Finding All 900 Korok Seeds in ‘Breath of the Wild’ Is a Journey Into Madness
In Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, casual players might know the Koroks as the strange woodland creatures who, upon discovery, giggle and give you seeds that can be exchanged with Hestu for inventory slots. But to the hardcore BoTW players who made it their mission to find all 900 seeds, that innocent giggling quickly turned into the sound of a sadistic sociopath delighting in their torture.
Jesus Arce, a 22-year-old San Diego resident better known by the username FateAwaits, reached mild gaming stardom after being credited as the first to complete the task a mere 11 days following BoTW’s release in early March. After completing the main story in about 40 hours, he was determined if slightly “overwhelmed” at the prospect of reaching a 100 percent completion rate in the game. But, looking back, he admitted to me over email that he “was not ready for the toll completing the Korok seed quest would take.”
“Let me tell you, it’s a damn nightmare.”
It took 179 hours total. He devoted 12 hours a day to the mission and even messed with his sleep schedule. It got tedious fast. Eventually, every time a Korok gave its celebratory cry of “Yahaha!” after being found beneath a rock, Arce would chuck the rock at their dumb, shifty, sneaky little tree face. But those were just the easy seeds to find. Others required perfect timing, environmental puzzles, or impossible climbs.
At the 850 mark, he was forced to backtrack to every single previous seed he’d already found to ensure not a single one went overlooked. Finally, at 899, the final seed eluded him for an additional 3 hours. But after going to the edge of Breath of the Wild hell and back, there it was, next to a ledge on a mountain near the Gerudo Desert. Relief flooded his body, as he could finally claim to be one of the few people in the world to have accomplished the task.
Screenshot from Makay Finley after completing all shrine trials. Image: Nintendo.
Other seekers followed suit, starting their own descent into Korok seed madness.
“Let me tell you, it’s a damn nightmare,” said Kayden, a fifteen-year-old Southlake Texas student, who also began his search on day one of release. He’s only come across 200 so far, clocking in the hours for finding the remaining 700 during downtime at school. But, describing the “overall grating experience” as a “grind like no other,” warning me and others “never to try it.” Others commiserated with him on Twitter, describing it as a journey one “suffers through” until the bitter end. It’s important to remember that, to reach the full inventory capacity, one only needs 441 seeds. So going for the full 900 is an act of either valiant vanity or obsession.
Michael Stark, AKA Ganon11, a 27-year-old software engineer, found about 220 organically during his 100 or so hours spent on leisurely completing the main mission. But using the remaining 680 seeds as an excuse, he returned to BoTW determined.
“For a while, it was the only thing I did when not at work or eating,” he admitted. “About two weeks were spent just hunting Koroks. I didn’t play any other games.” Finally, when only one seed remained, he realized it required some apples to regrow on top of a tree. After twenty gameplay hours of returning again and again to the trees, Stark kept finding that “the trees still deemed me unworthy.” Alas, after three grueling days, and figuring out how to forcibly induce the apples to grow, his harrowing journey was complete. Stark insisted he had no regrets. But a friend on Twitter confirmed that the Korok’s signature laughter “will haunt him to his grave.”
Screenshot from Tiziano Lento of Korok found at the very top of Hyrule Castle. Image: Nintendo
Every single Seed Truther I spoke to independently verified the fact that it is impossible to collect all 900 without a guide and, even then, reaching 100 percent is far from a cake walk through the Korok forest.
Some, like 29-year-old Florida resident Tiziano Lento, reached 555 seeds with no assistance throughout the 230 hours (and counting) he spent inside the game—before turning to a guide created by 32-year-old Texan Tobias Amaranth. But the janky “simple maps” of Reddit pale in comparison to the interactive behemoth cultivated by Zelda Universe, pieced together through the comprehensive datamining of heroes like Danilo Passos from Hyrule Legends.
According to Passos, “For us the joy is not only in collecting the seeds or treasure chests or 100 percent the game ourselves but also giving back that info to the Zelda Community, as a way to increase awareness of the game and recognize the effort and passion the developers put into these games.”
Zelda Universe map. Image: Zelda Maps
Mackles, a 28-year-old sculptor from California, who usually uses up his “free time cycling through existential emptiness and working an unfulfilling office job,” set aside an entire 10-day vacation to 100 percent (it’s common for players to use “100 percent” as a verb) the long-anticipated new Zelda title.
Although “other nerds might make fun of” him for it, he said, his usual policy is to do so without any guides. But after finding 400 seeds throughout the 150 hour main quest, even he had to admit he was a “a grown-ass adult,” who must pay taxes, eat his vegetables, and attend to a myriad of other adult-like responsibilities. “I didn’t have time to aimlessly explore every inch of the nearly 25 square mile landscape. So I turned to a guide.”
Interestingly, the seed completionists that followed Arce’s original ridiculous accomplishment appeared undeterred by his discovery of the eventual “prize” that awaited them at the end of their efforts. Because after returning to Hestu with all 900 Korok seeds, you do not receive any sort of invaluable weapon, armor, or even a precious collectable. You don’t even receive an item you can actually use. Hestu’s gift is quite literally a… golden poop that, “smells really bad,” according to its in-game description.
After an hour of happiness at finally completing his obsessive journey, the implications of what the prize actually meant set in for Arce. “I felt at first like the developers were insulting the people who wanted to complete a tedious task.” So he stared at the golden poop, in all its lacking glory, and, “I just yelled at my TV screen.” He felt silly for doing so, but, “I needed to yell at something for receiving a golden turd that did absolutely nothing,” following such an ordeal. “I felt like all the effort I had put in, all the countless hours of searching, was just dropped in the toilet. And, sitting next to all I had done, was this golden poop.”
Yet after his initial anger abated, Arce and every other Seed Seeker I spoke to emphasized the simultaneous joy that came with the hell of turning over literally every nook and cranny of BoTW’s world. Most saw their drive to complete the meaningless task as a testament to Nintendo’s accomplishment in making Breath of the Wild one of the most organically, endlessly explorable games ever created. For Arce, the mission brought him back to the countless hours he used to spend with his father as a kid doing completionist runs of Ocarina of Time.
Granted, even the most positive of seekers like Lento were relieved to hear the recently unveiled DLC releasing this summer will include a Korok mask that notifies Link of nearby seeds, bypassing the need for obsessively cross-referencing online guides. “So that’s pretty cool! But it should have been part of the game originally!”
And who knows, there are rumors that, based on the Japanese translation of “Hestu’s gift” actually meaning “Hestu’s seed,” planting the infamous golden poop in the DLC might make something truly magical grow.
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Take it from the players hundreds of hours in: do not try this at home, kids.
How To Find Korok Seeds In Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
on March 16, 2017 at 10:38AM PDT
If you’ve been playing through Zelda: Breath of the Wild for even a few hours, you might have noticed that you have very little inventory space for weapons, bows, and shields. Luckily, you can expand your inventory slots!
All you have to do is find Koroks, children of the forest that are hiding all over the map. When you find one, it will give you a Korok seed, which you can then trade to an adorable musician named Hestu for inventory slots.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, and finding Koroks can take a sharp eye and a mind for puzzles. There are 11 different kinds of Korok hiding spots and 900 Korok seeds total–you can get them all for completion, but you’ll only need 441 to max out your inventory slots. Rather than show all 900 locations, we’ve put together everything you need to know to find as many as you need.
For more Breath of the Wild tips, check out our Beginner’s Guide and our list of things the game doesn’t tell you. We also have helpful cooking tips and tricks, a guide to what each amiibo unlocks in the game, and more.
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If you see floating green leaves that sparkle a bit, go up to them and examine to reveal a Korok. The leaves will sometimes be moving around a small area, while other times they’ll be in a stationary position, like on a building’s roof.
Regular Hiding Spot
Some Koroks are hidden out in nature, like under rocks. These hiding spots will stick out in some way–the rock will be alone at the top of a mountain, for example, and all you need to do is pick it up to reveal the Korok. Other simple hiding spots include: a conspicuous block of ice you need to melt, under a heavy slab of rock that can be lifted with an Octo Balloon, behind destructible rock walls, inside breakable pots, or beneath layers of leaves that can be bombed away.
If you see a boulder, look around for a similarly sized hole. Move the boulder (via rolling it, Stasis, or Magnesis) into the hole to find the Korok. There’s also a ball-in-a-cup version with a magnetic boulders and tree stumps, and keep an eye out for boulders that can be arranged into patterns. (If you get stuck, try to get to a higher vantage point to spot patterns and boulders that can be hard to see from the ground.)
If you approach a flower and it disappears only to move to another location, follow the flower–when you reach the end of its trail, a Korok will appear. Keep an eye out for slight variations on the number or groupings of flowers.
Objects arranged in circles are hiding Koroks. If you find a circle of rocks sticking out of the water, find a nearby rock and throw it into the circle basketball-style to reveal the Korok. Along the same lines, if you see a circle of water lilies in a pond, dive in the center to reveal the Korok.
You will sometimes come across a pattern made from rocks, like a circle or spiral, with one or more rocks missing. Find the missing rock or rocks and place them in the correct position to finish the pattern and reveal the Korok. Generally, the missing rock or rocks are in the direction of the gap in the pattern.
Sometimes trees will be too neatly arranged; in this case, look for patterns in the fruit growing on the trees. For example, if all but one of the trees has the same arrangement of fruit, pick the extra fruit off the last tree to complete the pattern and unlock the Korok.
These are one of the most conspicuous hiding places for Koroks. If you see a two nearly identical cube patterns sticking out from a rock wall, use Magnesis to move one rogue cube to its proper position in order to make the pattern symmetrical.
A set of statues with trays in front of them are there to receive offerings. Most of the time, the offering is food, but not always–usually, some of the statues will already have offerings in front of them, so follow the lead of whoever was there before you and drop the correct item in the empty tray or trays. (When in doubt, the offering will be an apple, though statues honoring the Yiga Clan will need offerings of mighty bananas.) Completing the offering will reveal the Korok.
If you happen to see a balloon, pop it with an arrow to find a Korok. A lot of times, you’ll first see an orange-ish pinwheel; stand next to it to start the archery challenge. You need to hit all the targets to get the Korok seed. Targets can also include barrels and apples.
Tree stumps marked with a leaf symbol are the starting point for a race. Step on the stump to start; many times, you’ll have to reach a specific point within a time limit. Occasionally, you’ll have to jump over obstacles with a horse to find the Korok.
Note: Finding Hestu
You’ll first encounter Hestu on the road to Kakariko Village from Dueling Peaks Stable. He’ll tell you that some Bokoblins stole his maracas, so kill the Bokoblins and retrieve the maracas from the treasure chest to give Hestu his inventory-expansion powers back. After that, he’ll let you trade Korok seeds for new weapon, bow, and shield inventory slots exponentially (as in, it’ll cost one Korok seed for the first weapons expansion, two for the second, and so on for each of the three categories).
After a few trades, Hestu will move to a stable for a time. Around the GameSpot office, we found him at Riverside Stable twice and Wetland Stable once–in all three cases, it was the second stable each of us had visited after Dueling Peaks Stable. He is also known to appear at Woodland Stable. All of those stables are on the way North toward Korok Forest, which is where Hestu says he’s headed.
Once you trade with him a few times at the stable, he’ll permanently move to Korok Forest, where you can continue trading with him. If you aren’t sure how to get to Korok Forest, see slides 5 through 7 in our guide to getting the Master Sword–we have detailed directions and a map.
Here’s everything you need to know to find the hidden Koroks in Zelda: Breath of the Wild.