Tears of the Kingdom fans believe that the game boasts a hidden experience level scaling system which is similar to the one which supposedly governed world progression in Breath of the Wild.
Data miners had previously found evidence to suggest the 2017 game featured a system by which Link would accrue experience and level up. This system purportedly governed when the more dangerous enemy variants and powerful weapons and shields would start to appear in the game world.
Now, some members of the Zelda community believe that a similar system may also be at work in Tears of the Kingdom. YouTuber Austin John Plays recently detailed the system in a new video, which combined knowledge gleaned from Breath of the Wild data miners with observations of world progression in the most recent entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise.
— Austin John Plays (@AustinJohnPlays) May 29, 2023
As was the case with its predecessor, the underlying progression system has no visible hud elements – like a level number or XP guage – but makes itself known through the types of monsters and equipment encountered as the game progresses.
According to Austin John Plays’ video, every time you defeat an enemy Link gets a chunk of experience, the amount of which varies based on enemy difficulty. Furthermore, in Breath of the Wild, dataminers worked out that you only gained experience for the first ten enemies killed of each specific type, including one-off bosses who would net you big XP.
Levelling up affects the type of enemies that populate the game world, which according to Austin John Plays, is why at a certain point you’ll see a lot more blue and black Bokoblins start to appear all over Hyrule. However, not all enemies seem to scale with experience. For example, certain soldier constructs encountered on The Great Sky Island will remain as basic zonai constructs no matter how far you progress.
The levelling system also purportedly affects the types of weapons encountered and their characteristics. Upon progressing through the game, new, more powerful weapons will start to appear, while other specific weapons that don’t change type can gain modifiers that may, for example, increase their attack stat or durability over their base forms.
This scaling rule also apparently applies to the undecayed weapons that are held by the static, wraith–like mist ghosts found in the depths, which makes the murky underworld a useful source of high quality weapons like the Royal Guard’s Claymore in the latter game.
If the experience system detailed by Austin John Plays is correct, then Tears of the Kingdom is essentially as hard as you choose to make it. Players looking for a challenge can storm out early and take on the tougher monsters, which would net quick XP while granting access to nastier enemies and more powerful weapons. More cautious gamers also have the option of tackling Hyrule at a slower pace, while avoiding the tougher enemies and focussing on shrines to increase their hearts, and stamina, before taking a crack at the bigger nasties.
Take a look at our Tears of the Kingdom Walkthrough and Guide for more tips and tricks to help you make the most of your adventure through Hyrule. In fact, you can start right here:
Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video gaming news for IGN. He has over eight years experience of covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and absolutely no time for your shenanigans. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer