The Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC 1: Trial of the Sword is the first of two add-on chunks of content coming to the huge Switch and Wii U adventure.
The first adds new modes and features that expands the existing world: a harder Master Mode, a new special Trial, a Hero's Path Mode, new equipment, and a new method of fast travel with the Travel Medallion, with this Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC 1 guide explaining how to access them all.
There are also several expansion pass chests which give you bonus items and a fancy Nintendo Switch shirt.
If you're after help for the main game itself, then consult our Zelda: Breath of the Wild walkthrough and guide.
What is inside Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC 1 and how do you access it?
When you purchase the expansion pass and patch the game to the latest version (on Switch, select the Zelda game icon, press the + button then System Update) you'll be told about all the new content on the home screen. Here's a quick recap:
- Master Mode (Hard mode)
- Trial of the Sword access (quest for the new Cave of Trials)
- Hero's Path (map feature)
- Quests for the Travel Medallion, Korok Mask, and Tingle, Majora's Mask, Phantom, Midna outfit locations
Loading into your save will activate all the quests, which must be completed before you can access their relevant additions. Hero's Path will be available from the off, while Master Mode will be accessible immediately from the main menu.
New features in Zelda DLC 1: The Master Trials
Three key additions to the gameplay itself in Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a harder Master Mode, and a special Trial, known as Trial of the Sword, and the Hero's Map addition.
Master Mode will let players take on Breath of the Wild at an increased difficulty, using a fresh and separate save file accessed from the main menu.
- All enemies have an increased 'rank', so Red Bokoblins instead appear as Blue, and so on.
- Tougher enemies appear in traditionally 'low-level' locations - such as Lynels on the Great Plateau.
- There are "higher-ranking enemies you won't find through normal play", according to Nintendo, so expect a few new surprises.
- Enemies recover health during battle, and spot you earlier as you approach.
- Floating rafts held aloft by balloons appear around Hyrule, holding enemies and treasure chests.
- Just one manual save and one auto-save will be available.
Needless to say it's a very tough challenge that requires more care in combat than ever before - both in choosing your battles and retaining the few items you have - so make sure you've at least sunk a few hours into the regular version of the game before even attempting.
Trial of the Sword
The Trial of the Sword is the new name for what was initially announced as the Cave of Trials - a feature that was also present in previous Zelda games like Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, under the guise of the Cave of Ordeals and Savage Labyrinth.
This unique location will be accessible to those with the DLC once it's released, and features a special Trial with a particularly great reward for dedicated players.
Inside, you'll be stripped of all your items - including weapons and armour - and need to defeat wave after wave of enemies. After progressing through around 45 rooms worth of them, you'll gain a special prize: an improvement for your Master Sword.
With Trial of the Sword completed, the Master Sword will be 'awakened'; it'll be forever powered-up to level 60 without a cooldown. As it will still be unbreakable, it becomes perhaps the most useful weapon in the game.
- You need to have the Master Sword unlocked before you can play the Trial. Once you have it, put it back in its pedestal to start the trial.
- Weapons, armour and items are removed, but your hearts and stamina remain - so it pays to visit as many Shrines as possible beforehand.
- There are 45 floors, with two breaks along the way one third and two thirds of the way through which you can resume from. If you die between these respite periods, you have to start back at the last one. Starting from one of these wipes your inventory once more.
- Someone has already beaten Trial of the Sword, with a surprisingly long time of four hours, which you can watch in full below:
Hero's Path mode is a new tracking system that will be available as soon as you obtain the DLC. Essentially, it shows your following your path throughout your playthrough of the game so far, which you can rewind and fast forward and will.
The main use for this is tracking where you have and haven't been - or perhaps where abouts exactly that one cool thing was that you scrambled around that unidentifiable hilltop trying to reach one time.
It tracks back as far as a remarkable 200 hours of gameplay, so you can rest relatively easy in that most, if not all, of your playthrough will be tracked by it. And yes, it's been tracking you from launch, so it'll work on any save file you throw at it.
New gear locations in Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC 1 The Master Trials
Finally, some new equipment and items will be available in the Master Trials DLC. As soon as you load the game you receive quests to start them, and we have specific locations for each as follows:
- Travel Medallion location, allowing you to create a custom fast travel point
- Korok Mask location, helping you track down Korok Seeds easier
- Tingle, Majora's Mask, Phantom, Midna outfit locations, inspired by previous Zelda games
It's worth noting that the above items cannot be upgraded like traditional gear in the original adventure. So while the latter set have additional abilities - such as increasing your running speed at night while wearing the Tingle costumes - they won't be as potent defence-wise as end-game armour.
That said, for new adventures or sheer novelty, they are well worth tracking down. As the game mentions, all of these are one-of-a-kind, so make sure you don't delete them from your inventory!
Thanks to a new update, it's now possible to play Zelda Breath of the Wild in VR. Want help with the main game? Our Zelda: Breath of the Wild walkthrough can help complete Divine Beasts Vah Ruta, Vah Rudiana, Vah Medoh and Vah Naboris and more. There's also how to get the Master Sword, Hylian Shield and all Captured Memories locations and Great Fairy Fountain locations, while our Shrines locations and Shrine maps hub explains where to find and solve every puzzle room, including dragon locations and Labyrinth solutions. We also have a DLC 1 guide and DLC 2 guide, including all Tingle, Majora's Mask, Phantom, Midna outfit locations.
Zelda DLC Expansion Pass chest locations
As well as the above, as part of buying the Expansion Pass you'll also have access to three chests within the starting Great Plateau area. Even if you started the game, you can head back and grab them.
Ruby: This chest is next to the Oman Au Shrine with the Magnesis Trial.
Bomb Arrow x5: From the Kah Namut Shrine with the Cryonis Trial, run round the back and look to the south. The chest is visible on the outside wall below - just jump or glide down and open it.
Nintendo Switch shirt: Head to the Ja Baij Shrine with the Bomb Trial, and climb the wall opposite.
Like the other outfits above, make sure you don't delete the shirt, as there is no way you'll be able to get another. Enjoy!
What we know about other Zelda Breath of the Wild DLC
The Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC is available only through a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Expansion Pass, which is available to order now.
To be clear, purchasing the Expansion Pass is the only way to get either of the DLC packs, so it's all or nothing. The bundle itself costs Ł17.99, or €19.99.
This first DLC, The Master Trials, is the first of the two that feature in the Expansion pass, with the other - the Champion's Ballad - coming at some point in winter 2017.
The second DLC will focus on Zelda and the four champions who fought and died 100 years before the events of the main game. As our announcement story speculates, could we be exploring the world of Hyrule of 100 years ago, and possibly be playing Zelda herself?
The pack will release with four new amiibo - based on the four champions - which can be purchased together in a pack. Their functionality has yet to be revealed.
Additional reporting by Chris Tapsell