There is a weird tension inside of me when I play Monster Hunter: World these days. I still get caught up in the hunt-kill-loot loop, but I’m becoming resentful that there is so much content. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I get that way when I start feeling overwhelmed. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, and it’s marring my enjoyment of the game. Whenever I think of playing, I think of all the quests I have yet to do and all the things I need to craft, and, and, and, my brain starts to rebel.
Let me be clear: much of this is my own fault. You can zip through the main missions and hit the credits in 30 – 50 hours, or so I’m told. I spent nearly a hundred hours in Low Rank, and I could have easily spent a hundred more. I only got into High Rank because I forced myself to make progress, which is how these things work in general for me. I remember playing The Witcher 3 and having to make the conscious decision to not finish everything in the game. It’s difficult for someone with OCD traits like me to not go after everything in the game. It’s why I ended up hating Skyrim–I tried to do all the covenant quests (or whatever they’re called in that game) and I lost all interest in the game by the 50th hour.
The frustrating thing is that I know this about myself, and I still feel almost unable to stop myself. In MHW, I made myself cross the threshold into High Rank, and then so much shit unlocked. So. Much. Shit. Also, things came at me at a rapid clip, and in another ten hours or so, I had unlocked the last area of the game (and the last third of the game). I have a ton of quests still in High Rank, and I’m not ready to go to the last third of the game yet because I know what’s coming. Fucking Elder Dragons. I don’t like killing dragons because I’m Taiwanese* and because I know these are super-hard. But, all the best weapons and armor comes from the Elder Dragons, so…..Oh! Also, I’ve played solo the entire game, and I know that’s going to add unnecessary stress to the fights.
I’m not playing solo only because of my ego–I don’t like multi, and I especially don’t like multi with randos. I know the MH community is supposed to be more helpful than most, but I still don’t trust that I’m not going to get an asshole in my group. In addition, I don’t want to be the albatross around my team’s neck, and even though I’ve soloed the game and have only failed two missions by being carted three times (Diablos once and Kirin once, but one of the carts on Kirin was because of a glitch/lag), I still feel like I’m crap at it.
Side note: I realized recently that one reason I think I’m shitty at the games I play is because I watch gamplay of them on the YouTube and the Twitch. Most people who stream these kinds of games (Souls and MH) are really good at them. Yes, you have the ‘laugh at the n00bs’ videos, but for the most part, these are the elite players. Therefore, I’m comparing myself to the top 1%, which is not really helpful in the long run. It took me forever to admit that I’m decent at Souls games, and now I’ve realized that I’m the ‘well, actually’ guy when it comes to Souls games, at least on the inside. I can be helpful to other people, like there was someone in the Dark Souls Facebook group I belonged to who was having difficulty beating Artorias as a pyromancer. This was in my wheelhouse! I had actual knowledge that would be helpful, especially since I had the same problems my first time with Artorias! I wrote a comment with the info I had learned during my first fight with Arty, and the OP wrote back an hour later saying he’d gotten it done with the tips I’d given him. He was properly grateful, and mentioned me more than once when telling other people how he beat Arty.
It felt good. I’m not going to lie. I was happy to share my knowledge, and I was really happy that it helped him get the job done. It gave me warm fuzzies, and I whooped it up with him when he reported he’d beaten Arty. He mentioned using the Great Chaos Fireball and wasting Arty with two of them after using the two buffs I mentioned, which is exactly what I did my first time. I remember how it seemed my pyro wasn’t doing much damage on him, and when I looked it up, I learned he was fire resistant. So, I didn’t use my pyro on him, and he was owning my ass time and time again. In desperation, I looked up pyro videos, and there was one that mentioned the two pieces of armor (a crown and a ring) that buffs pyromancy, and they stack, and that’s how I got the job done.
Anyway. This is not about Dark Souls. Though it’s making me want to go back to it, but not with my current dex character. This is about MHW and how my enthusiasm for it is waning. Or rather, how my enthusiasm is mixed with reluctance. I’m also full-on sick, so it’s not easy for me to concentrate. Two days ago, I decided I wanted to brush up on my Charge Blade gameplay because I miss it, and goddamn, it felt good in my hands. I upgraded it as much as I could as I took it out in increments. I started with the Great Jagras, then moved up to the Pukei-Pukei, then Tobi. I did HR Barroth as well, and all was pretty smooth and easy. The problem is, I don’t feel confident with it on the harder monsters, and I’m wondering if I want to put in the effort to become decent with it. I also don’t use the shield very much, which kinda defeats the purpose. I love it, though. It’s an amazing weapon, and I want to be as competent with it as I am with my Switch Axe.
I’m still using the Insect, Glaive, too. I took on LR Legiana yesterday with my thunder Glaive and poison Kinsect, and it was easy-peasy. I did it because I need an ice weapon, and she’s the only monster who gives an ice weapon so far–or at least as far as I know. I didn’t get all the parts I needed the first time, so I did her again. She was even easier the second time except stupid Odogaron interrupted us, and I missed out on a Legiana material because of it. When I go on these grinding quests, I equip shadow with the Plunderblade so I can get as many materials as possible. I want to upgrade the Meowlotov Cocktail to the fullest, but the Plunderblade is just so damn good. I have to grind less in order to get what I want, and that’s exactly what I need right now.
I know I’m losing my patience with the game because my reaction to getting new quests is, ‘Gah, I don’t wanna!’ rather than, ‘Cool! More shit to do!’ I haven’t hunted any of the new monsters yet, and I really don’t have a desire to do so because I don’t want to learn new monsters. I still have so many of the old monsters to finish in High Rank, and I kinda feel I should do that before tackling the new monsters. Then again, if I want newer and better shit, I need to hunt the new monsters. For example, I need a Dodogama hide in order to set up a new campsite in the Elder Recess, which really should be my next step. He’s the easiest monster in this area (I’m assuming), and I probably should be able to take him on right now.
I still have the Dark Souls mentality that a new monster is like a boss, and I can’t quite shake it even though I’ve only had real difficulty with half a dozen monsters if that. I’m sure it says something about my self-esteem issues, but this is not the time nor the place to delve into that. I’ve upgraded a few of my Switch Axes to the point where I need the Free Element skill, which means I have to kill Elder Dragons. I can make the Free Element charm which I should do, but that means using my precious Zorah Magdaros gem–which I got on my first try, thank you very much. My armor is a hodge-podge of sets, and it’s not very pretty. I just got shadow the Gajalaka set which is badass. It meant doing the same quest three times, but at least it was a painless quest. In addition, I was able to get a shit-ton of mining ore at the same time, which is how I was able to upgrade my Switch Axes.
I know a lot of veteran MH players did not like how the systems were streamlined, but my god. Even with that, there is still so much to learn. I’ve watched some videos of other Monster Hunter games, and there’s no way in hell I would put up with half that shit. Not having a map? Having to craft whetstones? Pickaxes breaking? Crafting materials may not work, even with a combo tome in your inventory? Fuck no! Don’t even get me started with the paintballs, yo. I played Monster Hunter 4 on the 3DS for a few hours, and I hated every second of it. I hated wandering around, trying to find three crystals in 50 minutes, finding the last one at about 49 minutes, and just missing getting it back to camp in time. I hated the egg quests so much, and I hated paintballing the monster even more.
I don’t mind difficult games, obviously, but shit like that is not fun difficulty. I’m all about making quality of life as painless as possible, which MHW does, because I prefer my difficulty in the gameplay. I like having an endless whetstone and automatically mining without a pickaxe. I like the scoutflies, and you can turn them off if you don’t want them. I like the damage numbers, though I don’t really look at them when I’m fighting. I like having a map and being able to fast travel to the campsites at any time. I like that crafting is automatic and works every time. The egg quests are much better than they were before, and I like that once you find something on the map, it’s permanently there.
I know I just need to push forward before I get lost in the weeds too much. I really regret dicking around in Low Rank for so long because I feel as if I wasted much of that time. I know that I’ll feel better once I think I’m making progress, but at the same time, I’m dreading going into the last third of the game because I know what’s waiting for me. Nergigante. The first true Elder Dragon (Kirin is one, but doesn’t really seem like it). The one who has bothered me twice as I guided Zorah Magdaros to his rest–oh, he’s an Elder Dragon, too, but he doesn’t really count, either. I also have to do that quest again to get the materials to make his claws because it has the Free Element skill.
The Zorah Magdaros quests are tedious at best, and I really wish they were just cut-scenes. I did the first one twice and the second one once, and I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing in them. It’s a shame that they’re such a big part of the storyline, and they’re so bad. Honestly, it would be better if they didn’t exist at all, but you have to do them to get the Zorah Magdaros shit. Sigh.
Am I going to finish the game? I don’t know. Oh, and by saying finish, I mean see the credits, which isn’t even the end of the game. Not really. We’ll see how I feel in the next few weeks. I played a little detective game that wasn’t that great, but it was a nice break from MHW. I probably should find a secondary game so I don’t burn out on MHW. Somehow, I get the feeling that’s not what I’m going to do, though. I know myself too well.
*Dragons are good luck and wondrous creatures in Taiwanese/Chinese culture.