The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild begins on the Great Plateau, and you’ll spend your first few hours with the game here learning a frankly shocking amount about the game. The things you do here and the skills you learn will remain relevant dozens of hours into your playthrough.
But here’s the weird thing: That’s not immediately obvious. In fact, little about Breath of the Wild is obvious when you begin. It’s all a bit overwhelming.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through your first hours, showing you the obvious and not-so-obvious things to do on the Great Plateau.
Meet the Old Man
You wake up from a deep slumber, and there’s only one way to go. Grab your Sheikah slate, put on some clothes and climb your way out of the cave. Turn right, head down the hill and speak to the Old Man. Feel free to pick up any Hylian shrooms you find along the way. You can safely ignore the tree branches, though.
Talk to the Old Man and exhaust your dialogue options. Before you leave, pick up the torch sitting agains the wall behind him and the baked apple sitting next to the fire.
Raise the Great Plateau tower
Follow the path to the right of the Old Man and pick up the woodcutter’s axe that’s buried in a tree stump. Keep right, hop into the water and climb up to the top of the little island to pick up the rusty broadsword. Be careful here, because Breath of the Wild will teach you how to throw your weapon, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll toss it into the water. Don’t be like us.
Around this time, the same disembodied voice that woke you from your slumber will talk again and place a marker on your map. Follow the Sheikah slate using the waypoint on your map, and place it in the terminal. This raises the Great Plateau Tower (and many other towers across Hyrule).
Make you way to the top of the tower (warping is fastest), where you’ll find the Old Man again. Interact with the Sheikah terminal, which will add information about the Great Plateau to your map. The Old Man will give you the isolated plateau main quest saying that he’ll trade the paraglider if you beat a shrine.
Oman Au shrine (magnesis trial) walkthrough
- Enter the Oman Au shrine and interact with the terminal to get magnesis, It’s effectively the power to move metal things, which (no coincidence) is exactly what you need to do in this shrine.
- Use magnesis to move the metal plates on the floor. Then jump down and walk through the passageway and back up to ground level.
- Use magnesis to pull (or push, because why not!) the metal block in the wall.
- Hop through and destroy the guardian scout hiding behind the wall.
- Walk from the first to the second platform, over the metal plate. Then turn around and use magnesis to move the metal plate between the second and third platform.
- Facing the giant doors while standing on the third platform, turn left and use magnesis to pull the treasure chest down from the platform. Open it to get the traveler’s bow, a powerful bow that will give you an edge this early in Breath of the Wild.
- Use magnesis to open the giant doors.
- Head up the stairs to the alter and meet Oman Au, who will give you your first spirit orb. (You’ll get one for every shrine that you beat.)
Finding the three remaining shrines
At this point, you’ve fulfilled your obligation to the Old Man, but he’s kind of a jerk, and he changes the rules. You’ve got to find and conquer three more shrines.
Head back up to the top of the tower (warping is still fastest) and press the right analog stick to use your Sheikah slate as a makeshift telescope. You’ll find three glowing shrines — one in your line of sight when you peer through your Sheikah slate, one to right of that position, up on a snowy mountain and one to the left (southeast of your position). We’ll do the southeast one first.
Ja Baij shrine (bomb trial) walkthrough
The path to the Ja Baij shrine is dangerous because there are decayed guardians in your way, just like the one in the gallery below. They’re big, and they can’t move (which is nice), but they’re deadly — one-hit kill deadly.
It’s not worth fighting them now, but you’ll need to get past them to get to the shrine. It’s simple, too. They’re stuck in the ground, and they’re surrounded by crumbling walls. That means you have cover. Run between cover, recovering your stamina until you find yourself at the shrine.
- Interact with the terminal to get the remote bombs.
- Denote a remote bomb near the two large cracked stones.
- Down the hallway and to your left, denote another remote bomb to destroy two more cracked stones.
- Climb up the ladder, and place a square bomb onto the far end of the floating platform.
- In the far left corner of the room (to the left of the shrine), you’ll find a treasure chest. Let the launcher throw you across onto it, and collect your amber.
- Head back to where you came in and drop a round bomb through the tube with the big opening. It will fly across the room and land on a big pile of cracked rock cubes. Detonate it to destroy those cubes.
- Hop down, across the room and up the ladder. Reach the altar and collect your spirit orb.
Protection from cold and the waterfall treasure
The path to the next dungeon requires a hike and some ingenuity.
Keeping yourself warm
If you walk into the Great Plateau’s snowy areas without protection, you'll take damage after a few seconds. You need to stay warm, and there's more than one way to do that. You can:
- Cook something with peppers and then eat that for a sustained burst of protection against the cold.
- Carry a torch or burning weapon.
The former is easier because you can still use your weapons and shield. Just select any uncooked meat or vegetation that you’ve picked up, hold it, and then select a spicy pepper to hold, too. Throw them into a cooking bin and and eat it. You’ll see that you’ve boosted your cold protection for a set amount of time. Now you can walk into the cold areas without taking damage.
The waterfall treasure
Enter the snowy areas from the western side of the map, turn left and follow the path around the lake. Be prepared to fight a few chuchus (and keep your distance because they can freeze you in place).
When you reach the broken bridge, use magnesis to lift the metal platform and place it down to cover the gap in the bridge. Cross the bridge, turn left and keep the lake on your right. Behind the waterfall, you’ll find soldier’s broadsword, five arrows, five fire arrows and a spiked boko bow.
To the Keh Namut shrine
Create the makeshift bridge with magnesis and, at the end of the bridge, turn right and head up the mountain. You’ll encounter a few bokoblins along the way and a few giant snowballs. At the top of the mountain, you’ll find the next shrine.
How to beat the Keh Namut shrine (cryonis trial)
- Interact with the device as soon as you arrive in the Keh Namut shrine to get another rune, cryonis, which allows you to turn water into giant chunks of ice.
- Use cryonis to create a huge chunk of ice, and then climb up and over it into the next room.
- Use cryonis to create a huge chunk of ice underneath the closed door.
- Use cryonis to create a ramp underneath the stone plank.
- Use cryonis to create a huge chunk of ice, and then climb up it to find the treasure chest where you’ll find a traveler’s spear.
- Enter the shrine to collect your spirit orb.
To the Owa Dam shrine
From the Keh Namut shrine, walk past the fire and up toward the peak in the distance. Walk around the far side, turn left and continue on until you can see the next and final shrine over the cliff’s edge.
How to beat the Owa Dam shrine (stasis trial)
- Interact with the device when you arrive in the Owa Dam shrine to get your next rune, stasis, which allows you to slow down and manipulate time.
- Use stasis on the giant gear that’s flipping the bridge in front of you, and then cross the bridge.
- Continue along the path, turning left and using stasis to stop the rolling boulders.
- Head straight up top, open the treasure chest and collect a traveler’s shield.
- Head back down the ramp, turn right and pick up the iron sledgehammer sitting against the far wall.
- Use stasis on the stationary boulder blocking your path, and wack the hell out of it with the iron sledgehammer. The momentum will build up and launch the boulder into the air, so you can collect your spirit orb and leave.
As you exit the shrine, use stasis on the boulder just outside the shrine’s entrance. You’ll uncover a treasure chest with the powerful traveler’s bow.
Return to the Temple of Time and get the paraglider
After solving the final dungeon, return to the Temple of Time to collect the paraglider, which allows you to leave the Great Plateau. Also, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be wondering how in Hyrule to get up to the top of the Temple of Time. The answer is in the image above. (And also, before you leave the tower, open the chest for the soldier’s bow.)