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Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Walkthrough Story Order: Where to go first?

Tears of the Kingdom is a huge game, so here's our walkthrough for where to go first!

Link using the Ascend power to climb to a high ledge in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Image credit: Nintendo

One of the best things about huge open-world games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is that you can go wherever you want to, but that can also be an overwhelming decision. While you have a large degree of self-determination as you explore Hyrule, there is a relatively set story order that offers the smoothest difficulty progression.

Technically, your objectives are non-linear. However, some areas are definitely easier than others and make for an easier ride if visited first.

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As a general rule-of-thumb, the enemies in Zelda Tears of the Kingdom get more difficult the further south you go. That means it’s best to work your way down the map, top-to-bottom, finding new equipment and increasing your power to take on more difficult challenges as you go.

With that said, outside of a few super-tough foes and boss fights you can weasel your way through just about anywhere if you can run away fast enough, so don’t be scared of exploring high-and-low for fear of running into something you can’t defeat.

Everywhere in Hyrule is accessible right from the start of Tears of the Kingdom, and there’s nothing stopping you from skipping into an area, activating the Skyview Tower or doing a Shrine or two, then leaving before any of the strong baddies realise you’re underlevelled.

As you strike out to all four corners of the world though, make sure you also mix in a good helping of Side Adventures, Shrines and diversions. These not only help you gather useful items, but prepare you for story missions too by introducing mechanics and honing your skills.

Zelda Tears of the Kingdom Story Order - Where should you go first?

  • First, after you have completed the Great Sky Island, complete your task at Hyrule Castle from Purah at Lookout Landing.
  • Next, explore Hyrule Field south of Lookout Landing to get your bearings with the controls, complete a few Side Adventures and Shrines to collect money and power up your hearts, and open up the underground with the Camera Work in the Depths Quest.
  • After that, make your way northwest to the top-left corner of the map and visit the frigid cold of Rito Village and the Lucky Clover Gazette. On your way start Impa’s Geoglyph quest, The Dragon’s Tears.
  • In terms of combat difficulty, your next port of call should be Goron City in the northeast. However, you will need a flame-proof outfit that is very expensive (nearly 2000 rupees). So take on some sidequests and sell some gems to scratch up the necessary money.
  • Following that, now’s a good time to return to the underground to complete the Mystery in the Depths. This will give you a new series of Side Adventures to work through.
  • When that’s done, move southwards to Zora Domain in the east of Hyrule. Make sure you have plenty of Hydrant devices and Splash Fruit ready!
  • Finally, make your way down to the southwest area of the Gerudo Town. This is the most combat-intensive of the four objectives and has the toughest enemies. You will need ways to resist both cold and heat, as well as easy access to elemental damage like shock or fire (either attached to a weapon or by throwing fire fruit).
  • As you make your way around the world, you should complete Skyview Towers and Geoglyphs as you come across them. You could go around unlocking every Skyview Tower immediately to make fast-travelling easier if you want (that’s what I did), but I would recommend doing the Geoglyphs in a more natural order. If you view them all at once it will spoil a key story element which is best saved until you have visited the four Regional Phenomena.
  • With that, return to Lookout Landing and speak with Purah, who'll send you to Hyrule Castle to complete the Crisis at Hyrule Castle quest. Here, we'll face a bunch of minibosses before going against a ghostly foe.
  • Once that's done, you'll need to return to Purah again, who will then send you on a mission across land, skies, and The Depths, to locate a fifth sage for our team. The first part of this quest will have us finding the Secret of Ring Ruins.
  • After paying a visit to Kakariko Village and exploring the Ring Ruins, we'll need to investigate the Faron Zonai Ruins. Here, we'll get a new set of armor, which is pretty exciting and will help us in the next area.
  • Our time in the Faron Zonai Ruins will reveal the Thunderhead Isles. Up next, we need to travel up the isles and clear them to reach a Zonai Relic at the end. It's very stormy up here, though, so prepare yourself!
  • After clearing Thunderhead Isles, it's time to complete the Guidance of Ages Past quest and explore wherever this Zonai Relic is pointing to. This will see us going down to The Depths, where we have to collect relics from four storehouses to give a physical body to the spirit of our fifth sage, Mineru. You'll be going to Left-Leg Depot, then Left-Arm Depot, then Right-Leg Depot, then Right-Arm Depot. You can do the storehouses in any order, but this is the order we guided them in!
  • With a body for Mineru's spirit finally built, we can now test the Zonai mech out. We're not done in The Depths just yet, however, as we need to retrieve the secret stone of spirit for Mineru first.
  • Our journey to find the secret stone of spirit for Mineru will wind us up at the Spirit Temple, where we need to beat an unruly robot; the Seized Construct.
  • After defeating the Seized Construct, you'll unlock Mineru as a permanent sage. Up next, we'll have to retrieve the Master Sword. If you already know where the sword is, go grab it and start the next step in this walkthrough. If you don't know where it is, you'll want to check out how to get the Master Sword, which will also see us going through the Lost Woods to Korok Forest
  • .
  • Last, but not least, with five sages by our side and a Master Sword on our back, we can beat up Ganondorf. You'll have to venture down into The Depths to find him, and then take part in a rather epic boss battle that has too many phases to count. Here's where to find and how to beat Ganondorf, and ultimately, finish Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom!

To fill in the gaps as you explore Hyrule, we have guide pages on many of the systems and quests you will encounter throughout your journey. We will be constantly updating this page with more advice, so check back as you continue your adventure!

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Systems Walkthrough guides

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Story Quest Walkthrough guides

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Side Quest Walkthrough guides

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Shrine Walkthrough guides

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Location Walkthrough guides

Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Armor Walkthrough guides

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About the Author
James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

James suffers so you don't have to, creating expert guides for the toughest games and reviews for the biggest blockbuster releases.

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