The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Great Fairy and Armor Upgrade Guide

One unique feature of this Zelda game compared to games from the past is the presence of an armor rating. Sure, in the past there was gear that protected you in certain environments or gave you invulnerability in exchange for magic or rupees; this time, though, there are legit numerical ratings for your gear and that’s a whole new world for some players. Great Fairies are the key to upgrading your armor, but they can be tricky to find in such a massive open world (and with only one of them having a legitimate quest to help you find it). So today I thought I’d go into detail about how armor works, how to find the fairies that upgrade it, and what the benefits of each unique set are.

A quick note about this guide: it’s a work in progress. I’ve beaten the game’s main story but I certainly haven’t done every quest or explored every shrine. As such, there might be some pieces of equipment that go unaccounted for, at least for the time being. As I continue to play the game and make discoveries, I’ll add new pieces to the guide.

Also worth noting: for now, I am only including non-upgradeable armor if it has a significant set bonus. I am also not including monster masks. So don’t be surprised not to see any of those things included.

FINALLY – this guide will have spoilers. If you’re trying to find the fairies for yourself, or don’t want to know about any armor pieces in the game you haven’t discovered yet, use it with care.

SO HOW DOES ARMOR WORK, EXACTLY?

Breath of the Wild Cuddle.jpg

“Duh, Ian, you wear it and it stops attacks from hurting as much.” Well yeah, sure, but there’s more to it than that. Individual pieces of armor have numerical ratings, and weapons have number ratings as well. However, while enemy health is clearly measured numerically (thank you, Champion’s Tunic), Link’s health is measured in hearts with four segments each. How do you evaluate an armor rating if it doesn’t seem to line up with the way the character’s health is measured?

Luckily, the weapons in the game give us the clues we need. I noticed this when being attacked by an enemy wielding a weapon that I was familiar with. Specifically, I knew its attack power. When attacked by that weapon, I noticed how much damage it did in hearts, and something struck me. Besides the weapon, of course. The numerical ratings on weapons and armor translate 1-for-1 to quarter-segments of Link’s hearts. That means that a weapon with 4 power deals 1 full heart of damage, whereas armor with a rating of 4 protects you from an entire heart worth of damage.

Sometimes you get passive bonuses from the effects of a particular armor set, or from the food you’ve eaten. So how do these bonuses affect your stats? Well attack bonuses and defense bonuses actually affect you a bit differently. Attack bonuses increase your damage by a percentage – 20% with a level one bonus, 30% with a level two bonus, and 50% with a level three bonus. So you’ll see a bigger increase in your damage the more powerful your weapon. With defense bonuses, the effect is always a flat number. A level one defense bonus gives you +4 defense, a level two defense bonus an additional +8 (for a total of +12), and a level three bonus gives you a whopping +12 on top of that (for a total of +24 defense). This means that with a level 3 defense bonus, you are ignoring 6 more hearts of damage than normal, which is a pretty significant benefit. You definitely want to utilize that against bosses!

Knowing how these benefits affect you is important for evaluating your armor choices. Is armor that’s giving you a 50% attack bonus worth sacrificing defense? Is it better to prepare meals that give you extra armor, or meals that protect you against the environment so you can wear your highest-rated armor all the time? These decisions are generally going to be made on a case by case basis, but knowing the math behind them can really help you make the best choice in the situation.

OKAY, SO WHERE ARE THE FAIRIES THAT UPGRADE MY ARMOR?
There are four Great Fairies in the game that upgrade the armor you wear. They are located in different parts of the game world and they require a certain number of rupees to awaken. Their prices go from “doable” to “outrageously expensive,” but once they are awakened they are awakened forever. After that, they cease costing you rupees and instead cost materials. Each fairy you awaken adds to the overall power of all Great Fairy sisters. That is, you don’t have to keep going to a specific one to keep getting a certain level of upgrade. Any one of them can upgrade your gear to any level based on how many sisters are awake.
Breath of the Wild Fairy Location 1.jpg

The first Great Fairy is located outside of Kakariko Village and is pretty easy to awaken with a measly 100 rupee price tag. Ew, it sounds weird when I phrase it that way…let’s move on. Sitting on a cliff above Kakariko Village is a shrine. A path leads away from the shrine into a patch of woods. Just follow that road until you end up at a weird onion-shaped flower thing with a glowing mushroom platform in front of it. Pay the mysterious hand inside 100 rupees, and you’re ready for your first upgrades!
Breath of the Wild Fairy Location 2

The second Great Fairy is located in the Akkala region. I actually found this one just by opening the map and saying “hey, that’s a weird landform.” When I went to check out the place that had caught my attention, I saw the Fairy Fountain in the distance. If you look at Lake Akkala (east of Akkala Tower), you’ll see a large circular landform in the center of the lake just barely connected to land by a narrow natural bridge. Southeast of that is a circle of trees with a pond in the center. THAT is the next Great Fairy Fountain. Throw 500 rupees into this woman’s hand and she’ll open her flower to you. Not a euphemism.
Breath of the WIld Fairy Location 3.jpg

The third Great Fairy is located all the way on the other side of the map, the western Tabantha region. This fairy is so easy to find that even though she’s more expensive than Fairy #2, I actually found her first. Just stand on the top of Tabantha Tower and stare southeast. As long as it’s a clear day, you should very easily be able to see the fairy flower and the glowing mushrooms leading up to it on a nearby cliff. Gliding there from the tower is a breeze – the 1000 rupee cost, not so much. With three sisters awakened, their touch gets a little more personal – level three upgrades require Link to endure a sloppy kiss.
Breath of the Wild Fairy Location 4.jpg

The last Great Fairy is pretty tough to find, particularly if you (like me) are looking for her in an area similar to the others where there is water and trees around. This fairy is in the Gerudo Desert near the massive dragon skeleton in the southwest corner of the map. I recommend using your Sheikah Slate to place a pin in the area and then riding a sand seal straight towards your pin. As you get closer, a sandstorm will ruin your vision and your Sheikah Slate, but as long as you made sure you were headed straight for that pin before you lost your sight, you’ll end up at the dragon bones and find the fairy flower there. Pay this Great Fairy a massive 10000 rupees and she’ll make your wildest dreams come true with level four upgrades (assuming, of course, you’ve met all her sisters by this point).

Other than location, cost, and aesthetics, there’s no difference between the Great Fairies. They ask for the same materials to upgrade gear and they all are capable of giving out the same upgrade levels. If you unlock them backwards and start with the 10000 rupee fairy, she can still only increase your armor by 1 level without the aid of her sisters. It’s best to unlock the fairies as you find them, though don’t be too discouraged if you have some trouble – this game is very beatable without the maximum armor upgrades.

CAN WE GET TO THE ACTUAL ARMOR PART NOW?
Alright, alright, let’s stop dancing around and get to the nitty-gritty. We’ll look at each armor set one at a time and discuss the defense it provides, the materials needed for upgrades, and finally the set bonus (if any) that makes it unique. Keep in mind that some armor only gets a set bonus after all three pieces have been upgraded twice. I’ll place an * on the sets which get the bonus this way.

Breath of the Wild Champions Tunic.jpg
Armor so good, you won’t need pants.

CHAMPION’S TUNIC
Champion’s Tunic
Individual Armor Rating: 5 -> 8 -> 14 -> 22 -> 32
Individual Armor Bonus: None
Full Set Rating: N/A
Full Set Bonus: N/A
Upgrade Materials: Silent Princess; Shards of Horn from Farosh, Naydra, and Dinraal

Breath of the Wild Hylian Set.jpg
“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”

HYLIAN SET
Hylian Hood, Hylian Tunic, and Hylian Trousers
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: None
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: None
Upgrade Materials: Bokoblin Horns, Fangs, and Guts; Amber

Breath of the Wild Soldier Set.jpg
“I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow to the knee.”

SOLDIER SET
Soldier’s Helm, Soldier’s Armor, Soldier’s Greaves
Individual Armor Rating: 4 -> 7 -> 12 -> 18 -> 28
Individual Armor Bonus: None
Full Set Rating: 12 -> 21 -> 36 -> 54 -> 84
Full Set Bonus: None
Upgrade Materials: Chuchu Jelly; Bokoblin Guts; Keese Eyeball; Moblin Guts; Lizalfos Tail; Hinox Guts; Lynel Hoof; Lynel Guts
Breath of the Wild Snowquill Set
SNOWQUILL SET
Snowquill Headdress, Snowquill Tunic, Snowquill Trousers
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: Cold Resistance
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: *Unfreezable
Upgrade Materials: Red Chuchu Jelly; Fire Keese Wing; Warm Saffina; Sunshroom; Red Lizalfos Tail; Ruby
Breath of the Wild Desert Voe Set.jpg
DESERT VOE SET
Desert Voe Headband, Desert Voe Spaulders, Desert Voe Trousers
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: Heat Resistance
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: *Shock Resistance
Upgrade Materials: White Chuchu Jelly; Ice Keese Wing; Ice Lizalfos Tail; ????

Breath of the Wild Gerudo Set.jpg
“Sir, I figured out how to make the Tumblr demographic happy.”

GERUDO SET
Gerudo Veil, Gerudo Top, Gerudo Sirwal
Individual Armor Rating: 1
Individual Armor Bonus: None
Full Set Rating: 3
Full Set Bonus: Heat Resistance
Upgrade Materials: None

Breath of the Wild Flamebreaker Set.jpg
THIS is why people mod games to make equipment invisible.

FLAMEBREAKER SET
Flamebreaker Helm, Flamebreaker Armor, Flamebreaker Boots
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: Flame Resistance
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: *Flameproof
Upgrade Materials: Fireproof Lizard; Moblin Horns, Fangs, and Guts; Smotherwing Butterfly; ?

Breath of the Wild Zora Set.jpg
Made with love

ZORA SET
Zora Helm, Zora Armor, Zora Greaves
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: Swim Speed Up, Spin Attack (Helm), Swim Up Waterfalls (Armor)
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: *Swim Dash Stamina Cost Down
Upgrade Materials: Lizalfos Horns, Talons, and Tails; Hyrule Bass; Hearty Bass; ?

Breath of the Wild Stealth Set.jpg
Why does the cool-looking armor always have a garbage rating?

STEALTH SET
Stealth Mask, Stealth Chest Guard, Stealth Tights
Individual Armor Rating: 2 -> 4 -> 6 -> 9 -> 16
Individual Armor Bonus: Stealth Up
Full Set Rating: 6 -> 12 -> 18 -> 27 -> 48
Full Set Bonus: *Movement Speed Up at Night
Upgrade Materials: Blue Nightshade; Sunset Firefly; Sneaky River Snail; Silent Shroom; Stealthfin Trout; Silent Princess
Breath of the Wild Climbers Set.jpg
CLIMBING SET
Climber’s Bandanna, Climbing Gear, Climbing Boots
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: Climbing Speed Up
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: *Climbing Jump Stamina Cost Down
Upgrade Materials: Keese Wings (Normal, Electric, Ice); Rushroom; Hightail Lizard; Hotfooted Frog; ????

Breath of the Wild Barbarian Set

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.”

BARBARIAN SET
Barbarian Helm, Barbarian Armor, Barbarian Leg Wraps
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: Attack Up
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: Charge Attack Stamina Up
Upgrade Materials: Lynel Horn, Hoof, and Guts; Shards of Horn from Farosh, Naydra, Dinraal

Breath of the Wild Radiant Set.jpg
“NACHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” If you get that reference, gold star. Not that it’s subtle.

RADIANT SET
Radiant Mask, Radiant Shirt, Radiant Tights
Individual Armor Rating: 3 -> 5 -> 8 -> 12 -> 20
Individual Armor Bonus: None
Full Set Rating: 9 -> 15 -> 24 -> 36 -> 60
Full Set Bonus: Disguise; Bone Attack Up
Upgrade Materials: Luminous Stone, Bokoblin Guts, Moblin Guts, Molduga Guts, ????

Breath of the Wild Ancient Set.jpg
I paid 6000 rupees to look like THIS?!

ANCIENT SET
Ancient Helm, Ancient Cuirass, Ancient Greaves
Individual Armor Rating: 4 -> 7 -> 12 -> 18 -> 28
Individual Armor Bonus: Guardian Resist Up
Full Set Rating: 12 -> 21 -> 36 -> 54 -> 84
Full Set Bonus: Ancient Weapon Damage Up
Upgrade Materials: Ancient Screws, Springs, Shafts, Gears, Cores, Giant Cores; Star Fragment

Breath of the Wild Dark Set
Oh, I get it.

DARK SET
Dark Hood, Dark Tunic, Dark Trousers
Individual Armor Rating: 3
Individual Armor Bonus: None
Full Set Rating: 9
Full Set Bonus: Movement Speed Up at Night
Upgrade Materials: N/A

That’s all I’ve got for the time being, adventurers. I plan to add more to this guide as I explore more of the game. This includes armor pieces I am missing from the list, any upgrade materials or set bonuses missing from the list, and armor locations. So be sure to check back after a week or two to see how the guide has expanded. If you need some more guidance for this massive  game, consider checking out my Survival Guide or the Captured Memories Guide. Thanks for reading, and I hope this guide helps further your success and enjoyment in Breath of the Wild!

2 thoughts on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Great Fairy and Armor Upgrade Guide

Add yours

  1. Wow dude, you did it again! I will certainly use it for armor completion. Personally I skipped over the Fairy part (as to not spoil it for myself) but I love seeing all of Link’s armor sets! That Dark suit is SWEET looking!

    > The numerical ratings on weapons and armor translate 1-for-1 to quarter-segments of Link’s hearts.
    It’s also interesting how the armor bonus actually works. I was wondering how it was calculated…

    Great job man and thanks for taking the time to do this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Your comments on these guides are very encouraging. I rarely receive any feedback on them so it is nice to know that someone finds them to be helpful.

      Like

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