I’m still recovering from the sickness, and it’s been slow-going. It’s frustrating because I know that I have to take it easy in order to get better, but I’m impatient for it to just be done already. I did jump in my recovery last night to about 50%, which is up from roughly 10%. I can tell I’m getting better because I’m sleeping less, and for now, I’ll take that trade. I wish it weren’t so, but it is–I know I’m getting better when I’m sleeping significantly less.
One of the downsides to being sick is that I haven’t been able to make as much progress in Monster Hunter: World as I would have liked. I’ve mentioned in the past I’ve reached the point with Souls games, especially DS III, where I’m comfort gaming if I’m playing them. I don’t have to put much thought into it, especially since I summon for bosses*. MHW, on the other hand, still takes all my concentration when I’m fighting something new.
In my moments of feeling better, I fought my nemesis, HR Diablos, and took him down handily. Before I did, I took down a Low Rank Diablos for parts, and it was a piece of cake. I had to laugh to myself because I had been dreading Derblers, and it was easy-peasy. I had more difficulty with HR Anjanath, and that’s saying something. Again, I’ve done a lot of grinding, and I’ve built a defensive juggernaut. I usually have a Defense III charm, Diving Blessing Level 3, and I always have the Armorcharm and Armortalon in my item pouch. I use Armorskin before each fight, so, yeah, I’m buffed the fuck out defense-wise when I go into a fight. (I also have the Powercharm in my pouch and use Demondrug before each fight).
I also took on (and down) The Angry Pickle, who has been, by far, the hardest fight I’ve had so far. I’m still pissed that I had him down to flashing skull the first time when time ran out because of the stupid Handler story bullshit that takes up the first fifteen minutes. I got him the second time with one bogus faint (lag faint) in about thirty-eight minutes. It’s a slog, and it made me feel that maybe my offense isn’t where I need it to be at this point.
I’m still maining the Switch Axe at this point, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it’s powerful, especially in Sword mode and surprisingly agile in Axe mode for such a big weapon. Bad because it means I always have to get up close and personal with a monster, which isn’t always ideal. I really want to pick up a ranged weapon, but I want one that gives me the option of melee as well. Which means the Gunlance. Which is one of the most technical weapons in the game. I already main three technical weapons–do I want or need to add a fourth? OK, so I just read that the Gunlance is still an up-close weapon, so do I want to tackle one of the ranged weapons? Also, Gunlance is a heavy weapon, not a technical one, so there’s that. The other two technical weapons are Hunting Horn (hahahahahah no) and the Bow. Which is amazing in the right hands, but just not mine. Most of the speed records are with ranged weapons, which is another reason I want to pick one up.
Killing Deviljho was rewarding, I’ll admit. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I did. He has some really sweet armor and weapons, too, so guess what I’ll be doing over and over again? Not on my own, though, because I’ve jumped into the world of multi (with randos), which is quick and a lot of fun. It’s a great way to grind and get the parts I need, though it can be frustrating at times, too. for example, I was fighting the Diablos with two gunners and a Hunting Horn. The latter was amazing, by the way. Never underestimate a good Hunting Horn player in multi. But, having two gunners who are camped on the opposite of the map (as they should be) is frustrating for me, the melee, because Diablos kept running back and forth, rarely stopping. My best bet was to wait until he did his burrowing thing and be waiting for him at the end of it–which, obviously, is high risk.
Another frustrating thing is that I do as much support as I can in multi. It’s a role with which I’m comfortable, and it’s in my best interest to keep my teammates alive. To that end, I have a Friendship Jewel slotted (allowing me to share potions with teammates within a certain range, and, yes, I should wear the Wiggler Head but it’s so ridic–plus Diving Blessing Level 2 on my Leggy helm!), and I keep an eye on all my teammates’ health bars to see when they need boosting. Anyway, I was in a Diablos fight, and the host fainted before I could even get to the fight. I boosted us all with a Demon Powder and a Hardshell Powder as I walked into the fight, and the host carted again. Not even a thirty seconds later, someone carted, which meant we failed the quest. The frustrating part was losing so many resources in a failed quest, but at least I got a Majestic Horn out of it–which was what I needed.
On the funny side, I went into an Odogaron fight, and they captured it before I even got to them. Because they captured, I didn’t need to carve, and I got a shit-ton of stuff from that quest. I’m mostly doing Odogaron, Diablos, and Rathalos multi quests, and I’ve gotten so much stuff in five-ten minutes per quest. I will say that it’s funny to see people with HRs over a hundred, and the time the team carted three times, no one was over 14. It’s not going to be a good hunt if I’m the best one in the group. I’m not downgrading my ability (I’m not a drag on the team, but I’m not the best by far); I’m just being realistic. I’ve only been carted once during multi, which is a relief.
Now that I’m feeling better, I want to plow through the rest of HR and reach the Elder Dragons. No, I have not faced Nergigante yet, and it’s becoming a bit of a stumbling block for me. I can rationalize that there is so much to do in HR (which there is), but the bottom line is that I let these walls hit me before I even approach them. Unfortunately it’s my nature. I’m a fretter and a brooder in real life, worrying over all the things that *could* happen, despite any evidence (or lack thereof). No matter how many times I’m presented with contrary evidence, I still cling to my initial impression. I envy people who just march forward and deal with the blows as they come, but that’s not me. Not now and perhaps not ever.
Back to weapons and the supposed superiority of some versus others. I know sites need to crank out their content, and there’s nothing that gets the juices going like a battle about what character/weapon/fighting style is best because everyone has Opinions. I also find it amusing that in an article at Kotaku about favorite weapons of the staff, one guy *had* to mention (negatively) ranged options in Souls games.** It’s such a meme by now, and it used to bug me until I realized that most of the people dissing magic/casting in Souls never actually played as a caster. Also, apparently magic is OP in PvP, so some people extrapolate it’s the same in PvE, which it isn’t. In addition, the whole ‘get up close and hit things’ mentality–you still have to hit many things as a caster in Dark Souls because your magicks/pyromancies/miracles run out at some point. I did plenty of melee as a caster in Souls, but that’s neither here nor there.
All the lists have Bow and Light Bowgun in the SS Tier. Of the weapons I main, the only one that is seen favorably is the Charge Blade. The lists are funny to me because they are almost completely subjective. Yes, there’s the objective quantifier of DPS, but that’s such a small part of why/how you play a game (for most people). I know this sounds cliched, but I agree with what most of the people I watched said about weapons in MHW–use what feels good to you.
I have tried all the weapons except the Hunting Horn at least a half-dozen times, and the ‘SS Tier’ ranked weapons just aren’t my jam. Side note about the HH which didn’t rank well at all, even in multi, I think it gets a bad rap because it’s hard to know exactly what the hell is happening with the HH. It buffs you throughout the fight, but with what, exactly? If you don’t play the HH, you probably don’t know what buffs you’re getting. Yes, the HH can do damage, but that’s not the main goal of a HH player. If the HH player is doing their job, you probably won’t even know they’re there.
As you can probably tell, I’m still playing the hell out of MHW. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s starting to feel more like an obligation than fun, especially the single player stuff. While I love multi, I still feel the need to tackle the monsters solo first. I don’t know whether it’s because of my Souls background or what, but I don’t feel right jumping immediately into multi on a new (or upgraded) monster. I think it’s partly because with multi, there’s no challenge for most of the fights. Granted, I’ve mostly tackled middling monsters in multi, but still. In addition, I don’t feel like I’d really learn a monster if I multi’ed it first. My main strat in multi is to throw on my Vitality Mantle, run straight at the monster, and whale on it until the mantle runs out. That is much different than the strategy I employ when I play solo. In addition, as fun as multi is, there’s no sense of satisfaction for defeating the monster. That may be different with some of the upper echelon monsters, but for now, it’s a hollow (but lucrative) victory.
The problem is, each hunt is so damn tedious. I know there are players who can take down monsters in less than five minutes, but I’m not that player. As I mentioned, Deviljho took me nearly forty minutes. It’s true that your first time is the longest, but it’s still a task to go into a fight. Here’s the thing. Yes, I’m about to make another Dark Souls comparison. Deal with it. Boss fights are epic, but they are few and far between. Standard disclaimer about DS II. Much of a Souls game is exploring the terrain, getting through the level, and slowly making it from one bonfire to the next. In MHW, there is exploration, yes, but much of the game is fighting the big monsters. That means there isn’t much time between each (you can take them on basically back-to-back if you wish), which can be a drain. Also, a fight can take up to fifty minutes (though it’s usually more like twenty to thirty for a first time hunt), which is a sizable investment. A boss fight in a Souls game runs between five and ten minutes, with the Sister Friede fight being notably longer. Yes, they are epic but they are rarely grinds. Also, you don’t have to run from area to area, chasing after a blasted wyvern who flies away as often as it fights you. You also have no option of zipping back to camp to restock your resources during the fight.
When I go into a hunt of a big monster for the first time, I know it’s going to be a real slog. Side note: I need to take out Kirin again so I can make a weapon from his materials as well as the Palico armor set (Low Rank. I haven’t met HR Kirin yet). I am definitely going to send up an SOS Flare for that, although I have a hunch it won’t be as difficult as it was the first time. Still. I want to get it down as quickly and efficiently as possible, and I don’t care about monies (zenny) or research points since I have plenty of both. Anyway, since I’ve been sick, I haven’t had the wherewithal to plow through HR. I’ve even done quite poorly in multi on a couple of occasions.
I have Black Diablos, Azure Rathalos, and Uragon left in HR. Also I have to unlock HR Kirin, which is apparently glitched. Or at least it was in the console version. You have to track him in the Coral Highlands in HR (which I’ve been doing) and be HR 14 in order to take on the quest. Once his tracks get to Level 3, the Impatient Biologist back in Astera will give you the quest. But, several players have done the tracking and haven’t leveled up the research or gotten the quest. Some people have gotten it after unlocking Tempered Kirin at HR 49, and some people have never gotten it. I’ve been picking up his tracks every time I’m in the Coral Highlands, but I have yet to get the quest. Then again, I think I’m HR 13, so maybe that’s part of the problem.
Anyway, I think I’ll tackle Uragon next. I’ve heard the colored sub-species are so much more difficult than the regular versions. I didn’t find that to be particularly true with Pink Rathian, but Rathalos and Diablos are much harder in general than Rathian, so I’m not looking forward to Azure Rathalos or Black Diablos. Oh! I also have Bazelgeuse, that adorable asshole, but I’m not sure I’m ready for him. He’s listed before Deviljho and a few other monsters I’ve already fought, however, so maybe I am? The monsters are listed in order of difficulty in the Hunter’s Notes (or at least that is my assumption), but I still fear the Bageljuice.
The worst thing about fighting a monster for the first time is not having any information about them. Sometimes, I manage to get the info by tracking the monster before fighting it (or from videos I’ve seen), but sometimes, as with Uragon, I know nothing about it. Maybe it’ll have the same weaknesses as Radobaan because they’re both from the same species, but who knows? I’ll report back next week, and hopefully, I’ll have tackled the Nergigante by then.
*Do NOT fucking @me because I will pull my creds out so hard, it’ll make your head spin. I have solo’ed every goddamn boss in every goddamn Souls game I’ve played except for three bosses in the Bloodborne DLC, so shove your ‘git gud’ up your ass.
**Saying that he doesn’t think of MHW as a ranged game, just as he didn’t think of Souls was playable as a caster.