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Beginner’s guide for what to do first in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

So much to do, so much to see

Princess Zelda, with a cool new short haircut, holds the master sword in both hands. The end of the sword is covered in a black sludge. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

It’s easy to wonder what you should do first in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, considering the gargantuan size of the map and the sheer number of activities available. Even if you’re trying to focus on the main story alone, you’re likely to get distracted by side adventures, treasure hunts, and fellow travelers who will share tips on locales to investigate.

If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t fret. This beginner’s guide covers what you should do first in Tears of the Kingdom, from quality-of-life changes that make traveling much easier to mechanics that will help you throughout the entire adventure.

Don’t leave the starting area without Archaic Warm Greaves

Cold resistance is not to be taken lightly in Tears of the Kingdom, and it’s important to have the right equipment for it. In the Great Sky Island, you’ll stumble upon the Zonai Dispenser on the eastern side of the map. On your way there, close to the Bottomless Cave nearby, you’ll spot a massive tree cut in half, which you can enter.

The map location of the Archaic Warm Greaves in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

There, alongside some helpful materials, you’ll find a chest containing the Archaic Warm Greaves. They not only look great, but they also help with cold resistance. You can always come back and grab it later if you missed it, but you should try and save yourself the additional trip if you can. (You’ll also find the Archaic Tunic on the Great Sky Island, but note that it doesn’t grant cold resistance.)

This armor piece will be super helpful on your journey ahead, especially if you want to head over to Rito Village. We liked it so much that we had to add it to our dedicated best armor page, where we discuss other pieces and sets that you should be on the lookout for.

As soon as you’re on the ground, head over to the Castle Ruins

After the tutorial, you might be enticed to just roam around and explore. While that’s definitely a valid sentiment, you should follow the main questline and visit the Castle Ruins when prompted.

Upon your return to Lookout Landing, Purah will share details about how to unlock the paraglider, which is vital for the experience. You shouldn’t go out into the wild without it!

Visit Lookout Landing (and then do it again, and again, and again)

There’s a reason why Lookout Landing is the first village you come across. Hyrule is a big place, but this hub is central to the experience.

Right from the start, if you talk to Purah after you’ve received the task to visit the four main regions, she will actually mark them on your map. Chatting with Robbie will lead to multiple leads about the possibilities of your Purah Pad. Eventually, a Refinery will appear as well, and the clothing shop will rotate the armor pieces depending on your main story progress.

In essence, make sure to check on Lookout Landing as early as possible, then come back every now and then, making sure to chat to the main characters.

Link opens a shrine by touching its emblem in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Interact with these shrines to make your life easier

You don’t need to actually complete a shrine in order to unlock a fast travel point to it. In Tears of the Kingdom, all it takes is for you to interact with it.

Make sure to always interact with shrines across Hyrule, even if you’re not interested in tackling the puzzle inside them just yet. This is especially useful for regions you’re only passing by, as it’ll make returning to them a lot easier later on. In addition, for facilities that don’t have a direct fast travel gateway, there’s usually a shrine nearby that you can activate to make traveling around the world easier.

Here are a few suggestions for shrines that make for helpful fast travel spots early on:

  • Kyonosis Shrine: Found on your way to the Castle Ruins, great for inevitable backtracking.
  • Ekochiu Shrine: Northeast of Lookout Landing, close to Woodland Stable.
  • Makasura Shrine: East of Hyrule Field and right before Kakariko Village, making it a great fast travel spot for the town.
  • Sinakawak Shrine: Northwest of Lookout Landing, perfect for quickly reaching New Serenne Stable.
  • Orochium Shrine: Up north near the Tabantha Tundra, helpful for reaching the Snowfield Stable.

Head to this Tower

After you gain access to Skyview Towers in Lookout Landing, I recommend heading northwest to Lindor’s Brow Skyview Tower at the coordinates (-1903, 1243, 0297). All you have to do is stick to the main road toward Hyrule Ridge, and keep moving north until you stumble upon the tower up the hill.

This is a good area to explore during the early hours of your playthrough, as the enemies are fairly amenable and resources are plentiful. You’ll also be a step closer to Rito Village, too, making your eventual visit a lot easier.

From that moment on, you can continue to tackle the towers gradually or in quick succession as early as possible — in either case, you’ll be only helping yourself in the short to long run, especially since you’ll also be unlocking the sky portion of the map.

Link stands on a grass field in front of New Serenne Stable in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Stop by New Serenne Stable

The stable at Lookout Landing isn’t available right away, but there’s one nearby that can be of help. You can find New Serenne Stable at the coordinates (-1349, 0736, 0085), following the main road northwest of Lookout Landing. If you’re making the trip to Lindor’s Brow, you’ll stumble upon it.

New Serenne Stable is a great early spot to get yourself a horse registered, making it easier to traverse the roads until you get the hang of building Zonai devices. Plus, stables are great gathering places for fellow travelers who are keen on sharing potential leads to treasure and quests.

Most importantly, chatting with the person at the counter will kick off the Pony Points mechanic, which offers plenty of rewards — from a harness for your horse to a ticket to sleep at stables for free.

Tackling main story temples provides a traversal advantage

Hyrule’s four main regions are all suffering from specific environmental conditions that make traversal quite complicated. Thankfully, you can remove the hazards of each primary village by completing the main story temples.

Our recommendation is to start at Rito Village. In Lookout Landing, Purah will recommend you to head over to the Rito region first, and for good reason. As long as you’re carrying the best armor pieces to resist the blizzard up north, the dangers you’ll face on the way are fairly beginner friendly. Plus, while I won’t spoil the reward at the end of the Wind Temple, it’s definitely worth pursuing before the other three.

As for where to head next after Rito Village, that’s up to you — though our Regional Phenomena best order can help if you need a guiding hand.

Get Link’s remaining ability as soon as possible

[Ed. note: This section contains spoilers for a neat mechanic in Tears of the Kingdom.]

Once you’re out and abound in Hyrule, you’ll notice there’s a gap in your abilities wheel. The one missing here is — spoilers — Autobuild, which you can obtain by following Robbie’s questline as part of the main story. After you receive the assignment to help the four main regions, make sure to talk to Robbie in Lookout Landing.

Link exchanges looks with Tulin while diving from the sky over Rito Village in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

He’ll then have you traversing through the Depths for the first time (for the appropriately titled “Camera Work in the Depths” quest). Continue playing, and you’ll have access to a second investigation that leads to Autobuild, under the name “A Mystery in The Depths.” This is a great skill to prioritize, as it’ll allow you to build Zonai constructions from schematics, saving you from the hassle of having to combine materials by hand every single time.

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