I Hope Breath of the Wild 2 Still Has Weapon Durability

And I'm not afraid to admit it.

There’s a lot of divisive splits in the gaming industry, but few are as bitter as the topic of weapon durability in Breath of the Wild. The 2017 Legend of Zelda game is often considered one of the best games of all time, but a contingent of players bristle at that assertion. In their litany of complaints, the most frequently cited grievance always seems to be weapon durability, specifically about how easily weapons break after hitting enemies or throwing them at things.

This group has been vocal about their desire to see this mechanic lessened or even outright removed from the still-unnamed sequel to Breath of the Wild. I think they’re wrong. I hope the game still has it. I hope it expands on the idea.

I know the very idea seems nuts, but to articulate this position, I have to start with the assertion that everyone that hates the weapon durability doesn’t care for how important that system is integrated into Breath of the Wild. They’re still free to dislike it, but rather than it being a capricious choice to annoy the player, it exists for the same valid reason everything else in the game does: to make the player try different things.

Every single encounter that you don’t stealth around in Breath of the Wild requires you to do one of two things: 1) lose something in terms of weapons, health, food, etc. or 2) think your way out of an encounter. While you have weapons available to you — swords, spears, bows, etc. — using them consumes a resource. If you’re looking downhill at a Bokoblin encampment, you could absolutely go in there with a broadsword and mess it up before the Bokoblins know what hit them, but doing so means that sword is one more encounter close to breaking. You could also roll bombs downhill, take their metal weapons with magnetism, or drop a metal treasure chest on the leader’s head and invoke a lightning bolt during a storm to cause further damage.

Some of the best moments in the game involved me running out of resources and having to think on my feet, a situation that becomes somewhat moot when I’ve learned every enemy’s dodge window and relied heavily on the strong counterattack mechanic. Breath of the Wild is not a power fantasy the way we typically think of one, it’s an empowerment fantasy that gives players the tools to approach encounters from multiple directions. When you’re given one item that has both the ability to dispose of enemies fast with no downside, it’s a de facto better choice than anything else.

This is why I hope the sequel to Breath of the Wild keeps this controversial design. I understand why people don’t like it, but I also think they don’t like it for the very reason it exists. People who feel like they’re constantly stocking up on weapons aren’t understanding the reason they ran out of weapons in the first place. The weapons themselves are ephemeral, resources you suck dry and throw away as you’re figuring out the more efficient method. Before Link fell into his 100-year sleep, he relied heavily on his weapons and lost and Breath of the Wild is a reinforcement of that failure.

Breath of the Wild asks players to leave something of themselves behind every time they get in a fight. It tells players not to get attached to any one piece of your kit, whether it be weapons or armor, because no one piece of equipment is good for all situations. Are there aspects there that the sequel could improve upon? Sure, that’s always the case with any game. But I sure hope they don’t wholesale abandon the durability concept because of a vocal minority.

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Imran Khan

Imran is Fanbyte's News Editor and owns too many gaming t-shirts.

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8 Comments

  1. I think the game would be more fun to play by meeting both extremes, by keeping the durability but x3 or x4 for it last longer, and that as durability get down, damage done too, till the point where durability is zero, the weaopn DOESN’T EXPLODE but can be repared, with a mechanic like in RDR2, or bringing the weapon to a blacksmith. I like a lot the mechanic of Skyward Sword where we can upgrade equipment, and i would like to be able to upgrade weapons too, giving them more durability and damages. It would allow everybody to find weapons with an esthetic or fight style they like, and make it grow with upgrades. Each upgrade would cost rarest resources, making this process as slow as the player go further in the game, well equilibrated.

  2. I loved the weapons durability system even when it proved to be a pain in my arse mid-battle. It keep things interesting and certainly stopped things from getting too easy. As the game progress I had a collection of pretty sturdy weapons anyway so it became less and less of an issue. Bring it back say I!

  3. Totally agree with you! I have seen so many people against this system, but I really like it. Some of the reasons why so many people dislike it it’s because they don’t want to waste their best weapons, but if you don’t use them, WHAT’S THE POINT OF HAVING THEM? You can always find more! Also, I don’t find it hard to look for more weapons or shields or whatever because they are everywhere.

  4. Nooo the durability was the worst part. Like you’re supposed to get new tools that stay with you for the next go in zelda but breath of the wild bombed tgat by giving you everything you need from the start.

  5. The problem is that most moblic camps reward you with more weapons, so why would I waste my time fighting them and breaking weapons just to get another weapon? The cycle of risk and reward just led to me avoiding any combat I could in the second half of the game, there was no reason to do it, the combat wasn’t intrinsically fun enough and the in-game rewards weren’t worth the resources lost.

    1. Many people did think the combat was intrinsically fun enough. Also, there are plenty of other rewards that you can get. Also, sometimes the weapons will be upgrades as well as.. more overall weapons, because you used much less than you earned. The in-game rewards were OFTEN worth the resources lost if you played well enough, which is the entire point. It encourages you to think and act with effectiveness and that’s when you’re truly rewarded. And if you don’t, you’re punished, which is fun for many gamers who like consequences to their game choices.

      You’re also ignoring the obvious element that combat is often unavoidable or challenging to avoid or at the very least a time wasting hassle to avoid. It isn’t always about a need for a reward, but a necessity of progression through a given area.

    2. “the combat wasn’t intrinsically fun enough”

      I feel like this is where the divide happens. Because for me, the combat and all the various ways you can approach it was what kept me hooked! And I was never afraid to break my weapons because I could just come up with a different way of killing the enemies until I got another weapon, which didn’t usually take long anyway. But yeah for you and others, you just weren’t into that sort of gameplay I guess. Everybody’s different!

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