Nintendo promised two downloadable content packs for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild post-release. Now we know what the first of them will bring.
We also know when it’s coming, roughly: this summer.
The DLC is called The Master Trials, and it’s massive. The centerpiece is something committed Zelda fans already knew about. Trials of the Sword — previously called the “Cave of Trials Challenge” — is a combat gauntlet with a twist: you start with nothing.
All your weapons and armor are stripped away in Trials of the Sword, leaving you to improvise as some formation of enemies moves in to attack. There are “around 45” rooms included in Trials of the Sword; complete them all and your Master Sword will never lose power again.
Prediction: Lynels are going to be terrible in this mode.
The Master Trials also adds a “Hard Mode” to Breath of the Wild. With this setting turned on, all enemies in the game world are leveled up (i.e. red becomes blue, blue becomes black, etc.), they spot you more easily, and their health automatically regenerates over time.
In addition to the difficulty tweaks, Hard Mode adds a new set of challenges to the game world: floating platforms filled with enemies. Beat them all and you get some sweet loot.
There’s still more. Here are Nintendo’s bullet points for each item, followed by a little commentary to help clear up any questions.
Hero’s Path Mode: Exploring Hyrule is exciting, but with such a large world it’s sometimes hard for players to remember where they’ve been. To help with tracking progress, the new Hero’s Path Mode will document every step players take, and mark their path in green on the map. The route taken will be tracked for the player’s last 200 hours of play time, with an included slider to track footsteps on a timeline. This even works retroactively, so players that have already put many hours into the game will be able to see where they have traveled. This feature will help in identifying the locations they haven’t visited in this vast world, and may help players find those Shrines they haven’t encountered yet.
If you’re familiar with the Civilization series, this Hero’s Path thing reminds me of the Civ endgame where the world map shows a chronological replay of your journey. Having the ability to retrace your steps across 200 hours of Breath of the Wild seems impossibly large, but Nintendo says that’s what this is.
This seems great. I can’t wait to retrace my steps and figure out which parts of the map remain untouched. It might sap away some of the magic — one of my wildest moments in Breath of the Wild involved discovering a previously unseen village at around the 80-hour mark — but it’ll be great to see which parts of the world I haven’t explored yet.
Travel Medallion: There will be a new treasure chest somewhere in the game world which contains the Travel Medallion. With the Travel Medallion, players can create a temporary new travel point on the map where they are currently standing. Link can then transport himself to that point at any time. Only one travel point can be registered on the map at a time.
Breath of the Wild is very generous with its fast-travel system. Every shrine you discover — plus a handful of other key locations — can be returned to with a few button presses.
That said, this version of Hyrule is massive. I’ve definitely found myself out in the wastes of the Gerudo Desert or the snowy peaks of the Hebra Mountains and wished for some manner of fast travel beacon. This Medallion solves that problem. Dig it.
Korok Mask: By finding the new Korok Mask, players will have a much easier time finding Korok locations in the game. When equipped, the mask will shake, indicating that a Korok is hidden somewhere nearby.
Another very helpful addition to the gear side of the game. This was actually a legit criticism that many had: there are 900 Korok Seed collectibles in the game. Finding them all without a guide (or even with one) … it’s a little bonkers.
The Korok Mask sounds like a useful tool for ensuring you don’t just sprint right by errant seeds. The description makes it sound like a piece of armor — which means you’ll still have to dip in and out of menus to use it — but this is still a welcome and much-needed aid.
New Equipment: Eight new pieces of equipment inspired by previous characters and games in the series will be added to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild after downloading the first DLC pack. Once discovered by the player, they will yield equipment themed after fan-favorite games and characters such as Midna, Tingle, Phantom, and Majora’s Mask.
OMG. TINGLE IS SORT OF BACK. The onesie-wearing weirdo who first appeared in Majora’s Mask was a no-show in Breath of the Wild, but it looks like you’ll be able to snag his costume as armor with The Master Trials.
Here it is, in concept art form:
You can only buy both of these DLC packs together as a bundle. The $19.99 “Expansion Pass” is sold in the Nintendo Switch eShop. It’s already not a bad price given how much there is to find in this first release, and a second one is still coming toward the end of 2017.