9. breath of the wild combat

07 March 2018

This assumes you have played the legend of zelda: breath of the wild. It’s been a year since it was released!

I had some thoughts about combat in my spare time. Here’s a whole bunch of Ideas, Tradeoffs, and Verdicts. It’s straight to the point!

Perhaps, too straight to the point. Lets begin.

alternatives to the flurry rush

The flurry rush is the rapid attack swings that you’re allowed to do upon a successful dodge.

Idea: A single really impressive strike. Hey, previous Zelda games since Windwaker have had parry strikes. Twilight princess made Windwaker’s sideways parry use manual input. 

Tradeoff: would require additional animations as opposed to just recycling the basic attack animation rapidly. Button mashing is good for some people anyway.

Verdict: Could be nice, but the flurry rush really adapts to any enemy size or weapon.

Perhaps we might not have to have the dodge bonus at all?

Idea: Replacing the idea of parries with unique shields. e.g. one you plant in the ground and automatically blocks super massive cleaving attacks if you’re on the right side, or a shield that applies stasis to the first thing that comes in contact, but needs to recharge the ability.

Tradeoff: requires more development time, a unique animation, bug testing etc.

Verdict: It would be pretty fun to plant down shields as extra walls to run around. You can pick them up again and reuse them, but they could eventually break.

I’d want to see a prototype of this… anyway, speaking of things that break…

alternatives to weapon durability

I’m okay with the durability mechanics and what they make me do. This is just an idea for those who get a little anxious about it.

We have to however, preserve the idea of weapon variety. Its part of the reward for exploration. So an idea:

Weapons don’t break, however identical weapon species may have varying damage and energy costs (you throw out the old version of a royal sword if a new royal sword you find is superior).

Slots remain the same. Perhaps you hold onto two royal swords: one costs less energy for a sustained fight against multiple enemies, the other does more damage for a flurry rush against a boss. There’s still item management decisions occurring.

Tradeoff: you gain the comfort of a more stable inventory, but weaker weapons become obsolete. Most players will eventually be hoarding weapons though, so it’d be nicer to just let them use them freely.

Verdict: it’s a different game. If it makes it too similar to other open world RPGs then its actually better to stand out.

Well… what else could we try? Maybe we can keep the durability mechanic but…

Idea: durability from inferior weapons can be transferred to stronger items. This should incentivise people to happily pick up even a random stick if it keeps a weapon alive.

Tradeoff: great weapons are never going to die. You have to make sure nothing is too overpowered and weapon maintenance doesn’t reduce to a chore. Again, you might actually want special weapons reserved for special occasions.

Verdict: It’s pretty good. You’re still incentivised to redestroy smaller camps if you please, for comfortable durability replenishment. But you can also just keep playing at your own pace with a weapon you’ve grown fond of. The game however might need to adapt to whether you kept running a flaming sword by slowly trying to counter it.

Maybe some might say this durability transfer makes the game too easy, but there are many other things that can make the game “too easy”. “Easy” basically means “Doesn’t die easily”. Take from that what you will.

Idea: maybe it would be better if you found some amazing, post-defeating-4-divine-beasts item that made pickup items get immediately consumed to increase the durability of your current weapon. You’d have to be careful not to consume a good pickup though!

Tradeoff: not too much.

Verdict: this also could easily lead to frustration from carelessly consuming good weapons. I haven’t decided how it’d interact with chest items, either. Have to say no.

Idea: a strong performance with certain weapons or arrows will give you a decent chance of replenishing them.

Tradeoff: the locations where you find certain items no longer becomes unique. Instead you feel like you’re dealing with the engine, instead of just harvesting weapons from their typical locations.

Verdict: breaks the feel of the game subtly by removing a reward for exploration, so no. But would be good for hardcore players that want to play the game like there was some combo counter for a chain of kills.

Lets take a slight break from durability ideas for something completely different…

persistence hunting

Idea: We used to walk at animals scaring them off continuously until they became exhausted.

You could give the majority of low-mid level enemies an energy gauge. Tiring them out becomes an option. Bludgeoning weapons might do health and concussion(energy) damage, where sharper blades simply cut down the health stat.

Tradeoff: you would need to only fully exhaust one meter, but new players can get confused by the idea of two meters.

Verdict: Wait this is basically like metal gear solid. Player confusion is not worth it.

We now return to our regular broadcast: addressing weapon durability.

alternative consumption of weapons

Idea: Consume a weapon, based on its quality and rarity to supercharge your sheikah slate abilities. You could potentially have it the damage of the weapon affects how much you improve the sheikah slate ability, and the durability is gradually drained as you continue to use the boosted ability.

You would end up being able to swing objects around incredibly powerfully, create super powerful bombs or make many bombs, not sure. You might also have more control over stasis, or be able to stasis more objects, stasis them longer etc.

Tradeoff: you’re sacrificing the weapon. The amount you consume the weapon should feel fair based on how much you’re getting superpowered. Another issue is that consuming the weapon simply isn’t intuitive. Why is it powering up the sheikah slate?

Verdict: I want superpowers but maybe there’s another way. But for now, I was trying to just think of an alternative use of stockpiled weapons that might be interesting.

Maybe kakariko village can have some weapon insurance where you pay a rupee subscription and then once your weapon breaks you get it back at the village.

Just kidding. Moving on! How can we simply add more to what the game already has?

super sandbox

The game can be classified as a sandbox. Each object or enemy usually has it’s small set of rules and they’re always compatible with anything else thanks to the physics engine.

And for that, adding an entirely new feature shouldn’t be some state-machine programming nightmare!

Idea: A (maybe VERY lategame) ability allows you to store non-living objects into your inventory (think exploding barrels and the like).

Tradeoff: None.

This basically means any loose objects can now be experimented with. Everyone’s gonna make a swarm of cuccos defeat calamity ganon at least. Boulders, blocks, etc. When carrying them with the sheikah slate maybe you can just hide them in some… alternate dimension for later use.

Explaining this thematically is as simple as adding the item into link’s inventory pages. He simply carries it all.

You can then dump a bunch of rolling boulders from shrines onto your favorite foes.

Verdict: please add this to the game.

Maybe you can even kidnap sleeping bokoblins with these powers and when you drop them in front of Ganon they start praying to him. It seems like a silly touch. It seems like it’s not a high priority feature.


As far as the blade of evil’s bane is concerned I’m torn on the master sword “running out of energy” but I think it was handled exceptionally well.

There’s obviously a whole bunch of great but somewhat silly ideas such as storing game entities in your inventory, to be done in a game which has a sandbox foundation. We already see this of course: we see this when Aonuma adds a motorcycle to the game. Believe in your imagination.


have fun out there, wont you?

[9. breath of the wild combat]