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Horizon: Zero Dawn
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Nathan Garvin, Jarrod Garripoli
First Published: 16-02-2017 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 21-08-2018 / 11:40 GMT
Version: 1.2 (????) 23-09-2018 / 19:03 GMT

Horizon: Zero Dawn Strategy Guide Download PDF

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Leaving the Sacred Lands

Leaving the Sacred Lands

Valleymeet Hunting Grounds

Elemental Challenges

Turn west and use the rappel point to descend to lower ground, then return to Mother’s Crown and finally grace Lut with your presence. His only purpose is to taunt you and try to lure you into taking part in some Hunting Grounds trials, which points you northwest to the Valleymeet Hunting Grounds. These trials aren’t too difficult (actually, many of them are quite easy) but they do require some specific gear to complete. Make sure you have Fire Arrows, a War Bow and some Shock Arrows, and a Sling and some Freeze Bombs. If you’ve got that, you should be good to go.

Exit out the Mother’s Crown north gate and continue northwest past a Campfire, then continue northwest through the first fork. At the second fork continue north to find a path you can use to ascend the mountain before ultimately resorting to some hand-holds you can climb to reach the Keeper. As with the Nora Hunting Grounds, this location comes equipped with a Campfire and a merchant, should you need to save/load and buy more supplies.

And of course, you’ll find the Keeper here. He’s not nearly as friendly as the last one was, but he’ll begrudgingly allow you to participate in the trials. Ask about him, the trials and the Hunting Lodge in Meridian. If you already completed the Nora Hunting Grounds trials, you don’t need to earn any more medals here, but the XP makes it worth the attempt… as does that juicy +1 Skill Point reward if you get all three Blazing Sun ranks. Speaking of which, the trials, their times, and the rewards you’ll get are below:

Fire Fight Trial Time Reward
20:00 Half Sun Box
1:20 Full Sun Box
0:40 Blazing Sun Box
Shock Trial Time Reward
20:00 Half Sun Box
2:00 Full Sun Box
1:00 Blazing Sun Box
Freeze Trial Time Reward
20:00 Half Sun Box
2:30 Full Sun Box
1:30 Blazing Sun Box

Now, for some general quirks about this Hunting Ground: Always take the easternmost zipline down, as your targets - a herd of Striders - dwell near where that zipline takes you. Unfortunately, they can be fairly spread out, but you can save yourself some trouble by using your Focus near the zipline (before riding down and starting the trial) and marking their locations, so you’ll have an easier time finding them during the trial. There are no Watchers protecting them, instead these Striders have enlisted the aid of some Bellowbacks (one fire, one freeze) to protect them. Just a nuisance you’re going to have to work around, save for the Shock Trial, in which instance they’re the target you’re looking for.

Chat with the rather confrontational keeper to learn about the elemental trial (left). Shoot Blaze Canisters off the back of Striders to complete the Fire Fight Trial (right).

Fire Fight Trial

This trial, like the Freeze Trial, is more about luck and enemy grouping than skill. Your goal is to damage enemies via Blaze Canister explosions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Striders you’re targeting will be grouped up enough for you to damage four of them easily. Tag your prey before riding down the zipline and shoot as many Blaze Canister as you can, but there’s no need to group them up. With a little luck, the machine grouping will favor you and you’ll damage four of them at once.

Use the Sling to freeze groups of Striders (left) then quickly dispatch them in melee (right).

Shock Trial

The goal this time around is to stun the Bellowbacks with Shock damage, and when they’re stunned, shoot the components out from under them. This would be their Blaze Canisters or Freeze Canisters, respectively. This is possibly the easiest trial, just zipline down, pump some Shock Arrows (or use a Shock Bomb) on your target until it’s stunned, then circle around behind the machine and shoot it with your Sharpshot Bow. Double Shot and Triple Shot are preferable, Tearblast Arrows are idea.

Inflict the Bellowback with shock damage until it's stunned (left) then target the canisters on their underside (right).

Freeze Trial

Another luck-based trial, you need to freeze machines, and kill them while frozen. Bellowbacks will take too long, so again, you’re after Striders. Shoot them with Freeze Bombs, courtesy your Sling, then wait for them to freeze and dispatch them with your spear. You’ll need to rely on speed more than finesse here, and while Silent Strikes will work, you’re probably better off not bothering with stealth. Try to freeze multiple Striders at once if they bunch up and attack with abandon.

Objective Rewards
For earning a Blazing Sun Rank in all three trials 52,500+ XP / +1 Skill Point

Complete those trials if you can and you should have earned yourself a level or two. More importantly, you’ll have exhausted the last of the distractions preventing you from picking up the long neglected quest "A Seeker at the Gates". On the plus side, a full third of the map should be completely explored now.