Zelda: Breath of the Wild's biggest and best secrets, exposed [SPOILERS]

We've put in nearly 100 hours to find the most important, most interesting and most hidden secrets in all of Hyrule. Spoilers abound.

Fox Van Allen
Fox Van Allen is a Los Angeles-based writer for CBS Interactive covering technology, tech lifestyle and gaming topics for GameSpot, CNET, ZDNet and TechRepublic. He has previously worked as a news and feature writer for a number of other sites, including Techlicious, Tecca, WoW Insider (Joystiq) and Blizzard Watch. In his spare time, Fox is an amateur skydiver, retro gaming and arcade enthusiast, 8-bit pixel artist, podcaster and Twitch live streamer.
Fox Van Allen
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Where to find Breath of the Wild's best stuff

Our friends at GameSpot have called The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild "the most impressive game Nintendo has ever created," and they may just be right. The game world is 12 times the size of Twilight Princess, with literally thousands of secrets to discover.

To give you a head start in the game, we've compiled this list of some of its best secrets. Here's where to find the best armor sets, the Master Sword, all the Great Fairies, Hestu and much more.

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Where to find all the Great Fairies

There are four great fairies in Hyrule. For each one you find, you'll be able to power up your armor one additional level, so long as you bring them the monster parts, flowers and other items they request. It costs 100 rupees to power up your first fairy, 500 to power up your second, 1,000 to power up the third and a massive 10,000 to power up the fourth fairy -- and unlock the strongest armor upgrades.

Cotera: In West Necluda, in the hills northeast of Kakariko Village.

Mija: South of Lake Akkala in the Akkala Highlands.

Kaysa: Northwest of Piper Ridge in Tabantha Frontier.

Tera: Under the Gerudo Great Skeleton in Gerudo. The area is shrouded by a sandstorm that disables your map, so find your bearings before entering it and don't let enemy encounters disorient you.

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Navigating the Lost Woods

If you want to find the game's best goodies -- namely the Korok Village and the Master Sword -- you'll need to navigate the iconic Lost Woods.

When you enter the area, follow the initial path of torch lights until you reach the end. Continue into the woods, keeping the wind at your back. Use the floating particles in the air or the embers from a lit torch as your guide.

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Getting the Master Sword

At the center of the Great Hyrule Forest, past the Lost Woods, you'll find the Korok Forest. That's where the game's most iconic weapon, the Master Sword, sleeps in its pedestal. It has 30 attack (60 against Ganon and in areas with his corruption), and though it can lose its power through use, its power recharges every 10 minutes.

Like in the original Legend of Zelda, all you need to claim the sword that seals the darkness is the inner strength to wield it. You won't be able to pull it from its pedestal until you have 13 hearts, temporary buffs not included.

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Make a dark deal to get the Master Sword sooner

Don't have the 13 hearts you need to grab the Master Sword? No worries -- this sinister statue, located behind a hill in Hateno Village, will swap out heart containers for stamina containers (and vice versa) for what ultimately amounts to a 20 rupee fee. One of the village children will lead you to it if you ask around.

This means you can pull the Master Sword as soon as you've completed 40 shrines, even if you invested heavily into stamina upgrades along the way. (Of course, you can scratch four shrines off that requirement for each heart container you've collected from a Divine Beast so far.)

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Where to find Hestu

Breath of the Wild doesn't give you a lot of inventory space for weapons and shields, but there is good news: You can purchase new slots from the maraca-wielding Hestu. All you need is a handful of Korok seeds ... and to know where to find him.

Hestu's first location: West Necluda, on the road between Dueling Peaks Stable and Kakariko Village. He'll only stick around for a couple of upgrades, so choose wisely.

Hestu's second location: Hyrule Field, near Riverside Stable (just west of Batrea Lake in West Necluda).

Hestu's final location: Great Hyrule Forest, in Korok Forest at the end of the Lost Woods.

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How to find Korok seeds

Hiding Koroks are easy to spot ... if you know where to look, anyway.

Keep an eye out for lone rocks in trees and on top of mountains, unusual patterns that need to be completed, boulders that can be rolled (or launched via Stasis) into holes, magnetic balls on chains, sparkling leaves, circles of water lilies, blocks of ice to melt, smashable jars, pinwheels (archery challenges) and stumps with leaf carvings (race challenges). The puzzle shown here can be completed, for example, by picking the extra fruit on the left-most tree until it exactly matches the other two. Ya-ha-haa!

Our friends over at GameSpot have a pictorial guide to finding Korok seeds if you need some more help.

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The reward for collecting all 900 Korok seeds is ...

Reddit user xFateAwaitsx was the first to find 900 Koroks hiding in Breath of the Wild. And yes, in case you were wondering, there's a reward for doing so: Hestu's Gift.

It's pretty much a golden poop. Wait, does that mean the 900 Korok seeds were poop, too?

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Where to find captured memories

Impa in Kakariko Village will give you the Captured Memory quest, unlocking a number of memory points for you to find across Hyrule. You only need to solve one of the photos to get the Champion's Tunic (+5 armor, allows you to see an enemy's hit points), so we recommend visiting Mount Lararyu - East Gate first, as it's the closest one. Then head back to Impa for your prize.

There are 12 memories to be found in total, plus one final bonus memory for finding them all. For the full list, complete with easy-to-follow world maps, check out Breath of the Wild: Every Captured Memory Location over on our sister site, GameSpot.

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How to unlock Tarrey Town

If you've explored Hateno Village, you're likely familiar with the Bolson construction company and its efforts to tear down a house. Complete the Hylian Homeowner quest by gathering 10 pieces of wood and paying 3,000 rupees to Bolson, and you'll free construction worker Hudson to take on other projects.

Specifically, Hudson heads to the island in the center of Lake Akkala in the Akkala Highlands to form Tarrey Town. It's pretty quiet when you first arrive, but Hudson will soon ask you to start recruiting new residents -- all of whom must have a name ending in "son." (You can find the first person he requests, Greyson the Goron, at the Southern Mine. Talk to him in the evening.)

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Eventide Island: Zelda's ultimate survival challenge

One of Breath of the Wild's most intense shrine challenges is on Eventide Island, in the furthest southeast corner of the world map. When you reach it (via raft and Korok leaf) you'll be stripped of all your gear and items, forced to rebuild your inventory from scratch while collecting a series of well-guarded orbs to place on pedestals.

It's even more difficult than it sounds, so make sure you know all the core fighting techniques before attempting it. And be sure to activate the shrine on Tenoko Island while you're on your way, even if you can't beat the super-tough guardian inside it yet.

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Where to find a horse with infinite stamina

There's a giant horse -- one significantly larger than all the rest in the game -- roaming the Taobab Grasslands just south of Mount Hylia. He has unlimited stamina and five-star strength, so he's very much worth taming.

The catch is that he's very easily spooked. Rather than stalk him through the grass, teleport to the Owa Daim Shrine near Mount Hylia and climb up the mountain to the west a bit. When you're directly north of Taobab, glide down to the plains and land directly onto the horse. You'll need a lot of stamina to tame him, so be sure to use a restorative item before he kicks you off.

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How to get into Gerudo Town

As the guards and merchants will tell you: No voe are allowed inside Gerudo Town walls. You'll need to dress as a vai to enter.

Thankfully, the merchant Vilia has been using just such a disguise. You can find him on top of the inn at the Kara Kara Bazaar in the Gerudo Desert, but only after the sun goes down. To get him to offer you a similar disguise, you'll need to first call him beautiful and then hand over 600 rupees.

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How to find Gerudo Town's secret armor shop

It's illegal to sell voe clothing in Gerudo Town, but one enterprising tailor has opened a black market shop called the Gerudo Secret Club anyway. It sells the Gerudo Voe armor set, which offers the heat resistance you'll need to explore the desert. It also sells the Radiant armor set, which turns you into a badass glowing skeleton.

The password to get in is G, S, C, diamond, which you can learn by eavesdropping on townspeople through an open window.

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Where to find the Zora armor set

If you're planning to explore the lakes, streams and islands of Hyrule, you'll definitely want to seek out a set of Zora gear to increase your swimming ability. Each piece boosts your speed in the water, while the complete set of three reduces the stamina cost of using swim dash.

How to find the Zora Armor: This will be given to you upon speaking with King Dorephan at Zora's Domain. It allows you the ability to swim up most waterfalls.

How to find the Zora Greaves: Talk to Laflat at Zora's Domain, then complete her quest Lynel Safari.

How to find the Zora Helm: Equip the Zora Armor and swim up the waterfall to Toto Lake. Use Magnesis to pull up a sunken chest from out of the ruins. With this helm equipped, you can use Spin Attack while in the water.

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Where to find the Rubber armor set

You can easily withstand devastating electrical attacks by collecting the Rubber Helm, Rubber Armor and Rubber Tights. Wearing the complete set will make you fully immune to shocks.

To find the Rubber Helm: Talk to Cima at the Lakeside Stable on the road west of Lake Floria and accept her quest. Then quell her fears by removing the metal axe lodged in the dragon's head on top of the stable.

To find the Rubber Armor: You need to first unlock the hidden Toh Yahsa shrine at Thundra Plateau in Hyrule Ridge. Use Stasis and arrows to retrieve the colored orbs; use Stasis again to knock the orbs up onto the platform. The armor is in the shrine, in a chest hidden by blocks under the entrance.

To find the Rubber Tights: You need to first unlock the hidden Qukah Nata shrine at Calora Lake in Faron. Find the unusual mound with yellow streaks overlooking the lake, near where Kass sings. Place a metal object on top of the mound. When it gets struck by lightning, the shrine will be revealed.

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Where to find the Climbing gear set

Climbing gear makes high-altitude exploration much, much easier. Each piece boosts your climbing speed, and the combined set bonus will reduce the stamina cost of jumping while climbing. Here's where to get it all.

To find the Climber's Bandana: Enter the Rah Dahee shrine in West Necluda, in the river valley between the Dueling Peaks. Use the metal barrel to keep the final switch activated to reach the treasure chest.

To find the Climbing Gear: Travel to the Chaas Qeta shrine, located on Tenoko Island in the Necluda Sea, and beat the major test of strength there.

To find the Climbing Boots: Travel to the tree-lined ledge overlooking the Afromsia Coast by Mount Lararyu, directly east of the line of three lone trees on Madorna Mountain. You'll need to blast away a rock pile to find the Tahno O'ah shrine. Enter to collect your prize.

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Where to find the Barbarian armor set

Each individual piece of Barbarian armor increases Link's attack power, with the full set providing an even bigger boost to attack. You can find the armor resting inside shrines in each of Hyrule's three labyrinths.

To find the Barbarian Helm: Travel to the Lomei Labyrinth Island in the Akkala Sea and complete the maze.

To find the Barbarian Armor: Travel to the South Lomei Labyrinth in the Gerudo Desert and complete the maze.

To find the Barbarian Leg Wraps: Travel to the North Lomei Labyrinth in the Tabantha Tundra and complete the maze.

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Where to find cold resist gear

If you want to explore the coldest mountains of Hyrule, you'll need to find some clothing with cold resist. The first such piece of gear, the Warm Doublet, can be obtained by the Old Man on the Great Plateau in the start of the game. You just need to recreate his Spicy Meat and Seafood Fry recipe using Hyrule bass, spicy peppers and raw meat.

A full set of Snowquill gear, with each piece offering cold resist, can be bought at Rito Village's armory. A complete set of three will make you unfreezeable as a bonus.

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Where to find the Flamebreaker gear set

You can't explore fiery Death Mountain and visit Goron City without protection against its extreme heat. The Flamebreaker gear set offers full protection, freeing you from having to keep a stash of Fireproof Elixirs.

Where to find the Flamebreaker Armor: Visit Foothill Stable, near the Maw of Death Mountain, and purchase Fireproof Elixirs. When you reach the Southern Mine, Kima will offer you the armor in exchange for 10 Fireproof Lizards.

Where to find the Flamebreaker Helm: You can buy it at Goron City for 2,000 rupees.

Where to find the Flamebreaker Boots: You can buy it at Goron City for 600 rupees.

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