Earlier this year, we learned about the improved Bombers’ Notebook in Majora’s Mask 3D. Among the improvements is a new interface that makes it easier to understand and keep your appointments. However, after spending time with the demo at PAX South, I realized that there are many more changes — including the addition of many new entries.

In Majora’s Mask for the Nintendo 64, the Bombers’ Notebook has a fixed set of 20 entries. Those entries guide you through all of the major sidequests. Completing those quests rewards you with Pieces of Heart, masks, and other items. Majora’s Mask 3D appears to include the same 20 entries, but many more entries have been added.

mm3d-bombers-003

I noted several new entries including the Great Fairy in Clock Town, the Business Scrub in South Clock Town, and the shopkeeper at the Treasure Chest Game. It’s safe to conclude that every character involved with any quest that yields a reward now has an entry in the Bombers’ Notebook. This, coupled with the ability to add rumors to the notebook, helps players keep track of everything going on in the world of Termina.

Rumors are added to the notebook after you hear a tip from a character. For example, one of the Bombers told me about the Great Fairy who lives in North Clock Town. Immediately after the conversation ended, the Bombers’ Notebook opened and added an entry with the information I had just learned. To make things even more convenient, the relevant location was marked on the map, if I had it.

mm3d-bombers-002

Because of the addition of the map, Tingle has become much more important. Originally, Tingle sold maps of each area that are, for the most part, useless outside some very specific scenarios (like the attack on Romani Ranch). In Majora’s Mask 3D, Tingle’s maps will play a much larger role now that Bombers’ Notebook events and objectives are marked on the map.

Overall, the Bombers’ Notebook improvements are extremely well done. It’s sure to help new players keep track of everything going on in Clock Town and beyond, but I have some concerns that it might be taking hand-holding to the extreme.

  • Thomas Andersen

    “Overall, the Bombers’ Notebook improvements are extremely well done”

    Execution might be good, but the entire idea is horrible! The way I understand it is that you now need to explore less than in the original!

    Rumors that no one ever needed, and adding markers on the map to remove the need for Adventuring! Horrible changes in my opinion! Turns Zelda into a Tour.. not an Adventure!

    The Zelda Teams new way of thinking:

    “If you dont like adventuring, dont like exploration, dont like to acheve anything on your own? Dont worry, this is no longer needed! We will now tell you where to go and what to do at all times! Grab my hand and I will guide you through everything, so that you dont have to develope as a player! We promise you, no effort is really needed for you to beat this game!”

    Its a dangoures way of thinking, and its very conserning to see that this is the New Approach when it comes to Zelda!

    And when you incl. the fact that each new Zelda stays the same when it comes to the overall enemy/boss difficulty, and dont Grow With the Players, we might lose the Zelda we grew up loving! Zelda might turn into a game that only caters to the new players (that dont really want to invest in the game) or the players that dont really care about challanging gameplay! Players that should go play candy crush instead..

    I hope Miyamoto and Aonuma at one point will understand that we dont want them to hold our hands and guide us! We want to face enemies and bosses that are actually able to kill us, even if our bottles are filled up with potions! And marking destinations on the map for us, so that we dont need to explore.. well thats just a horrible idea! I hate it! I dont want any markers on my map, at all.. and I want Less rumors! At least, rumors are better than telling you straight out what to do.. but knowing Zelda, those rumors wont be vague enough, and will, in a way actually tell you exactly what you need to know..

    If this is the case, im affraid the best years of Zelda is behind us..
    I hope im wrong! Please, feel free to set me straight, and give me renewed hope!:)

    • jp

      Probably too much complain by player who couldn’t finish the entire game because too many side-quest.
      I also don’t like the idea to make the firece Deity mask that much easier.

    • Brett ‘Majin’ Walford

      Zelda died with SS man, luckily LBW revived it a little.

    • ameliabaz

      One of my biggest problems with the latest Zelda games is how hand-holdy they are. There is no sense of exploration or figuring things out by yourself. You are hand-fed the answer before you’ve even asked the question.

      I really hope that isn’t the case with Majora’s Mask 3D. I’d hate to see the game made TOO easy because the devs think the players are too dumb to figure things out by themselves. There’s nothing wrong with leaving a little bit of mystery and challenge.

      • smashbrolink

        It won’t be too hand-holdy if you don’t make it so by over-using the Bomber’s Note-book for everything.

        And, far as I know, you still have to at least discover the side-quests on your own before they’ll be recorded down in the note-book for tracking in the first place, so the sense of exploration will surely stay intact.

    • Josh Sullivan

      Someone recently saw sequalitis and decided to rant. I think these changes encourage the player to talk to all the individuals of clock town to find hint which is interesting because you might be searching for one thing and find something else entirely. There is still a sense of adventure, its just a little more NPC interactive.

      • Thomas Andersen

        If you have to collect the rumors, then thats a good thing at least! That could even feel like a quest in itself, getting all the rumors should award you with a Bombers Notebook stamp or something then… that would actually sound great! But yeah, if the rumors are riddly and vague, it could be ok.. I just hated how Fi’s Hand Holding ruined Skyward Sword, completely(gameplay wise)

    • RosE.T.

      ´´Majora’s mask for dummies´´

  • Christian Schoff

    Aww. That’s going to make it ridiculously easy to get the Fierce Deity’s Mask.

    • Thomas Andersen

      Yes! In general you dont need make an effort to aquire what you want! It will now be delivered on a silver plate! Investing time in the game, or in getting better as a player wont be needed in the same way!

      • smashbrolink

        Except not, since even when you know where it is, the challenge of actually completing the requirements is still there.
        Let’s just face it; knowing where to go just eliminates the frustration. It doesn’t make the quests any less fun to do, and you can always just NOT LOOK at the book if you never used the stupid thing anyways.

        • Thomas Andersen

          Are you serious?

          “Knowing where to go eliminates frustration”

          This way of thinking is what ruins games! You dont want to make an effort, or invest time in figuring things out! You dont want to go on an adventure! You want to be guided, and this is what might Ruin Zelda!

          Why not just make a Hub/Menu with Quest Enteries like Mario.. why even have a great world to explore, it will only result in frustration, right??

          But dont worry, its obvious the Zelda Team listen to you more.. they are affraid adventuring will frustrate the unexperienced/bad and/or lazy players, and this is why Zelda reduce the challange instead of increase it..

          The problem is that most Zelda Players love Zelda because of exploration, and guiding people, or as you say; Eliminating the frustration.. -reduce the need for exploration! And since this is what most people hold as nr1 reason to play Zelda – well do the math! People will move on if their favorite thing about a game is reduced bit by bit over the years!

          I have played Zelda for 25years, and Love this series to death, but its hard to fight for this series if this is the path they continue to walk! Taking away adventuring, exploration and challange.. only to make players like you, that dont want to make a real effort(cause of frustration) ..happy!

          Ps: This is not me being frustrated towards you on a personal level, its just that I absolutely hate your mindset towards Zelda!

          Ps: And yes, the quest itself is a lot less fun if they tell you where to go and what to do.. a lot less fun!

          • Soeroah

            Less fun to you, yeah, but others will prefer it. As long as it doesn’t force you to use the notebook like Fi’s largely unskippable dialogues about what to do, I don’t see an issue.

            Players who prefer exploring will do so; players who are stuck at least won’t need a third-party guide. Seems like a win/win to me. As long as it’s optional, there are more than one way to experience the game, and it appeals to a wider audience.

          • Thomas Andersen

            If it was only me, I would have shut up a long time ago! But I read so many and have gotten so much feedback that this is something tons of zelda fant feel like! Just look at the sales and the stats. Zelda is slowly going downhill sales wise and more and more statistics show that kids of today, dont even consider Zelda.. they instead turn to Dark Souls and Skyrim! So im not only saying this to throw my personal opinion at people, im in a way trying to do my small part in saving a series I love! I honestly believe that this kind of hand holding will ruin Zelda!

            The avrage gamer play games to be challanged and feel like they accomplish something! And believe me, Skyward Sword is proof that hand holding is at a new high and the feeling of accomplishing something is totally gone! And if there is a book right there, that tells you what to do, it reduced the feeling of doing something on your own a lot… its only “optional”! Its important to undrstand that these things affect the player, even if they arent going to use it!

            But yes, even though I enjoyed Fi as a character, I hate the way she guides you and its a game breaker! So I agree, anything is better than Fi!

          • Gordon Sorensen

            Hm. I can see what everybody’s getting at, but I agree with Thomas. Zelda needs to stop Hand-holding. And this is coming from somebody who started playing Zelda AFTER the hand-holding started. I always feel left out of some groups because when I was younger, I always used guides and walkthroughs. Now that I want to finally experience Zelda the way it should be experienced, I find it nearly impossible due to things like Fi. Twilight Princess didn’t necessarily hand-hold, but it was easy. Even if I didn’t already know most of Majora’s Mask inside-out, I’d be REALLY tempted to use that notebook. I feel resentful as a player that Nintendo thinks we need this kind of crap.

          • Thomas Andersen

            Spot on!

          • smashbrolink

            I’m saying this as a player who did not once, not one single time, check the Bomber’s Note-book in the first game; having the OPTION of getting to the quests without spending hours knowing one exists but not knowing where to go to find it, is a positive thing.

            For those that want to do exploration, the option is still there.
            They just need to avoid looking at the note-book.
            That’s it! That’s really all there is to it!

            I appreciate you at least making an attempt to not make this too personal, but you may need to work on your delivery a bit more; you still sound relatively pissed at me personally, and that makes it hard to listen to your opinion without getting miffed myself.

            I’m someone who loves exploration; to assume that I’m not just because I’m all for having an option to do otherwise, is a false assumption.

            I’m 30 now, going into 31 in less than 10 days, and I’ve been with Zelda since its original release.
            And I’m telling you here and now; making the game more accessible isn’t going to ruin things for me.
            I can ignore or not use the things that make exploration too easy.
            That’s all there for the newer players in the first place.
            As an old hand, I’ll only use the notebook as a reminder of events for subsequent plays of the game, or to better organize speed-runs; outside of that, I won’t even need it.
            I won’t even check it during my initial play-through. That’s just how in-tune I am with the game as it stands now; it’s probably my favorite main-console Zelda of all time, and that’s saying a lot.

            And you won’t need to, either, since you’re also an old hand.
            Just keep in mind that, as a Zelda Veteran, you don’t need to let something that you won’t even use on principle get to you.

            If the note-book was something forced upon you, something you HAD to make use of just to complete the side-quests, then I could understand your frustration.
            But it’s not forced.
            You’re making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be.

          • Thomas Andersen

            I noticed my own frustration when writing to you!:) Thats why I tried to take the sting out a bit! Truly, its not personal and I respect your view! But I honestly think that this view might ruin Zelda! There are some facts out there that one cant avoid! Zelda is going down hill sales wise compared to games like Skyrim etc

            And the new kids dont even consider Zelda, not generally speaking, and this is an illness that needs to be handled!

            Its not just to share my opinion, its something I truly believe in; If they remove the challange and add these in-game guides, that this will turn people off Zelda and in the end ruin the entire series! Justified frustration is what makes a game truly shine! Anything you struggle with, even in life, the payoff will be 10x better than if it was just handed to you!

            Im not saying they should create a challange that is To Hard, or Unlogical! Im just saying that in-game guides are a horrible addition, optional or not! At least, give the players some kind of in game reward, a token or plack or something if the hint/guide system never was used! If that structure where there, I wouldnt complain in the same way!

            Again, just by being in there, it affects the whole situation! It might be harder to see on the side you are sitting, but I have talked to tons of people about this now, and I feel there are lots and lots of people that share my view! If I felt I was the only one, I would slowly back away..

            So yeah, sorry that I came off as: “pissed at you personally” ..I wasnt!:)

            And the reason I do take these conversations about things I wouldnt use, is that I think that this way of thinking(adding in game guides, optional or not) will ruin Zelda in the long run(or short run) ..its the feeling of accomplishment that is important! In game guides and hand holding remove that feeling, optional or not!:)

            I agree, its there for the new players.. the bad news is that new players dont play Zelda… and when we where new players back in the days(Zelda 1 etc) we found out things that where 10x or even 100x harder than things that where in Skyward Sword.. so I guess the reason they add these new guides and hand holding structures, is that they feel the new players are dumber and less skilled than we where!

            …I think they underestimates the new players! I think the new players are smarter and more experienced at an earlier age than we where! And if we managed to figure out the early Zeldas, then they will figure out the new Zeldas!

  • Terran Wade Sherwood

    Ummm, it took me a decade to get the Fierce Deity Mask, and that was with a strategy guide. Maybe this new system is ruffling some feathers, but 12 year old me would have killed to make that quest less complicated.

    • ameliabaz

      I’m the opposite. I figured out all the sidequests when I was little (including the Fierce Deity mask)…but now that I’m older I have NO IDEA how I did it. I must have gotten dumber over the years lol.

  • Anibal

    Wow, so many complaints. You people DO know you can choose to not use the Notebook right?

    • Anthony Moseley

      They’re Zelda fans. That’s all they do is complain. I mean, I’m a Zelda fan too obviously, but personally I have no opinion about the changes.

    • Thomas Andersen

      Complaining or constructive criticism? I at least try to give some real content to my feedback! You know, if the fact down the line is that all this new hand holding/in game guides will ruin Zelda.. if this is the fact, no one knows… but again, if it is; its extremely important that this kind of feedback gets back to the Zelda Team, so that they can get a greater feel of what the community wants and how they can keep on improving(or stop the downgrading in time)

    • laughingfood

      You can also choose not to use any of the menus, buttons, or features of the game if you want. Also, you can choose not to watch scenes in movies you don’t like, or listen to people you don’t agree with, or you can pretend politicians you don’t like don’t exist. Hey, why have an opinion about anything, right?