When it disintegrates, it disintegrates
Nintendo gave us a rather deep look into the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom today, and it has answered a question that has been burning in the mind of players since its announcement: Are there still breakable weapons? Are weapons still made of porcelain?
Yes. Yes they are.
Early on in the gameplay footage, Link is depicted battling it out with a construct using a tree branch. It doesn’t take long before that branch shifts into a “badly damaged” before breaking entirely. Considering this is essentially how weapon degradation worked in Breath of the Wild, it’s safe to assume that this is how it will be for anything you can swing.
However, after that battle, Tears of the Kingdom’s new “fuse” ability is shown, which allows Link to create or enhance weapons by gluing some trash together. While the initial benefit of taping a rock to a stick is enhanced damage, Eiji Aonuma points out that durability is also enhanced. Does this mean that taping two swords together will get you better mileage? I sure hope so.
One of the complaints I see most frequently lobbed at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is that its weapon durability system is too intrusive. It’s definitely true that weapons, regardless of quality, will break with extreme frequency. While I wasn’t bothered by it and didn’t even consider that it would be a problem for some people until it became a widespread sentiment, some people were completely put off of the game by it, and that’s a shame.
Those people will likely be disappointed that breakable weapons is a mechanic carried over to Tears of the Kingdom. Hopefully, the new fuse system will help alleviate some of the frustration, even if Hyrule hasn’t improved the quality of its steel in the intervening years. I certainly doubt that Nintendo hasn’t heard the complaints about it, but we’ll just have to wait and see if they’ve been addressed in a way that will satisfy the fragility averse.