When Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out back in March this year, I didn't spend much time collecting Korok Seeds, the in-game collectibles typically found by noticing small inconsistencies in a massive open world. I found enough to upgrade my weapon storage to an acceptable degree, and largely ignored them from then on.
If I stumbled upon one, great, but I was never going to go searching for 'em. I was far more interested in fighting monsters, exploring the world, completing the story and meeting NPCs than I was in collecting little upgrade seeds. Besides, they were scattered abundantly enough around the world that I could stumble on enough of them to be happy. Even the knowledge that collecting all 900 would gift me a pointless golden coil of faeces wasn't enough of a draw.
However, six months post-launch, Korok seed collecting is the main thing I find myself doing in Breath of the Wild. A few things have changed in-game, a few things have changed in my gaming life, and suddenly I'm off hunting for seeds that serve no practical gameplay purpose, with no walkthrough or guide - not even an active minimap. Just me, and my quest for seeds.
So, what changed? Well, the first big factor was the introduction of the Korok mask in BOTW's first DLC pack in Late June. The mask, which shakes when you are near a Korok seed location, made seed hunting feel more natural. I didn't need to mindlessly scour every inch of every area - I could enjoy walking around the world and only get investigative when I knew I was near a secret. It freed me of the fear of wandering past one.
Second was the introduction of the Hero's Path. The feature, which allows you to see a line tracing the last 200 hours of progress you've made across the game world, was also introduced in DLC Pack 1. Considering I'd already put in 200 hours with Breath of the Wild when I started this Korok Seed quest, it wasn't like I had a completely empty map to scour. I was able to start my quest by searching the areas I'd never visited on my first few playthroughs of the game - then, as my first playthrough map started to vanish I was reminded to go back to areas I'd explored once and never returned to. It made reexploring the whole world a much less daunting task.
Thirdly, completing almost every aspect of BOTW except the Korok seeds allowed me to explore with less pressure. Having collected a bunch of rare unique weapons, all armour sets, completed a bunch of NPC side quests, found all 120 shrines and fully upgraded Link how I wanted, Breath of the Wild became a much quieter experience for me. Gone was the pressure to fight for every scrap I could find; I was content to have a leisurely explore while listening to podcasts. I travel for work, as well as commuting several hours a week, and sometimes I find myself wanting to just shut my brain off, listen to friendly voices talk, and explore a nice world without too much of a goal.
Using Majora's Mask from the first DLC Pack to dissuade enemies from attacking me as I pass them, and switching back to the Korok mask when I'm done, exploring the world has become a calm sightseeing trip.
I'm up to 638 seeds now, which is more than the number required to upgrade every storage slot in the game. But I'll continue to gently wander. Hopefully, one day, I'll earn my golden turd prize.