In Breath of the Wild, the blood moon is a mechanic that exists to reset the game’s cache. In the game, this also serves to respawn all monsters, overworld bosses, weapons, ore deposits, and so on, so the player doesn’t run out of resources. So, to trigger a blood moon, you must fill up the game’s cache and force the game to reset itself.
This might sound a bit technical so let me explain it another way.
What is a Blood Moon?
Playing Breath of the Wild for the first time feels magical because of how expansive the game world is. And not only that, but Hyrule is also absolutely stunning, full of enemies and wildlife and people, and hidden treasures.
I doubt you will be surprised to learn that all this detail requires the Switch console to load a lot of data. And if it had to load all of it at once, the game would slow to a snail’s pace.
The blood moon is how Breath of the Wild addresses this problem. When a blood moon happens, that data resets.
And because of this, all the things populating the game reset too. So on a technical level, it allows the game to function at a higher standard, and on a gameplay level, it replenishes resources the player will need. This is one of many reasons you might want to trigger a blood moon.
Triggering the Blood Moon
Knowing this means we can artificially fulfill the game’s criteria to flag a reset. This flag will instruct the game to start a blood moon the next time it can.
So, to do this, you simply need to load a lot of the game. Effective ways to do this are:
- Fighting lots of enemies (including bosses like Lynels or Guardians)
- Picking up weapons
- Collecting resources like ore deposits, guardian parts, and items lying around stables and towns — this doesn’t include grass, creatures (insects, frogs, fish, etc.), or trees
- Visiting significant locations, like towns — forces the game to load lots of NPCs and game items all at once
There is also one other thing you can do to force a blood moon if all else fails:
- Wait for 3 hours
Yeah, the game will automatically raise the blood moon flag after around 3 hours of real-time (specifically 2 hours and 48 minutes). This is three hours of active gameplay.
Hanging out in the menus or watching cutscenes won’t count towards this timer; Link must be in the overworld. However, this means idling or setting up your controller to make Link run in circles does work.
The game will provide its own information on the blood moon if you talk to Hino at Dueling Peak’s Stable. He will tell you the story justifications for the blood moon; he can also tell you the phase of the moon and even if a blood moon is on the way.
He’s one of a handful of characters that act oddly during a blood moon and will give odd dialogue if there’s one due that night.
What Happens During a Blood Moon?
A blood moon happens at night from about 11:30 and lasts a little under one in-game hour. During this time, the full moon will rise (regardless of the moon’s phase) and light the sky red. It is also accompanied by threatening music and red ash particles floating in the air.
Once midnight hits, there is a cutscene of monsters respawning across Hyrule and Zelda calling out a warning. This cutscene is, fortunately, skippable.
During that timeframe, monsters grow more powerful, and if you’re fighting a boss monster when one occurs, it will have its health restored. You can also use blood moons to your advantage, as cooking effects for food and elixirs are enhanced during this time, allowing you to craft powerful items.
A blood moon will not be affected by sleeping in a bed or sitting by a campfire. The cutscene will trigger before you resume play. However, entering a shrine can interrupt a blood moon. This only postpones it; it won’t be canceled altogether.
Why Would I Want to Trigger a Blood Moon?
Aside from the cooking bonus, there are many potential answers to this. Here are some of the main ones.
You Need More Weapons
Since your weapons break in Breath of the Wild, you can run out of them quickly, especially the good ones. If you trigger a blood moon, you suddenly refresh your options for gathering powerful equipment. You can work your way around the Major Tests of Strength to collect Guardian++ gear or plunder Hyrule castle for the royal weapon sets.
You Need Arrows
Your bow is one of your most valuable tools, and regular arrows can be expensive. A great way to collect many of them at once is to farm the monsters guarding the path up to Zora’s Domain from Lanayru tower (where you first meet Sidon). All the lizalfos up there drop bundles of arrows, and a blood moon will replenish this resource.
You Need Rupees
Silver enemies drop gemstones upon defeat, which you can sell to merchants for many rupees at once. This is particularly true of Rare Talus minibosses, which usually drop at least one diamond a pop, if not more.
To Complete a Quest
The quest ‘Under a Blood Moon’ needs a blood moon to be completed. Found at Washa’s Bluff in the Ridgeland region, this shrine quest requires you to stand naked on a pedestal during a blood moon. For more information about this quest, check out this article.
A Panic Blood Moon
While there are a few glitches to trigger a blood moon at other times, the game will also initiate an emergency blood moon under certain circumstances.
If the Nintendo Switch console uses over 90% of its system memory, the game will trigger a panic blood moon to clear the cache and free up space. This can happen at any time, not just during in-game nights. However, this is an emergency function, so unless you’re deliberately trying to trigger it, you likely won’t encounter one of these.
Question: How Do I Know a Blood Moon will Happen?
Answer: The sky will turn red at 11:30 (23:30), and glowing ash will start floating across the screen. Before this, you can talk to Hino at Dueling Peaks stable, and he has unique dialogue if there will be a blood moon that night.
Question: Is the Blood Moon always Full?
Answer: Yes, but that doesn’t mean it will happen only on nights with a full moon. The blood moon will always appear as a full moon regardless of the moon’s phase that night.
Question: How often does a Blood Moon Occur?
Answer: The frequency of blood moons depends on the player. Blood moons may happen in quick succession if the game has loaded a lot of data. However, a blood moon will always occur every three hours of active gameplay.
How to Trigger Blood Moon In Zelda: Red Sky at Night
The blood moon is a creative and fun answer to a mechanical problem giant, open-world games like Breath of the Wild face. The game itself can be vague about their use and occurrences, but thanks to dedicated fans studying the game’s behavior, as well as peeking at the game files, we know what they do and how they work.
Now, go take this knowledge and paint the town red!