The State of Monster Hunter: World

After 180 hours of playing the latest entry in the Monster Hunter franchise, is there still anything left to do?

It’s been almost two months since Monster Hunter: World was released, and I haven’t put it down since.  The almost never-ending cycle of hunt-craft-hunt is addicting, but just how long does it last?  Luckily, Capcom has lots of content in store, but it isn’t without its flaws.

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On-going Support

Like past Monster Hunter games, Capcom is committed to providing additional content, such as expanding the monster roster, for free.  The only paid DLC is cosmetic, such as gestures and costumes.

So far, Capcom has unveiled interesting collaborations with Horizon: Zero Dawn, Street Fighter, Devil May Cry, and Megaman.  These various events will keep hunters coming back to try the new quests and get the event-specific gear.

This past week, Capcom released its Spring update, which not only added a new monster, but also added some QoL improvements and weapon rebalancing.  The update also includes a Spring Festival event that opens up a wide variety of quests and makes the main hub look like a Japanese cherry blossom festival.  This commitment to refining the game shows the players that the game will evolve as they invest more time hunting.

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Multiplayer

One of the best things about Monster Hunter is the ability to hunt with other people.  Working with others helps break the tedium of hunting solo and may even make it more efficient.  Basically, online players are organized into different sessions with a max of 16 players.  You can invite friends to your session and also password protect it to make it private.  Squads can be set up in game to organize your hunting community.   A new SOS system allows others to quickly join in on someone else’s quest, even if it’s already in progress.  However, the way multiplayer works in World has room for improvement.

In previous Monster Hunter games, multiplayer was centered around the Gathering Hub, which was a lobby where you would see other Hunters, set up quests, and even have arm-wrestling matches.  World has this too, but it hasn’t been utilized the same way as past games.  Before, parties would stay together after finishing a quest, but now you can’t go back to town without disbanding.  This is especially true for SOS quests where players are from different sessions.  Even if everyone is in the same session, you’ll have to set up the party for every quest, and there’s nothing stopping someone within your sessions from trying to get into your quest (although the leader is able kick people to get the party they want).  Luckily, the Spring update allows you to return directly to the Gathering Hub instead of the town, but it’ll take time for newcomers get used to going back to the hub.

Probably the biggest issue is connectivity problems.  First, when trying to join quests or sessions, the game doesn’t update the lists in real-time to show if it has filled up; instead you just get an error.  This is especially true in end-game quests, where parties get filled up quickly.  It’s easy to spend 10 minutes trying to get in a quest because it’s just trial-and-error.

Connecting to others can also be tricky, especially for private sessions.  People have been saying NAT type affects this, but Capcom hasn’t been descriptive about how to troubleshoot these issues.  There are error codes, but no description of what is behind each code.  For playing multiplayer, it’s easier to create a session by yourself and join SOS quests, but this doesn’t foster a sense of community since there’s no consistent squad to hunt with.

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The Grind

What keeps me playing Monster Hunter for hours on end is improving my build to take on more powerful monsters.  And although there’s a plateau on powerful monsters (until Capcom releases new ones or a harder difficulty), there’s a lot of ways to be even more efficient.  With over 100 different pieces of gear and customizable slots for various skills, there’s lots of different sets to try out.

Armor and weapons are made using parts from monsters you hunted.  Some pieces are quite rare, but the investigation rewards added in this title have much better odds for those rare pieces than simply carving the beast.  Also, the more you grind for that rare gem, the better you get at fighting that specific monster, so there’s growth in both your personal skill and gear.

The issue is  the end-game grind for decorations, which let you add skills for a more customized build.  The best decorations are completely left to RNG because they are not tied to any monster.  You can get decorations from any end-game quest, but most of the time it isn’t the one you’re looking for.  It’s nice because you can fight whatever you want, but there’s also no strategy to help get what you want.

Streamstones to upgrade your weapons are even worse.  Not only are getting one of these stones rare, but they’re weapon-class specific.  So most likely the first one you get is completely useless.  If there was a way to meld the useless ones and turn them into something you need, then this system would be so much better.

 

The new events in the pipeline will definitely keep me coming back from time to time.  Until then, trying to improve my gear will keep me going.  Hopefully Capcom will fix multiplayer connection issues and streamline the end-game grind in the meantime.  If you’ve yet to get the game, now’s a great time!  Amazon currently has the game on sale for 25% off!

 

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