The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most open-ended game in the series since the original Legend of Zelda over 20 years ago. That game handed you a sword and told you, essentially, “good luck.” Breath of the Wild quickly gives you a multitude of tools, from bombs to a paraglider, but the message is effectively the same.
It can be easy to get lost in this dazzlingly expansive new version of Hyrule. Sometimes it can feel like the game is purposely withholding information — like you could get where you needed to go, if only it would tell you where that is. And especially early on, you might just feel totally lost and unable to figure out what to do next. With dozen of hours of the game under our belt, we’ve experienced this feeling, and we can tell you that, no matter how confusing it seems, you can always find your way.
Here are some tips for how to find your path forward.
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Make sure you have the right quest selected
There’s a point in Breath of the Wild, just after you get to Kakariko Village, in which the game basically tricks you into getting lost. After you speak to Impa you receive two new main quests. One is what you should do next, while the other is a much longer-term goal. Yet that’s the one it selects for you, which leads many players to feel like there’s no obvious place for them to go next.
It’s not a nice trick, but it will hopefully teach you a lesson: Use the quest menu. Even if the game hasn’t selected the wrong quest for you, sometimes looking at where you’re going can help your goals feel more attainable.
To look at the quest menu, go to the inventory menu by pressing the + button, and press left. The quest menu lets you flick between main story, side and shrine quests with the right analog stick. The one you have selected will put an objective marker on your map and in-game radar. It might not tell you exactly where to go, but it will be in the right ballpark.
Be OK with being lost
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s story is about Link waking up after 100 years and reclaiming Hyrule from Calamity Canon. But the story of the game — of you playing the game — is about going on an adventure. And part of going on an adventure is getting lost.
Set out into the unknown. Find a high vantage point and just look around. You’re guaranteed to see something that piques your interest, whether it’s a distant shrine, a mysterious island, or a massive dragon flying through the sky. Then go there. You might get lost, and it might feel like you’re not making progress. But you can always fast travel back to the known world — your comfort zone — and if nothing else you’ve gained experiences. Those count for a lot in Breath of the Wild.
Always be prepared
There are lots of potential barriers to making progress in this game. Even if you spot a map tower or a shrine in the distance you want to reach, you might fail to get there. Maybe the weather turned incredibly hot, or you ran headlong into a huge enemy you couldn’t hope to defeat. Maybe — and this happened to us — you fought your way to a far-off tower only to find you don’t have enough stamina to climb it.
That’s on you! Prepare for the unexpected and you won’t feel so helpless. Experiment with a cook pot (and read our cooking guide). Make cooling meals and potions so you can withstand the heat, grind out some rupees to buy the stealth gear in Kakariko so you can avoid tough enemies, and always — always — carry several stamina-boosting items with you. Stamella shrooms and restless crickets are some of the most common ingredients in the game. Or you can even use amiibo to spawn nearly every food type in the game.
Talk to everyone
If you’re looking for somewhere to go or something to do, try simply talking to people. Almost every single person you can converse with will offer something — even if they don’t have the little red icon that indicates they’ll give you a side quest, they might mention a nearby fairy fountain or give you hints about how to proceed.
Impa and other characters around Kakariko will give you plenty of additional information after you get the main quest from her, for example, while a painter who pops up all around Hyrule will help you with that pesky photo quest. Almost everything in Breath of the Wild exists for a reason, including every random person you might meet.
Use common sense
You can’t get to Death Mountain because your clothes light on fire every time you get close? Think about it from this angle: where might they sell something that could help travelers on their way to Death Mountain? Are there any logical points a traveler might stop and rest before entering fire country? Something like a stable?
Logic and common sense go a long way in Breath of the Wild. There isn’t a single environment in this game that’s closed off to you based on story progress, so if you want to go there, you can. You just need to figure out how. The game gives you the tools you need to reach those points and it’s up to you to find and use them effectively.
Use the map to keep track of where you’ve been
Breath of the Wild’s map is incredibly robust, but it’s easy to use. It includes lots of features to help you keep track of where you’ve been — and thus, where you should go next. Using Hero’s Path will keep a record of the exact route you’ve taken (up to 200 hours), showing you all the spots you’ve missed so far. The image above pertains to a save with over 150 hours of playtime, and there are still spots we missed. Likewise, you’ll want to make good use of the map’s stamps. If you see an area that seems interesting, but you aren’t quite sure how to get there yet, place a stamp there to remind you to come back!
Pick something — anything — to do
Breath of the Wild is so bursting with things to do that the sheer number of options can be paralyzing. Should you unlock another map tower? Should you take another stab at that shrine you couldn’t figure out earlier? Should you investigate that structure you saw off in the distance? Should you do that side quest? Should you just give up and turn it off because your mind is blown by the possibilities?
Here’s what to do in that situation: pick one thing and just do it. Write down everything else you want to do so you can put those other things out of your mind, and just do one thing, whether it’s a side quest, part of the main quest, or just something totally random.
No matter what you choose, as long as you prepare and persist, you’ll eventually persevere. The only limitation Breath of the Wild ever imposes is what you imagine is impossible.