Tag: TOTK Diary

TOTK Diary 58: Gloom Hands

I haven’t played the game in over a month, because I’ve been too busy with other things. I’ve been wanting to get back into the adventure and advance in the quests, but I’ve been away for so long now that it feels like I’m going to have to review my old entries to recap where I’ve been and what I’m doing. Which is great, that’s the whole point of my keeping these diary entries.

In the meantime I wanted to post something, and I was just ruminating about this, and thought it was worth sharing…

One of my favorite new enemies that they added to Tears of the Kingdom is the Gloom Hands.

They’re super creepy and the first time I encountered them, I thought they were fantastic. I didn’t know too much about how they worked, I just kept my distance as much as possible, climbed to high ground where they weren’t able to reach me, and hit them with distance attacks. But later on I got into melee with them, and found that they pick you up and squeeze you, draining your life and afflicting you with Gloom sickness, which has the effect of draining heart containers from your life bar, temporarily.

If you kill the Gloom Hands, a Phantom Ganon sometimes will appear, seemingly to enact vengeance on you for defeating the Gloom Hands. Or maybe the Gloom Hands are like Phantom Ganon’s herald.

My initial take on Gloom Hands was that they were Wall Masters, only they appeared in the open spaces in the overworld, and not in dungeons. And I loved the callback to LOZ1 part of that.

I also immediately connected Gloom Hands to the Gloom plague that came with the Upheaval, and connected it with the Underworld, because that’s all plain and obvious.

I think a missed opportunity the designers could have taken advantage of was that the Gloom Hands should drag Link into the Underworld, if they manage to grab him and hold him for long enough.

Imagine being grabbed and abducted into the underworld, weakened by the drain of the Gloom sickness, only to be dragged downward through the earth, in a manner opposite of the Ascend ability you gain, creating a neat “bookend” to the design idea of Ascend. And once you’re pulled under, they drop you into that world, and rather than finish you off, they just drop you, leaving you weakened and lost in some random part under ground where you have no idea how to return to the surface, and you are forced to explore and rely on stealth as you fight your way out.

That would have been really great gameplay, and I’m sad that they just grab you and squeeze you until you break free or drain to 0 hp and die. They could have done more with them, and I wish that they had.

TOTK Diary 57

It’s been about a week and a half since I last played, so where was I?

Oh yeah, outside Lookout Landing, I had just expanded my zonai charge battery pack, and now I have a lot more power to run contraptions.

I guess I ought to go back to Death Mountain and help Yunobo and look for Princess Zelda.

I fast-travel back to the shrine near Goron City, and ride the rails out to YunoboCo HQ. I’m hoping that I can buy the rest of the fireproof armor suit here, but I find out that they only sell the body piece of the set. So where the hell am I supposed to get the pants and the helmet from? I don’t know.

I figure I’m going to need this in order to explore Death Mountain, but for the time being the temperatures are not deadly to me, so I’ll explore the area. Yunobo said that he saw a Hylian woman matching Zelda’s description at the peak of the mountain, and wants to go back there to look for her again. The game doesn’t often tell you that explicitly what to do, so I figure I better get on it.

Walking out over the lava plain from YunoboCo HQ, walking in the general direction of Death Mountain, not far from the HQ I come across a pair of Bokoblins and a Moblin sitting around a fire. I use Yunobo to charge them, and he does a lot of damage, and also triggers some explosive casks near their camp, and takes them out pretty easily. I pick up the loot and move on, climbing up over a rise, and before too long I come to a mining camp, where I find a few gorons, still zonked out on marbled rock roast, some digging, some eating. They tell me I can go ahead and take one of their mine carts if I want, and that the rails here run right up to the summit of Death Mountain.

That’s all they had to say. I hop in the art and hook up a fan, and start it up. I don’t go very far, when I find a spot where there’s a cave that I’d like to explore. It’s the Eastern Death Mountain cave, and blocked with explodable rocks, which I destroy with Yunobo, since I don’t want to waste bombs, and there’s a lot of places where bombs will spontaneously combust here, and I need to be careful.

Inside the cave, there’s a rail system, and the temperature is hot. There’s a lot of lava in the cave, and the only way forward is to ride a rail cart. Fortunately there’s another cart and fan here, which are easily assembled and allow me to make ingress. When I get to the end of the line, I see a green gem, which I recognize as a shrine gem, embedded in a pile of glowing rock, which I rightly presume to be an Igneo Talus. I’ve come this far, I might as well fight the thing.

This is tricky, since I’m not protected against heat fully. I can hit the Talus with frost weapons, which cool it down to where I can stand on it, but I still take damage doing so. I equip my heaviest hitting hammer weapon and run a spin attack, hitting 9-10 times, before being thrown. I also manage to use Recall to reverse the path of the Talus’s arm when it hurls it at me. This requires some close timing, but it works pretty well, I avoid the damage it would have dealt, and it hits the Talus, doing some decent damage. I re-freeze it and jump on to finish it off, and it drops hardly any gems, but I do get an Igneo Talus heart which I fuse to my most powerful sword. Taking this Talus down broke my Flux Construct Core club, which kind of sucks, but at least I won the fight. I also got the shrine gem, which is now projecting a beam in a direction basically pointing back out of the cave. There’s some ore deposits and brightbloom bulbs here, so I take the time to clear out the cave entirely, then grab the shrine gem, put it back on the mine cart, and ride it back out of the cave.

Once out of the cave, the shrine is not a very long walk away, on the other side of the minecart tracks, and I pick up a Rauru’s Blessing, refilling my life meter, which the Talus fight had taken me down to about 1/3.

I feel like I missed something when I was in the cave, so I return to have another look. Sure enough, between the rock island where I fought the Igneo Talus, and the opening of the cave, there was a smaller island, almost like a sand bar, which had some additional forage materials, and a hard to see crack in the wall, which lead to a tunnel, where I found a bubbul frog. I slay the frog and take its gem, and then I decide to check my location on the map to see how close I am to the summit of the mountain. Since I’m inside a cave, I might as well see if perhaps Ascend will get me to the top quicker.

I pop up maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the way up the remaining slope of Death Mountain, a fairly short climb away from the summit. And it’s an easy climb. I check the temperature, and change out of my Flamebreaker armor and into my Climbing Gear, and get all the way to the top.

The crater of Death Mountain is desolate and empty, devoid of anything. I see no sign of Zelda anywhere. No story cutscene triggers, and I’m left standing wondering what I was supposed to expect. I walk around about the caldera, avoiding hot pots and gloom puddles, hoping to trigger something. Eventually, I do trigger the story cutscene. Apparently, based on the camera angle and the way the scene looks, I was supposed to go back and keep riding the rail cart all the way up. On the other side of the mountain, the final destination of the cart, a platform, is where the cutscene unfolds. Yunobo recalls what he can of his last moments before putting on the mask that Zelda gave him, and then his memory goes blank. It’s pretty clear that this Zelda is a lookalike impostor, but the characters don’t seem to get it yet. I feel like this is maybe storytelling aimed at a younger audience, because it seems to me that if I can tell what’s going on, the characters in the game ought to have some suspicion as well. But it feels like this is a deliberate design choice to allow younger gamers to feel smart since they too probably will have an idea that something’s not right, and figuring it out ahead of the characters in game will make them feel like they’re solving a mystery. But as an adult gamer, it’s not much of a mystery. “Zeda” clearly isn’t Zelda, and we’ve already seen one impostor in the Yiga Clain’s trap on Dueling Peaks, so this Zelda sighting must not be her either, since she’s not behaving like Zelda would, using mind control to take over Yunobo and enslave the Goron people with the drug-like marbled rock roast.

Just then, “Zelda” appears before us, and disappears into the volcano, which suddenly erupts! A huge monster appears out of the crater! It has three rocky, worm-like heads. It spews giant flaming rocks which don’t seem to be terribly well-aimed, thankfully. Yunobo wants to fight it, but says it’s too high in the air for him to charge it. He asks what should we do?

Well, there happens to be a pre-built Zonai wing with two large batteries, four fans, and a cart bottom and control stick laying right there. I grab it with Ultrahand and set it upright, hop on and start to take off. It is extremely heavy and slow, and clumsy to fly, but it does get us up to a level where I can fire Yunobo off at the heads. The heads are extremely easy to target, it seems like the game is auto-targeting Yunobo for me. Which is fine, I’m very happy with that since controlling the wing sucks so much, I couldn’t do much otherwise.

It only takes three hits, one on each head, and the thing is defeated. Zelda is no where to be seen. A deep chasm in the bottom of the volcano crater has opened up. Yunobo thinks she must be down there, and jumps in. I hesitate, but follow. But the temperature is too hot, off the scale.

I notice that although the temperature gauge is telling me it is deadly, I don’t seem to be taking any damage as I fall into the chasm, transitioning between the overworld and the underworld. So I end up having a lot more time than I should. I fall all the way down, and am inside a huge cavern — it looks like the whole mountain is hollow. I spot a Light Root and try to glide toward it, but I run out of stamina and fall, and would have died from the fall but for the fact that I have a single fairy left in my inventory, who revives me. I run to the light root, and activate it. So now I can fast travel back down here. I’m going to need to get more elixirs or flame resistant meals, or find the rest of the Flamebreaker gear if I’m going to explore down here. But for now there’s nothing I can do.

TOTK Diary 56

Well, if there’s only one more SkyView Tower to unlock before I can fully activate the power of the Purah Pad, then maybe I should make that my next goal. Gerudo Highlands, it is.

I fast-travel to the Gerudo Desert tower, shoot up in to the sky, and glide as far toward the Gerudo Highlands Tower as I can. As I’m in the sky, I can see a long way in all directions, and note two Geoglyphs that I am sure I haven’t visited yet, as well as several Shrines dotting the landscape, and numerous glowing lights on the ground, possibly fires or but they look a bit larger than typical campfires, and I wonder about what they might be.

My flight path goes nearly directly overhead the nearer of the two Geoglyphs, so I attempt to make landing there first. It’s quite a bit short of how far I could have glided had I wanted to maximize my distance and reach the tower directly, but I figure this will be worth my while. As I descend, I can see that this Geoglyph is painted on the side of a steep and very tall mountainside. Nearly all of it is near vertical, and I am not sure where the reflecting pool may be. I pinned the spot on the glyph that I thought looked most likely, but it’s on a sheer face, and as I climb to the spot where the pin was, I can tell this isn’t the location. I have little choice but to try to move around until I can find it, but since it’s so vertical, that’s really difficult, and it’s even harder than normal to get enough distance to be able to see the features of the geoglyph’s image so I can tell where might be another likely spot to check.

I climb down very far, and then head back up. Maybe 2/3 of the way up, or so, I think, there’s a long, flat, wide ledge covered in snow, cutting the Geoglyph about in half. I run along this ledge, looking for the pool of Tears. I collect a lot of forage and encounter a Ice Lizalfos, some wolves, chuchus, and keese, before I eventually find the Tear.

The vision is of Ganondorf, pledging his loyalty to King Rauru, long ago in the distant past. Although he accepts the pledge, Rauru knows of Ganondorf’s evil nature, and as he explains to Zelda why he accepted him, it’s in order to keep Ganondorf close so that he will be aware of his actions.

Awakening from the vision, I return to finishing collecting the available forage, and then return my attention to the SkyView Tower hunt. By now I’ve climbed so high on the Geoglyph that I’m able to get a long glide in, and get myself most of the remaining way to the tower.

When I get there, I find no entrance at the base of the tower. Next to the tower, though, there’s a tent, with a note from the building crew, who say that due to heavy snow they had to take shelter in the nearby cave.

I look around for the cave, and find one at the base of the north face of the nearby cliffside. I enter, and discover a tunnel leading down to a warm, dry spot. There’s an underground river running along, and some construction materials. Another journal left behind by the construction crew explains that they had to shelter due to the cold weather and heavy snow, but explored the cave and found that it was safe and warm, and that the river runs directly beneath the tower, so they’ve undertaken a project to shore up the tunnel to provide a stronger foundation so that the tower will not cause a cave-in.

The key then is to realize that when I get to the foundation of the tower, I can Ascend upward and enter the interior of the Tower, and hopefully activate it.

The cave is rich with forage materials, and I pick up a few brightbulbs, some bomb flowers, and a few miscellaneous other things. There’s fish and lizards too.

I use the building materials to construct a raft, and then float down the river. I go over a waterfall, and continue until I hit the structure the construction boys wrote about in their journal. There’s still more forage material around to be scavenged, so I take my time and clean the place out as best I can. Not all of it is easy to reach, and what I can’t reach easily, I ignore. I discover a well hidden, tight passage, which leads to a small inner cave, behind the waterfall I came down, and here I find a treasure chest, containing a decent bow.

I return my attention to getting into the Tower. The raft I constructed is now wedged under the foundational structure, making a nice platform from which I can Ascend into the Tower.

I do so, and once inside, I find that the tower is in perfect working order, although the doorway to the outside is completely snowed in, and not even my fireseeds seem to do anything to melt the snow.

I activate the Tower and shoot up through the top, and add the map data to my map.

I note that I’m near a sky archipelago, and drift toward it. It seems that gravity is much weaker in this area, perhaps due to the altitude, or if not then I’m not sure why. But my falling speed is like that of a feather. I come to a landing on the nearby sky island, which is inhabited by two Soldier Constructs, one of whom activates and starts shooting rockets at me. I hit him with a shock fruit arrow, and take him out in one shot, then do the same for the other Soldier, who doesn’t seem to notice me.

Both Soldier Constructs were standing guard over a floating stone platform, which have two rockets lying on them. I use the rocket to attach to the platform, and then activate it, flying much higher and farther than normal, with considerably more momentum, and end up high over the archipelago, with a commanding view of it. I descend to the next highest island, and destroy another Soldier Construct, but there’s nothing much of interest here. Looking far down below, I’m very near the second Geoglyph that I had spotted earlier, and I also note that there is another one of those five-petaled sky islands that all seem to have some interesting carvings on them, which I know now need to be photographed and shown to the scholar man who works in Kakariko Village.

I glide down to this island, and snap a picture. As I do so, the center of the island falls free of the ring of stone “petals”, and I fall down with it. As we fall together, a shooting star falls from the sky, almost directly next to me. As I fall with it, I attempt to match speeds with it, and eventually get close enough to it that I’m able to snatch it right out of the sky! This is really cool.

I’m so high up, I still have a tremendous distance to fall, so I re-orient myself and attempt to glide the rest of the way to the second Geoglyph. I think this one looks a bit like Rauru’s Queen, Sonia. When I land, it has just started to rain, and I have to switch my gear to non-conductive materials in order to stay safe. To my surprise, I find Impa and Cado have traveled here, apparently to study this Geoglyph themselves. I talk to them, and then run around until I find the Tear pool, and view the vision it unlocks.

This one is of Zelda and Sonia. Zelda expresses a desire to master the power over Time that Sonia has. She thinks it is the key to returning to her own time. Sonia tells her how to approach it, saying it’s like seeing the memory of the object that you wish to reverse time for, and then coaxing it backward. She also tells Zelda that she has another power, more powerful than control over Time, which is the power to disspell the power of Evil with her power of Light. This is a bit cheesy, admittedly. Zelda tells Sonia and Rauru about Link — and Rauru is not familiar with that name. Sonia advises Zelda that it is OK for her to return to her own time, and return to Link.

There’s a ton of things to explore and discover here, but right now I’m just here for that final SkyView Tower, and that’s done. Time to return home, across the entire continent, to see Robbie and get that final Travel Medallion for the Purah Pad.

So I zip back to Hateno Village, talk to Robbie, and max out the Purah Pad, other than the Compendium, which I ain’t payin for. It’s too much money, and I have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of things if I just remember to do so.

Speaking of which, I have one new photo in my album of ancient runes to show the guy in Kakariko, so I fast travel there, and show him, he tells me this one tells of ghostly sightings of a figure resembling Princess Zelda in the ancient past. I guess she’s been doing some kind of fast travel herself, only maybe through time as well as space.

Then I fast travel to Lookout Landing, and talk to the Well Girl, who gives me 50 rupees for finding 5 new wells. Now there are 36 remaining wells in the land, which I don’t remember how many there were to start out, but I’m probably down to a little more than half of them at this point… She suggests that if there was a way to search for things, it could help, which I take as a suggestion to add a photo of a well to the Compendium so I can search for it using the Search+ feature on the Purah pad. Sure enough, that works.

I also talk to Hestu, and I have 10 korok seeds, which is just enough to expand my Shield stash one more slot, so I do that. Now I need at least 17 for the next cash-in.

I’m low on rupees, so there’s nothing else I can buy here.

I go talk to Josha and Purah again. Purah says I should go to Lurelin Village and invetigate the reports of Pirates causing trouble there, but also tells me that I should avoid the southern lands, because there’s a lot of monster activity there, and I still have three Regional Phenomena to check out, so I guess that’s probably my next thing to do.

I buy 20 bomb flowers from the weird statue, and buy the location of another of his bretheren in the underworld. I’ve now gotten 3 locations and have yet to visit a single one down there.

Finally, I stop outside the front gate of Lookout Landing, and there’s a fallen sky rock, which I’d all but forgotten about from when I checked it out a long time ago. But there’s a hylian man standing next to it, staring at it on wonder, and it reminds me that there’s something up there. So I go there and there’s a Zonai construct steward there, and I talk to him, and he tells me that he can expand my Zonai power pack by 8 cells for 800 zonai charges. So I give it to him, and he expands my battery. 8 cells is equal to two 3-unit batteries, plus another 2 units, so in all I now have 3.75 batteries worth of charge capacity on my belt. Which is a HUGE upgrade from the single battery of 3 cells that I’ve been stuck playing with this entire time.

I only have 5 Zonai charges now, which kinda sucks, because now that I have all this battery capacity, and the QuickBuild power, I suddenly have a lot more useful things I can do with Zonai. I have a feeling that the things I can build are finally going to come into their own, and I’ll be making use of them a good bit more than I have been so far.

TOTK Diary 55

I fast-travel as close as I can to the Akkala Ancient Technology Lab, the Akkala SkyView Tower, fly into the sky, glide as far toward the Lab as I can, and then hike it the rest of the way on the road.

The first place I come to is the Akkala Stable. It’s one I haven’t been to before, so I stop and talk to everyone. Penn is here, but says there’s no leads for any Zelda sightings, and he needs to move on. There’s a few people here who I talk to, but I can’t really say they said anything memorable. I catch a nap to get the extra pony points, visit the well, which this one has a hidden prayer statue, which I use to cash in for another Heart Container, and then I visit the shrine near the stable.

The shrine has an interesting challenge. A Jenga tower of metal blocks, atop which sits a ball. If I glide over to the platform where the Jenga tower stands, the platform opens up like a trapdoor and dumps the whole tower, resetting the challenge. If the ball rolls off and falls into the pit below, the whole thing resets. Apparently, I’m supposed to Ultrahand blocks out of the tower, and then catch the ball as it falls, before it goes into the bottomless pit and triggers the reset. I manage to do it after 3-4 tries, and it’s not that hard, just takes the right timing.

There’s some electrical circuits, which I can use to activate a moving platform to ride out nearer to the Jenga tower, where I can grab a treasure chest. There’s another chest on a high platform, which I can use a Jenga block to climb to. All in all, a decent puzzle, but not as challenging as all that.

I get the Light of Blessing and continue on. Further up the road, I encounter a Hylian, actually a Yiga ninja in disguise. I fight him on the road, and then two Moblins in a nearby camp take notice of me. I’m surrounded and not doing well. I manage to take everyone down, but I burn through some food and two fairies. I am pretty annoyed. Fairies are much harder to come by in TOTK, and I had just the two left, and hadn’t managed to come by any more in ages. I wasn’t wearing my best armor, the Moblins were well armed and carried shields, and all I can seem to manage to do against any enemies in melee is to run away from them, while they plod behind me, but somehow keep up, and then before I can turn around to face them, or get the camera pointed the right way, they’re already on me again, and I’m sick and tired of sucking at combat in this game already.

I go still further up the road, and find Addison, help him out with his sign, and then make it up the rest of the way up the road, and I’m at the Akkala lab, which has been taken over by Yiga, and mostly destroyed. I go to enter the door, but am greeted outside by two Yiga, a ninja and one one of the heavily muscled swordsmen. By this time I’ve switched up my arms and armor, and am better prepared, I deal with these two pretty easily.

And then that’s it. Inside the ruined Tech Lab, there’s a guy who makes clothing, who had been kidnapped by the Yiga, and was making their uniforms. He gives me one, so now I have Yiga Clan body armor. He says if I can get the complete set, I should be able to blend in among them and infiltrate their organization. So that’ll be a fun mission when it comes up, I’m sure.

I find the travel medallion in a locked chest, and check out the rest of the Lab before fast-traveling back to Hateno, where I quickly give Robbie the medallion, and he upgrades my Purah Pad so that I can now use the fast-travel power from anywhere I place the travel medallion. He also tells me he can further upgrade the Purah Pad so I can have as many as 3 travel medallions. I’ve already explored enough of the world to unlock the 2nd one, and he says I need to visit more SkyView Towers to unlock the 3rd. It looks like there’s only one more place to go to unlock a tower, in the Gerudo Heights area, where I have yet to travel to. Despite ranging far and wide all over Hyrule, above and below, there’s so many places that I’ve barely been to for any length of time: Goron City, Zora’s Domain, Lurelein Village, Hateno, Gerudo Town. I’ve barely been to any of them, really. Goron City and Hateno being the most explored of these, but still just one real visit so far to each.

There’s a lone cherry tree blossoming on a mountaintop near Hateno Village, and I glide out to it, to make offering and summon Satori, Lord of the Mountain. He appears, and reveals the locations of hidden secrets all around in this part of the world. I try to mark a few of them, but again the topography hides a lot of the cave entrances from view, so I can’t easily mark them with Map Pins. It seems like it’s easier/better to visit them in person.

I travel back to Dueling Peaks Stable, to get some more of my armor upgraded at the fairy fountain nearby. I am able to upgrade a lot of my stuff up to level 2, but it’s expensive. These fairies in TOTK need rupees as well as materials in order to do upgrades, and for 50 a pop to go to Level 2, per item, it’s a fuckload of rupees. This game is going to make me grind forever to get everything. I don’t have even half of the armor sets, and not even one complete set yet. While I’m here, I visit the well there, and screw up, scaring 3-4 fairies away by whistling accidentally. FML.

I give a lot of meat the the dog here, but apparently once you’ve found the hidden treasure for a given dog, it doesn’t regenerate, so I just end up wasting a bunch of meat feeding the dog.

I talk to the guy who thinks there’s some special Pumpkin in the woods nearby, and I go again to look for it, but don’t find it. I do find a bunch of other forage, and end up fighting some bokoblins, an evermean, and the Hinox, who has re-spawned here. This Hinox fight is very wasteful, as I lob probably 8-9 bombs at it, and hit it with a bunch of arrows, missing the eye almost every time, I’m just sucking at everything I’m trying to do today in this game. I do manage to take down the Hinox, and decide that’s enough for now, and give it a rest.

TOTK Diary 54

Robbie has headed to Hateno Village, and Josha wants me to go there too. They have a technology lab there, and if I go they can enhance my Purah Pad some more. They mention something about activating my sensor, so I can detect things nearby. I barely used this power in BOTW, and found it more trouble than it was worth, to be honest, but it won’t hurt anything to get it. Plus, I’ve been playing the game for two months plus and have yet to go to Hateno village even once yet.

I fast-travel to the shrine nearest to the road to Hateno, which just happens to be the Dueling Peaks Stables. The shrine is halfway up the mountain, so I use the altitude to glide halfway across the field. When I land, I find a korok nearby, and spot a Hinox wandering about in the field. It’s a bit of a novelty, I think every one I’ve ever encountered has been asleep when first encountered. I’m not afraid of a Hinox, so I run right up to it and get in a fight. I am not very accurate with the bow, and waste several arrows trying to hit it in the eye. Also, after I do manage to hit him and put him in a stun, I find out that he has wooden armor on his legs, and I can’t hurt him even if I’m not trying to hit the leg armor. I light the legs on fire, then, and go another round with him. My more powerful melee weapons do enough damage to put him within a hit or two of death during the second stun, and I finish him off with a final arrow to the eye.

A bokoblin on horseback spots the fight and comes to join it, but Tulin takes care of him for me, which is pretty awesome. I manage to take them both down without taking any damage.

Continuing on, I get on the road East toward Hateno, and before not too long I’m at the stone fortress wall. I find the gate has been taken over by a moblin and some bokoblins.Not wanting to fight them all, I spot a fallen piece of sky island, and use Recall to raise it back into the sky, and once I’m over the wall, I glide down.

There’s a treasure chest on a column just on the other side of the wall, and that small wood cabin that I remembered being abandoned in BOTW. I check them both out, and pick up a shield, some mushrooms and apples, some wood, and discover that the inhabitant of the cabin is none other than the guy I met in Kakariko Village, the scholar who’s studying the Zonai culture. His journal says he’s going there to help decipher the zonai glyphs on the ring ruins.

Continuing along the road, I encounter two Koroks who need to be reunited with their friends, and two Hudson Construction sign guys. I help them out, and fight a couple of bokoblins on the road.

After helping the second korok, I’m just outside Hateno Village.

I enter, and start talking to everyone. It’s a large village, I think it’s even bigger than it was in BOTW, with new construction. The traditional farming and fashion shops are still going strong, with a new fashion designer, Cece having gained influence. The town is decorated with mushroom-inspired designs from her shop. The Mayor of Hateno, Reede, feels threatened by her popularity, and she challenges him to an election. Then she asks me for help, and wants me to hand out Hylian Mushrooms to citizens to buy their votes. I guess this is acceptable, then?

I visit a few more shops, a vegetable shop, the dye works, a few houses, a school… everything opens up new sidequests. Both Cece and the Mayor are up to something at night and I’m supposed to try to find out what. A guy in town has a crush on someone, and wants to know what he can do to attract her attention. I talk to her, she says she wants 100 frogs. I don’t think this guy’s getting laid any time soon. I find three different wells in Hateno, each which seems to be connected to the same large cave complex, which I explore thoroughly. It’s got some monsters and a lot of forage: keese, chuchus, horriblins, mushrooms, frogs, fish, bomb flowers, brighbloom bulbs, some ore. It’s not plentiful, but large and spread out, and I collect everything I can while I’m down there.

Mayor Reede’s shed has a secret, and in order to get into it to find out what it is, I need to Ascend through the cave underneath it. I mark the spot on the map, and get in there. There’s a journal with notes saying that Reede is working with a farmer to create a new type of Pumpkin, in an attempt to show his leadership so he can continue to serve as mayor.

There’s children running around Hateno, and they seem to have some kind of game pretending to be secret agents and adventurers, keeping the village safe from monsters.

There are some elders in the village, who don’t care much about fashion, or understand it. And some fashionista villagers, who look down on everyone else. And some tourists visiting the village as well.

The Dye guy tells me he can dye my glider, which I’m not sure why I would want him to do that, but maybe there’s some quest where I’ll need to do that. Who knows.

Up the hill, I spot a shrine, so I need to go there and make it easy to return to the village quickly in the future. This one is a puzzle with a wheel that I need to attach a scoop to in order to scoop balls form below and move them to a higher level, in order to unlock the gate. I work it out, it’s not that hard. But I find it’s easier to just attach the balls directly to the wheel, rather than try to attach a scoop to the wheel.

Having solved the shrine, I’m getting near to the Hateno technology lab near the top of the hill. I’m heading up there, finally, late at nigh, and a shooting star appears. I attempt to retrieve it, but it’s already 4am, and when the sun rises the star fragment disappears. But by the time it is lost, I’m already pretty close to the SkyView Tower for this zone, so I decide to go there. It’s on the peak of Mt. Lanayru, so I need the cold weather gear and climb a lot. I take the most direct route possible, climbing straight up, and when I get to the tower, I find it is in good working order, no task or puzzle to use it.

i I unlock the map, and take a look around at the sky world level — there’s a couple of interesting-looking sky islands to check out. Later.

For now, I’m trying to stick with Hateno. I return and finally visit the Tech Lab. Robbie is there, and he has several upgrades: the shrine sensor, sensor+, Hero’s Path, and one more mode that I have to travel to Akkala for, which will allow me to set up a fast travel destination anywhere I want.

After enabling the Shrine Sensor, Robbie wants me to test it out, and I discover a new shrine nearby, in a cave near the road that leads to the Tech Lab. It’s a Rauru’s Blessing, so no puzzle, but there’s also a Bubbul frog in this cave.

After I get back to the Tech Lab, Robbie tells me about the other modes, and it turns out I’ve already done the things that need to be done to unlock them, so I get a bunch of Purah Pad upgrades all at once. He also tells me about the Hyrule Compendium, but I already know all about that. Ever since I got the camera feature, I’ve been trying to take pictures of as many monsters, items, and materials as I can.

I guess my next destination will be the Akkala Tech Lab, then.

TOTK Diary 53

The underground labyrinth is a huge rectangular building, and its roof appears to be solid. I don’t have a way to get in from the top. The front and back walls on the short sides have a massive, indestructible, immovable barred barrier, which I suspect may be opened by hitting a switch somewhere, but so far I can’t find it. I walk around the entire perimeter of the building, but don’t see a way in. It’s dark, but not so dark that I’d miss something, unless it were pretty well hidden, perhaps midway up the wall or tucked away in a corner in the shadows, but I don’t think I missed anything. Two laps around, and I give up, and try follwoing statues to the next Light Root.

This ends up being a fairly long trip, but each statue is only about the distance I can throw a brightbulb seed, or two throws, and it’s not hard to follow them. Mostly the ground is level, at a couple of points there’s some obstacles in the form of climbing, chasms, or Gloom. It kind of blurs together after a while. I mark each statue I find, and I don’t know how many there were, but it must have been well over 20.

At one point I encounter another Frox in an open field, and defeat it without difficulty. It drops mostly Frox parts, and only a few gems, nothing very special. But it’s a fun fight.

Moving on, I eventually encounter a large bokoblin mining camp. I put the Bokoblin mask on and infiltrate, looting their equipment crates and everything I can forage from around their site. They don’t catch on to me, even after I drop a bomb barrel on one of them, and I move on without having to fight anyone.

The more I move out to the West, the more Light Roots I see dimly glowing in the distance all around. I mark each one on the map, and geez there must be a good 6 or more of them.

At one point, there seems to be a branching of paths. I can continue west, following the statues, but there are two nearby Light Roots to the north. They don’t look that far away, and I want to light them up, so I take a side trip and go for them.

The first one ends up being on the far side of a very deep ravine. I have to glide across, and climb from halfway up the opposite side. When I get closer, I find there’s a Lynel on patrol just above on the lip of the ravine. It’s precarious, but I cling to the wall and hope he doesn’t spot me. After waiting a long time, he finally walks away, but I could tell he was suspicious. Maybe he could smell me, or maybe he has keen dark vision. Probably both. I switched to my darkest looking armor and hat, not that I know they do anything, but it doesn’t notice me. I move as far to the right (toward the next Light Root) as possible before coming up, and then run and glide over to it, and make it.

After lighting it up, there’s another one, but it’s a lot farther away than I thought, and I decide to break off from here, and fast-travel back to the branching point so I can follow the statues to the west. I’m nervous being in a dark area where there’s not much light and I can’t see well, the terrain is getting difficult, and there’s a freaking Lynel about.

I continue west, then, and discover a useful tactic with the little frog monsters. If they encounter a glowing brightbulb seed, they will be attracted to it if they don’t know you’re around, and will eat it. A group of them will concentrate around a bulb to eat it together, making it an easy target to then take out with a bomb arrow. This makes larger groups of them a lot less dangerous to deal with, if you can lay the trap before they detect you. Throwing a bulb while they’re on you will not distract them. They’re not tough, but they are fast, like to stay out of reach unless you have a long spear, and knock you down with their jumping attack, so when you get mobbed by a group of more than 4 of them they can ruin your day.

Eventually I come to another abandoned mining area, and it turns out to be the Gerudo mine. This is where Master Kohga said he was going to go to next, and here I find him. He’s trying to activate a steward zonai, without luck, because he doesn’t have a zonai arm like I do.

I have the drop on him, and I want to just engage and fight him already, but attacking him while he’s occupied does nothing. It’s story cutscene time again. I walk up to him, and he turns and notices me, monologues a bit, and then we are fighting. There’s a large open field shaped like a circle just next to the mining facility, which is where we’re transported for the boss fight.

This time, Kohga spawns a zonai airplane, which he uses to fly over me, attacking with bombs and fire. I use my best bow to knock him off his wing, using monster eyeballs for homing shots which make targeting him much easier.

The thing about archery in BOTW and TOTK is that your bow is very short range. You can see much, much farther than you can shoot, and it seems like you should be able to shoot much farther than you really can. Firing at anything above you, particularly anything fast moving, is very difficult, and if it’s something that changes course, forget about it. Your arrows fly pathetically slowly, which is part of the problem. But the Keese and Aerocuda eyeballs make up for these deficiencies. I hit him with Fire Keese eyes, to do a little extra flame damage.

When he’s knocked off his plane, he’s stunned, prone, or lands head down and comically buried in the ground for a few moments. But he’s usually so far away that it takes most of his stun downtime for me to run over, just to hit him maybe 1-3 times. I get really frustrated, because every time, I try to use the charge attack on him, but it doesn’t seem to go off properly at the end of a long run. I break the run, and have to tap Y to bring up my weapon, and then tap it again to attack. If I hold Y, nothing happens, and if I tap to attack, it doesn’t result in a charge attack. I seem to have to hit once, then I can initiate the charge, but the wind up is so slow, usually I don’t get a series of hits on him before he disappears with his teleport, and then he’s up in the sky again with a new airplane.

Each new airplane is a bit more difficult. The first one I don’t get a chance to see what its attack is; the next has three or four flame projectors firing down. The third one launches bombs, and the fourth and later ones have some extra shielding protecting the front and sides. I discover the only reliable way to hit him in this plane is to let him fly over me, take a hit, and then recover quickly, and take a shot at his back.

A bonus, when he’s directly over me, he’s going to fall very near, so I can hit him just after he passes, and he’ll land not far from me, and I can run up and hit him an extra time or two before he disappears.

When I defeat him, rather than dying, he monologues some more and escapes, telling me that he’s got plans to destroy the world by giving the Magnificent One lots of zonai ore that his Yiga Clan followers have been mining. We’re going to have to talk about that.

After the battle, I awaken a few stewards, and they give me another machine template stone. They advise that to get to the Lanayru Mine, it is a very long distance, and would be best to travel over the surface and go back underground through one of the chasms there.

Before going there, of course, I want to return to Lookout Landing and report to Josha so she learns about my findings. She’s very excited to learn about the Autobuild power. I demonstrate it for her using a broken balloon craft, and she gives me a template stone for this vehicle. So now I have 4 or 5 vehicles I can autobuild. Plus other vehicles that i design myself, it will remember the last however-many of those, which is cool. This makes building vehicles a lot less time consuming. I can grab nearby devices or spend raw Zonai if something is missing, effectively transforming the Zonai ore into the missing pieces. This is really cool, and if I had completed this quest in the first 1-2 days of playing, I bet I would have gotten a lot more into constructing stuff. Early on it seemed pointless because everything was so temporary and didn’t last long. But now there’s potential, especially if I ever get my battery pack upgraded. Which is probably the next thing I want to do.

Then go back to Death Mountain. And then I guess Lanayru and Zora’s domain and the depths to find and defeat Kohga again, hopefully once and for all this time.

TOTK Diary 52

Back down into the Depths I go. This time, rather than returning to the area under Akkala, I go back down the chasm directly south of Lookout Landing. I realize that it’s too hot for me to handle the Akkala underworld for now, and I mainly want to try to build up my forage supplies, especially bomb flowers. But I’m also trying to complete part of the subterranean exploration mission that Purah’s assistant, Josha, wanted me to do. She mentioned that there likely are statues in the underworld which match the carving she’s studying, and they seem to be pointing the way toward something important.

I head down the chasm and land safely. I try exploring to the east, and make my way forward. I have almost 500 brightbulbs so it’s easy to keep the way lit up. I am making good progress, finding a lot of bomb flowers, muddle buds, and puff shrooms, and also picking up lots of zonai ore. I find mostly minor enemies, and I don’t want to waste a lot of time dealing with them. I have 50 Dazzlefruit, and make use of them when skeletons pop out of the ground, so I can take care of them in an instant and just move on. I also don my Bokoblin Mask, and use it to sneak into their mining camps, loot them, and leave without arousing suspicion. I do end up having to fight them a few times, but I’m well armored and they don’t hurt me much, and I kill them off quickly without too much trouble.

I get about as far to the East as I can, and I am actually getting close to the second Light Root that I had spotted and marked on the map in the Akkala region, but wasn’t able to activate before I left during my excursion there. I try to get to it, but my way is blocked by an immense wall of rock. I follow along its length, hoping to eventually get around it, but it’s slow going, and I’m constantly getting turned around whenever I have to negotiate an obstacle or a puddle of Gloom. It’s aggravating, because I feel like I’m just going in circles around this huge pillar, only I can’t tell because the map has no detail here, and no matter what I do, it seems like the Light Root on my map is just on the other side of the wall. Is this a mesa, rather than a wall? Do I need to climb up it to get to the Light Root here? Or is it just on the other side of a wall that’s about as long as the entire continent?

It’s hard to tell, and eventually I grow tired of trying to figure it out, and decide to just follow the wall as far to the south as it will go. Along this route, I spot Light Roots I had visited previously and activated during my first extended excursion to these depths. Eventually I get so far south that I’m into uncharted territory. By this time, I’ve been down here at least an hour of real time, and probably more than that. I’ve picked up tons and tons of Poes, as well as a bunch of the other forage items I mentioned above.

After making my way forward into the unmapped region south of my previous exploration, I encounter a Flux Construct I, patrolling around on a large round stone arena-like platform. I decide I want to try to defeat it in combat now, and give it a try. The combat goes surprisingly well. I equip my best armor, bow, and melee weapon, and take food to max my health out, save the game, and run up to the construct. It’s a pile of boxes arranged in a pyramid-like structure, the “main” one lit up with a dim red searchlight. When I get close enough to detect, it activates. I don’t wait an instant, and bring up my bow, and fire a bomb arrow into the box. It clatters to the floor, and I run up and hit it 6-7 times with a weapon with a damage rating of 37. I take it down to under half its hitpoints, when it reassembles itself into a humanoid, and begins walking at me. I use Ultrahand to rip it apart, and hit the “main” box again, and to my surprise onely 1-2 more hits is all it takes to defeat this one. It hasn’t even hit me, and I’ve wiped it out. It drops a Flux Core, which I can’t add to my inventory, so I have to fuse it or carry it. I fuse to a sword with a damage rating of 16, and it increases by +25. Nice.

Proceeding on into the dark reaches, I eventually come to an open field where I find the Frox, a huge frog-like creature whos back is studded with ore deposits, like a Stone Talus. I was afraid of this beast the first time I saw it and retreated, but this time I am interested in seeing what it can do. I observe it at a distance. It has a huge head, a central, cyclopean eye, and a wide, flat, beaver-like tail, and four legs. I’m pretty sure I need to get on its back and hit the ore deposits to kill it, and I bet its eye is a weakpoint.

I run up to it and it notices me and begins an inhale attack, using its mouth like a vacuum to try to pull me in. I fire a bomb arrow into its mouth, it swallows, the bomb explodes, and it is stunned. I run right up its face and start pounding on the ore deposits. It wakes up and I’m flung into the air, high, and due to the darkness I’m disoriented and don’t realize what’s happening. Before I can attempt to glide to a safe landing, I hit the ground, hard, and it takes me down by almost 2/3 of my health. I get back up and hit the Frox again, stunning it in the mouth like before, and run up and do another round of attacks. I also manage to hit it in the eyeball with an arrow, which also stuns it, and I have it almost down to 0 hitpoints, when it manages to hit me into the air again, this time I don’t go sky-high, and instead am slammed sideways into a wall, leaving me with a fraction of a heart, and then it gets a lucky hit on me and I’m killed.

I respawn and try to return to the place where I found it before, but it’s not there. Disappointed, it was an easy fight, and I know how to defeat it, and can probably do so without making mistakes next time. I bet it drops lots of gems, too.

I continue to explore to the south, still further, going deeper than before. At some point, I find what looks like a stonework construction of possibly zonai origin, which looks like a small temple or altar. I suspect a Shrine could be here? But that’s weird, normally the Shrines are above ground. I stand in the center and look up at the ceiling, and see what look like some kind of runes. It looks like the ceiling is low enough that I can ascend, and I think maybe I’ll get to the top of a tower and find something of value. I try it, and ascend all the way up to the surface, to find that I’m actually out on the top of one of the towers of the large bridge over Lake Hylia, the one that is guarded by the fierce Fire Gleeok.

I don’t want to leave the underground yet, and I don’t want to fight the Gleeok, so I cancel the Ascend and return to the depths. I mark the spot on the Map, and note that there’s already a Flag symbol marking the location. So clearly this is a special spot.

I start to make a connection after this experience, and look at the map more closely. I put the map pointer on one of the Light Roots that I’ve found, and then switch up to the surface level, and notice that there is a Shrine in the exact spot above the light root. I check several more spots, and find a corresponding relationship between Shrines aboveground and Light Roots below! This is a major discovery! I spend some time flipping back and forth between the surface and underworld maps, noting positions on both where I’ve found one but not the other, and mark those places where I need to go with Heart icons (since the Light Roots enable to restore gloomed hearts in my life meter, and Shrines enable me to add to my life meter, it makes sense to me.) Now I have a lot more places to try to make it to on the underworld map.

The terrain thus far had been mostly flat, and not too difficult, but now it’s gotten very steep and I seem to have found a drop-off where I’m at the edge of a vast underground canyon. I see some rail tracks going down, and it looks like another mining site. I jump into the void and glide down, and as I get closer it reveals that I’ve entered the Great Abandoned Central Mine. I enter the area and explore a bit, meeting a couple of Hylians who appear to be explorers, but are actually disguised Yiga.

They’ve found a Zonai Steward Construct, and are unable to wake it. They are trying to research a Zonai technology that allows them to quickly fabricate machines from Zonai parts. Asking me for help, I walk up and activate the Steward, who says I am authorized to receive a new ability, and grants me the quick construction ability. This is something I’ve been wishing the game had! It can remember past devices you’ve built, and re-assemble them for you quickly. You can also find schematic templates to add pre-designed vehicles to your quick-build capabilities. To start me off it gives me a tri-fan glider wing and a 4-wheeled car.

The Yiga reveal themselves to me, and I’m surrounded. In addition to the two I had talked to initially, Master Kohga himself and two lieutenants appear. Kohga challenges me to a combat, and seems to have some ability to create Zonai materials and assemble them himself. He quickly assembles a small arena, trapping me in with him, and quick-constructs a vehicle that he uses to charge me. I shoot him with a bomb arrow, blowing him off and he lands in the ground, stunned, and I hit him a bunch of times with my best weapon. He gets up, disappears, and then reappears on the other side of the arena, creates a new vehicle, and charges again. This time the vehicle has some additional shielding, but I’m good with the bow and manage to blow him out of this vehicle. I do this 4-5 times and manage to drop him on the first try.

It’s a story fight, though, so he’s not truly dead. He retreats, cursing me and says that he’s going to go to the mining site in the southwest next, and will be giving his power to someone who I suspect is the Demon King Ganon himself. Well, we can’t allow that, obviously. But before I can do anything, he crafts an airplane and flies away.

So if I got this ability that he was lusting after, and was jealous that I had “stolen” from under his watch, how’s he doing it now too? Did he copy it somehow while fighting me? It seemed like he already had it when I started to fight him.

Well, who knows. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There are three Zonai Stewards, in addition to the first one I activated I find two more. One teaches me how to construct a car vehicle, and the other is refining Zonaite and allows me to buy his supply of refined charges, which I do. I want to make a new battery cell so bad now, but I still don’t know where to do that other than up in the sky world.

One of the Stewards advices that I should travel toward a light in the distance, where I see a new Light Root. There’s a launch rail for launching Zonai wings, so I use the new quick build ability to create a tree-fan wing, and launch straight in the direction of the light root. My battery takes me about 3/4 of the way there, and I jump off and glide the rest of the way, and activate the Light Root, opening up the map of this region.

From the position of the Light Root, I can see a statue. I run towards it, and when I get close, I see another Hylian, standing next to a Zonai balloon vehicle, looking at it. It seems like another Yiga ambush, and of course it is. I walk up and talk to the Hylian, who reveals that these are the statues that I’ve been looking for, which point in the direction of a path to something… but it won’t do me any good, because they’re here to kill me, but I’m ready for them, and hit them with a freezing blast from my sapphire staff, and take them out.

This is probably the most fun I’ve had in the depths so far, and I’ve gained a new power. I feel I’ve made a huge amount of progress. I defeated my first Flux Construct, Master Kohga, and almost defeated a Frox, going into my first fight with it blind and not knowing what to expect or what to do.

I press onward, following the statues. They are not spaced very far apart, but sometimes the way is tricky due to the terrain and the placement of Gloom puddles. If I can walk in a straight line, I always go directly to the next statue with no problems. If I have to detour around a rock or a puddle, getting back in line can be a little tricky, if I can’t look back and see the previous statue. I mark each statue’s location that I find on the map with a Sword icon, because I haven’t used that one yet and because the statues have swords, and this helps me to orient myself. I can also throw a brightbulb forward before I deviate course, which makes it an easy target to get back on the straightline path to the next statue.

In this way, I have a pretty easy time of it. Encounters with monsters are few in this part of the map. Occasionally I encounter Yiga, mostly in disguise, which is predictable, or sometimes in vehicles.

At one point I am at the lip of a precipice, looking down into a deep valley or canyon below, so large that I cannot see the other side. It’s all black. I throw a few brightbulbs to get a general idea of how far down the descent is, and it’s maybe about 100 feet or so from the look of it. Ahead of me and slightly to my left, there’s a tall mesa, which has been fortified as a Yiga fortress. I’m more interested in following the statues, so I try to stick to that for now, but I get off-track and can’t find my way forward, so I backtrack to the last statue I find, and this time I decide to try to get into the fortress. This is right by the Yiga I met by the first statue, who was next to a campfire, and he happened to have a balloon vehicle. I put some wood in the vehicle and use the nearby fire to ignite it, then with Ultrahand I put it in the basket and up I go. I’m patient and wait until I’m very high in the air, about twice the height of the mesa, and still I haven’t hit the ceiling. A little more and the light begins to brighten, am I about to float out of the underworld to the surface? I want to stay down here, still, and check out that fortress. I leap from the balloon and glide toward the fortress. As I get closer, I observe a Yiga warrior piloting a flying vehicle, patrolling the sky above the fortress. I deploy my bow to get into bullet time, and nock an arrow, tipped with a fire keese eyeball, and target the craft, giving it just a bit of lead, and loose. The arrow flies true, killing the Yiga warrior, and his craft flies out of control into the ground. This cues a momentary cutscene of a locked door of one of the buildings opening. It’s the building atop a tower, which I can glide to. I do so, and enter, and there are two chests. One contains another zonai vehicle schematic, cool, and the other contains I forget, a zonai charge or arrows or something. I stealthily take out a few other Yiga soldiers in the fortress, all of whom are piloting vehicles which make them more troublesome to take on up close, but an arrow tipped with an eyeball is an easy way to hit them reliably and can kill them in one shot.

After clearing this area out I proceed further, and still deeper, downhill, following the statues. At one point the statues seem to be pointing me straight into a high sheer cliff. There’s several more balloon vehicles here, and torches, and I fight another disguised Yiga soldier. It seems like the thing to do is put more wood in one of the balloons and ride it up, so I do so, and once I’m high enough to see the top of this cliff, I spot another statue, and I know I’m on the right path.

I press on, finding a light root in the distance, which I mark with my scope, and then another, also far in the distance, and a bit to the right. Distance is always deceptive in the depths, and these things can be seen from an incredibly far range, due to the dim light which they emit before being activated. I usually underestimate just how far it will be to them when I spot them. I head in the direction, when I come to another sheer drop. And I stop to observe, when far below, I spot another Light Root, directly below. I have to glide down to it, to activate it, and when I do so the map lights up, and I can see a bit of the surrounding area. I’m at the site of an underground Labyrinth, and it appears that the Light Root I had initially been trying to get to is at the very top of its walls. The only way up is to scale the walls, so I do so. They are very tall, and it is so dark I really can’t see whether I can get to the top from the place I picked to climb. But luckily I can make it, and when I do I quickly throw down another brightbulb so I can see, and avoid falling off the edge. The way forward is clear, and I run to activate this Light Root as well.

The third Light Root in this area is a good bit further away, though, and will have to wait until next time.

TOTK Diary 51

I restore the game from my save point and look around from atop the citadel, scanning below with my Purah Scope. Off in another direction, I see far below at the base of the citadel mountain there is a bridge, which is partially collapsed, leading to what in all likelihood was once the main entrance to the fortress. Leading away from this, there’s a deep gorge with steep rocky walls, with another, longer bridge crossing it. This bridge seems to be mostly intact, and I spot a large group of monsters — at least three Moblins and I think about six Bokoblins — apparently camped out, guarding it. I decide to glide down to attack them, and as I get close enough I fire bomb arrows at the Moblins, trying to score headshots, and hoping that the blast damage will take out the bokoblins.

This attack is fairly successful, but it does blow two of the Moblins clean off the bridge, and either destroys the monster parts dropped by the Bokoblins, or blows them off the bridge as well. I’m left fighting two remaining Moblins — I guess there were four — but the bombs seem to have destroyed the Bokoblins outright, and the fight isn’t too bad. I take out the Moblins, and then drop down into the gorge to finish off the remaining two Moblins, in order to completely wipe out the group. The group has its own life bar, so it seems that there may be some special reward or mission to be accomplished by destroying the entire group. But when I succeed in doing so, nothing much happens.

I have a long climb to get back out of the gorge to the top where the bridge is. I’m just barely able to get to the top using all my stamina, the climbing suit, and un-equipping my weapons and shield. Looking back at the bridge, one of its main support columns is broken in half, and I see a korok puzzle in the hollow of the column. I swoop back down to solve the puzzle — Ultrahand glue a heavy rock to a cork on a chain, and drop it off the column to pull the cork and the Korok appears.

Then I climb back up the bridge once more, and look around trying to find any clue as to what else I was supposed to have done. I don’t see whatever it is I’m missing.

I’m very low on bombs now, I think I have fewer than five in my inventory. And this means it’s time to brave the depths once again, and go on an extended foraging session.

There’s a chasm to the underworld nearby, in the bottom of the gorge I just climbed out of. So I drop back down into it, and land in a new area of the underworld map that I haven’t been to previously, beneath Akkala.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, the ground down here is as rugged and steep as the terrain on the overworld above. It seems that there is some connection, a mirror like connection, to the worlds above and below. I don’t know everything there is to know about this, but I’m starting to notice some interesting connections. It’s an old Zelda trope that goes all the way back to Zelda III: A Link to the Past, where you have a dark world and a light world that you had to travel between, and which were linked together in numerous, subtle ways. So I bet there’s something like that going on here in TOTK as well.

The first thing I come to in this part of the underworld is a bokoblin mining operation. I put on my Boko hat and try to fit in, hoping to mine the Zonai ore in front of them without arousing their suspicion. But they get too close to me and when I swing my hammer at the ore it hits one of them, angering it, and it triggers a combat. Very well, then, fine. I fight the bokoblins pretty well, and defeat them without much trouble, loot the place, mine the ore, and move on.

It’s very dark and I seem to be moving along the top of a steep ridge, and I can see a Light Root off a ways. Distance is deceptive underground and stuff that looks near in the Purah Scope is often much farther than it seems. I mark the Light Root and look and it doesn’t look that far even on the map, but in reality it’s fairly far. I try throwing brightbulb seeds to see what’s in the space between us, and observe the brightbulb falls way, way, way farther than I had expected it would. So there’s an incredibly deep chasm below and this Light Root I’m looking at is on the far end of it, on another high ridge.

Looking down into the ridge, I see that there is actually a Light Root right below me, easily within reach, all have to do is drop down to it. This will sacrifice a lot of altitude and mean a big climb back up, but I can’t pass it up. I drop down and open up the map by activating the Light Root, and then make my way in the direction of the first Light Root that I had spotted, hoping to find my way to it.

I’m making pretty decent progress, and not really running into any problems. Some Lizalfos skeletons pop out of the ground, but I dispatch them quickly with a thrown Dazzlefruit seed. It’s the quick and easy way to deal with skeletal enemies, they die instantly from the burst of light if they’re caught in the radius of it. I climb a bit further, and encounter some flat, man-made looking stone platforms, fight another Lizalfos, this one not a skeleton, but a Blue Lizal. I climb to his level and am right there in front of him when I get to the level ground where I can get my footing. He doesn’t attack right away, surprised to see me I guess, and I hit him hard enough to knock him down and disarm him, which makes the rest of the fight go easily.

I’m almost to the next Light Root, and the way is very dark. I spot one of those mysterious pedestals with a shadowy statue atop it, holding a weapon. I figure I should take it, so I move in that direction. It’s very dark in the nearby surroundings, and there’s a bit of gloom off to the left, which I’m trying to avoid. The way to the right looks open and flat, as I can see a lot of Poes in the near distance, which give me some idea of the topography without burning a Brightbulb seed.

As I get close to the weapon pedestal, I’m spotted by a Lynel. I quickly duck and hide behind the pedestal, hoping that he doesn’t see me clearly and turn hostile. The Lynel comes closer for a better look and I sneak around the base of the pedestal, trying to stay out of sight.

This more or less works, but when the Lynel is what looks like a safe distance away, I need to use a Brightbulb seed so I can find my way. The Light Root is very near, but the ground is very steep, and there’s a lot of gloom around. Unfortunately when I throw the Brightbulb, it alerts the Lynel, who runs over and starts roaring, and move in to attack me. I try to run for it, pressing through Gloom that saps my life strength, and then I catch fire. I’ve stepped into a region of extreme heat, but with the combat underway I misinterpret this as the Lynel hit me with a flame based attack. I don’t realize what’s really going on, and before I know it I’m dead.

I respawn, and wait a bit longer this time for the Lynel to get further away, and am more careful about how I get to the Light Root this time. I manage to avoid the Gloom spots, and don’t trigger the Lynel to attack me, but still catch fire, and realize that this Light Root is in a very hot zone. I put on my Flamebreaker armor suit, and even that’s not putting the flames out. I equip my sapphire rod, and still I’m burning. Down to my last heart.

There’s a third Light Root nearby which I had spotted, and marked with my Purah Scope, but I’m too near death to try to make it there. I need to fast-travel to safety, and it seems like a good idea to go back to Lookout Landing and replenish some stocks, cash in some Korok Seeds, and see what else I can do before I go back into the underworld again.

At Lookout Landing, I have enough Korok seeds to expand my weapon, shield, and bow inventory slots by one each. I talk to a man at the armor shop aboveground, and he mentions he wants to add another shelf so that the merchant can offer more wares. I wish I had rupees enough to buy some of the armor suits. It seems like there are a lot more of these suits in TOTK than there were in BOTW. I don’t even know how many there are in total. There’s one called the Fierce Diety, that I can get by finding more of the Legendary Bandit’s stashes, and the Frog Suit one for completing the Lucky Clover Gazette missions. And most of the armor suits from BOTW, and probably more that I haven’t learned about yet.

While I’m in Lookout Landing, I talk to Purah’s two assistants. One wants me to go back into the underworld to look for these statues that seem to be leading to some interesting discovery; the other wants me to go to Hateno Village to use their research lab to expand the powers of the Purah Pad. I have yet to go to Hateno Village in all my travels in this game so far. So I think that is what I should do next.

If I want to go back to sub-Akkala, I’m going to need to complete the Fireproof suit, which I might be able to do if I go back to Goron City and sell off some diamonds. And if I’m there I might as well complete the quest with Yunobo. So that’s something I’ll be taking care of soon, as well.

TOTK Diary 50

Once I’m out of the Shrine, it’s dark out and raining. I’m not sure what to do next. I feel like I have ADHD. No matter where you go, there’s something else to do, and if you go a little bit off the trail of the path that accomplishes whatever that is, you get into something else. It’s great that Hyrule is so densely packed, but at the same time it is very easy to get sidetracked, distracted, and lose track of what you were doing and what was really important about it. Things like leads and hints are easy to lose track of, even if you’re trying to keep a diary of everything you’ve done, need to do, seen, heard, or noticed.

I wanted to clear a few more map pins that I’d placed so long ago that I couldn’t remember what they even were. But most of them are probably Shrines I spotted from way far off when I went up to the sky from a SkyView Tower I unlocked in one of the regions of the land.

Anyhow I feel like I’m losing the plot a bit. I travel from one place to the next, without really knowing why, just following the next visible distraction that just came into view, and it all becomes a blur.

So, one of the markers I put down when I summoned the Lord of the Mountain was over a ridge, and it’s hard to know where the actual origin point of the glowing beacon was, but I tried to mark it with the Purah Scope as best I could, and I go to that point, and when I get there, I’m well into the southwest part of the map, in the area between the central Hyrule area, Gerudo Desert to the west, and Farron to the south. It’s a rocky gorge, with steep walls that are very high and would be difficult to climb up from the bottom without a ton of stamina. There’s a road running through the gorge, about midway up, I guess, with bridges connecting between some rocky high spots. The pin I’ve put on the map happens to be right on a Zonai device dispenser, standing on a tall pillar of rock in the middle of this gorge, off to the side of the road. I was hoping to find a cave or something, but OK, it is what it is. I use the dispenser, might as well since I’m here, and look around to see if maybe there isn’t anything else of note nearby, say a well hidden cave or anything like that. But it’s pretty hard to get around in this area, and there very easily could be plenty of stuff hidden just out of sight, or out of reach, where you’d need to climb down and take your time getting around if you wanted to see it, and unless you knew it was there, you likely wouldn’t bother. Not if you were in a hurry and had other places to go and things to do.

I don’t especially feel like taking the long route to the next map pin, so I look at the map for the nearest spot to fast-travel to. There’s a pin where I spotted a Shrine, I’m pretty sure, up on the mountainous ridge separating Gerudo desert and Farron. I’d like to go there and check it out. So I fast-travel to another shrine that’s nearby, but it’s still going to be a bit of a trek to get to this pin location on the map. I have some climbing and some gliding to do to reach it.

When I get close, I spot a smoke signal coming up from the top of the far side of the ridge. I think that must be it, the location of interest that I pinned, and not a Shrine necessarily, and head towards it, taking a somewhat long route to avoid having to climb a steep, tall cliff. When I reach the smoke, I think the area looks a bit familiar. It’s the place where I met the woman cooking terrible meals in BOTW. The fire is still burning here, but now there’s a dark skinned Hylian woman who’s trying to clean up the area with a broom. It’s even more of a mess than I remember it being in BOTW, with a ton of tumbleweeds. She’s complaining about the tumbleweeds, they’re everywhere and she can’t get rid of them all. I grab one using Ultrahand and hold it near the fire until it catches, then touch it to the others which start to light up creating a huge fire in no time. After they’re all burned away, the woman is thankful and rewards me with a special shield, and it’s actually a very nice one, with a defense rating of 55.

I look around to see what else might be worth checking out nearby, but seeing nothing very obvious, and not really wanting to get into the Gerudo Desert again, I decide to fast-travel again, this time to the Eldin region where I have some more map pins to check out. The destination I picked happens to be the horse stable where the weirdo Hylians hanging out in their underwear were staying. It’s right on the edge of Goron territory, and the moment I arrive, Yunobo is back. But my pin destinations lead me away from Goron City, and he says goodbye again as I head in the other direction.

The first thing I encounter is two Hylians, a woman and a fancy dressed man, who appear to be waiting to talk to a chicken who is sitting near a tree. They say the chicken has strange powers and can tell them the future, or something. I try to talk to the chicken, but the man in fancy clothes says not to interrupt. It’s pretty weird, and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be comic relief or what.

But it’s not the thing I had pinned, so I move on. It’s a fairly long haul over land to get to the Shrine I can see, and no faster way to get there than to run. I run and run, and get into a fight with some bokoblins who happen to be carrying a load of fire seeds. As I’m fighting them, two or three more bokoblin skeletons appear. I don’t have too much trouble with them, with Tulin helping, and end up taking a decent haul of materials form their corpses.

While I’m collecting them, I spot a balloon off in the distance, near by the Akkala Skyview Tower. It looks like Kilton’s balloon. I take a detour to get to it, and when I do I find Kilton’s brother, Kolton. He remembers me and wants more bubbul gems. I give him most of the 13 I have, and get a Lizalfos mask, Moblin mask, and the Mystical suit body piece, which has the special property of trading rupees for hearts if I take damage. Interesting. If I get rich, I could be nearly immortal in that. He also has a helmet and boots for the complete set, but doesn’t offer them this time. Kolton also offers to trade common items for bubbul gems, and I’m not sure if I should refuse them and come back later, holding out for something better, but I do take a load of fire keese eyeballs from him. I’m not sure that I should have.

The Shrine I want to check out is still in view, but still distant. I head back in the direction of it, and as I’m going up a ridge, I suddenly realize where I am — approaching the village of Tarrey Town from the north approach. It looks like it’s bustling. I decide to stop in and check things out. There’s a lot doing on. My first stop is to pray at the stature, since I have enough to cash in for another Heart Container.

An old man and woman are talking about life in the town. Hudson Construction is headquartered here, and Hudson and his Gerudo wife now have a daughter, who is coming to the age where she needs to travel to Gerudo Town to learn the ways of the Gerudo women. There’s a man who wants to sell access to a rail car that will take me down to a construction site below the town. And also he has a glowing gem, of the kind that is always attached to a shrine quest. I buy the gem from him for 50 rupees, and pay him the 20 he wants to grant access to the rail car. I ride it down, carrying the gem, and talk to the workers at the construction site. Apparently there is a lot of rock falling from the sky, and a lot of Zonai devices landing in this spot. They are studying it, trying to figure out how to make it work. I carry the gem until I get to the edge of the water of the lake that fills the southern side of the area near the construction site. Then I put it down and take a walk to get a better view of where its beam of light is pointing to. It’s across the water; apparently I need to build a raft or other vehicle capable of carrying the gem to its destination so I can open the shrine here.

It’s not easy. There are no steering sticks around here, and I have none in my inventory. I manage to glue together some wood pieces, enough to float the gem, but without a way to steer it, it’s hard to get it where it needs to go. I manage through a lot of trial and failure to steer with a fan, and correcting course every time it turns the wrong way, which it does a lot because the load is unbalanced and causes the boat to turn in a wide arc. But eventually I manage to get the rock to the shrine location, and after unlocking the shrine I have enough Light of Blessings for another Heart Container.

One of the workers at the Construction Site is trying to demonstrate a vehicle they’ve constructed to two Gerudo women. They are trying to figure out how to control the vehicle, which has no steering stick. I have none, either, so I can’t help them. But there is a Zonai dispenser in the Construction site, so I go over and try using it, hoping it will give me the piece we need. And guess what, it does. I get four steering sticks, and run back over to the vehicle and show them how it works. They are thrilled and give me 100 rupees and a sleepover ticket for the Stables.

The other workers at the construction site are Gorons, and they talk about Yunobo and Goron City like I didn’t just come from there and know all about them. They even seem to be ignorant of what happened with Yunobo, who was under the spell of someone until I broke the mask that had been used to charm him. I feel like this is a bit poor game design on the part of the developers; I should have been able to deliver important and interesting news to these Gorons, and they should have treated me differently for having already befriended and saved Yunobo.

I return to Tarrey Town and use the Statue again to increase my life meter. And there’s still one more Shrine, further up the ridge, to the south of Tarrey Town, which was the thing that originally brought me out this way.

I head back out onto the path out of Tarrey Town, and head up the hill to the south, and follow the curve around to where the shrine is. As I get closer, I spot what looks like some kind of stage, set up on a flat part of the ground just below the level where the shrine I’m heading to is. And I see a Hylian standing there. Curious, I run over to talk to him. He says that he is with the Hudson Construction company, and will be building “dream homes” on this very spot in the future. For more information he tells me to go to Tarrey Town, where I just came from, and talk to Hudson, who I just did speak to. Again, I feel like this is disappointing work on the part of the game developers, who should have anticipated that I might come there through the way I did, and prepared different dialog in that case.

At any rate, now I’m finally at the Shrine I wanted to visit, so I enter. This one is a “vehicle test” where they take away all my gear and provide me with some weak, basic weapons, and then set me loose in a large arena filled with Zonai Construct soldiers, who have weak hitpoints and mostly have weak weapons. All I have to do is defeat them all. It’s not that hard, now that I have a big health meter, but it’s not that easy, either. I am given a few arrows and a weak bow and a thick wooden stick to start out with. I use the arrows to headshot the first, nearest Zonai Construct Soldier, knocking him down and then run up and beat him to death with the stick. He drops his weapons and I get access to a vehicle. The vehicle sucks, it’s just a sled with a fan on it and a control stick. It has decent speed but terrible turning, and is pretty much useless. I proceed around the arena clockwise, trying to figure out what it is that I’m supposed to do, until I realize that all I actually have to do is defeat these construct soldiers, which I’m capable of doing without the vehicles getting in my way. But spread out in every area of the arena, there are various vehicles of different types. I suppose if I wanted to, I could use them to ram or run over the Zonai constructs, and perhaps conserve weapons. But I find that I don’t need to. The constructs are spread out enough that I can fight them one on one, without the others also getting alerted and ganging up on me. Maybe 1 or two will alert and come over, but by the time they do I’ve defeated the one I’m engaged with, and picked up an extra weapon. About half of the construct soldiers are armed with bows, and so when they shoot at me, and miss, I pick up their arrows, and replenish my stock. A few of the later construct soldiers have fire weapons, but I head shot them, knock them down, and steal their weapon, and then finish them off. I end up not actually needing the vehicles at all, and could have done better ignoring them entirely. There’s a cage-like structure in the middle with what appears to be some more advanced Zonai tech weapons — I see what looks like a beam emitter or a flame projector. The only way in is through the top, which is open to the sky, and the only way to get up there seems to be to fly over with a zonai wing vehicle that happens to be included in the arena. But I don’t see how you can get the vehicle out of this cage, unless there’s a trigger inside of it, or something.

I wonder if maybe the idea for this challenge was to commandeer the wing craft, use it to drop in to the cage, then quickly assemble a vehicle and arm it, trigger the walls of the cage to open, and then go on a cleanup sweep around the arena using the vehicle mounted weapons to make short work of the remaining soldiers. That would have been fun, and probably necessary if I had any fewer hearts than I now do.

After clearing the fight, I pick up another Light of Blessing.

The last point on the map that I’d pinned is nearby, but it’s high atop a mountain, and there’s nothing nearby that I can get to easily to come at it from above. Looking at it, it seems like there’s some kind of structure, a castle or fortification of some kind, built at the top of it. It looks foreboding and difficult, and I imagine if it were populated by an intelligent defender, would be very difficult to take.

Well, as it turns out, it’s dark and raining out when I get near the place where I’d have to start climbing. And as it turns out, I’m right back near the South Akkala Stables, the place with the talking cucco and where I pick up Yunobo. I decide to wait the rain out, and to kill time I go back to the Stable, and explore the well. The chicken is still down there, and has laid two eggs. I talk to the woman tending the sheep, and she tells me she hears him sometimes, but can’t find him, and hopes that his is OK and that he has company. I guess maybe I could try to find another chicken and throw it down there…

While I’m here, I happen to spot Penn, the Rito who partners with me on stories for the Lucky Clover. I talk to him, because he has a red “!” to indicate he has something important to tell me. He says that the word is that the talking cucco who knows all is someone I should talk to. Well, OK I guess now I can do that, then.

I walk back over to where the All Knowing Cucco is, and find that the fashionably dressed man is walking away. He tells me his fortune, which is that great wealth is to be found in the northeast. Hmm, OK. The woman who was waiting after the well dressed man tells me to go ahead, because she’s still trying to decide what questions she wants answered. I talk to the cucco, who says that he recognizes me, and says that I need to complete some trials before I can learn my fate.

The first one is to make it to the top of the Stables under a time limit. This takes me a few tries, but isn’t that hard. I run to the edge of the hill that I’m standing on, then glide down to the back of the Stable, use Ultrahand to lift a box high into the air, put it back down, stand on it, and use Recall to lift myself up, then climb the rest of the way to the top.

The second trial is to bring three logs to the top of the hill where the cucco is. There’s three trees right nearby, and I use bomb arrows to turn them into logs, and Ultrahand to put them on the hill right in front of the cucco.

Having passed my trials, the Cucco reveals my fate: to be ambushed by the Yiga Clan! I’m attacked again by three ninjas, who I kill pretty easily. I just switch over to my sapphire rod, freeze them, and then hit them hard with a high damage weapon. They don’t stand a chance.

Penn the Rito swoops in after the action is over and tells me that he found out too late what was going on. He thanks me for the story and pays me 50 rupees, plus a 20 rupee bonus from Traysi herself. I wonder how close I am to earning the frog armor suit.

Well the weather is nice again, and it’s the middle of the day, so I might as well get to work climbing up that tall mountain to find out what’s up there.

I start climbing, and get to a ledge where I can rest and regain stamina, then walk over to an outcrop which I Ascend through. Then I climb some more, and reach another resting spot. Then it starts to rain again. I get under another outcrop and Ascend again, and then I’m stuck until the rain subsides. When it does, I resume climbing again, and don’t stop until I get to the top.

Here, the mountainside turns into castle walls, and I’m in a location called South Akkala Citadel. I climb up and over the wall, and as I get to the top I’m alerted to the presence of a monster just on the other side of the wall. I see it when I get to the top: a bokoblin, and he’s well armed. He seems to have some kind of electric weapon.

I’ve forgotten that I unequipped my gear so I can climb faster, and am at a temporary disadvantage as I try to fight unarmed and unarmored. I try to throw a bomb, but my fingers can’t find the right button. He hits me, and the shock damage causes me to drop the weapon I’d just drawn, and takes me down to about 1/3 of my health. Fuck this. I should have saved.

I switch to another weapon, and hit the Bokoblin repeatedly, until he falls down. Unfortunately he drops shockfruits, and I step on one taking some more damage. Fortunately I don’t die and the Bokoblin does die. I pick myself up and gather the loot that is lying about.

I am on a pathway spiraling up around the mountain top citadel, and I start following, as the pathway turns slightly to the right.

A little further up the path, I come to a lone moblin, and he’s sitting next to a campfire, unaware of my presence. I knock a bomb arrow with my multi shot bow, and try to nail him in the head. The explosion knocks him clean off the mountain, dropping him far below, but he’s only about halfway damaged. His weapon is on fire, but he’s out of my way and no longer a threat.

I scout out the campsite, and there’s not much left. A downside of using bombs is you tend to destroy useful things.

Looking over the edge of the spot where the Moblin was camped, I see a large flat area covered with rocks below, and at the far end of it, I spot an electric Gleeok. It’s too far away to see me, and I’m glad for that. Looking around the area, I observe a row of cannons facing outward, to defend the citadel from outsiders, looking like a rather formidable defense. I’m not interested in trying to take on the Gleeok yet, but more interested in continuing the climb up.

I know that not much farther above my location, there is a Shrine. And once I unlock it, it’ll be a great fast travel spot to return to this location with ease.

Unfortunately it starts raining again. It seems to be raining about every four hours here, and usually there’s a threat of lightning. I’m nearly to the top of the mountain, about to enter the citadel proper, but now I have to wait for the rain to stop so I can climb again. While I’m waiting, I look around and find a pathway leading further up. I go up a short stairway, then branch off to follow a natural trail up a ridge. At the top of the crest, I see a courtyard with some stonework walls laying in ruin. In the center, a pool of Gloom with five hands coming out of it, each with an eye in the palm. Gloom Hands! I have only encountered these twice before… the first time I was very new to the game and pretty weak, but used high ground to avoid them. The second time was in the Labyrinth in the northern part of Hyrule, deep in the north, and deep in the Labyrinth. That time, I was up on the top of the walls, well out of reach of the hands, and rained bombs down on them, quite effectively, and managed to destroy them; then Phantom Ganon appeared, but after a few minutes as I tried to figure out a way to engage him from atop the labyrinth walls, he disappeared.

This time, I’m not on high ground, but I’m a lot better equipped. I fire some arrows from my double shot bow, tipped with bombs, and these seem to do a lot of damage to the hands. I take the hands down to about half their hitpoints before I have to engage them with my melee weapon. They do grab me once, but I shake out of their grasp and continue fighting back, using my sapphire rod to freeze them. This works, but only very briefly, as they seem to break free of the ice almost immediately, allowing me insufficient time to follow up with a switch to a heavy hitting melee weapon to do extra damage. But it is enough time to hit them with another arrow.

Before I know it, the Gloom Hands are defeated. Now I’m expecting to face off with Phantom Ganon, but he doesn’t appear! Strange. I wonder about these encounters, are they random? If so they seem very uncommon. Are they in specific locations? Is there any “progression” to these encounters — as I have more of them will they become “deeper” events? I have no idea.

With the Gloom Hands defeated, it seems the entire mountaintop citadel is empty. I find a treasure chest, and some boxes which I loot, but nothing much worth the climb. I look around pretty thoroughly and don’t find hardly anything at all worth mentioning. Well, there’s some remarkable looking cannons mounted along the walls, facing outward, but they are decorative only. Very old, rusty and full of cobwebs, and with no way to interact with them, it seems. I wonder if I could go back in time to see this place in its glory, what it would be like. Looking down from here, I see the Thunder Gleeok that I saw before, down below, seeming to guard its territory.

I don’t figure I’m capable of beating the Gleeok still, but I want some practice, so I save the game, and jump down to glide in and try to target the heads with my bow. This doesn’t work so great. The bow isn’t strong enough to do them a lot of damage, they don’t get stunned, and when I land it shoots lightning at me, killing me instantly, despite having two pieces of the rubber armor suit on.

Oh well, time to restore.

TOTK Diary 49

After exploring that cave in the Death Mountain region, and not finding Zelda, it feels like the next place to go is to the mountain top. It may be that the shrine I discovered in the cave serves as a useful waypoint for fast-travel back to here. I’m not sure where to go next, but I think I was pretty thorough in clearing out that cave, although it could be I missed something. But finding both a shrine and a bubbul frog and getting a lot of forage material, it feels like I completed it.

I think about walking up Death Mountain to see if I can find “Zelda” but something about that plan doesn’t feel like right now is the right time to do it. I can explore a lot more in this area, and I’m sure there’s a lot of minerals, caves, forage materials, and treasure chests to find in the area. Not to mention some monsters to fight, including octorocks who can upgrade my weapons. I try looking around to see what looks like a promising direction to explore in, and get irritated that I have no free Pins to use with the Purah Pad scope. I have six different colored pins, and all are in use marking placed on the map that I noticed looked interesting and wanted to check out when I had a chance. They’re all far away now, and I have a choice. Either I can replace the Pins with Markers and then try to remember which ones I’ve been to and which I haven’t, or I can fast-travel around the world and try to visit all the Pin points in person, and do whatever there is to do there. I’m sure a few of them are Shrines that I need to clear out, and that will help me increase my life meter, and that’s always a good thing.

So I decide to fast-travel to the one of them and figure out why I pinned it. As I’m about to leave, Yunobo says he’ll stay here and keep looking for Zelda until I get back; I guess he can’t travel with me, which only makes sense. I wouldn’t know how to fast-travel with him, at any rate. And it would probably break the game to have him going with me wherever I want to travel to, without completing his special mission. But it makes me wonder how I’ll hook up with him again when I return to the Eldin region. Will I find him at YunoboCo HQ? In Goron City? In the spot on the map where I left him? I guess we’ll see.

The first Pinned location I travel to happens to be right near a stable. It’s the very stable where I first met Impa, where she had me launch into the sky with a zonai balloon and find the first Geoglyph. It turns out that the thing I had marked was a campfire which I probably saw from far away, and in the dark, and thought might be a place where I might meet a character, only I didn’t realize I’d already done so. Oddly the fire is still burning, and there’s a torch next to it, but that balloon that Impa had been travelling in is gone — I expect she’s likely still in Rito Village where I last saw her, and that must be how she travels. I wonder if there’s any purpose still served by the lit fire, and if so what it could be.

At any rate this frees up one of my pins. The next is not that far away, although it’s still a good journey by foot. I run out over the grasslands, past several horses. Along the way I find a couple of koroks. It’s near dusk, and at a point near a large rock formation, there’s a glimmer in mid-air, which I can’t examine without finding a way to stand on a platform that isn’t there. But there’s some building materials conveniently nearby, and I construct a platform to stand on. Korok found. From atop this platform, I can see another Shrine off in the distance, and so I mark it with my newly freed up mapping pin. I check the map to verify whether it’s a Shrine I’ve been to or not, and it’s not.

Suddenly I notice I’m being watched. Off to my left, I see an “!” in the distance, and below it, for the first time I notice the imposing form of a Lynel. Quickly, I duck behind the boulder and hide. The Lynel doesn’t seem to have spotted me, and I sit a while, wondering how I can extract myself from this predicament. I don’t particularly want to fast-travel again, and I don’t want to fight a Lynel just yet. I figure I’ll sit tight and wait for it to turn around and move on, it must be on patrol in this field, and probably when it turns around I’ll be able to move freely past it. As a precaution, I save the game here.

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, I start hearing an alarm-like sound, and fight music starts. WTF? I think the Lynel did spot me at first, but I look again and he doesn’t seem to. I’m standing there, looking all around me trying to figure out who my assailant is, and don’t see anyone. Suddenly, I’m hit from above. As though something fell from the sky and hit me, only I don’t see what it is. Whatever it was, didn’t do much harm, but now I’m more confused than ever. There’s no good way out of this, and if I can’t see what’s attacking me, I’m going to be killed in short order, so I need to move. I try to run for it, but the Lynel spots me, and although it doesn’t immediately attack, it seems interested in following me. I run at full speed but it easily keeps up with me, as it seems that most of the monsters in the game now aren’t so easy to run away from.

You can run from chuchus and evermeans and that’s about it now. Anything else, once it is interested in fighting you, will easily keep up with you on normal terrain, and the only thing you can do to get away from them is climb a hill or mountain, or fast-travel away.

I notice that one of the items I’m carrying in my weapons inventory is a magic rod, and I want to try to create a frost staff with it, so I can try freezing the Lynel to get away from it. Unfortunately I screw this up, and instead of fusing a sapphire to it, I end up fusing a damn broadsword that was on the ground nearby me, which I didn’t notice was there.

Annoyed that I just ruined my staff, I opt to restore back to the save point I had created earlier.

Having done so, I find that the Lynel’s no longer suspicious about my location, and I’m able to just make a run for it and get far enough away while its back is turned that it doesn’t spot me darting over the meadow.

Before too long, I’m in another area where I find a korok. There’s a few earthen forms, which have hollow circles standing up from them, which appear to be some sort of puzzle, I guess. I recall something similar involving archery in BOTW. I don’t want to waste a lot of time here, or arrows, at the moment. But I head over to check it out to see if I can figure out anything. There’s a sign post in the ground, pointing like an arrow at one of the rings formations. I walk over to the ring and look through it, and I can see another ring in the near distance. I walk towards it, look through its ring, and see another ring formation, and walk over to it. Finally, there’s a final ring formation, and when I approach more closely I notice a glimmer, and there I find a korok.

I’m also nearby a shrine here, so I go in and clear it out. I’d be lying if I could tell you what the challenge was; it was something rather easy, so simple that I’ve forgotten it now.

Then there’s another shrine, the one I was originally heading for, the one I had marked with a pin a long time ago. It’s up a foothill, and takes some climbing to get to. I also have to glide over a deep gully with a river at the bottom, which seems to be a boundary separating two distinct geographical areas.

I’m focused on getting to that shrine, though, so I keep making for it. It takes a while, but finally I’m close. As I get closer, I come to an area where the forage seems to be especially bountiful. An apple orchard with many apple trees, each with perhaps a half dozen or more apples in them, where a typical tree may have 3-4. And plenty of apples on the ground, besides. And 3 or 4 foxes milling about. It reminds me of the rich forage in Satori Mountain in BOTW. I start gathering up the apples, and two of the trees awaken, turning into Evermeans, and start attacking.

I’m right by the Shrine now, so I just activate it and enter to duck out of the fight that I didn’t want to have right now.

This shrine is a little bit more interesting of a puzzle. I have to combine Ultrahand, Ascend, and Recall to get past the obstacles. Ultrahand to move blocks through a path, then Ascend to get on top of them, and finally Recall to get the blocks to move through the path I’d drawn using Ultrahand while I ride them to get where I need to go. It’s not difficult, but requires the ability to combine your abilities to solve a problem, so a bit advanced.

I complete the shine, and after I emerge, the Evermeans have gone away. I see that the foxes have been replaced by crows — there’s a bunch of crows here now, at least 6 or 7. It feels like their gathering has some purpose. I look around, and notice the hill above me seems to have a dead zone, where at the next level up in altitude, the trees are all dead and devoid of foliage. I decide to go up and check it out, and maybe I can pick up some wood, which I’m low on.

When I get up there, I find a cooking pot, fire burning under it, but no person around. I’m starting to feel like I should be on alert if someone’s near. Just then, three moblin skeletons burst up out of the earth, and attack me. I climb up to a higher vantage point, to escape being cornered or surrounded by them, and throw a Dazzlefruit down at them. This is a very effective way of dealing with skeletal monsters. You don’t have to hit them with the fruit, just being within its burst of light will destroy them in one shot. One fruit takes out two of them, and the third retreats back into the ground. As I’m moving around, I also attract the attention of a yellow Wizzorobe, who I shoot with my bow, taking him out with a couple of arrows. I pick up his lightning rod and move on.

Nearby, I see a satori bunny, who I shoot to get some rupees, and then just past him I notice a cave. I enter, and the cave Discovery! announces that this cave is Satori Cave. So I am indeed in a special region of the map! This cave is FULL of forage, lots of lizards, some bomb flowers, and lots of bright bulbs. A few Horriblins and two Like Likes. But nothing I can’t handle. I don’t find a bubbul frog here, which is curious — I may have missed something, although I did explore pretty thoroughly.

Up the hill from this cave, I find the familiar grove where in BOTW the Lord of the Mountain would appear. The place looks much the same, but… maybe slightly less lively. There’s something off about the place, it has the look of the aftermath of a party, or like it’s sometime after the peak of the blooming season. The cherry tree here is still in bloom, but not as full as I remember it being. I wonder if it’s the natural changing of the season, or if it’s got to do with the Gloom and the upheaval.

I notice an offering basket near the base of the tree, and drop an apple into it. The Lord of the Mountain appears, and the surrounding landscape is lit up once again with multiple glowing beacons of light, each marking a special spot somewhere in Hyrule. I try to mark as many as I can with the Purah Pad map pins, and to avoid running out of pins, after placing a pin I swap it for a Skull marker, since I don’t generally use that one, it’s a good way to indicate on the map a place where I want to go.

Then I notice that one of the glowing beacons is yellow, not blue, which indicates that a shooting star has fallen nearby. I pin it, because on the map the shooting star beacons don’t appear, and use the pin to find the location where it fell on the map. Then I fast-travel to the nearest skyview tower, and ride it up, and then glide as far and as fast as I can toward the landing site. I get almost directly over the star fragment just as the last of my stamina runs out, and I freefall a huge distance, what looks like at least 1000 feet, and manage to time my last-second parachute deployment perfectly, safely landing right on the star fragment, which I immediately grab.

I’m nearby another map pin that I placed on a shrine, so hike there and enter. This one is not very difficult. I have to transport a large heavy ball by sliding it down rails over a bottomless pit, connecting four large platforms together. The first is easy, I just roll the ball down the rails. The second isn’t much more difficult, the rails are too wide, but I can attach some metal stakes to the side of the ball using Ultrahand, and it rolls nicely to the next platform. The third one is just a single rail, and I have to build a hook so that the ball will hang from it and ride the rail down. I solve it pretty quickly, the solution each time is pretty self-evident.