.

My bombing is not very precise, and doesn’t do a lot of damage. I probably lob a good 40-50 bombs, and it takes a ridiculously long time, probably a good half hour.  Eventually, though, I manage to take them both out.  One of their horses is still around, and I hop on it and ride it for a while, to make speed and give me a better chance of escape if I run into a new enemy that I can’t handle. This horse is very gentle and easy to control, but I don’t have a saddle for him, as he’s unregistered.

I ride him a way, and the terrain starts to change, and it looks like it’s getting more arid.  I’m walking along, going downhill toward a canyon, when I stop dead in my tracks, as I see a huge monstrous looking giant, which I believe is the same type of creature as the skeletal one I fought in the woods behind the stable one night.  

I get close enough to take a good picture, and think about trying to take it out with a stealth strike, but it doesn’t seem possible.  I still don’t have a good weapon, and I bet this thing has a lot more hitpoints than the moblins that I still can’t usually one-shot.

I think about what else I can try to do, when it becomes daybreak, the giant wakes up, and I decide to retreat before he sees me. I run back to the rear wall of the canyon, and quickly scale up, abandoning the horse.  By the time I reach the top, I think I’ll try spending another hour dropping bombs on this giant.  But by the time I turn around and look down to where I last saw him, he’s gone. 

Checking my photo album, I see that this creature is called a Hinox.

Since I’m once again high up on an elevated platform, I take a look around with my scope, looking for nearby towers and shrines that I can visit to make return travel to this spot easier.  I do see one or two but after marking them on the map, they’re all quite far off.

I decide to go for an exploratory scouting trip into the jungle zone, which is still on my left, and I leap off the mountain ridge and sail down into the jungle. 

I’m fortunate enough not to run into many enemies, and mostly they’re weak types: chu chus, kees, skeletal bokoblins, and I’m able to take care of them easily, taking no damage, and replacing worn out weapons with equivalent.

The terrain is terraced, and there’s rivers and waterfalls everywhere. I make my way down slowly, gliding down one terrace at a time, watching carefully for enemies so I can avoid or deal with them with maximum advantage. A few terraces down, I find a tower at a level with the cliff I’m standing on.  I can glide right over to it and be nearly at the top, which will make this one easy to top. This is fantastic, as I’ll finally have a teleport spot to return to this area with easily.  After I make it to the top and activate the tower, I scan around with my scope, and see some interesting features:  a bridge, and what appears to be some kind of horse statue.

Walking back off the tower, I spot a couple of lizalfos, and using arrows, I kill them from a safe distance. They’re relatively weak, and I score a couple of headshots, and they go down quick. I’m in luck, both are armed with lizafos boomerangs, which are much better than any of the melee weapons I’m currently holding.

I continue to make my way northward and downhill, find a kurok seed, and come to a river with a waterfall.  After taking out a couple of octorocks, I discover that bombs can kill fish, which makes them a lot easier to catch.

I glide down from the waterfall, and am at the level of the bridge I saw from above. A thunderstorm comes and I am out in the open. I try to find shelter, but sparks start going off around me and I’m only seconds away from being blasted by lightning.  I dash and run across the bridge.  It’s night time, and the legendary beast dragon emerges suddenly from the water, electrical energy shooting off of him, and I can’t get away from him.  His discharge kills me, and I resurrect at the beginning of the bridge, it’s still night, but the weather is clear.  I run across the bridge, and find the horse statue I’d seen from far away is actually a stable.

I talk to the locals and find out that my three horses are all available at this stable, too, even though I left them back near the Dueling Mountain stable. My Sheikah slate is pinging like mad that there’s a shrine nearby, and it takes me a while, but I eventually find it behind a well hidden bomb-able wall.  I activate the shrine, and clear it.  It’s a see-saw challenge, that I solve with my time-stopping power.  The final challenge is two see-saws back-to-back, and I can only time stop the first one; after that I have to wait for the ability to re-charge.  I puzzle over what I need to do here.  Do I need to upgrade the stasis power before I can solve this?  No.  In the end, I discover that if I just jump, I can just make it up the slope before it tilts back the wrong way, and get up to the platform where I can claim my spirit orb.

Now that I have a quick way back to this part of the world, I transport back to Kakariko to replenish my fairies, and manage to grab 3.

Then I transport back to Hateno village to sell off excess forage and purchase arrows and another weapon display case for the house.  Then I transport to the shrine near the bokoblin camp where I found the Knight’s broadswords.  By transporting here, I have an easy way to sneak up on their camp from behind. I manage to scale their skull cave house, and from up there, I am able to lob bombs.  It’s time consuming, tedious, but safe and consumes nothing.  I manage to bomb the four archery posts, taking out the sentries. For a while, they’re freaking out, setting off alarms and shooting arrows at me like mad.  By the time it’s over, I end up collecting 15 reclaimed arrows.  Thanks guys!  Getting bombs into the skull cave is as simple as dropping them so that they roll down the eye sockets and roll into the cave.  It takes a good, long time before I manage to take them all out, but in the end it works beautifully, and I have three nice broadswords that I can use to take on greater challenges.

By this time the battery has run down and it’s time to stop again.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (21)

Boarded Horsey at the stables, transported to Kakariko and restocked on fairies. Then transported to Hateno, sold off a bunch of forage loot and had about 900 rupees. Bought 15 arrows, then went to the house to spend the rest on upgrades. Bought the Bed and trees and flowers for the exterior. I figure these are the biggest bang-for-buck purchases right now, as they’ll give me the ability to sleep without having to pay for a night’s rest in the inn, and will provide me with apples and flowers that I can sell for more rupees to buy other stuff, and I can harvest any time I come home. I still have a lot of left over rupees, so I shell out for lighting, and another weapon display, bow display, and shield display

I also buy a door, but I don’t see any new door on the house. WTF? Also, there’s a small shed on the side of the house, but the door seems to be non-functional. I thought that sort of thing went out of style in the early 2000s.

Bolson the house builder seems to be kinda gay/effeminate, and I’m not having a problem with it, but I’m curious how people feel about the character’s depiction. It doesn’t seem to be a negative portrayal, but maybe a bit stereotyped.

After I spend all my money, I got to cook more dishes with my huge stockpile of forage materials, and discover that my food inventory is full. Further, each cooked dish takes up a slot. You don’t get a slot with a number counter on it, so you can carry a bajillion of a prepared meal; you get one slot per meal. There are certain exceptions: seared steak and baked apples do get a counter, but they don’t heal a lot of health, either.

I can’t cook new experimental recipes if I don’t have empty slots, so finally it’s time to start using some of this stuff.

I decide to head north of Hetano village and explore the cold mountain. It’s a long trek, and I encounter enemies that are stronger than the ones I often run into. Wolves, who can be killed for meat, but fight pretty hard, and take a lot of damage, and frost lizard dudes, who are very dangerous: fast, high hit points, high damage output, they can spit, and they have a tongue attack that has a lot of range. I get through them but break all my good weapons on the way up the mountain.

It’s too cold for me even with my warm doublet equipped, but that’s OK, I have a lot of cold-resist boosting meals packed. I find the best way to make use of these is to wait until my health is nearly depleted from cold damage, then eat the meal. It restores my health bar, plus gives me several minutes of cold resistance, which together add up to a significant amount of time to explore and look around. It’s dangeorus to let the health meter go down, but if I don’t do it, the heart replenishment that the meals provide is wasted, and the cold damage drains your health so slowly that you can get an extra few minutes out of your life bar. It’s really only a bad thing if you run into monsters unexpectedly, but encounters up here are somewhat rare, thankfully.

Still, the fights I do get into end up wrecking all of my good weapons, leaving me with just my slow axe and sledge hammer, my torch, my korok leaf, and the rest is piddly weak weapons that break quickly and are barely any use at all. The stuff I pick up from the enemies I kill is inferior to what I brought in, doing less damage as well as being less durable. Plus, many of the monsters I run into here are not carrying weapons, but use natural fangs and claws, making the weapon drops that much less frequent.

I do manage to make it all the way to the peak of the mountain, where I encounter a sick-looking, lethargic dragon-like creature, I think one of the four legendary beasts. (Edit: wrong again!) At a place called the Spring of Wisdom on the map, I trigger a story event, but it doesn’t clue me in to what I need to do. I’m puzzled, I only have limited time, and I probably don’t have the capability to whatever I need to do here, and most likely need to quest for whatever and then come back.

I take the opportunity to scope around from the new vantage point at the mountain’s absolute pinnacle. Further north, I can see numerous shrines and towers, but they’re all very far off in the distance. With enough stamina, I’m pretty sure I could hang glide all the way to the nearest of them, based on the altitude I’m at. I give this a try, but I run out of stamina before I make it over a river, fall to my death, and drown. I retry this several times to make sure, but it seems impossible. Although, if I boosted my stamina meter 1-2 more times, or used elixirs, I’m pretty sure I could do it.

Instead, I go west, down the mountain ridge, staying at the top, and continue to survey the lands. I’m basically following a route that parallels the road I walked along to find the first memory point that I discovered a few days ago, but at maximum altitude, and a bit north. I’m so high up that it’s not possible to see much detail on the ground down below, but what I lack in detail I make up for in range, and it seems like I can see halfway to the ends of the map in any direction.

While I’m up here, I find a few korok seeds and a lot of mineral deposits, and collect as much as I can find. I’m going downhill, and by the time I get to a point where I’m about longitudinally in line with the big waterfall where the hidden shrine was in the river road valley, I believe I can glide down to the north and get pretty close to a tower that I haven’t yet climbed and activated. If so, that will open up a new map region for me, as well as give me a new teleportation spot.

I glide in, and don’t get quite as far as I hoped, running low on stamina long before I run out of altitude, so I have to land far shorter of where I hoped, but I do make it down to a level where I can see a column of smoke rising from a nearby cluster of trees near a clearing. I decide to check it out, and creep up, not sure whether to expect friend or foe. It turns out to be a man, and I talk to him. He’s a traveler, trying to get north but unable to cross the river, as it’s too wide to safely swim across. It’s not far from his camp, so I head up that way to check it out. I have enough elevation that I think I can make it the rest of the way, and from there if I’m lucky I can get to the base of the tower on foot.

I glide in, and just do make it to the edge of a shallow area of the river where I can stand and not drown. There’s a few monsters nearby but fortunately none in my immediate vicinity. I sneak around and avoid most of them, and make my way toward the base of the tower, which involves some climbing. Moblins, bokoblins, and lizalfos are thick in this area, but I’m able to thread my way through them, stealthily, and avoid nearly all of them. There’s one bokoblin who I have to fight my way past just before I reach the base of the tower. I knock him down, and he tumbles away down hill a bit, dropping his weapon. I could finish him off, but I’m very low on weapons at this point, and the longer I’m there, and the more I move about, the more likely I am to attract more unwanted attention, so I use that as an opportunity to make a run for it, and I get to a tall ladder that runs up to a platform, which has a narrow bridge to where the base of the tower is. I get up there safely, and make my way to the tower, and have an easy, uneventful climb, thankfully.

At the top of the tower, I find a Zora man, who has climbed the tower and is now stuck there, unable to climb down. He tells me the Prince of the Zora is waiting for him down at the bottom, and he’s up here waiting to meet a warrior of Hylian descent, which we both think is probably me. He asks me to go down to meet the Prince and talk to him and to save Hyrule from Ganon.

I go down there and there’s a shrine nearby, so I decide to try to clear it, first. I get in, and it’s another combat trial. This one is probably easy enough that I could have cleared it, if I were fully equipped with the best weapons I’ve found so far — maybe. But right now I’m weak and depleted, and there’s just no way.

I give up and decide that in order to be of any use in this area, I’m going to need to get re-armed, so I teleport back to Kakariko village to refill on fairies again, and then back to Hateno, intending to run out to where I found all those very nice swords in that large bokoblin camp to the south along the coast.

I end up getting very sidetracked, though, and rather than take the same route as I had on my first run out that way, which was to climb to the highest point of the mountain behind my house and glide as far as I could, I end up going on foot along the roads, so I can explore more. This is fairly rewarding, but also wastes a lot of time accomplishing very little. I do find another half dozen or more korok seeds, and bring my total up to something close to 40. If and when I ever see Hestu again, I’m going to be able to max out my carrying capacity, I hope.

I find the ruins of what was once a horse riding course, and although I don’t have a horse with me on this trip, I walk the trail and find numerous targets set up around, so I shoot them all with the bow, and am rewarded with one of the korok seeds. I also run into a few bokoblins and moblins, and mostly take them out without too much trouble, although it is tougher with the weak armaments I’m carrying, and I end up breaking my last decent weapon, and now am stuck with boko spears and clubs for the most part. I wonder how on earth I’m going to be able to defeat any bokoblins to be able to get one of those nice knight’s broadswords, and I really want to get 5 or 6 of them.

I never end up making quite out there, though. I continue in a south-westerly direction along the road, and find an area that is called the navel of something or other on the map. It’s a deeply recessed lake, where I find the usual korok seed, forage items, fish, and minerals. It’s a beautiful little spot, and I’d love to spend time in a place like that in real life. I clear it and move on.

Further along the road I run into more and more bokoblins and moblins. There’s a lot of them around, but they’re not terribly difficult to fight. I try to do so as indirectly as possible to conserve what little weapons I have. But it’s useless, as I keep also running into more Keese and Chu chus, who don’t drop weapons, but do wear out my shitty boko spears and clubs quickly. At night I also run into bokoblin skeletons, and have to kill them, and swap out my worn out weapons for their severed arms or occasionally a shitty spear.

I take a fork in the road and come to a natural stone archway, and can tell there’s an ambush waiting for me ahead. Rather than go through the tunnel, I climb over it, and sure enough there’s a couple of bokoblins on the other side. They don’t see me, and I rain bombs on them until they’re all dead, loot the area, go back through the tunnel and clear mineral deposits, fight a bunch more chu chus and boko skeletons, and move on.

I get close to the mountain ridge along the west coast and start climbing. I end up getting lost, wander around a bit, explore, and find more korok seeds, a few mountain lakes, and two more caves. The first cave is a dead end, but is loaded with mineral deposits. The second cave is a tunnel to a new part of the map that I haven’t been to, but have peered down into before; it looks tropical and swampy.

Passing through the tunnel I get assaulted by a gang of lightning Kees, who surround me, disarm me through shocking me, and I don’t last long against them. On my second attempt through, I take them out at distance with my bow, and don’t take any damage from the first 5, but don’t notice a 6th until I’m deep in the cave harvesting dead Kees parts, when one sneaks up on me and hits me 3 times before I can finally stop it.

My shrine sensor is pinging off the chart at a point about mid-way through the cave, but no matter where I look I can’t find the shrine. I spend about an hour trying to triangulate it, but it’s no good. I walk in a direction, the pings get faster and louder, then fade and stop. I turn around and walk back through the exact same area, and nothing. I turn around and walk back through again, same thing happens, it pings loud and fast and then fades and stops. I don’t see anything inside the cave, I climb on top of the mountain that the cave tunnels through, and it pings like mad up there, too, but I still don’t see anything. I spend at least two if not three day-night cycles up there looking for the damn shrine, but I never do find it. On one of the nights, the great dragon beast that I has seen near the Great Plateau makes an appearance, emerging out of a lake at the base of the mountain and flying about in the night sky.

Battery on the Switch has worn down to 25% at this point, so I decide it’s time to stop for now.