Tag: BOTW Diary

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Diary (61)

Divine Beast Ruto is the elephant beast, and it lives in the water.  It is generating a huge amount of rain, which threatens to overwhelm a massive dam that, should it fail, would result in massive flooding that would lay waste to much of central Hyrule. Which, I would think would be at least as much a problem for Ganon, who occupied Hyrule Castle, as it would be for the Hylians, who have mostly fled the central Hyrule region and tend to live as far from the castle, and mostly up in the hills and mountains.  But what do I know.

There’s little time to waste. Prince Sidon takes me on his back, and we swim out to face the beast. The approach is similar to the raid on Vah Naboris, the great desert camel.  To get close to Ruto, I have to hit four glowing spots on its back with shock arrows. Doing this will knock out Ruto’s defenses and enable me to get inside.

Complicating matters, Ruto is generating massive blocks of ice, which it launches at us.  Sidon can’t get me close enough until I deflect the incoming ice. This isn’t immediately obvious to me, and I end up taking a lot of hits trying to figure out how to control Sidon to dodge the flying ice blocks.   It’s confusing to me mostly because it always looks like the ice blocks are going to pass behind us, as we’re moving quickly and they seem like we’re going to outrun them, but they always seem to brush us from behind and do a little bit of damage.  Eventually, I figure out that I can hit the blocks with my weapons, and we get in close enough to take a shot at the glowing spots on Ruto’s back.

Aided by the Zora armor, I’m able to shoot up the waterfalls cascading from Ruto’s back, launching myself in the air where I have an excellent vantage point to hit it with the shock arrows. This is actually pretty easy, and I’m able to knock out two spots on each side, once per flight. My experiences on Vah Medoh have prepared me for this quite well; in fact, this seems easier.

Inside, it’s the usual puzzle of manipulating moving platforms to access switches which I need to flip in order to activate the main switch, which triggers a boss fight. Despite being an elephant, Ruto seems smaller than Naboris, although they’re probably about the same.  I clear out some evil eyeball goo, and using my ice powers and magnesis powers, I figure out how to gain access to the various switches, and activate them. The puzzles are a decent challenge, but don’t take me too long to figure out:

  • One involves lifting a gate by creating an ice block beneath it.
  • One involves using magnesis to twist a crank handle to lift a platform out of a pool of water.  
  • One involves using ice to plug a stream of water to cause a water wheel to stop.  
  • One involves manipulating Ruto’s trunk to shoot water onto the body, where it rotates another wheel so that the switch inside of it becomes accessible.
  • One involves turning a crank to open a hatch in Ruto’s head, to allow his trunk to spray water into a fire-filled chamber.
  • One involves getting to the very tip of Ruto’s trunk.

Once I turn on all the switches, I go to activate the main switch, and the boss, Waterblight Ganon, is revealed. He wields a massive glowing blue spear. I find him enjoyable to defeat, and not too difficult. The mechanics to defeat him are much the same as the other bosses:  hit him in the eye with an arrow, he drops to the floor, stunned, where you can pour on damage with your heaviest melee attacks.  His spear is pretty difficult to dodge, but he doesn’t attack with it very frequently, and has such a long wind-up that I’m normally able to hit him in the eye with the bow and interrupt him with ease.

After taking him down, there’s some more story sequence, where I meet the spirit of my fishy girlfriend and she gives me her healing power, which will refill my heart meter once if I would otherwise die.  This is pretty great, since it effectively doubles my hearts, as long as the power is active.

The Zora King is very happy to have Ruto back under control, and the entire city seems to take part in celebrating the victory.  The King gives me a powerful spear, and I depart Zora’s Domain.

(As an aside, I wonder if Zora’s Domain is perhaps a reference to the website Zophar’s domain, a legendary website created by the ancients as a repository of knowledge about videogame console emulation. It is a curious name.)

I have a few things that I want to take care of, none of them particularly important to the main quest.

I return to Kakariko village, pick up a few fairies, and get my outfits enhanced as much as possible, and talk to Impa, who notes that I’ve made considerable progress toward overthrowing the evil rule of Ganon.

I travel to Hateno village, to show the young boy who likes weapons the Moblin club I found; now he wants to see a Duplex Bow, the kind that the Yiga clan warriors favor.  I don’t have one handy, but next time I get one, I’ll be sure to snag it.

While in Hateno, I visit the Ancient Technology Lab and buy more images for my Hyrule Compendium.  These are pricey at 100 Rs a pop, which means it’ll be a long, long time before I max out my Compendium.

I travel to Gerudo town and pick up the male Gerudo outfit, which have heat resistance properties and better armor rating than the Gerudo woman’s outfit.  Anticipating that I’ll need this outfit when I head to the remaining part of Hyrule that I have yet to explore, with its volcanic mountain.

While In Gerudo I also pick up an Opal necklace, which gives me a boost to my swimming speed, and should go well with the Zora armor.

I go visit the fairy pond near Gerudo to further augment my new clothing, but run out of Ice Kees wings, which are needed to continue augmenting the Gerudo Male suit.  

So then I try hunting Kees in the deep white north of Hebra.  Ice Kees are rare, and I don’t find any, but I do find a Korok seed that I had missed somehow. I try the icy mountain peak on the Great Plateau, and manage to find two Ice Kees, and a bunch of white chuchus, which still isn’t enough to max out my Gerudo man suit, but will allow me one more augmentation, so I guess it’ll have to do for now.

Next, I decide it’s time to look for my long lost Master Sword, and transport out to the Woodland Tower, which is right nearby Hyrule Forest.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (60)

This time as I exit the shrine at the maze in Hebra, rather than hug the rim of the abyss, I try going up the mountain to see what I might find up there. It’s just a couple of bokoblin camps, snow, and ice.  Not a lot to write home about. I’m starting to feel the repetitiveness of the game, and this area feels like filler to me. The only reason this stuff is here is because it gives me more to do if I’m interested in trying to 100% the game.

I clear out one of the bokoblin camps, after climbing the peak of Mount Drena, and then come down southward and east, until I find the road that leads to Serenne Stable.  As I approach, I’m attacked by bokoblins on horseback, and after defeating them I take one of their horses to make the road go by a bit faster.  Further down the road, I encounter more bokoblins harassing a Hylian on the road, and save her; she tells me of a scientist who studies monsters, and that I might find him near a skull-shaped lake, but that doesn’t sound like anywhere I’ve been yet.

It’s not long before I reach Serenne stable.  There, I show the scientist my photo of the Leviathan in Hebra, completing another portion of that side quest.

Pikango reminds me that there’s a nearby spot that looks like one of my memory photos, to the southeast, and this time rather than trying to find it by following the road, I head directly southeast as the crow flies, and after a short gallop over some fields and hills, I spot a tree that looks like it could be it.  I get closer, and sure enough, I’ve found my spot.

This time the memory is of a time when Zelda tried to recruit Link to eat a frog to see what it could do to his attributes.  Link did not seem very interested in eating the frog.

Originally, I thought I would try to go to the Gorons tonight, assuming that I would find them by heading north along the rim of the continent, toward the volcano. But by the time I get to this point, I’m just north of Hyrule Castle, and if I go a little further to the east, I should be able to get to where the road is again, and according to the map that will take me to the southern part of Hyrule Forest, which is below the area on the map that was shrouded in darkness where I found that last shrine that was guarded by the Hinox.

Since it seems like that would be a decent shortcut, and I’ve been hearing enough rumors that suggest I’ll find the Master Sword somewhere in Hyrule Forest, not to mention Hestu, I decide to try heading that way.

I get to the road, and start to follow it.  I have a way to go yet before I will be to where I’ll need to turn to get to Hyrule Forest.  To my surprise, I find yet another Stable, this one called Woodland Stable.  There’s a shrine right next to it, so I go there and complete it.  I find this one frustrating.  There’s a chest with an Iron Sledgehammer in it, and it’s a game of Goron Golf, where I have to hit a hole in one to make an orb fly into a basin at the far end of a water-filled room.  The way is blocked off so there’s really no other way to do it, and I’m pretty inaccurate with the hammer.  I can’t seem to make the arrow point the direction I want when I hit the frozen object, and even when I get my shot to go straight, it either goes too far, landing past the hole and skipping out of the basin, or else falling well short. 

I try repeatedly, and eventually break the sledgehammer, so I leave the shrine and return, only to find that the chest with the sledgehammer doesn’t reset, so it’s gone, and I’m out of luck.  So I restore from my save point and try again, and this time after many tries I manage to get the damn ball in the damn hole.

This unlocks the monk’s chamber, but past it I see another room, where there’s another challenge, similar to the one before, this one to unlock a chest.  I break my hammer, and there’s another chest with another sledgehammer in it, and I break that one too, before giving up and just completing the shrine without collecting the final chest.  I bet whatever’s in that chest must be really good.  I’ll have to look up and find out what’s in it to see if it’s really worth going back to collect, and if I can get the sledgehammer chests to reset (maybe at a Blood Moon?  I hope?) I’ll give it another go.  It’s annoying that it’s so frustrating to aim the damn time stop properly.

Within visual range of the this shrine, I spot another; a little further down the road, there’s a bridge that crosses the river that the road runs parallel to.  The road I’m on intersects with the road crossing the river, and over to the left there’s an island with a shrine on top of a little hill. 

I get close to the intersection, and see a Hylian man standing nearby, so I go talk to him.  He talks to me about shield surfing and asks me if I’d like to try it, but right now I’m much more interested in that shrine, so I tell him I’ll come back later.

I go to the bridge, and spot a ring of rocks in the river where if I throw a rock into it, I’ll get a korok seed.  I try to do it, and there’s a lot of rocks around the bridge, but I keep just barely missing.  As I’m doing this, I keep getting attacked — two octorocks, and then two Yiga clan warriors: a bowman and a swordsman.  I defeat them pretty handily, but it seems like this bridge is a bit more of a pain than I was looking to get into for a simple korok seed.  Eventually, I figure out that the easy way to get this seed is to create ice blocks in the river and carry the rock out to jump into the ring with it, and that’s what I do.  This takes the better part of a game-day, so it’s getting dark by the time I am done, and then I have to run into monsters on the way to the shrine, since more monsters always come out at night.

One thing about this game, it seems like it’s on a regular schedule there will always be a “random” encounter at specific times at night.  You could literally set your clock to it.  9pm and 2am.  It kindof takes the surprise out of it.  I deal with the monsters that pop up at their appointed times, and then climb to a high point along the bank of the river, and glide down to the island with the shrine.

As I come in for my landing, I spot a Lizal patrolling the shore.   He’s weak, and I make quick work of him. It seems that the part of Hyrule that I’m in now must have been intended for me to explore earlier than the places I’ve been recently, because these monsters are not as well-equipped, and not as tough, and overall the challenge level here feels lighter than in Hebra or Gerudo. I kindof feel like the game should be adjusting the challenge level to my power level a bit, to keep things interesting.

The shrine is covered in thorns, so I set them afire using my meteor rod, and when they finish burning, I clear the shrine.  This one is a water puzzle, with a pump that I need to turn on, using a couple of different methods.  The water level rises to allow me to cross and get to the monk’s chamber on the other side, and there’s a chest that  I skip, because I figure at this point any weapons I’m going to get out of these shrines are going to be weak compared to the ones I already have, and I don’t want to take the time to figure out how to gain access to the chest, because the solution isn’t immediately obvious.  I take the spirit orb and leave.  

By now, I’ve wandered a bit further south of my turn to take me to Hyrule Forest, and I’ve forgotten about my Master Sword quest. Exiting the shrine, I spot a column of smoke rising nearby, and decide to investigate.  It turns out it’s bokoblins, and I clear out about five of them, squatting in the ruins of an old stone building from the kingdom of Hyrule.  One of the bokoblins is really tough, and white with stripes, and seems like he’s a shaman or something.  He doesn’t have strong weapons, but does have a lot of hit points and takes a lot of hits to take down.  He drops a lot of loot.  I encountered one of these earlier and took him out at range with arrows and bombs, and it took a long time. This time I hit him with my Attack-rating 60 Guardian Axe++, and it still takes a good 7 or 8 blows to kill him.  Dude.

A little further down the river, I spot a Zora, who sees me as well, and calls out to me.  She tells me to hurry to meet with Prince Sidon. This is the second time now that I’ve run into a Zora who wanted me to talk to the Prince, and this time I decide to go find him.  I do so, and Prince Sidon tells me to head to Zora’s Domain, and to follow a long, twisty path.  It’s raining and so climbing will not be possible, and I have to follow this long, twisty path.  Did I mention it’s long?  It is long.  And twisty.  And there are monsters.  Prince Sidon warns me they use electrical attacks, but gives me an elixir that gives me a defensive boost against electricity for 6 minutes.  I don’t bother using it, and just equip my rubber armor that I picked up in Faron.

I head down the trail, and it takes a really long time to get to the end of it.  At least 3 different times, I figure I’m probably there, before I actually get there.  I mostly encounter lizals, and most of them are fairly weak, although there are some who have lightning arrows.  The lizals drop a lot of extra arrows, which is super convenient because I’ve been running somewhat low on them, and this affords me opportunity to stock up on them.  Many times, I get the drop on my adversaries and kill them before they even know what’s going on, but a few times I have a legitimate combat encounter.  There are at least two spots where I end up in a crossfire with 5-6 lizals shooting lightning arrows at me, and this is almost challenging — it forces me to focus and try, but I’m never in serious danger, although at one point I get annoyed that they keep hitting me with their lightning arrows and cause me to drop sword, shield, or bow.  I finish them off and eat a food, and move on. My Knight’s bow is strong enough that I can one-shot them if I get a headshot with a normal arrow, which makes these encounters reasonably easy, while still engaging enough to be fun.

After a long time and many encounters, I finally reach Zora’s Domain, where everyone encourages me to go talk to the King.  There’s a shrine in the middle of the Zora city, so I go unlock it first.

The shrine puzzle is tricky.  There’s a large inclined plane, a ramp, and water is running down it.  A large number of immense stone balls fall from holes in the ceiling at the top of the ramp, roll down, and fall into a bottomless pit. Off to the left, there’s a basin just the right size for one of these stone balls.  I try time-stopping one, and hit it a few times, nudge it toward the basin, and after a few tries, I manage to get it in.  

Nothing happens.

I puzzle over this, and look around carefully to see what’s changed, but nothing seems to be different.

I decide to try to risk going up the ramp to see what’s up there.  Along the ramp, there are a variety of block platforms built into the ramp, which seem to direct the falling orbs as they roll down the ramp.  I use them as cover to take refuge from the falling orbs, and get to the top without too much trouble. I find a chest, with a weak Zora spear that isn’t any better than anything I have in inventory, and when I get to the very top of the ramp, the balls stop falling from the ceiling, as though the shrine has shut off. 

There’s a large glowing orange orb sitting in a basin at the top of the ramp, but it seems to be immobile.

About halfway down the falls, there’s a laser beam firing from the wall, intersecting a large block.  It doesn’t seem to be movable, and I don’t see what purpose it could have. Ignoring it, I turn my attention back to the glowing orb at the top of the ramp.

I note that it is the only orb that glows, and none of the other stone balls that rolls down the ramp seems to.  I realize that the glowing orb is the special ball , and it needs to roll down to the basin at the bottom of the ramp.  But now that I’ve managed to get one of the wrong balls into the ramp, I can’t get it out.

I leave the shrine to reset it, and return.  I run up the ramp to deactivate the falling balls, and then work out a manner to get the glowing orb to roll down to the bottom of the ramp and get it into the basin.  This is accomplished with carefully placed ice blocks from my Cryonis power, and some timing.  It takes 2 or 3 tries to get it right, but I work it out, and the ball goes into the basin, and the monk’s chamber opens. I collect my spirit orb, and note that I now have 12 of them in my inventory. It’s time to cash them in for some heart containers and stamina containers.

Exiting the shrine, I look around and take a tour of the Zora city. I find a lot of Zora people and talk to as many as I can find. Many of them recognize me, much to my surprise, and I gather through talking to them that I was especially close to their champion. In fact, I think… we were a couple?  Weird. Many of the older Zora resent me and they seem to blame me and the Hylian race generally for the death of their champion. The other Zora are friendly and seem to be happy to see me, welcome me back to their domain, and seem relieved to see a hero who can help them bring their Divine Beast under control. They all urge me to go talk to the King.

I find the King and talk to him, and some lengthy story unfolds via cutscene.  Vah Ruto, the elephantine Divine Beast of the Zora, is amok, and to stop it will require lightning arrows, which the Zora can’t handle or use, being aquatic beings who are susceptible to electrical attacks. So they could really use my help.

Link regains some of his memories, and we see a sequence where the Zora champion, Mipha, and Link share a bonding moment while she heals him. She even made a suit of Zora armor for Link, which is something normally done in Zora culture by Zora women for the Zora man they will marry.

Wow. Um. Ok.

Well, at least that removes the Link-Zelda love interest angle.

One of the elder Zora, Muzu, advisor to the King, doesn’t like me still, and it takes a little more to gain his trust.  After the initial conversation with the King of the Zora, I have to go find him and convince him that I’m OK and can be trusted. All it takes is changing into the Zora armor.  And the game even tells you to do it.  It’s so direct and easy, I wonder why it’s not just built into the scripted cutscene. 

At any rate once Muzu thinks I’m OK, it’s time to go face Ruto.  Prince Sidon tells me to join him, once I have 20 lightning arrows. I already have over 50. If I want more, there’s monsters nearby who drop them who I can seek out and fight. I guess that’s what’s next. But I’m probably ready right now to take on Vah Ruta.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (59)

The area around the shrine I just cleared looks like a mushroom forest, only it’s made from stone capped with snow. It seems that the area must have been a great cavern at one time, which collapsed, leaving remnants of the cave ceiling attached to natural stone pillars standing.  Exploring this area fully is tricky, due to the verticality and gaps between the “mushrooms” it is not easy to hop from one to the next.

I mill around a bit, looking for anything of interest, but apart from a few mushrooms, there’s very little that I can find.  I do keep running into icy lizals, though, who are annoying and I eventually grow tired of the area and decide to move on.

Moving back to the north, there’s areas I can see on the map at the very northern edge of the continent that look to be of interest, and I hike out there.  I end up finding a shrine and a few korok seeds, basically what I expected, as well as a few monster camps and a few wandering lizals in addition to the usual moose and wolves and wooly rhinos.  The mountain smooths out and eventually turns into a wide tundra field, where standing off in the distance I see the shrine, and a large structure which looks to be another labyrinth like the one I found in Gerudo, according to the map.

I take on the shrine first, as it’s nearer.  It’s a really simple puzzle; I have to use magnet power to lift a large steel block up on a track, to uncover a chest containing the key to the shrine master’s chamber.  To preven the block from falling and crushing me, I have to get it above two moving platforms, and then use the time stop ability to freeze the platforms so they give me a little extra time.

Between the shrine and the labyrinth, there’s a lynel patrolling the road, and so I give him a wide berth. I still don’t feel confident to fight them, and I’m not really looking to do battle, my mission is to explore.

The labyrinth contains another shrine in the center, just as the first one did, and solving this maze is a nice challenge. It’s not as large as the one near Gerudo desert, and I seem to have a bit easier time navigating around it.  Again, as with the previous maze, after a while I decide to get up on top of  the maze, and in the absolute center, directly above where the shrine is on the roof I find a chest containing 300 rupees.

I encounter some lizals and some of that evil eyeball goo, clear it, and eventually figure out how to get to the central chamber and access the shrine.  There’s a few other chests scattered about in various parts of the maze as well, and I find another meteor rod, which is nice to have in inventory when exploring the cold regions if you expect to do a lot of climbing.  With my climbing gear equipped, it enables me to scale the labyrinth walls more easily, and break the rules of the maze, which I don’t feel bad about.

Outside the labyrinth the round is barren, dead rock, but there is a single tree growing near the back end of the labyrinth, where I find another korok.

Out in the distance, I can see that I’m getting closer to the volcanic region that I have not yet set foot in, and Hyrule Castle is also looming closer, though still way off to the south.  I expect I’ll be finding some Gorons in the near future.

As night falls, I see the mysterious teal glow of the Lord of the Mountain off in the distance, and I put everything else on hold to try to get out to see if I can get to Satori Mountain in time. This time, I make it.  I transport to the nearby shrine on the mountain side, and run up to find the Lord of the Mountain there, with his retinue of glow bunnies. I try not to disturb them, but I can’t get very close without driving off all the glow bunnies. The Lord of the Mountain remains, though, and this time I just stand there and watch him from a respectful distance, to see what happens.  He doesn’t disappear by morning, and by noon we’re still standing there in the shadow of the cherry tree, looking at each other. It seems like a moment where time has frozen.  Nothing will happen, but perhaps he is waiting for me to do something.

I decide to try to ride the Lord of the Mountain, and, when his back is turned to me, I glide down and land on his back. He is apparently ride-able, but I don’t have enough stamina meter to tame him, and he throws me off, and then disappears.

I pick myself up and then warp back to the labyrinth again, hike one orbit around it to the north just to make sure I didn’t miss anything else, and finding nothing, head south down the rim of the high lands the labyrith is built on.  To my right, mountains, to my left a deep and vast chasm, that I cannot see the bottom of. 

The terrain here is a wasteland, it looks almost like a lava field where magma has flowed and cooled relatively recently, and nothing yet has started to grow upon it. But what seems like a road, or enough of a path to call a road, stretches out before me, and continues to the south and east, along the edge of the canyon.

I follow it for a distance, marching far, but mostly uneventfully, for several hours. There’s very little here to find.  Occasionally a moose, some wolves, or a fox, and little else.  I pass the night walking, and fight a couple of moblin skeletons who rise out of the ground.  One drops a Dragonbone Moblin Club, and one drops a Knight’s bow, which I pick up for my inventory. 

Eventually, I come across another lynel guarding the road ahead of me.  I sneak off to the side of the road, and, clinginging to the very edge of the canyon, sneak around it, keeping low and out of sight.  The road forks here, to the left it goes down and more northerly, while to the right it slopes more upward and to the south.  I take the south fork, and the terrain begins to change.  I start seeing large carved stoneworks that have an ancient look about them, and remind me of the Forgotten Temple area. Continuing forward, I eventually reach a wooden bridge, rather rudimentary in construction, heading into a wooded area.

As I cross it, suddenly it becomes pitch black dark, and I am greeted as though I have entered a shrine. Apparently there’s a shrine in this dark region that I must find. I spot a torch nearby, and, not wanting to ditch my nice weapons, decline to pick it up, and instead set my Dragonbone Moblin Club on fire, and plunge into the darkness.

Ahead of me, I find a few standing braziers, which I light with the torch.  I get about three or four braziers into the darkness when my club burns out, consumed by the flame. It is absolutely dark with barely any visibility, perhaps six inches or so around me, the glow coming off of my Sheikah slate, and it’s completely inadequate to see anything. I fumble about in darkness, and, applying my resourcefulness, I try various items in my inventory to see if anything will help:

I don my luminous armor suit form Gerudo Secret  Club, and I am able to see myself a bit better, but it doesn’t do much to illuminate my surroundings at all.  I try spawning a Sheikah bomb, which does cast a bit of a glow, less than a torch, though, but better than nothing.  Carrying it about, I’m able to just barely get around, and avoid running into walls, trees, and water, for the most part.  If I have to climb or swim at all, I can’t carry the bomb or torch, though, and it puts me back into darkness, which is very dangerous. There are also wolves, and great swarms of kees, and if I have to fight them off, I again risk either extinguishing or breaking my torch, and being plunged back into blackness. 

I find that the meteor rod that I picked up recently also glows a tiny bit when held, and when I actually use it, the fireballs that it shoots off light up things quite a bit — although, this is incredibly dangerous, as the meteor balls bounce around all over the place, sometimes coming back at me, and light everything they touch on fire.  I use it one time to ignite a brazier that I encounter, and then use the brazier to light a torch, which I go back and pick up, now that my burned up club has freed up a weapon slot in my inventory, and then try to explore as much as I can by torchlight.  

In certain parts of the dark region, I can hear a Hinox snoring, and I try to avoid it, but something tells me I’m going to need to deal with this Hinox in order to pass this challenge, one way or another.  Eventually, I get to a point in where I’ve ascertained that there seems to be a stone building of some sort, perhaps a temple or pyramid or ziggurat, which is semi-ruined, semi-standing, and somewhere in the area there’s this Hinox.  I find an area with a lot of flammable material — leaves and vines, and burn it away with the torch, and then I find a fire rod and a flame spear — neither of which I can spare an inventory slot for, so I leave them.

Near the vicinity of the fire rod, I find the Hinox. It a black one, and black as night, nearly impossible to see by the glow of my sheikah bomb.  Standing on top of a fallen stone pillar, I look around and can see a glowing orb, and by the rhythmic way it’s rising and falling it must be around the Hinox’s neck.  Scanning around a bit further, I spot the basin that the orb must be place in nearby.  I very carefully creep around the Hinox, until I find its hand,  and then climb onto it, and wait for it to put me on its chest.  

It’s impossible to see what I’m doing, and I fall off two or three times, but to my great fortune the Hinox remains sleeping.  I finally manage to get to where I can grab the orb, and then, hoping it will land quietly enough, I throw the orb onto the ground to the right, and then jumping off, coast to the ground. By some miracle, the Hinox is still sleeping.  I was sure that it would have awoken from that, but I’ve gotten quite lucky.

I pick up the orb, and walk it over to the basin, place it in, and then the ground starts rumbling as the shrine appears out from the ground.  Still the Hinox remains asleep.  I try to spawn a bomb so I can see the path between me and the shrine, and, forgetting that I had spawned and dropped a bomb earlier, this detonates the already-spawned bomb, which wakes the Hinox!

It wakes, and I can see its massive eye peering at me.  Somehow, it doesn’t manage to attack me, and I make it over to the shrine, climb up to it, and enter without having to fight. A stroke of luck.

The shrine gives me an Ancient Core, and a spirit orb, and, when I exit again, the Hinox is back to sleeping.  I thought that perhaps once I had cleared the shrine, the darkness that covers this area might have lifted.  But the area is still dark as pitch, and I don’t feel much like trying to explore this area any further, so I opt instead to transport back to the shrine at the labyrinth that I had just cleared earlier, and retrace my steps back to that fork in the road.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (58)

Having saved Rito village from the Divine Beast Vah Medoh, I decide to try to finish up a few of the quests in the area. There’s the mysterious “white bird” that you can supposedly see from the tall peak with the lone cedar tree. 

I transport to the shrine nearby the Flight Range, and hike the rest of the way up there. It is a pretty long trip, and not easy due to the mountainous and snowy terrain.

I get there and spend several game-hours waiting for that bird to show up. The first time I made it up to this peak, there was a large eagle that was flying in circles just northwest of the point the little girl Rito had told me about; I had tried to fly out to see if it was grab-able, or if I could shoot it down from mid-air, but I wasn’t skilled at that at the time, and failed.  I don’t see the bird again, and after waiting a considerably long time for it to show up, I get the impression that the bird I saw the first time wasn’t really the right bird.

Staring out over the landscape for many minutes, I eventually catch it out of the corner of my eye that there’s a land formation that looks like a bird in flight, if you look at it from just the right angle.  A snowy plateau, aligned just so, from this specific vantage point, looks like a bird.  On a hunch, I fly out in the direction of the bird, and as I get closer, I see that there’s a sheer cliff face on the side I’m approaching, and in the cliff face there’s a cave, with a shrine in it.  I land in the cave, and activate the shrine, and the “white bird” shrine quest is completed.

As long as I’m up here, I decide to scout around to see what else I can find up in the snowy mountains of Hebra.

It’s easy to get disoriented here. The terrain is very monochromatic, white snow covering grey rock and it seems the sky is perpetually grey and overcast, and it’s like twilight most of the time, and frequently snowing with low visibility.  The mountains are hard to climb and slow, since I have to wear my cold weather gear and can’t wear my climbing gear. At least I have the snow shoes back.

I get turned around a lot, trying to find ways around obstacles, and trying to make sure I explore thoroughly, seeing stuff from all angles, trying not to miss any hidden away corners with something good waiting for me.

Climbing out of the shrine cave, the plateau I’m on is covered with moose, it’s like a small herd of them.  Wildlife is especially plentiful up here. There are tons of moose, wolves, arctic fox, wooly rhino, and at least one bear, that I encounter.

I find many frozen treasure chests half-buried in snow, and occasionally I’ll find bomb-able rocks along the mountainside, which conceal something.  There are a lot of mineral deposits, and less common but still plentiful in certain spots are some wintery plants and mushrooms and insects.  I don’t bother with the insects, because you can only catch them if you’re sneaking and it’s too slow.  The insects are used in elixirs, and I don’t make much use of elixirs.  But they might also become useful in enhancing my clothing at the fairy ponds, so I should try to ensure I have at least a few on hand for that.

In the upper north west corner of the map, I find a shrine, and a korok seed.  A second shrine nearby keeps pinging, but I can’t find it.  I spend a very long time combing over the north face of the mountains looking, and don’t find it.  I don’t want to give up, because I don’t really want to return to this part of the world again once I’m done here, but I can’t find it.

After about two hours of futility, I give up on finding it myself, and cheat a little it by looking it up on the internet. This has got to be one of the hardest shrines to find in all of BOTW.  It is extremely well-hidden, deep inside the mountain, in a cave that requires an improbable sequence to discover on your own.

I actually almost had it completely by accident.  On my first approach up this mountain, I picked up the signal, and was looking for a shrine on the southeast face of the mountain, but couldn’t find it.  I had come to a ledge where there were a few giant snowballs, and so I pushed them off to see where they would go and what would happen but they just sort of went poof when they reached the bottom, and I didn’t really think much about it, and went over the mountain. If I had followed the snowballs down, I would likely have discovered the stone doors then, and possibly figured out how to open the doors on my own.

I came to a hot spring, where I as able to heal myself, and there was a cooking vessel there, so I lit a fire and cooked some meals and sat until morning, then went all the way to the northwest corner of the map and found the one shrine, then on the way back over the mountain I picked up the second signal.  

The signal I picked up on the north face was the same shrine as the one I was detecting from the southeast side, but the entrance is on the southeast side, and I could have spent forever there on the north side searching in vain if I hadn’t given up and cheated.

The solution involves a pair of stone doors built into the side of the mountain, which you’re supposed to knock open by rolling those giant snowballs down the hill.  But those snowballs won’t make it all the way to the door unless you create a bridge for them to roll over a hole, which is filled with water.  So you have to lay in two ice columns using the Cryonis power, then roll these snowballs down the hill, and if it hits the door just right, it’ll open and reveal a great cavern inside the mountain, and deep within the cavern there’s the shrine.

Also in the shrine, I find the Leviathan skeleton, so I take a picture, and then of course I climb the skeleton to look for possible korok seeds, and find one.

After that, I climb up a long, gentle slope, and at the top of it, I find another shrine.  but it’s one that I’ve already been to. Where am I?  Oh, it’s the cabin where the shield surfing pro lives! I had not been checking the map to see where I was, and somehow wandered all the way back up here!

I decide to try more shield surfing, and I pass the Novice course and then try the Advanced course.  She will give me a special shield if I do well enough on the Advanced course, but not if my shield inventory is full, which it is.  

So I quick-travel back to Hateno village and go to my house, and put some of my best shields away on the display case, and then return back to the slopes to see what kind of amazing shield I can win here.

They explain the course to me before I run, but it’s hard to follow as you’re going down, and easy to take a wrong turn. Somehow, I go way off course and end up falling down into some water, where I swim until the course timer gives up on me. I think it’s strange that the race trial lets you go off course and doesn’t just stop.  But I think that maybe the designers intended for the shield surfing challenge to provide a way to discover parts of Hebra that you probably wouldn’t find any other way. Certainly trudging through this snow is difficult, and I probably wouldn’t have been very inclined to spend a lot of time here or discover things.  Most of what’s here is not directly related to the main quest.  But there are tons of very good weapons to find here, and the shrines and korok seeds are always good to find.  You don’t need them to beat the game, though, and I could see players skipping much of this map since they don’t absolutely need anything here in order to beat the game.  But, by introducing the shield surfing course and giving it twists that can take you to different parts of the region by accident, the designers made this region way more fun to discover and more accessible than I would have initially given credit.  In my initial encounter with the surfing pro, I had assumed that these race challenges were unessential and a waste of time, for a meager reward.  And while the direct reward of a Soldier’s Shield is pretty meager, the incidental benefits of discovery are much better.

On another run, on the advanced course, I end up running into the stone doors that hid the shrine I spent hours looking for, and the instructor pro even warns me about this, cautioning me that it’ll hurt to crash there.  This is a brilliant way to clue in that the doors are there, and give the player a legitimate chance to discover them.  If it wasn’t for my stupid Sheikah slate pinging off the scale on the wrong side of the mountain, I very probably would have ended up discovering the hidden shrine all on my own, and felt like a genius for doing it.  Instead, I feel like a schmuck who had to cheat in order to figure it out.  Well, I put in a lot more time than I should have, and had run out of patience, and was well up the wrong tree.

I find the downhill course to be a bit difficult to relate to the map generally, though.  This is because you just appear there — You go to the pro’s cabin, talk to her, and then the action cuts to the starting point of the slope.  Thus, you don’t really have an understanding of how to get there, and this means that everything else is disconnected from your experience navigating around  the region.

I solve this by bringing up the map at the start of the race and planting a stamp at the starting point.  That’s when I realize that the course starts just by the shrine near the pro’s cabin, which even though I had just come up that way, I didn’t fully understand the geography.  But now, suddenly it all clicks and makes sense. It’s still an easy place to get lost or take a wrong turn, but at least now I am starting to get a sense of how the different interesting spots in this region are connected to each other.

There’s still a lot of crannies and chasms in this region, and I likely haven’t covered it all yet, but after exploring for about 4-5 hours I feel like I’ve gotten most of it, and at least the best parts that Hebra has to offer.

I had only mentioned the monster encounters passingly, and really I didn’t try to run into too many of them.  But the monsters up here are pretty strong — very well equipped, and more numerous, with larger groups hanging out in their camps, often 6-8 of them, and mostly moblins and lizals, and they’re equipped with some of the better weapons you can find in the game.

This gives the play more reason to come out to Hebra, to pick up strong weapons and shields.  They’re easily obtained through fighting monsters and taking their stuff, but there’s also a lot of chests to find that also hold powerful swords.

After passing the Advanced shield surfing course with a time of 1:50, the pro says I’m on a par with her best times, and she rewards me with a Soldier’s Shield, which isn’t a particularly strong shield, with less than half the defensive rating of the Knights shields I’ve been carrying in my inventory.

But it turns out it comes in pretty handy a bit later.  

I continue exploring the north coast of Hyrule, and find a couple of monster camps, which I skirt around and avoid, and a couple of korok seeds, which I grab, and then I pick up another shrine signal.

This one, I am able to find, and when I do, it’s in a partially covered cave-like region that is labeled “Pikida Stonegrove” on the map.

In this shrine, the first obstacle involves burning some dried out ivy that conceals an entry way into an adjacent chamber which opens up the rest of the tower.  There are open flames in the form of floor torches in this shrine, but I have no torch to light, nor any wooden weapons that I could ignite.  I could use fire arrows, but I don’t really want to waste them.  

That’s when I remember the description of the Soldier’s Shield mentions that it is built from wood, so is flammable.  I equip it, an hold it out and stand next to the fire for a few seconds,and it catches fire.  Then I catch fire.  But before I put myself out, I run over and get the ivy set on fire.

The rest of the shrine involves fighting a couple of those weak mini-guardians, which is super easy, and then a switch puzzle involving burning some wooden barrels that are just out of reach, sitting on a switch that is keeping the door to the next room that you need to go into closed. I shoot a fire arrow through a barred window, and light the barrels on fire, and when they finish burning they disappear, the switch flips, and the door opens.

I didn’t really talk about the other shrines that I found in Hebra; there were two Major Test of Strength combat trials.  I find these to be relatively easy now. I know how to fight the shrine guardians, I now know all their tricks and how to hit them and especially how to dodge. So they no longer present an especially difficult challenge, as long as I have a couple of powerful weapons, I can take them out.  If I screw up I might need to eat a meal.

The Pikida Stonegrove shrine is pretty near the border of Hebra, and I’m getting closer to the Tabantha region of the map, which I haven’t done much beyond unlocking the map to the region, so I’ve got a ton of exploration and discovery yet waiting ahead.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (57)

I found Thirsty Boi outside Gerudo town’s main gate by the place where you can grab a wild sand seal, and get the snow shoes back from him.  He takes the photo I took of the Eight Heroine’s sword as payment for them, and tries to ask me out on a date, and I say no.

There is a lot to be said about how this game depicts gender and relationships, and I don’t know that I’m the best qualified to do it, but this character, Bozai, who I deal with to get the shoes provides a teachable moment about how some boys will try to parlay a relationship as though it were some sort of transactional thing that is owed to them in return for their service in some capacity. This whole time, this guy has been… I don’t know what the correct way to read this is — he’s either muttering under his breath, so Link can hear what he’s planning in-game, or the dialog is providing me, the player with this character’s internal monologue, so that I can properly understand what’s going on in his head.  He is, in short, plotting to get Link, who he thinks is a Hylian woman when he is dressed in the Gerudo disguise, to become his girlfriend, by having conversations where he tries to set up a supposedly impossible task for Link to perform in return for his special shoes.  The plot fails because Link is a hero and can do these herculean feats that Bozai believes are impossible.  His plan, to get Link to waste is time questing after this impossible task, is supposed to result in them spending time together and getting to know each other so that he can win Links affection.  But when that doesn’t work, he has to live up to his end of the bargain and part with his special shoes, or else he would be dishonorable for breaking the agreement.  So then after all that, he tries to ask Link out on a date, and Link shoots him down before he can even finish the question.  Link never reveals his true identity or gender when in the Gerudo disguise.  In other parts of the game, Link is shown to be embarrassed by wearing women’s clothing, particularly when other characters in the game pay him a compliment, or when they reveal they can see through his disguise and know that he’s really a man.

I think the game leaves open to interpretation what to take away from this, but I don’t get the sense that this is a particularly “woke” game that would satisfy the SJW crowd.  In general, though, I don’t believe that it’s the purpose of a videogame to deconstruct gender norms, nor to enforce them, either.  The purpose of games is various:  to present a fun challenge, to entertain, to tell a story, and more. The art of storytelling in games can be used to tell stories that have a moral agenda of one stripe or another, and this can be done well or poorly, and you can agree with it or disagree with it or find yourself somewhere in the middle. 

I think an artfully told story doesn’t try to tell the reader what to think, but rather helps a reader to understand how characters feel in different situations, and thus come to a greater appreciation of what it is like to have those experiences. I don’t get the sense that this game is attempting to do that; I don’t get a sense that there’s a particular agenda in the game with regard to making some kind of statement about gender.  But it is certainly using gender as device in storytelling.

Whether it’s doing this for an agenda, or whether it’s doing so particularly well or poorly isn’t my main interest. But that it’s doing so at all is interesting, and there’s a lot that could be said about it by someone who wished to focus on how gender is depicted and used in the game as a play mechanic and story telling device. 

I don’t think it’s my place to tell others how to feel about the game, but I’d be very interested to hear from others how they did feel about various depictions of gender in the game.  For myself, I sometimes feel somewhat uncomfortable with what I see happening in the game. Certain things feel a bit… simple.  Like how many characters in the game talk about what they think it must be like to fall in love, or how wonderful being married is.  Some of these characters are children, and probably should be expected to have a somewhat childish understanding of these things.  Some of them are young men or women, and thus have less actual experience but have opinions based on what they’ve apparently been told while they were growing up. There are even a few elderly characters in the game who talk about the life they’ve lived, and how it differed from what they had hoped it would be. There’s very occasionally some wisdom in their words, but it’s not particularly deep — kinda obvious stuff, really.

It’s hard for me to put a finger on it exactly to explain what my reaction is, much less why I feel that way.  At times I do feel a bit icky about it.  But I’m not sure if this is because the story tellers are icky, or if it’s because they’re portraying a world which has a lot of icky people in it who have icky ideas about gender and love, which don’t really speak in any compelling way to my sensibilities as someone who has lived the sum of my life’s experiences.

I don’t really know how to conclude this sidebar. I keep finding myself having these moments in the game where I feel a bit weird about what characters say to me.  But then, I also feel weird about people in real life saying to me what they think about. I dunno; maybe it’s just me.

In video game dialog trees, you typically only have 2 or three options for how to respond to anything anyone says to you, and often all the conversational branches converge at the end to the same conclusion, and there’s not even much of an illusion of non-linearity or of choice.  I think that’s part of it, too.  Like, I could have paragraphs of conversation with some of the characters I run into, where I might variously lecture them on something I think they ought to know or think about, or where I might just ask them questions.

But really this is a game about climbing up high in a beautiful natural setting while finding stuff that makes you feel kindof glad you bothered to go up that mountain or whatever, even though the view itself is honestly worth it, and occasionally hitting things with a sword or other weapon, or manipulating physical objects with various magico-physical properties.  And regardless of what kind of attitude someone in one of the towns is expressing about gender or romance, I’m not really going to let it affect how I’m feeling about the core game, because it’s not terribly relevant to that.  I’m like, “Whatever, village person, I’m not here to talk to you about men and women, and I don’t really care what you think; I’m here to save the world from evil.”  But then they go and say something, and I’m like, “Sigh.  This is the world that I am saving, and I am still going to save it. But please stop talking.”

Anyway, that’s an awful lot of words for not having really said very much about a topic within the game that I think could be talked about a great deal, but not because it’s all that terribly relevant to the actual game, but because it’s pretty interesting how the game intersects with the culture that produces games like this.

Well, then.

I take my snow boots and travel back up into the Gerudo Highlands to try to find more shrines and korok seeds and such.  And I do find a lot of those things.  This part of the world has a lot of octorocks who have disguised themselves as treasure chests, so wherever you find a semi-hidden treasure chest in the ground, odds are about 50-50 that it’s actually an octorock, and not a chest with a nice sword or gem or some rupees.

As I slowly make my way east toward the central Gerudo Highlands, I see a circle of stones on a ledge below me, where I know I’ll find another korok seed if I can find a stone to complete the circle.  Only, I cant find the stone right away.  And as I’m looking for it, I notice that same odd glow off in the distance, that I know now is associated with the Lord of the Forest.  

I’m super hyped to see the Lord of the Forest again, so I instantly drop what I’m doing, and pull out the telescope and pin the spot on the map where the glow is coming from.  And this time, it’s not Satori Mountain.

This spikes my level of intrigue up to maximum, and I teleport to the nearest hub to the location I pinned; it’s in an area I really haven’t explored much yet; a bit north of Mount Lanayru.  I am anxious that I probably will not be able to make it to the spot before the night ends, and will miss out on whatever this glow is.

As it turns out, I don’t make it in time.  The terrain is unfamiliar, and very difficult to cross quickly, and it’s dark and it’s raining on top of that.  But as I’m getting close, still about half way from the Tower that I had warped to and the pin on the map, I see a shooting star fall from the sky.  The meteor falls not exactly near, but not all that far from the location of the pin where I spotted the glow.  So I change course slightly, and go to retrieve the meteorite. These are some of the rarest finds in the game, and they seem to be needed for some of the fairy augmentations for my gear, and in close to 200 hours of play I’ve seen only a handful, and retrieved only one of those, so I’m not about to let this one get away.

I charge toward the meteorite site hard and relentless, and make it there.  It’s embedded itself in the side of a cliff, and just as I’m getting to within about 50 yards or so of it, it tumbles down the cliff, and lands in the water of this river that I’ve been more or less following from Lanayru Tower.  This makes it easier for me to get to, so I’m grateful, I jump down and grab it.

As I was heading to this spot, my Sheikah slate detected a shrine, so once I retrieve the meteorite, I backtrack and try to find it, and do so after a little bit of searching.

This shrine reminds me of the shrine that I found a few weeks ago, that was surrounded by a maze of flowers that a Hylian woman had planted around it, and I wasn’t allowed to step on. This time, though, it’s thorny spikes that look like they’ll damage me if I touch them, so I don’t. I think it’s a neat bit of design that they had a “pleasant” version of this challenge introduced to me before the “mean” version of it.

The shrine itself is really cool.  There’s a cube floating in mid-air in the room, and on four faces it has torches, one of which is lit.  One face of the cube is blank, and the remaining cube face has a fountain of water.  The cube is hovering over a shallow pool of water, and on two opposite sides of the cube there are walls bracketing the cube, where there are two additional torches.  There’s a three-way switch hovering in the air near me that I can use to twist the cube along its X, Y, and Z axis, and thereby I am required to make all five torches that are not yet lit, lighted.  This is possible by using the first fire to ignite the torches on the bracketing walls, and then further rotations of the cube an get the remaining unlit torches lit.  It’s tricky due to the water below, which will put out any fire if it it ends up being on the bottom face of the cube, or if the fountain is rotated toward one of the lit torches on the bracketing walls, they will also go out.

It’s easy to cheat this one with flame arrows, as the shrine does not actually care how they were lit, but the intended solution only requires a little bit of forethought.  There are also two chests high on wooden shelves along the rear wall, and I bring those down with a fire arrow, burning the wooden platforms away to cause the chests to fall to the floor where I can get to them.

After clearing the shrine, I try to make my way back to where I had pinned on the map for the strange glow I’d spotted the night before.  This is difficult because of the terrain, needing to cross the river, and the fact that it is raining non-stop for some reason. In the end I just transport back to Lanayru Tower and hike from there.  When I get to where I had pinned, I find an abundant number of wildlife creatures — deer and boar, mostly, hanging around the area still.  On the rock wall of a cliff nearby is some old carving, like a giant plaque.  I read it, and it gives some backstory about the Zora.  I’m not sure what the connection is between this story and the glow I observed from the night before, but it could be just a coincidence.  Or not.  Maybe I’ll find out one day, or maybe not, but right now there seems to be no answer.

I decide to return to Rito village and take on Vah Medoh. To get started, I’m supposed to find one of the Rito soldiers at the Flight Archery course, but I haven’t seen him there.  It turns out that I needed to talk to his wife in the village first; I find her and do this, and then she tells me to take off from a specific point and it’s a straight shot to the Flight Archery range.  

I take off, and it’s actually a straight shot to the stables.  Since I’m there, I talk to the old man who wanted the Goron spice to make curry dishses with, and give him some curry that I purchased from a woman at the Serenne Stables when I was there to show the scientists the photo I took of the Gerudo Leviathan.  He thanks me and gives me some rupees, and talls me how to make my own curry dishes with Goron Spice.

I take Horsey out from the stables and we ride up the road to the archery range.  I’m not sure why I’m doing this, as I’ve already unlocked the shrine right next to the flight range, but I figure maybe there’s some scripted story event that I’ll miss if I don’t go this way, so I go with the flow.  Nothing special happens, though, and I get to the range, and there’s my dude, Teba.  He wants me to prove myself first, so I have to pass the archery challenge by hitting 5 targets in 3 minutes.  I’ve practiced this some already, and it’s very easy, I do it in well under 3 minutes.

Teba is impressed and we quickly “hatch” (lol) a plan for taking on Vah Medoh.  He flies me up there and drops me in the sky to glide, and while he distracts the gun turrets of Vah Medoh, I’m supposed to take them out, targeting them with bomb arrows.  Teba gives me an additional 20 bomb arrows, and I’ve bought a ton of these recently, so I have over 110 now.  But I only have 15 normal arrows, so I need to buy more before we can take this on.  

I quick-travel to Kakariko and Hateno villages, and buy out all their stock of normal arrows, but that only amounts to around 45. I hope it’ll be enough.

I return to Teba, and we take on Vah Medoh.  Taking out the turrets is very easy. I really have the knack for gliding and then switching to target with the bow, and then switching back to glide.  It seems that the game refills my stamina meter if I ditch my glider and then re-up it. Without this, it’d be just about impossible to do this part of the mission.

I take out the four turrets, and this brings down a magical energy shield that protected Vah Medoh, and prevented us from getting in.  Teba is injured in the leg, and can’t continue the mission, so has to drop back, leaving me to finish this myself.

I land on Vah Medoh, and the general idea is the same as for Vah Naboris.  There are several switches that I need to get to and activate, and then I can activate the main switch and regain control over the Divine Beast, and, I’m sure, fight another boss.  Complicating this are puddles of evil eyeball goo, and inconvenient platforms, machinery, and floorplanning.

I manage to access the first four switches, but the last one, in the tip of the left wing, seems to be a trick to get to.  There doesn’t seem to be any way to walk to it.  It’s in the wing tip, in a round hub at the bottom.  I head to the lower deck of the Beast, and there’s a doorway leading to the exterior, where there is a walkway that I can get to where I can see the chamber where the final switch is, from the outside, and it looks like there should be an extensible walkway that would allow me to walk the rest of the way, but it’s not there, and there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism to deploy it.

I give the matter some thought, and realize that the answer is to angle the wing of Medoh so that the tip is lower, which will allow me to glide to it.  I do this, and it’s a simple matter to just glide across. I activate the switch, then tilt the wings the other way, glide back across, and get back into the main body of Medoh.

I get onto the dorsal surface of the body, and activate the main switch, which triggers the boss fight. This boss is called Windblight Ganon, and I find it is an easier fight than the one against Thunderblight Ganon in Vah Naboris.  This boss doesn’t seem to use melee attacks, and doesn’t like to get close.  It teleports and flies, and it fires scary looking energy blasts at me, but I find they don’t do much damage at all.  I take more damage in the fight from falling when I run out of glide stamina than I do from Windblight Ganon.

The pattern is to ride an updraft high enough to hit him more easily with an arrow, and nail him, ideally in the central eye, and dodge his blasts.  If you hit him square in the eye, he’ll fall to the ground, momentarily stunned, and then you can open up on him.  I do this about twice, and he’s down to half his life energy, and starts flying higher and shooting more.  I find that his fire is easy enough to dodge as long as I don’t stand still, which is not a problem.  When I fly up, I’m able to nail him with 2-3 arrows per flight, and sometimes I can resume gliding and catch the wind again and hit him more times.  He only gets stunned and falls to the the ground two or three times, though, and I’m only able to get to him to do melee damage on him two of those times.  Toward the end, he starts charging up what looks like a super-blast, and I don’t know if I can dodge this or not, so to bring it home I switch to bomb arrows and plug him with 4-5 or so, bringing him down. 

I defeated him on the first try.

After the fight, I return to Rito village, where Vah Medoh perches on the top of Rito village, and fires a laser beam at Hyrule Castle.  I talk to the owl chieftan of the Rito, and he gives me an awesome bow, which I am sure going to be sad about breaking.  It fires triple shots, and has a high attack rating and rate of fire. I hope I don’t waste it on unworthy enemies.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (56)

I look around Gerudo town for the thirsty boy with my snow shoes, but I can’t find him.

I give up looking for him for the time being, and try to figure out what’s going on with the girl who sits on the top of the wall eating melons all day and all night. All she tells me to do is go away.  I notice she drops her melon rinds into a fountain river. The desert town of Gerudo is strangely wasteful when it comes to their public water works.  The water flows from a tower at the top of the city through a series of aqueducts that run along the city walls through open channels and a system of waterfalls. It’s very beautiful.  The melon girl drops her melon rinds into the city water system and they float down stream like a little boat. I decide to follow the boat to see where they lead to. They end up going down a waterfall into a dead-end where there is nothing.  Sometimes during the day, a little girl playing in this part of town tells me that she is planning to start growing a garden here, but she doesn’t know what to plant.  Maybe she should try planting melons?  I don’t get it.

I go to the Gerudo Secret Club and buy the luminous suit. I find out that your inventory for clothing expands to a new page, so the two empty slots I thought I have is really more than that. I wonder if it will expand again if I fill it the rest of the way. I don’t know what this suit even does, but it sure looks cool. I imagine it must have some special effect at night, beyond just glowing I mean.

I decide I’m ready for more adventure, so I take a trip back out to the western Gerudo Highlands, and do some more exploring.  I get back to the area where the last shrine I found was located, and kill more bokoblins, and cook some meals at a cooking pot they have, and then sit by the fire until morning. Then I ride the updraft to the top of the mountain and explore up there.  It’s a fairly wide, flat open plain up there, with a lot of snow, and what looks like a frozen river channel cutting through it.  I find a number of chests in the frozen ground and open them to find rupees, gems, weapons, the usual stuff.

Then, I hear the familiar music that plays whenever the great dragon Farosh is near. I see him and he’s very near.  He’s so close I could probably hit him with a weapon twice as long as a typical spear if I wanted to.  The dragon never seems to be hostile toward me, and just minds his own businsess, so I’ve never attacked him.  I figured he must have about a million hit points and would kill me easily regardless of what I did. But I’m aware that I’m supposed to get a scale from him somehow, as part of the shrine quest at the Spring of Courage in the jungle zone of Faran. So, figuring it’s worth a shot, I take aim and shoot at Farosh with my bow, and hit him.  Something flies off of him, like a shooting star, and lands nearby.  Farosh pays me no mind, and continues flying, unbothered.  I run over, and find a scale — just what I’ve been needing for many weeks.

Also up here on the mountaintop, there’s a white and black Lynel, who looks like a zebra, patrolling part of the mountain plain.  Nearby, there’s a burly looking moblin standing guard near an immense rock statue of a sword, that looks like it belongs to the Eighth Heroine statue nearby.  I snap a picture of them, and then kill the moblin, who drops a heavy claymore sword.

I decide that since I have the dragon scale, I should try to complete the shrine quest at the Spring of Courage. But before I go do that, I decide to go to the Fairy pond at Kakariko village and get my clothing augmented as much as possible, and pick up some fairies.  I’m in luck — there’s four fairies and I catch them all. It turns out that the Fairy at Kakariko can boost a lot of my clothes, and I have a bunch of the materials needed to do it, so I max out just about everything, with the exception of the two necklaces that I bought at Gerudo town, and the luminous suit, which I upgrade but not fully. I need some stuff that I don’t have or don’t have enough of to upgrade it further.

I transport to the shrine on the south peak of Dueling Peaks mountain, which is just north of the Serpent’s Mouth area where the Spring of Courage is, and head South and downhill. Along the way, I find two or three more korok seeds.  

I make it down to the Shrine of Courage, and kill the moblin standing guard here. The first time I cleared out this area, I had to do it from long range, hitting the moblin with many arrows to bring him down.  This time I just drop in from above and beat him to death with a DMC, and it’s easy.   The Moblin Club knocks him down and I’m on him again before he can recover and get back to his feet, and he doesn’t do a bit of damage to me. 

I go to the statue at the Spring of Courage temple, and it tells me the same thing it always has, to offer the Scale of Farosh to the Spring of Courage. I go to my inventory and pull out the scale and hold it, and nothing happens.  I try putting it down, and it takes a couple of tries to find the right place to make the offering, but eventually it clicks and the quest is complete; a shrine is revealed behind a secret door at the back of the Spring of Courage temple, and I go in and claim my spirit orb.

Now that I know a thing or two about Farosh, I decide to try going back to Mount Lanayru to see if I can figure out what’s going on with the dragon who is sick on top of the mountain there.

I transport to Hateno village, first, and talk to a man in the village who seems to be a simple farmer. But when I go to the Quests menu on the pause screen, and select the quest for the Spring of Wisdom, it tells me to go to Hateno, and the point indicated on the map is where this dud gardens.  So I talk to him, and he tells me about Lanayru, but nothing particularly interesting or useful. I’m pretty sure I talked to him way back when, about a month ago in real time, and couldn’t get much of a clue out of him, other than Lanayru was a place I should go explore.

Well, I guess I’ll go explore then.  I transport to the one shrine I’ve found on the mountain, and hike the rest of the way.  It’s difficult with snow boots, but I get there eventually.  Along the way, I find another korok seed puzzle, but I am unable to solve it because I can’t run fast enough without having my snow boots.  Dammit, thirsty creeper dude, gimme my shoes back!

When I get back to the Spring of Wisdom, the Dragon Naydra looks worse than I remember.  He is covered with the evil looking purple goo that I’ve seen before, and now recognize from having seen it in various places:  covering Hyrule Castle, in the Divine Beast Vah Naboris, and in the great Gerudo Labyrinth and some of the shrines there.  Now, I am also noticing that the goo is covered with eyeballs, which, as I’ve learned from my adventures around Hyrule, You Need To Shoot Eyeballs With Arrows.

These eyeballs are particularly big.  I nock an arrow, and loose it at the nearest eyeball.  This stirs Naydra to action, and he takes flight, circling Lanayru peak.  I manage to hit another eyeball, and then he changes course, flying higher and it’s too far to reach with a bow shot effectively.  I have to lead and elevate, and it’s too windy and Naydra’s movement too unpredictable to make an accurate shot.  I could get lucky, but it’s probably less than a 1% chance I’ll hit with anything. I try, maybe a dozen times, and am down to about 20 arrows or so, when I notice that the winds on Lanayru peak are blowing upward, like the updrafts that I’ve ridden in around Rito and Gerudo Highlands.  So I jump up and catch the wind in my glider, and take to the sky, and this gets me close enough to Naydra again that I’m able to make an easy shot from mid-air.  I hit two more eyeballs, and then he flies further away, down the mountain away from me.  I pursue, but lose the updraft, and am running low on stamina.  I use the last bit of it to hit the final eyeball, flying in very close to make sure I get a good shot at it.  I hit it, and fortunately the game goes to a cutscene, and I don’t need to make the landing.  I’m back at the goddess statue at the Spring of Wisdom, and it instructs me to fire a ceremonial arrow into the body of Naydra.  This yields a scale, which I’m then instructed to offer at the spring, just as I did a short time ago at the Spring of Courage.  This unlocks another secret door where I find another temple, and get another spirit orb.

Cool.  That’s two major, long-standing side quests completed in less than an hour.

I decide to go to the Serenne Stable next to show the photo of the Gerudo Leviathan skull to the scientist there who wants to see it.  He thanks me, but I guess the other three scientists want to see theirs first before I’ll get anything for this.  Ok, fine.

Pikango is at Serenne Stable and tells me to go southwest to a point north of Hyrule Castle, and I can unlock another memory photo.  I try to find it, but don’t know quite where to look yet.  I decide I should try instead to unlock the map for this region, which means taking a long hike to the East to get to the tower.  I don’t meander to explore much, and try to take as direct a route as I can to the tower.

As I get closer, the terrain becomes increasingly war-torn, and bokoblins and moblins and lizals become increasingly plentiful.  I avoid fighting as much as possible, and keep my focus on getting to the tower and activating it.

As I get closer,  I see the way will be difficult. There’s a swamp surrounding the tower, which I can’t swim in, and so I have to traverse it by playing “the floor is lava” with a series of enemy fortification towers and piers.  I guess they built seige works in this area for the battle 100 years ago, and the remnants are rotting away in this swamp, making for a viable route to get to the tower, albeit a bit of an obstacle course.  And this one has a few monsters patrolling.

I fight two or three lizals, two moblins, two bokoblins, and a red wizzorobe, who drops a fire rod, which is the next weapon that I needed for the Hateno village sidequest involving the young boy who is interested in weapons.  So I grab it, and sacrifice a Knight’s Claymore from my inventory in order to do so — the Knight’s Claymore has an attack rating of 38, the fire rod has a damage rating of 5.  So that’s how dedicated I am to completing my side quests.

I need to find a way to the tower, and after scoping around the swamp, I see that the best route for me appears to be to climb to a geographical high point, and then glide from there to a wooden tower in the water, and climb it, and take a little bridge across to another wooden tower, climb it, and then glide to the Sheikah tower.  Something in the swamp below is electrifying the water, I assume a yellow lizal in the water, and when I get closer that turns out to be exactly what it is.  

I don’t want to directly fight my way up the tower, so I just hit it with a freeze arrow, and then run away out of its range of vision, hoping to climb the rock that I need to glide from to get to the tower, where I should be high enough to be safe from the lizal.  

Just then, it starts raining, so for the next two hours in game time I’m unable to climb the rock to glide and carry this plan out. I spend the time looking around, but visibility isn’t great as it’s raining and dark out.  But down below I do see what appears to be a new species of fish in a river that runs past the swampy region around the tower.  I don’t get close enough to identify them as it would involve climbing and it’s raining.

Eventually the rain subsides, and I glide to the wooden tower.  I knock out a bokoblin who is waiting for me there, then climb and ahead of me I see a strong-looking, well-armed moblin.  I hit him with an ice arrow, intending to just run past, but as I do I lose control over the camera, can’t see the ground, and accidentally run off the bridge and fall into the swamp, and “soft-die”, which respawns me, minus a couple of hearts, at the point where I fell from, which happens to be right next to the moblin, who is thawing.  

OK fine.  So I equip my Guardian Axe++, an attack rating 60 weapon, and do a charge attack on the moblin, which also triggers my Urbosa’s Vengeance attack, and this is enough to one-shot the moblin, as well as a bokoblin who was on the next level above me on the wood tower.  I collect their loot drops, and then glide to the map tower, and climb it, and activate it.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (55)

I want to find the statue of the Eighth Heroine so I can get the sand boots, even though I’m basically done with the sandiest part of Hyrule. I still haven’t found anyone in Gerudo who knows anything about it, and I am pretty sure I’ve talked to everyone in town multiple times, and at various times of day. There’s the one Gerudo woman who climbed up on to the city walls in order to be away from everyone so she can eat melons all day, but she is not interested in talking to me, and just tells me to go away.  Who knows what her deal is, but I don’t seem to get anything out of her.

I guess I should look further in the desert and hope that I come across it, then.  I comb the desert to the northwest of Gerudo town and find 4 or 5 more korok seeds, and a couple of treasure chests with rupees, and hopefully have cleared out the entire desert pretty well by now.  I had only been up through this area once before, during the shrine quest with the statues pointing at the shrine, and visibility was very poor then, so I’m not surprised to find more korok seeds that I had missed previously, but I don’t find the Eighth Heroine.  I was hoping I might due to all the small statues. I haven’t counted them all, and I ran out of map stamps to mark their locations, but there must be over two dozen of them.  I visit as many as I can, and look to see if any of them is pointing a direction other than toward the shrine, but they all are pointing to the shrine, at least as far as I can tell.  Unless I missed one, maybe. I’ve been pretty thorough, but there are a lot of them.

When I get to the far north end of the desert, there’s a a tall cliff that serves as the natural border between Gerudo Desert and the Gerudo Highlands.  I’ve been up this way only through the valley, which is east of where I’m at now, and I haven’t been up through the west part of this area at all, so I decide to try to climb the cliffs. They are very tall, but I have some additional stamina capacity from a potion I drank a while back to heal during the fight with Thunderblight Ganon, and I use up most of that getting to the top. I don’t know if it was really worth it or not, but it got me where I wanted to go.

It’s cold up here, and all of my fire-based weapons have been used up, except for my fire arrows, but with my cold weather gear equipped I’m OK.  It’s snowy, so I use the snow boots that I got from the creepy pickup artist guy who runs laps around Gerudo town to impress the ladies.  Exploring a bit, I find a couple of korok seeds, eventually bringing my total up to 180, and then I detect a shrine nearby.  I walk in the general direction towards the shrine signal, but don’t see it, until I come to the edge of a cliff, and it’s there, down below.  I glide down and activate it, and enter.

This is another Major Test of Strength combat trial, and in this shrine there are no pillars to hide behind, making this a bit tougher than many of the others I’ve faced. I am equipped with many strong weapons and have plenty of bomb arrows, though, so am not worried. I equip my best armor, including my new diamond necklace that protects against Guardian attacks, and step into the arena

I fight the guardian, and it’s tough.  I break several weapons, but my defensive skills have improved.  I have learned a  lot of ways to avoid the attacks, now, and I remember most of them.  When it does the spinning attack charge move on me, I manage to get my shield up and deflect the blow, which is a first.  I do take a couple of hits from its weapons, and am revived by a fairy, and then eat a meal to recover my full health to continue the fight.  I figure out how to get out of the way of its attacks, and get back in to hit it with an attack of my own when it gives me the opportunity.  Its timing is not that fast, and it’s very regular, and there are significant time gaps where I can get in quickly, strike, and get back out of the way.  I can also bring up my shield and parry at the right time, and get in an extra few attacks.

Like other shrine Guardians, when this one is reduced to below about half of its life energy, it changes its attack pattern, becoming a bit more dangerous.  It starts a spinning laser attack that generates a lot of wind.  I stand off and attack from a safe distance with bomb arrows, but they don’t do great damage and it takes a lot of them to put it down.  Eventually, it switches from the spinning laser to a more powerful charged laser shot, which is easy to dodge if I listen for the queue and run at the right time.  But just once I try blocking it with my shield, and it destroys the shield in one hit, and then the follow-up blast hits me, dropping me for about 2/3 of my total health. I manage to get back to my feet, and just dodge the blasts after that, which is much better.  I finish it off with another series of bomb arrows.

I pick up all the loot it drops, and get 100 rupees from a chest in the shrine master’s chamber, and then get my spirit orb.

Exiting the shrine, I continue further north, up a snow-filled valley.  There are a couple of ice Lizals, and I kill them with fire arrows to be as efficient as possible. They are well armed and appear to be wearing armor, so my melee attacks aren’t as effective on them, and I don’t want to break a lot of weapons fighting them. The fire arrows kill them in one shot, and are definitely the way to go.

I find an empty, apparently abandoned skull cave, and spot a treasure chest inside. When I go to open it, I’m suddenly surrounded by ice chuchus, but I quickly lob a bomb and kill half of them, then get out of the way of the others, turn around, and hit the remaining ones with another bomb, and escape without getting frozen or taking damage. I forget what it was in the chest, I think a decent weapon, but I’m so well equipped at this point that weapons aren’t my biggest concern right now.

A little bit past the skull cave, I come to a place where I find a couple more korok seeds.  There’s a bombable rock formation that when I clear it, creates a strong updraft which I can use to glide up to the top of an adjacent rock formation.  As I get clear of the top of the rock, I see a couple of bokoblins who seem to be messing about with a block of stone that I’ve seen many times in korok puzzles.  I touch down and fight them, defeating them both easily and then carry the block a ways until I find the puzzle where it fits, and complete it to earn my korok seed. I find another seed nearby, as well.

Just a little further north, I get to the end of the snow valley.  We’re still at high altitude, and end of this valley drops off suddenly, creating a long slope where it looks like shield surfing would be ideal.  Here is where I discover the location of the Eighth Heroine statue.  I take a  picture of it, and investigate the area to see if there’s any good stuff hidden about, but don’t really find anything. 

 I could go further, but I decide to teleport back to Gerudo town and get my sand boots.  I find the thirsty boy jogging around the city, and show him my photo, and he gives me the shoes, but then he asks for his snow boots back.  There’s no option to refuse, so I have to return them.  This is super annoying because I don’t really need the sand shoes, and I have a lot more mountainous snowy territory to cover with those boots!

I hope I can get them back somehow, permanently.  I consider reverting back to my previous restore point, but before I do that I decide to cheat a bit and google the answer to whether I can get them back.  It turns out I can, so OK, I don’t need to restore and forget about completing this quest.  I don’t look into the precise details on how to get the boots back, but he mentioned that he would be going to stay in a tent nearby, so I guess I’ll have to visit him there and see what he wants.  Maybe he’ll sell them to me, or I can bargain with him and trade boots back and forth for whatever I want at the moment, or maybe there’ll be another quest for me.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (54)

I guess it turns out that if you’re at the extreme southern edge of the map in Gerudo, it kicks up a fierce sandstorm so that you can’t see any further ahead, and thus hides the boundary zone.

Reversing course, then, I move northward, and explore the eastern edge of the desert, looking for any more korok seeds and shrines that I might have missed.  It’s very sparse, but I still find two or three koroks, but no additional shrines.

I pass through the desert on a course that takes me to the area just south of the big labyrinth, and I climb up to explore the southern plain, and I encounter two fully functional Guardians, who I destroy, and one disabled but functioning Guardian, who I also destroy, picking up a lot of ancient technology parts in the process.

There are many natural stone towers throughout this area, and I climb most of them just to check to make sure there’s no koroks hiding up there. Then I make my way back down south, gliding to where there’s a triad of skull-caves.  These are barely inhabited, just 3-4 lizals altogether, which is strange.  Why so few?  They are well equipped, but weak, shooting fire arrows at me, I opt to not take any chances, and return fire with ice arrows, which one-shots them.  Two of them drop bundles of 5 fire arrows, so I end up with a net gain of special ordinance.

One of the skull caves has a rock block puzzle that unlocks a korok — the first time I’ve ever encountered a korok seed in a monster’s lair.  It seems wrong and unnatural to find it here.

To the south are the ruins of Gerudo desert’s eastern Barrens again, and I can pass through one more time on the way to the sand seal race course.  Doing so, I find one or two additional korok seeds, bringing my total up to 148.  It’s a long, slow slog through the desert due to the sand, and I don’t have a seal nearby to help make it faster, but this just means I can be a bit more thorough in searching the wastes.

I reach the sand seal race course by morning, and sign up to try to beat the record. They don’t really tell me or show me the course, so I take the challenge blind on the first try, and almost but don’t quite make it, blundering off course about 3/4 of the way through.  The second time, I almost complete it, but go about 10 seconds over the 1:30 time to beat due to the sand seal suddenly veering off course just at the very end of the race.

I try several more times over the course of the next hour, getting increasingly frustrated at the difficulty I’m having controlling the seal. Eventually, I realize that what’s happening is that the seal controls use the gyroscopic sensors, and if I hold the gamepad completely level, the seal is very easy to control, but if I incline the controller so that the top of the controller is vertical, it causes the seal to be extremely prone to turning on its own, making huge wide turns that I overcorrect, and often just going in  a huge circle for no reason, like the world’s dumbest racing seal. I thought at first that the difficult controls were part of the challenge, but when I discover that I just need to hold the gamepad level, I complete the race easily, ten seconds under time.  Victory unlocks another shrine, where I get a nice shield (but can’t use it, my inventory is full) and a spirit orb.

I now have 6 spirit orbs, so I go to the goddess statue in Gerudo and cash in four of them for another heart container, giving me a total of 14.

There’s a few more things I am supposed to do, or I guess can optionally do, but aren’t really essential to the main adventure.  There’s a woman who sits on the walls of the town at night eating melons. I don’t know what her deal is, but they were talking about her in the cantina, and so I went up to talk to her, but she told me to go away.  I wonder if I revealed myself to be a voe if that would change her reaction.  A few people in Gerudo have told me they know that I’m male, but that they will keep my secret confidential, so I’m not sure what would happen if I just took off the disguise and started walking around.  There are some Gorons in town, and one of them looks male, I’m not sure, but later this is confirmed when I talk to Traysi, the person who writes the “Rumor Mill” publication that I find here and there, mentions that male Gorons don’t seem to have a problem getting into Gerudo.  Maybe times are changing and they’re relaxing the strict women-only tradition?

The guy who runs laps around the town’s outer walls still won’t give me his sand shoes.  He says something about an 8th heroine statue that I’m supposed to photograph for him, and that someone in the town knows more about it, but I can’t find anyone who will tell me anything about it.  Where the Gerudo soldiers practice, I see a statue that looks a bit like the 7 Heroines that I found out in the desert, only not nearly as massive, and I try taking a picture of it, but this doesn’t seem to be the solution to that puzzle.

I spend a long time going about town talking to people at different times of day, but don’t get anywhere.

Maybe if I can’t figure out what else to do, I should go back north to Rito village and see if I can conquer their divine beast.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (53)

While in Gerudo, I bought the diamond necklace that protects against Guardian attacks for 1500, and then cleaned out the arrow shop of everything they had in stock. Their prices on arrows were too good to pass up.  I spend over half my rupees, but it’s worth it. Well, I hope so.

Then I figure out how to eavesdrop on the bar in Gerudo, where the three women are talking about the secret club but wouldn’t tell me the password.  I hear them say the password through the wall of the apartment next to the pub, and head over and try to get in. I’m successful, and it’s another clothing shop.  They sell Gerudo-designed men’s clothing here, and they have a special suit made with luminous material that looks a skeleton.  I would like to buy it, but I don’t have enough inventory slots to get it without getting rid of something else.  This annoys me, since I have a house, back in Hateno, I should be able to keep stuff there, and not have to worry about running out of slots, and eventually get one of everything in the game, but apparently the design philosophy is not to allow this.  So maybe I’ll buy it one day, or maybe I never will, but it’d be nice if I could figure out what it is useful for, and then get it if I really need it.  I’m sure everything in the game has a purpose, and will be worthwhile for entertainment value if nothing else, but right now I don’t want to spend all my money and give up something that I know is useful in my inventory right now in order to get something that looks pretty cool, but I don’t know what it’s for.  I don’t mind that the game limits what you can carry on you, but you really ought to be able to stash useful stuff somewhere.

I decide to head out into the desert and check out the southwest corner of the desert.  It turns out to be a worthwhile expedition.  I hike a very long way out into the wastes.  Before very long I encounter the Muldorm, a whale-sized slug-like burrowing monster that can sense vibrations in the ground and is attracted to footsteps.  I am only safe if I stand on a solid rock foundation.  I can distract it by lobbing bombs, and if I am lucky I can trick it into swallowing a bomb and then detonate it.  This only stuns the creature, but while it is disabled and helpless I have about 30 seconds to run up and hit it as much as I can with a heavy weapon.  It takes 3-4 such cycles of this in order to defeat it.  It drops a bunch of body parts, and some other loot.

I bring the muldorm guts back to Gerudo town and give it to the woman who needs it for her sick husband. She rewards me with 300 Rupees, which is one of the higher rewards I’ve received for a quest, but still not a great price for putting myself at such risk.  Oh well, I’m not in it for the money.

I go back out into the desert, and this time I go still further.  I had seen on the map what appeared to be a giant skeleton with the skull, and this is what I need to fulfill one of the other sidequests.  After I get out about halfway, a sandstorm kicks up, and starts interfering with my map, and I lose reception.  I just keep following a straight line, until I come to a large monster camp, where there’s a at least 7 or 8 enemies, including a moblin, a lizal, and several bokoblins, and they appear to be well armed.

I avoid them, sneaking around their camp, and due to the poor visibility they don’t spot me. About another half mile out, I finally find the Leviathan skeleton, and get my photo. Even better, there’s a shrine and a fairy fountain here as well. I had not been expecting either.  I take the shrine first, and complete it.  It’s a series of electrical circuit puzzles, and a larger than average shrine, but I solve it without great difficulty.

The fairy fountain has four or five fairies about, and I capture them all, and then unlock the fountain, which costs 1000 Rs.  This fairy is the earth fairy, and she offers to enhance my clothing, so I take her up on it, and get just about everything enhanced that I can, except for my jewelry, because doing those requires my most exotic and rare materials, and I’m not sure it’s what I want to do yet.

With my enhanced gear, I trek across the desert to the eastern barrens, where there’s a shrine that I haven’t been to, but I know is there, because I saw it when I was on the Vah Naboris mission.  I find the shrine, and there’s a Gerudo woman there, it looks like she’s in bad shape, collapsed at the entrance.  I talk to her and she is talking like she’s ready to die, but just wishes that she could have one last drink from the bar in Gerudo town.  I put two and two together, this is the woman who they haven’t seen in a while, who loves their specialty drink called Noble Pursuit.

In another bit of nonsensical game logic, I can’t offer her any of my food in inventory, even the cold stuff that can give resistance to heat. No, it has to be this noble pusuit drink.  I can’t even be like “tough luck, lady, you’re in my way” and pull her off of the controls that activate the shrine.

So I teleport back to Gerudo, and talk to the bar owner, who now is willing to make a Noble Pursuit for me.  But she’s out of ice.  Well, I guess that’s why they put the ice house on the other end of the desert, then.  So now I have to do a mission to get the thing so I can get the thing so I can get the other thing so I can do the thing and get the thing.

I run out to the ice house and get a block of ice.  I’m supposed to carry it back to Gerudo town, well to the south end of the ruins outside of Gerudo town.  The area is crawling with lizals and bokoblins.  I sweep-and-clear the area first, moving quickly, and making use of my ice arrows to take down the fire-based lizals quickly.  Then I pick up an ice cube, and carry it back toward the city.  On the way back, more bokoblins appear, and I guess they’re deliberately there because it’s too easy to know that you need to clear out enemies ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about dealing with them while you’re carrying a giant block of ice over your head.  But the game wants to make sure that you do have to worry about dealing with monsters while carrying a big block of ice.

Of course, due to the extreme heat the ice melts if you’re not standing in shadow, so that’s the mission.  The ruins create a maze of shadows, and you can safely carry the ice block across the desert if you can stick to the shade.  It’s very do-able, and not really too hard.  Where I run into the bokoblins, I drop the ice in the shade and quickly kill one of the bokoblins, freeze the other, and move on.  I sneak around a few other enemies that the game puts in my path even though I had cleared the area thoroughly on the way out.

I get the ice to the bar tender lady, and she tells me she’ll make the drink, and to go back to the shrine to tell the near-death woman that she’s making it, and this will revive her, and she’ll come running back to the bar. This is beyond ridiculous. If the game was even a little bit serious, I’d need to bring the drink out to her.  Or we’d just directly go and rescue her, and forget about the ice, just get her any water at all.

Well, whatever.  I go back to the shrine and tell her she’s got a drink waiting for her back in Gerudo, and she perks up and goes off running back home, while only moments ago she was acting like she was about to die.  Pfft.  Whatever.

Now I can enter the shrine. The shrine tells me that I’ve earned my spirit orb already by having gone through all that just to get into the shrine.  So no puzzle, no combat challenge. 

What’s weird about this to me is that while there are other “Blessing” shrines where there’s no challenge to overcome when you get inside them, all of the others have a difficult quest that you need to complete in order to access the shrine, which by its design is clearly set up by the shrine master as a test to gain entry.  By contrast, this shrine just happened to have a sick woman blocking the door panel, who I had to help in order to get in, and which could not have been a deliberately set up test by the shrine master as a test.  So, not knowing that I’d have to go through all this trouble to get ice cubes for her special cure drink, you’d think the shrine monk would have set something up inside for me to prove myself. But no, it’s a freebie.

There’s some more ruins further to the east that I want to check out, and then there’s the sand seal races, which should be re-opened now that Vah Naboris is no longer rampaging.

I get out there, and find a korok seed.  Then a sandstorm whips up, and it’s night, and there’s no visibility.

Zelda: BOTW Diary (52)

Chief Riju wants me to rendezvous at the Gerudo southern watchpost, and formulate an attack plan to stop Vah Naboris.

I get a sand seal and head out there, and meet Riju, and she explains what we have to do.  She will wear her Thunderhelm, which will repel Naboris’s lightning, and when we get close enough to it, I am supposed to hit it in the feet with bomb arrows.  This will knock out their electrical generation and once its defenses are down, we’ll be able to get inside and calm the beast.

We take off without delay. It’s tricky to stay close enough to Riju to be protected, and then once we get close to Naboris, it’s tricky to connect with an arrow shot.  I hit the rear feet and get them disabled, but then I can’t hit the front feet.  I waste all my arrows and we have to retreat and try again.

On our second run, I switch to a different bow, with a weaker attack rating but with better range.  It zooms in when I aim with it, and this makes a great deal of difference, as I’m able to use a point-blank aim to hit the feet of Naboris rather than a ballistic arc, and it’s way easier to connect.

I take out all four feet, and Naboris stops moving long enough for me to climb up and get inside.

Once inside, the challenge is to figure out what to do, and then do it. The disembodied voice of Gerudo champion Urbosa greets me and gives me instructions and encouragement.  There are several switches that I need to reach and activate in order to restart Naboris’s main controls, which will enable us to regain control over it.

Complicating matters, the interior of the beast is mechanial, and I need to re-configure its internals in order to gain access to various parts of the inside.  It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it out, but eventually I am able to work out how to get to every part of the beast and activate its switches. It’s like a bigger, more difficult shrine puzzle with multiple stages and elements.  It’s enjoyable to figure out and solve, and what I wish all the shrine challenges could be like, at least after the initial few that are intended for training.

After I flip all the switches and return to the main control console, I encounter a boss called Thunderblight Ganon. It is a tough boss fight. Thunderblight Ganon teleports around, similar to a Wizzorobe or Yiga clan ninja, and shoots balls of lightning at me.  The lightning is not terribly difficult to dodge, and wearing my rubber helmet and pants protects me pretty well against it.  But it also runs in quick and hits me with a powerful sword attack that drops my health by about 2/3, and is all but impossible to dodge.  It also is very fast and nimble, and gets out of the way of my attacks very quickly.

I don’t even hit it one time on the first attempt.  On the second or third attempt, I do manage to hit it, and once you start doing damage to it, it’s a lot easier to hit.  It reels and gets knocked back, and I can get in multiple strikes.

After knocking its health down to about half, it changes its routine up, and takes to the air, hovering well out of reach of my melee weapons. I try arrows on it, but they don’t do damage, so again I’m supposed to do something specific to damage it.  Urbosa continues giving me advice and encouragement during the fight, and suggests that I should try to find a way to use its lightning attack against it.

In its new attack mode, it launches metal spikes to aid its targeting with lightning attacks.  I eventually realize that the metal is magnetic, and am able to grab the spikes with Magnesis, then fling them around, and if I get them close enough to Thunderblight Ganon, they discharge electricity, which knocks it out of the air, and leaves it prone and stunned for a few seconds.  

This is all I need to run up and deal a lot of damage.  On my final strike, the sword I’m using breaks, but Thunderblight Ganon is defeated.

I stop activate the main controls and we regain control over Vah Naboris.  It start shooting a laser beam at Hyurle Castle.  Urbosa grants me a new attack power, a lightning boost added to my charge attack.

Back at Gerudo town, a grateful Riju gifts me a powerful scimitar and shield that had once belonged to Champion Urbosa.

There’s a few more things left for me to do in the vicinity of Gerudo town:  

  • Sand seal racing.
  • The medicinal Molduga sidequest.
  • Somewhere in the desert there’s a leviathan skull that I’m supposed to photograph for the scientists at Serenne Stables.
  • At least one shrine which I detected near Naboris when we were heading twoards it on the sand seals.
  • Probably at least a few more korok seeds.
  • The sand shoes sidequest.
  • The secret night club.