One final boss. One last Elder Dragon to take on before closing the books. This was it. This was what I had been training for all my life.
::cue Rocky training montage::
Of course, by training, I mean mostly grinding out the other Elder Dragons and getting my gems, yo! I’m all about the gems. Still haven’t gotten a Teo gem, but to be fair, I haven’t fought him many more times this last week.
I mentioned last week that the grind can get tedious. I don’t mind fighting a monster four or five times, but twenty times to get one gem….I’m getting ahead of myself.
The last boss. The lead up to it is pretty epic, and it includes a lengthy cameo from my Monster Hunter: World boo, The Seeker. He’s a wyverian, which is this game’s version of elves. Not really. They have the elf ears, but it’s that they have dragon blood or some such. Or rather, wyvern blood. Anyhoo, The Seeker is a hottie and could get it all day errrry day. I’m just saying.
Let me backtrack a bit. The whole story of MHW is ridonkulous and doesn’t really matter, of course. The basic gist is (and again, remember this is not canon) there is a bunch of bioenergy burbling around everywhere, and everyone is mystified as to why or what is causing it. It’s Elder Dragons, bitches!!! They’re running wild and running crazy and…something, something, something. Then, once you beat Nergy, The Admiral (who is apparently The Handler’s grandfather?) booms at you about something or the other, he tells you that his old friend (The Seeker) is waiting for you because something, something, something.
So, I take off with shadow, The Handler, and The Admiral to meet The Seeker. We cross the River Styx in a properly solemn and stirring manner, and it’s a nice setup. I’m not usually one for long cutscenes, but this one felt right given everything I’d gone through. I EARNED this. Plus, shadow looked so adorable in his Vaal Hazak armor (Vaal Set), waving frantically goodbye to The Handler. We go towards something, the ‘bioenergy’ that was fucking everything up, and this brilliant blue light emerges from a crystal-like area. As The Seeker, The Admiral, shadow, and I watch, something emerged slowly from it as if…yeah, that’s right. We get to watch a baby Elder Dragon being born. As it is being born, something falls on The Seeker (oh, no! Not my vidya game boo!), nearly crushing him. I make The Admiral take care of him (how, since I don’t talk, but apparently my intense stares conveyed my seriousness) while I take on the baby Elder Dragon on my own. Well, with shadow by my side, of course! I can’t do anything without my trusty Palico. I was a little nervous because I didn’t have another Felyne to help me, but there was nothing I could do about that.
The gimmick with this boss is that you can’t go back to camp during the fight, so you can’t restock or eat again. I mentioned in a previous post that I don’t carry Rations with me besides the EZ Rations given at the beginning of the quest, nor Well-Done Steaks. I do carry Dash Juice, but I didn’t start doing that until I was almost at the end of High Rank. One thing I knew about this fight (from Casey) was that this Elder Dragon is not susceptible to Flash Pods. So, I had to retool my entire item pouch. I took out the Flash Pods and Flashbugs. I added Honey (so I could make more Mega Potions) and Herbs (to make more Potions). I didn’t have the Shock Traps (can’t trap Elder Dragons), Tranq Bombs, or Trap Tools. I had Nulberries for any blight, my usual array of attack and defense buffs, and 2 Mega Barrel Bombs. I added the maximum amount of Well-Done Steaks to my item pouch. I was ready to go.
I didn’t get to know the name of this monster as I was fighting him for story reasons, I guess. Oh, it’s because we don’t know what this new species is–that’s why we’re tracking it. I’m supposed to ‘contain’ it in the nest, so said The Admiral, and by ‘contain’, he means ‘kill’, of course. Anyway, there is no name in the intro cutscene, which makes it feel weird. Anyway, the fight is looooooong. It’s tedious. But! It’s very familiar as it’s much like a Dark Souls boss. I joked in an earlier post that I had no problem with Rathian (I think it’s Rathian) because if there’s one thing Dark Souls has taught me, it’s how to fight dragons/wyverns.
This Elder Dragon acted much like the Gaping Dragon down to the stomping forward march thing the Gaping Dragon does. He does a ground slam that is similar, but in his case, he causes Dragon Blight that enervates you and negates all the elemental damage on your weapon. He’s also beautiful. I love the design of this Elder Dragon, and the armor/Palico armor are brilliant. After five or ten minutes of whaling on him, he takes off and flies…somewhere. I don’t know where, but then the wingdrakes come and take you to him. Then, it’s another ten to twenty minutes of slogging on him until finally, FINALLY, yes! I slayed the ???, but, what? No carves? That’s right. You don’t even get carves after you slay him the first time. You still get rewards, though.
Now, I had thought that the credits immediately roll afterwards, but no. There’s another cutscene in which you wake up in your bed dressed in the basic armor (along with your Palico dressed in his basic armor), and it’s a long freaking cutscene with everyone cheering at you. You learn that the thing you fought is called Xeno’jiiva. I knew this ahead of time, of course, but it was pretty cool to have this formal unveiling of it (from the Chief Ecologist, of course). Then the credits rolled, and I watched with a sense of–I’m not sure what. (I only watched because I couldn’t skip the credits, btw.) I beat Xeno’jiiva without carting and without having to craft more items. I don’t think I used more than three or four Mega Potions, and I never felt truly in danger. Nergigante is still the hardest of the Elder Dragons*, which is amusing to me.
Once the credits were done, there is no sign of what you’re supposed to do next. Now, throughout High Rank, there are purple tracks that you can collect, but it’s not clear what they are. One of the complaints I’ve seen over and over again in the Reddit threads is how once the credits roll, they don’t know what to do. I know because of all the videos I’ve watched, but otherwise, I’d have no clue. It’s one of my biggest complaints about this game, as I’ve said before. You *have* to watch videos or read guides in order to know what the hell is going on, which is not my usual M.O. I like to go through a game on my own, but this game doesn’t allow for that.
Tutorials suck. If you want to be at all decent with a weapon, you *have* to watch videos on it. Same with the gazillion things you can do around town. I mean, you could figure it out on your own, but it would take three times at long, and it would be frustrating to boot. I don’t regret giving myself a heads up in this department because it would have been a waste of my time otherwise. So, because of the videos, I knew the next step. I had to track the purple tracks, gather enough of them to prock an investigation, and HOPE that it would actually be an investigation for *spoilers* Tempered Monsters. What are Tempered Monsters? They’re souped-up versions of the regular monsters, and they’re even more difficult to deal with in their enraged states. They have more health, more stamina, and, well, I’ll say it now, kinda boring.
Side note: The tracking bullshit in this game is, yes, bullshit. Doing it the first time for Pink Rathian is, whatever. It’s not great, but whatever. I didn’t mind tracking the individual monsters in Low Rank because that made sense and it was somewhat integrated into the game itself, but by the time I had to track ??? Rathian (which I knew was the Pink Rathian), I was just done with it. Then, the stupid cutscene with walking slowly with The Admiral and having to find Nergigante tracks–that was so goddamn painful. It didn’t help that there was a glitch that apparently some of the tracks/spikes don’t prock in some areas for whatever reason. I read in the forums that if you go to a specific area after something, something, something, the tracks/spikes will appear. I followed the suggestions, and finally I found the last spikes. That was a huge pain in the ass.
Anyway, all that was whatever. Not great, but I could deal with it. This Tempered Monster bullshit is different, though, because there’s no guarantee you’ll get prock an investigation for a Tempered Monster. Even if you do, it’s not going to be the one you’re tracking. Yeah, that’s the same way it works with the lesser monsters, but it doesn’t feel as restrictive in Low Rank. Probably because I was still learning everything, and none of it made sense to me. By the time I reached the credits, however, I had sunk nearly three hundred into the game, and I was not a n00b any longer. No, I wasn’t pro, either, but I knew what I was doing by that time (or at least had a decent idea of how I played the game best), and the tracking stuff was bullshit. There was enough meat to the game, it didn’t need filler.
Here’s the thing with the Tempered Monsters. Again, this is the first Monster Hunter game I’ve played, so I don’t know how much of this is normal. But, there simply isn’t enough payoff for the Tempered Monsters. I’ve already fought these monsters so many times each (well, most of them), I’m not sure I have the will to fight the tempered versions, especially if I’m not even guaranteed of getting an actual investigation after tracking them all over the goddamn place. I’m still fighting them solo, which is probably part of the problem. They’re really meant to be fought as a team, especially the Elder Dragons, but I just–haven’t.
I didn’t play yesterday, in part because I’m sick, but also in part because the pull just isn’t there. Although, I will say it’s funny that I’ve fought Xeno’jiiva a dozen or more times, and I have like 10 Xeno gems. I got mad Xeno gems for DAYS, son! I got at least one like five times in a row. I was fighting him so much because I wanted the Xeno Set for shadow, which is perhaps the most brilliant set of the Palico armor so far. I also like the armor, and the final form of many of the weapons need something from Xeno. Like my beloved Nergal Gash (Nergy Switch Axe). To upgrade it to its final form, Dying Light, it needs 2 Xeno Horn, 5 Nergy Horn+, 5 Nergy Talon, and 1 Nergy Gem. Oh, lord. Another Nergy Gem.
I have so many fond memories of fighting Nergy for his goddamn Gem. Twenty times for one Gem! Now. I could have melded the Nergy Gem because I unlocked the ability to do that after beating Xeno. I didn’t want to do it right away because it seemed like a waste, but it was good to have it in my back pocket in case I needed it. I was going to give it a go the old-fashioned way, but if I got tired of the grind, then I could meld it. To my happy surprise, I actually got the Gem fairly easily. I already had the Nergy Talons, so I just needed the Nergy Horn+. That took a little of doing, even though I used my Partbreaker set. I do not like getting all up in the face of an Elder Dragon, but if I wanted the materials for my Dying Light, then I had to do it.
It took me a few more runs to get what I needed from Nergy, but that was nothing compared to getting my Xeno Horns. The face of the Xeno is so freaking hard to reach. Oh! Plus he has this fun little thing of shooting bioenergy blasts from his mouth that does Dragon Blight damage, I think. There’s also fire blight, so Blight Resistance Level 3 is a good way to go with Xeno. I have a weird love/hate with Xeno. Or rather, my way of dealing with him is hot/cold. I do wonderfully on one run, and then I suck ass on the next. OK, not suck ass, but get hit way too many times. I think it partly has to do with who else is on my team (more ranged can cause more erratic behavior by the monster), but on one run, I’ll be flying around, every hit strong and true. I’ll be healing my teammates like a bawss, making sure I nom on a Nulberry when any of them is blighted. I’ll be planting the Health Booster where it does the most good, and I’ll not even have to think about it. On the next run, I’ll be hit by Xeno’s stupid bioenergy blast right in the face, then I’ll jump into the blast’s next path. Then, I’ll get stomped on and tail whipped, and the only thing that saves me is that I’m buffed out to the max. Anyway, I did get the materials for my Dying Light. Finally.
There’s a new mission coming to the PC. Kulve Taroth. It’s another Elder Dragon, and it’s meant to be a co-op thing. It starts tomorrow, and I just don’t know. I still think it’s an amazing game, and when I do play, I get sucked in for hours. I just–I’m not sure I want to jump into it in the first place any longer.
*Except LR Kirin, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.