Tears of the Kingdom’s Weapon Durability System Is Much Better and Still Annoying

Weapon durability returns in Tears of the Kingdom, and that controversial mechanic is only slightly less annoying than it was in Breath of the Wild.

Tears of the Kingdom Weapon
Photo: Nintendo

As you probably already know, Tears of the Kingdom is similar to Breath of the Wild in many ways. That is to say that it’s an open-world Zelda game that emphasizes experimentation and survival. For the most part, that means that Breath of the Wild‘s best features are back and better than ever. However, that also means that many of that game’s most divisive features have also returned. Most notably, Breath of the Wild‘s controversial weapon durability system is back and only slightly better than ever.

Weapons and other usable items break and break often in Tears of the Kingdom. The actual durability of a weapon depends on its base stats. For instance, a simple wooden stick breaks in just a few hits. A forged broadsword may last for 40+ hits, but it too will break eventually. While Tears of the Kingdom‘s Master Sword is unbreakable (just as it was in Breath of the Wild), pretty much everything else will break eventually.

Some like that weapon durability system and the way it feeds into the survivability aspects of the game. Others have described it as the bane of their existence. Both sides tend to agree that it would be nice if they could occasionally rescue their favorite weapon from destruction.

Well, Tears of the Kingdom does offer a way to do just that. While that also means that Tears of the Kingdom‘s weapon durability system is much better than Breath of the Wild‘s, a few restrictions still make it quite annoying.

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First off, despite what you may have heard, you cannot repair weapons in Tears of the Kingdom. It was previously rumored that the game’s Fuse system would enable you to essentially preserve weapons indefinitely. For instance, if a sword is about to break, you could theoretically fuse something durable to it, preserve the sword, and then repeat that process whenever the fused attachment breaks. While a version of that process does exist in the game, that’s not exactly how it works.

For example, let’s say you have a broadsword you really like. However, that broadsword will break in 11 more hits. If you fuse a strong spear to that broadsword, though, you can use the fused version of the broadsword for longer than that. How long you can use it seems to vary slightly based on what is being fused. At the top end, though, the longest you can preserve a weapon by fusing another item to it seems to be about 25 hits.

However, this process does not repair the base item. Once you have used that fused item for 25 hits (or whatever its new “fused durability” may be), you will revert to the base item’s durability. In the example above, that means that the broadsword will still break in 11 hits after the fused item has expired. Furthermore, you cannot fuse the same base item twice in order to repeat that process. If you fuse something else to that broadsword after its first fusion has reached its durability limit, that broadsword will still break in 11 hits.

In other words, you can use the Fuse mechanic to temporarily “rescue” a weapon. However, you will only be able to use the now-modified version of that weapon for an extra 25 hits (or less). So your spear/sword will last longer, but the base sword will still break in the same amount of time. Some items can enhance a weapon’s base properties and allow you to preserve that weapon in its base form (such as diamonds), but the basics are the same. Fusing can only temporarily preserve a modified version of a weapon. It doesn’t repair it and you can’t keep a weapon “alive” indefinitely.

It’s a real mixed bag of a system. On the one hand, it does allow you to use a weapon for longer than you could in Breath of the Wild. That means that there is slightly less risk that your favorite weapon will break at the wrong moment. On the other hand, it will not address the core concerns about that weapon durability system. Not only will otherwise powerful weapons still break over time, but the items that allow you to prolong the longevity of an item while preserving its original form can be quite rare. You certainly have more options than you did before, but you will have to constantly keep a weapon’s durability in mind.

If you hated Breath of the Wild‘s weapon durability system, you will only find a slightly better version of it in Tears of the Kingdom. If you loved (or tolerated) that system, you’ll probably be thrilled that it’s at least slightly more generous in this game. Personally, I think it would have been nice to have some way (no matter how expensive or rare) to keep valuable weapons alive indefinitely. For the moment, though, that is obviously not what we got.

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