So we all know The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a superb game. I'm 115 hours in and still finding new things to do. Which is part of why it's so crazy that this game is getting not one, but two different expansion packs in the form of DLC.
So far, we've learned some details about the first pack, due out sometime this summer. But the specifics of the second holiday season package are vague at best. The Zelda website only cryptically says
"The second content pack adds a new dungeon, an original story, and even more new challenges."
Not very helpful. The first pack, however, seems very useful indeed.
The first detail the website goes into for the summer pack is the "Trial of the Sword" challenge. An onslaught of wave after wave of enemies, where Link has none of his usual equipment to take them on. After "about 45 rooms" Link earns his reward: a fully powered up Master Sword.
While the Master Sword outputs a solid 30 damage, when around a creature influenced by Calamity Ganon, that power doubles to 60. It seems that clearing the "Trial of the Sword" makes that change permanent, making the Master Sword by far one of the best weapons in the game.
Next up are the Hero's Path and Hard Mode. The hero's path seemed straightforward. It was going to make up where Link had been recently. But, supposedly it tracks where you've been for the past 200 hours of play time. That's more than I've clocked on the game since it's come out, and makes me wonder how it can track all that without the map looking like a jumbled mess of lines. Nevertheless, it will certainly be useful to help see areas where you may not have explored yet, or where there could be a shrine lurking. Hard mode is much more straightforward.
Hard mode is much more streamlined. Usually, in Zelda games, Hard mode entails double damage from enemies and no hearts dropping in the wild to give your hero respite. Of course, in Breath of the Wild, no hearts drop from grass, to begin with, so instead, the added difficulty comes from enemies that regain health over time. As if that weren't enough, they also all grow one level higher than their normal strength. (So red bokoblins will be blue in hard mode.) They even say there will be a level above the dreaded silver enemies, and I shudder to think how strong those enemies will be. Of course, some enemies and more importantly all the bosses in the game don't follow the same upgrading behavior, so I wonder if they'll get any added difficulty? Only time will tell.
Finally, the DLC will include the Travel Medallion and added armor. By far the simplest added features, the Travel Medallion will allow you to make a warp point anywhere you choose. A one-time-use medallion raises some questions, however, as it seems like you may only be able to use it once. If so, where would you put it? Being able to warp anywhere is nice but what if you find that there was a shrine right next to where you used it? Is it just wasted?
The armor is nothing to write home about, all fun references to older games, except the Korok Mask, which helps you find any of the 900 Korok seeds nearby, sort of like the Great Fairy's Mask from Majora's Mask. For me, in over 100 hours I have managed to stumble across just about 90 of these seeds, so this mask should help with that a lot.
Overall, all of the DLC in this first pack seems to be trying to help ease the burden on those players who didn't invest all their time in finding 900 collectibles or 120 shrines, while simultaneously giving the players who HAVE done all that an opportunity to come back and play some more. Hopefully, it'll manage to keep all of our collective attention long enough to keep the game relevant when the second pack, with its new dungeon and storyline, comes out.