From The Wind Waker Randomizer

Hints are a game mechanic in the Wind Waker Randomizer. Depending on the hint placement options selected, certain NPCs in the game will provide clues as to which locations have or do not have certain items. Before version 1.10 of the randomizer, a hint was given to the player when feeding All-Purpose Bait to the fishmen located at each island. Each fishman would provide a cryptic hint that a certain item was located on a certain island. You would only get hints for progress items (any item that logically opens up other locations in the seed). There would be 15 unique hints spread over the 49 fishmen in the Great Sea. These types of hints--hinting that an item is located on an island--are referred to as item hints.

In addition to the fishmen hints, there are three other hint locations in the randomizer:

  1. There is a stone tablet outside of Savage Labyrinth (just before you enter the grotto to access Floor 1) which hints at what is on floors 30 and 50. If there is no progress item on the floor, it will say that "challenge awaits"; otherwise, there will be a hint for the progress item.
  2. Upon finding a progressive Wallet, the Beedle Shop Ship at Rock Spire Isle will mail Link a letter that advertises which items are being sold.
  3. Upon defeating the Big Octo at Two-Eye Reef, the Great Fairy inside will give Link an item hint.

Version 1.10 of the randomizer introduced new hint placement options and new hint types. The player can select which hint placement options are active and the number of hints of each hint type to generate in the Advanced Options tab of the randomizer. In addition, there are a few other additional hint options which will be described below. The player cannot disable the Savage Labyrinth, Wallet mail, and Octo Fairy hints.

Before discussing hints, it's important to solidify a couple terms beforehand:

A progress item is any item that logically opens up locations in the randomized seed. For example, Triforce shards, swords, and progressive bows are always progress items because reaching Ganondorf and beating him is logically expected in every seed. On the other hand, charts are only progress items if sunken treasure is on. Likewise, Maggie's Letter is only a progress item if Short Sidequests are on. Note that the Windfall Island - Cafe Bar - Postman location does not have to have a progress item for Maggie's Letter to be considered a progress item. The only condition is that Windfall Island - Cafe Bar - Postman is a logical location in that seed's settings.

A zone refers to an island, dungeon, the Mailbox region, or the Great Sea region. Each location belongs to a zone. For example, mail locations are in the Mailbox zone ("the mail"). Cyclos is in the Great Sea zone ("a location on the open seas"). Gohma Heart Container is in the Dragon Roost Cavern zone. In this last example, note that the dungeon takes priority over the island. When caves are randomized, the zone of that location is the island where its entrance is. So, if Overlook cave is on Overlook Island, the zone for that location is Overlook Island. However, if Overlook cave is on Pawprint Isle, its zone is Pawprint Isle. There is one special case for zones: if Tower of the Gods leads to a randomized cave, or if something refers to the sunken treasure there, then "Tower of the Gods sector" will be used to differentiate from the dungeon of the same name.

Hint Placement Options

There are currently three different hint placement options in the Wind Waker Randomizer: Old Man Ho Ho, Fishmen, and the King of Red Lions. The player can select any combination of these placement options in the Advanced Options tab of the randomizer to use when distributing hints into the game. The total set of hints will be distributed evenly among the selected hint placement options. One or two hint placement options will have an extra hint if the total number of hints generated is not divisible by 3. Each hint placement option has its own method of placing the hints assigned to it, described below. Suppose the number of hints generated exceeds the number of hint placement options selected. In that case, hints will be duplicated randomly (without repeat unless necessary) until each hint placement option has one hint.

Old Man Ho Ho

There are ten Old Man Ho Ho in the Great Sea. With this hint placement setting, talking to an Old Man Ho Ho will give you hints. The randomizer will evenly and randomly distribute the hints assigned to this hint placement option across all ten Old Man Ho Ho. If the number of hints is not a multiple of 10, then some Old Man Ho Ho will have more hints than others. If there are less than ten hints, then the hints will be duplicated at random (without repeat unless necessary) until all Old Man Ho Hos have one hint each.

For reference, you can find Old Man Ho Ho at the following locations:

  1. Forsaken Fortress
  2. Northern Fairy Island
  3. Crescent Moon Island
  4. Flight Control Platform
  5. Stone Watcher Island
  6. Private Oasis
  7. Bomb Island
  8. Horseshoe Island
  9. Outset Island
  10. Two-Eye Reef


There are 49 fishmen on the Great Sea, one on each island. If you feed one All-Purpose Bait, they will give you a hint. The distribution method for the fishmen is simple: the hints are replicated in order until there are 49 hints. The randomizer then assigns each hint to a fishman at random. For example, consider that the player generates 15 hints to be placed on the fishmen. There need to be at least three copies of each hint in this case. Additionally, we need an extra copy of the first four hints to total 49. In other words, some hints will have four copies instead of three.

King of Red Lions

The King of Red Lions is the simplest of the four hint placement options. With this hint placement, talking to the King of Red Lions at any time will give you all the hints. There are no hint replications with this hint placement.

Hint Types

There are currently four different hint types in the Wind Waker Randomizer: item, location, barren, and path. The player can select the number of hints of each type to generate in the Advanced Options tab of the randomizer, up to 15 of each type. The randomizer will generate hints in the following order:

  1. Remote location hints (see Prioritize Remote Location Hints below)
  2. Path hints
  3. Barren hints
  4. Item Hints
  5. Location Hints

If the randomizer is unable to generate the requested amount of path, barren, or item hints, it will attempt to fill in the remaining hint slots with location hints.

Item Hints

Item hints will say that a certain progress item is located on a certain island. This item may be found on any location on the island itself, or in any entrances located on that island. If the item is in a dungeon, it will use the island where the entrance is found for the hint location rather than the dungeon itself. In addition to islands, the dungeons Hyrule and Ganon's Tower (both with one location each) may be hinted. Additionally, for items in the mail, the location will be "the mail", and for items on locations on the Great Sea (such as the Salvage Corp gift or Withered Trees), the location will be "a location on the open seas". For item hints, the zone will be used as the location except in the case of items found within dungeons. In these cases, rather than hinting at the dungeon itself, the island on which the entrance to that dungeon is located will be used instead. This is to keep consistent with how item hints were implemented prior to version 1.10 of the randomizer.

Location Hints

Location hints directly tell you about a specific location and what item is there. This item could be a progress item, a path item, or junk. Location hints only hint at certain locations from the list here, and the randomizer selects which locations at random. Only locations which are in logic based on the seed's settings are valid location hints. For example, if Wind Temple is not a race mode dungeon, you will never get a location hint for a location in Wind Temple. The list of location hints was selected to include some of the more annoying and longer locations in the game. This gives each location hint more value than simply selecting locations at random. For example, we don't want to hint at each Free Gift locations because that doesn't add anything to the gameplay experience.

Barren Hints

Items are considered useful if they may be used to beat the seed. Some useful items may be logically required, while for other useful items, the player may have a choice as to which item they find. If a progress item, such as Note to Mom, does not lead to any useful items, that item is not considered useful.

Barren hints inform the player that the hinted zone contains no useful items. We say that the zone is "foolish" or "barren". For example, getting a barren hint for Hyrule means that the Master Sword chamber does not contain a useful item. When a race mode dungeon is hinted at as being barren, it excludes the item you get from defeating the dungeon boss. This way, race mode dungeons can still be hinted barren if the rest of the dungeon contains no useful items. Furthermore, any mail locations directly unlocked from defeating a barren dungeon are also barren. Non-race mode dungeons are never hinted barren. When entrances are randomized, remember that the zone refers to where the cave's entrance is. So, Overlook Island being hinted barren means that the cave at Overlook Island leads to a barren cave/dungeon. It does not necessarily mean that the Overlook combat cave is barren.

An intuitive way to think about barren hints is that they tell you that you never have to visit that location. Of course, this is a simplified interpretation since you may have to visit the island to complete a race mode dungeon or a sidequest like Goron Trading. The randomizer uses a weighted random selection to pick which barren locations to hint at. Each location is weighted by the square root of the number of locations there. For example, a barren dungeon is typically 3.5-4x more likely to be chosen than a barren location with only one location.

Barren hints can be used to cut down on the number of areas the player is required to visit within a single seed without compromising which settings are on. For example, having eye reefs might be an interesting setting, but doing all six might take a lot of work for every seed. So if you get a few barren hints for some eye reefs, you can still have the experience of doing eye reefs without it becoming too tedious.

Path Hints

Path hints are the most complicated hint type. A path goal could be any arbitrary condition in the game, but for path hints, path goals are either:

  1. The completion of a race-mode dungeon.
  2. The ability to enter Hyrule.
  3. The ability to reach and defeat Ganondorf.

For race-mode dungeon path goals, the goal is written as "path to dungeon boss"; for example, a path to Gohma refers to the condition of being able to reach and defeat Gohma for the completion of Dragon Roost Cavern. For the ability to enter Hyrule, the goal is written as "path to Hyrule", and for the ability to reach and defeat Ganondorf, the goal is written as "path to Ganondorf". When race mode is on, only the selected race mode dungeons are valid goals, along with Hyrule and Ganondorf. When race mode is off, only Hyrule and Ganondorf are valid goals.

A path item to a path goal is any progress item logically required to achieve that path goal. We write that the item is "on the path to" that path goal. For example, the Grappling Hook is always on the path to Gohma. Likewise, the Triforce shards are always on both the path to Hyrule and the path to Ganondorf. For progressive items, such as bows and wallets, the path item is specific to an instance of that item, not all copies of that progressive item. For example, assume there is only one randomized shard (i.e., you start with seven shards). If that shard is in one of Lenzo's chests, you need one of the progressive Picto Boxes. The progressive Picto Box is a path item to Hyrule if and only if one Picto Box is locked behind the other. So, if there is one Picto Box on Tott and another in the other Lenzo chest, then the Picto Box from Tott is a path item (to Hyrule). However, if one Picto Box is on Tott and the other is on the Salvage Corps, then neither Picto Boxes are path items (to Hyrule). This is because you have "a choice" as to which Picto Box you use to reach the shard; therefore, neither is required to reach the path goal. You do need a Picto Box, but neither specific instance of a Picto Box is required.

Path hints inform the player that a zone contains a path item on the path to a path goal. These path items are selected randomly by randomly picking a valid path goal, and then choosing a path item toward that path goal. When race mode is on, the randomizer tries first to ensure that each race mode dungeon is hinted once and then will select the path goal randomly for the remaining path hints. If an item is on multiple paths, the randomizer will prioritize race mode dungeons, then Hyrule, then Ganondorf. For example, you might get that Windfall Island is on the path to Jalhalla, meaning that a location on Windfall (i.e., on the Windfall zone) gives a path item on the path to Jalhalla. Each path hint always refers to a single item, but that item is unknown to the player. There may be several items on Windfall which are on the path to Jalhalla, which means the player could receive multiple path hints for Windfall to Jalhalla.

Path hints can allow the player to deduce things about the seed logically. For example, suppose you know (by process of elimination, for instance) that a bottle is on the path to Hyrule. In that case, you know that one of the locations locked behind the bottle will lead to a Triforce shard. It could be a direct path, such as a shard being on Grandma mail, or it could be the start of some long chain that eventually results in a shard. As another example, assume you know that the Deku Leaf is on the path to Gohma, that dungeon entrances are not randomized, that Tingle chests are not on, and that key-lunacy is not on. Suppose you find Grappling Hook on some open location, such as Tott. This means that (a) there's a Small Key in the Big Key chest and that (b) Fire and Ice Arrows are locked behind the Deku Leaf. The first deduction is because if there weren't a Small Key in the Big Key chest, you could beat the dungeon logically without the Deku Leaf. The second deduction is that if Fire and Ice Arrows were accessible without the Deku Leaf, it would provide an alternative method to reach the Big Key chest. By definition, a path item is required for that path goal, so if there are alternatives, the Deku Leaf would not be a path item.

Finally, the item on race mode dungeon bosses is never hinted at as path items. Therefore, if you get that Dragon Roost Cavern is on the path to Hyrule, this hint does not refer to the shard (for example) on Gohma Heart Container.

Additional Hint Options

Use Cryptic Text for Hints

By default, the randomizer will use cryptic text for the hints. That is, item, zone, and location names will be replaced with a more cryptic variant for that element in the hint text. Some examples include:

  • "a magic leaf" for the Deku Leaf
  • "the rubble of the evil's lair" for Forsaken Fortress
  • "stocking a shop with three flowers" for the Windfall Island - Zunari - Stock Exotic Flower in Zunari's Shop location

The randomizer will use the in-game name for that item, zone, or location if this option is not selected.

Prioritize Remote Location Hints

Location hints are divided into two categories: standard and remote. Remote hints are a particular type of location hint which, when this option is selected, the randomizer will choose from first before selecting from the pool of possible standard hints. There are six locations that can be hinted at as a remote hint:

  1. Windfall Island - Chu Jelly Juice Shop - Give 15 Blue Chu Jelly
  2. Windfall Island - Battlesquid - Under 20 Shots Prize
  3. Ganon's Tower - Maze Chest
  4. The Great Sea - Goron Trading Reward
  5. The Great Sea - Withered Trees
  6. Shark Island - Cave

The remaining location hints are considered standard. Remember that only locations considered in-logic for the specific seed might be hinted at. The complete list of location hints and their categorization can be found here. When this option is not selected, all location hints are considered standard, and no prioritization is done.

How Hints Work Together

An important rule of the hint system in Wind Waker Randomizer is that any particular item can only be hinted at once. So, for example, you can't get two path hints for the same item. So if, for example, you get two path hints for Windfall Island, they must necessarily refer to two different items. In addition, if you also get a location hint for a location on Windfall, say that Windfall Island - Mrs. Marie - Give 40 Joy Pendants gives the Deku Leaf, you know that neither path hint can refer to that Deku Leaf. The Savage Labyrinth, Wallet mail, and Two-Eye Octo Great Fairy hints are exempt from this rule . In other words, a path hint for Rock Spire Isle might refer to one of the items that the Rock Spire Beedle Shop Ship is selling.