Things to Do First in TotK - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Guide - IGN (2023)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom features a world that rivals (and in many ways even surpasses) that of Breath of the Wild in terms of its scope. Whether you’re new to Zelda’s open-world format or you know Hyrule like the back of your hand, you should expect things to have changed in many unexpected ways - including where to find armor, great fairies, towers, and many more secrets. There’s a lot to unpack both in the opening sky island tutorial area and once you arrive back on the surface, and it’s easy to get lost and not know what to do next. We’ve compiled some of the most essential Things to Do First in Tears of the Kingdom.

Things to Do First in Tears of the Kingdom


Watch the video below, or read through the tips at your leisure.

Get the Archaic Warm Greaves

The Great Sky Island is where you’ll spend the first hour or two of your adventure, learning the ropes in a format that’s fairly similar to Breath of the Wild’s Great Plateau — but certain aspects and the abilities you collect will change things up. One thing that has not changed is the importance of finding a way to stay warm in cold weather environments.

Aside from eating cooked Spicy Peppers, sunshrooms, or making elixirs from warm darner dragonflies, the best way to stay warm is to find suitable clothing, and one piece of armor on the Great Sky Island just happens to fill that role.

Once you’ve survived the cold trek up the snowy eastern part of the island to the Gutanbac Shrine and gained the ability to Ascend, you can use it right outside the shrine on the wooden ledge coming from a large hollow tree trunk at the top of the mountain.

Look inside the trunk to find a small recess in the corner that holds a green zonaite chest, and open it to reveal the Archaic Warm Greaves. This item will negate any freezing effects in basic cold temperature zones, and when combined with some cooked Spicy Peppers or applicable food, will fully negate even the most frigid environments you’ll find.

Stockpile Zonai Devices

Exploring the Great Sky Island will also begin to teach you the importance of Zonai Devices, such as things like fans, wing gliders, and portable cooking pots. Many places you explore may sometimes have remnants of these devices you can find and use — but nothing beats being able to summon them at will.

Luckily, such a way exists in the form of Zonai Device Dispenses, which are large globes filled with capsules like a toy machine. In exchange for tossing in Zonai Charges (easily gained from defeating Constructs or looting broken down relics), you’ll get a large amount of capsules that fit in your inventory, and have no upper limit.

Be sure to stop by the two dispensers on the island before heading down to the surface, and keep a good amount of devices like fans that you can take out whenever you find an abandoned vehicle in need of a good push, or wing gliders to get around between sky islands. Note that each Device Dispenser has a set variety, so you should always be on the lookout for more dispensers all over the place to broaden the devices you can pull out at any given situation.


Explore Hyrule Castle

When you first descend back down to the Kingdom of Hyrule, it’s always tempting to run off and see what’s changed, or get sidetracked exploring a newly opened cave — but hear us out: play along with the main story quests for just a bit.

An early short main quest called Crisis at Hyrule Castle will involve you delving into the ruins of Hyrule Castle — or rather what’s been left behind on the surface. Thankfully since the Guardian robots of Breath of the Wild are no longer a thing, the castle ruins are surprisingly light on enemies. Be sure to check out the First Gatehouse and Dining Hall to find a bunch of weapons and items that have been left behind.

The real treasure can be found in the Guard’s Chamber, but be warned - getting there is a little tricky, as a guard posted outside will turn you away until you advance the story. If you want to sneak past him now, look for a balcony on the ridge above past the gatehouse.

This room leads downstairs where two extremely tough enemies are hiding, but if you sprint through and down the left hall to the second passage on the left, they’ll stop chasing you. There’s a ton of weapons stashed here, but you’ll need to skirt around two Black Bokoblins hiding under stairways.

Head to the right side of the chamber and climb up around the broken stairs to the back of the room, then Ultrahand a makeshift bridge to the corner, and you can find a chest holding the Royal Guard Uniform, which grants 4 Defense right out of the gate!

Get the Paraglider

Hold off on racing away from Central Hyrule to explore for just a bit longer, and be sure to check in with Purah after returning from the castle, so they can activate the first Skyview Tower. In order to log more map points, they’ll need to shoot you out of towers now, and thankfully they’ll give you back the Paraglider first.

With all the skyward exploring you’ll be doing, the Paraglider is absolutely essential for getting around, and you’ll even be able to customize it later at the Hateno dye shop after finding new paraglider materials.


Get a Horse (Again)

It’ll likely be a while until you can fly around on machines or build a crazy car, so in the meantime, getting around the surface will be made a lot easier with a trusty horse. Luckily, you should be able to spot a few just to the west of Lookout Landing.

Horses spook easily, so if you have trouble approaching them, you may find it easier to surprise one from the air (and shoot out of the nearby tower for height), and then mash the L button with your remaining stamina to calm it down (using stamina replenishing food if you run out).

Once you’ve got one under control, you’ll need a place to stable it, and luckily there’s one not too far away to the southeast at Riverside Stable that you can get to by following the roads from Lookout Landing.

Stables now have a rewards program, so the more you visit new locations, and the more horses you board, the more rewards you’ll get in return. As an added bonus, if you have save data on your Switch from Breath of the Wild, any horses you stabled in the previous game will be ready and waiting for you!

For even more details about horses, check out How to Tame a Horse - The Complete Guide.

Investigate Wells

While you’re stabling your horse at Riverside Stable, look around the back for a well you can climb down. There are tons of wells hidden all over Hyrule that have their own secrets, and this one includes a well hunter woman who will start paying you for every well you visit and catalog!

Offer a Fruit to the Cherry Blossom Trees

An interesting mystery awaits you at various pink cherry blossom trees scattered around the surface of Hyrule, and one is located just to the East of the Hyrule Castle Town Ruins.


By placing a fruit in the bowl at the foot of the tree, you’ll find that nearby cave entrances, wells, and points of interest now emit a glowing blue light, and will continue to do so for a short duration.

Use this feature in conjunction with your Purah Pad’s zoom and map marking feature to mark interesting spots and come back to them later when you’re up for exploring.

Go Do the Camera Work Main Quest

Another early main quest you shouldn’t pass up before running off to explore the wild world becomes available after getting your paraglider. Robbie will want your help investigating giant chasms that have appeared all over Hyrule for the quest Camera Work in the Depths. You can read more about this here below, but here's a fair spoiler warning:

Help the Monster Control Crew

Not far south of the Hyrule Field Chasm, you can spot Captain Hoz with a militia aimed on taking out hordes of monsters, and they could really use your help. Agree to help them, and they’ll move onto a fort by the Hyrule Garrison Ruins.

It’ll be a big and chaotic fight, but worth your while for clearing out monster hordes — plus you’ll earn money for your trouble, and can help yourself to all the monster parts and weapons left behind by the battle. There are plenty more of these battles that can happen in every region, and may often block your progression into new areas, so having the monster control crew to help you out is always a bonus.

Fix That Poor Guy’s Sign

No matter where you end up traveling in Hyrule, you’re sure to find a strange sight in the form of a man named Addison struggling to hold up a sign for the Hudson Construction Company. These are fun little puzzles that almost always have a different twist on trying to help him keep the sign from falling down when he lets go.

Luckily, there’s always construction supplies nearby to craft a sturdy support, at which point you can tell him to try letting go. If it works, he’ll always reward you with pretty good stuff, including money, food, and tickets that let you sleep at any stable free of charge.

Get Tips on Armor Locations


Like Breath of the Wild before it, Tears of the Kingdom has tons of different armor and clothing options to find while you explore. While you can buy some basic armor in Lookout Landing, you’ll probably want to start looking for armor that adds bonus effects.

Luckily, there are travelers who can help point out possible armor locations for you. If you head south and east on the road towards the Dueling Peaks, you’ll likely run into a woman dressed in mushroom-themed clothing named Meeshy. She happens to be a fashion hunter, and knows rumors of the locations of Misko’s Treasure, a bandit who hid away different types of clothing.

Speaking to her in Central Hyrule, she’ll tag the locations of three caves that hold armor that will help you climb, increase your attack power, and reduce electric damage. She’ll also mention to keep an eye out for her in other regions, and she’ll give you even more tips on where to find armor all across the land.

Find Impa and the Geoglyphs

You may have noticed them on your dive down from the Sky Islands, but strange patterns and glyphs have appeared all over the land, and are usually visible from high up in the air. These serve a special purpose, but you’ll need to undertake a quest to divine their true nature.

Head West and North from Lookout Landing to reach the New Serenne Stable in the Hyrule Ridge area, which is on the path towards another Skyview Tower. Nearby in the field is a large glyph that is being investigated by none other than Impah of the Sheikah tribe. By helping her divine its true nature, you’ll be able to unlock special features not unlike the Memory Locations of Breath of the Wild. See our guide to the Impa and the Geoglyphs quest.

Locate Hestu

Odds are you may have stumbled across a Korok as early as the Great Sky Island, which may fill you with joy or dread depending on how you felt about collecting Korok Seeds in Breath of the Wild.

And where there’s Korok Seeds, there’s a big old tree fairy named Hestu who needs them to fill his magical maracas. Sure enough, if you travel up the path northwest from New Serenne Stable towards the Lindor’s Brow Skyview Tower, you should spot the guy being menaced by a pair of angry trees.

Defeat them, and you’ll be able to start trading in Korok Seeds in exchange for expanding your weapon, bow, and shield inventory — which is just as important in Tears of the Kingdom as it was in the previous game.


Just like last time however, you’ll only be able to give him a few Korok Seeds before he runs off, but luckily his next appearance won’t be far away. He’ll talk about traveling East to where lots of people are, and you’ve actually already been there: Lookout Landing!

Get the Glide Suit

Since you just found Hetsu below the Skyview Tower in the Hyrule Ridge, it’s best to go ahead and unlock it and expand your map. Doing so will also put you high into the sky, right next to a large chain of circular islands to the southwest.

If you land on the highest platform and activate the special panel, it will trigger a series of floating rings you can dive through to the lowest island, where a Construct will congratulate you and suggest doing an official ceremony.

Complete this task once more in a certain amount of time, and you’ll be rewarded for completing the ceremony with your very own Glide Suit. This new special armor will increase your movement capabilities when diving at high altitudes, letting you have better control over landing on distant platforms. Finding similar challenges on the other Sky Islands above Hyrule will reward you with the complete set, and drastically improve your handling in the air.

Become a Reporter

Link has had to take on many roles over the years to help the people of Hyrule. From sorting mail in Wind Waker to learning sumo wrestling in Twilight Princess, Tears of the Kingdom lets you live out your dream of becoming an investigative journalist.

Completing the journey from Hyrule Ridge into the Tabantha Frontier where Rito Village is will lead you to the former Rito Stable, which is now known as the Lucky Clover Gazette headquarters. By talking to the owner, you can team up with a pelican-looking Rito named Penn to travel to different stables all across Hyrule and uncover unique questlines.

These quests won’t normally appear at the stables unless you’ve been hired by the Lucky Clover Gazette, so it’s good to start this quest early so you won’t miss out on anything later. As an added bonus, the more quests you complete for the newspaper, the closer you’ll get to receiving the ultimate reward - a set of Froggy Armor that negates the effect of slippery walls. A dream come true!

Bring Music to the Fairy Fountains


In Breath of the Wild, the Great Fairies would upgrade your armor and unlock new set bonuses but were often very hard to find in the wide world. This time around, you’ll find them near different stables, but the rules for coaxing them out of their flower buds have changed.

Instead of a huge sum of rupees, the Great Fairies will refuse to come out unless they hear some wonderful music, and this quest can only be undertaken once you’ve become a reporter for the Lucky Clover Gazette.

You can start by traveling to the Woodland Stable, which is just to the East of Hyrule Castle across the large river, at the edge of the Great Hyrule Forest. A traveling musical troupe will report that they want to play for the Great Fairy, but need help getting their cart working again. By this point, you should have boarded a horse of your own and visited at least two stables, which will get you access to a Towing Harness, which you can have the stable merchant equip when speaking to the front desk.

Fix up the cart’s broken wheels using Ultrahand, and then drag the cart over to your horse’s towing harness to glue it on, and then take them up the hillside to the Great Fairy. This will unlock the first of four, letting you begin upgrading your armor in exchange for a small sum of rupees and a few ingredients depending on the armor piece.

With this questline started, you can begin to seek out the other Great Fairies that are helpfully marked on your map, and find the rest of the musicians needed to get the Fairy Fountains operational once again.

And those are our picks of things you should do first in Tears of the Kingdom. Check out these other helpful guides next for more tips and strategies:

  • Walkthrough
  • Skyview Towers Locations and Guide
  • How to Disable the HUD
  • Great Sky Island Korok Seeds
  • Amiibo Unlockables, Rewards, and Functionality
  • Interactive Map of Totk's Hyrule (Warning: The full map is uncovered!)

Up Next: The Depths Guide and Overview

PreviousThings Tears of the Kingdom Doesn't Tell YouNextThe Depths Guide and Overview

Top Guide Sections

  • Walkthrough
  • Tips, Tricks, and Things to Know
  • Shrine Locations and Guide
  • Skyview Towers Locations and Guide

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