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In the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the two primary weapons you receive early on are the Kokiri Sword and the Deku Stick. Though they are wooden, Deku sticks are notably more damaging against enemies than the metal Kokiri sword, even though they can break should they hit an immovable object such as a wall.

From an out of universe perspective, I can see the value of a gameplay mechanic where the player has an option between a shorter, less damaging weapon, and a longer, more damaging weapon which has the potential to break, and of which they have a limited supply.

Is there an in-universe explanation for why Deku sticks are more effective against enemies, even though they are less physically strong?

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    The manuals for Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask both mention the length of the Deku stick. Presumably it's light enough to get a good swing, rather than the sword which is (relatively) blunt, (quite) heavy and (noticeably) short. – Valorum Aug 9 '16 at 15:48
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Physics. Because the sticks are longer, the tip of the deku sticks would build up more momentum, and therefore offer more clout on impact. Yes, because of the greater impact, the sticks are more likely to break (also because wood is more fragile than steel).

However, this does bring up another issue: why does the cutting edge of the sword not balance this with unarmoured enemies?

  • Maybe an in-universe explanation could be that the Kokiri sword isn't a "real" sword, in that it damages enemies by the blunt force, because it's not that sharp. This would fit in with the theme that young Link has "toy" weapons like the slingshot, that get upgraded as an adult. – RSmith Aug 9 '16 at 16:07
  • @RSmith A valid point. – Fayth85 Aug 9 '16 at 16:09
  • Hmm... Possibly, I guess. Though considering Link swings the deku stick only marginally slower than the sword, I'm inclined to believe it's not that heavy. According to the wiki, the sticks are made from the dried stems of Deku babas, which would imply that there's very little weight at all. And there's still the point of the sword (pun intended) having a cutting edge. – vavskjuta Aug 9 '16 at 16:54
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    The first part is okay. Keep in mind that answers usually don't have new questions in them. :) – RedCaio Aug 9 '16 at 18:21

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