Underneath my yellow skin

Traipsing my way through Monster Hunter: World High Rank

thanks, cat friends!
Grimalkynes help trap Bagel!

Still sick. Still dragging my ass around when I can bother to get off the couch. The weather turned cool today, which is a relief. Yesterday was hot, steamy, and gross, and, boy, am I glad I don’t live in the South. I’ve been playing a shit-ton of MHW since I last wrote about it, but I still haven’t taken on the Nergigante. Yes, I know I said I’d hoped I’d have tackled him by now, but I’m still enough under the weather that I didn’t feel I could commit to a fifty-minute Nergigante fight.

I took on Uragon, and he actually made me cart once. I was caught off-guard by one of his falling pods, and then I was stun-locked into oblivion. I find one of the important things about a hunt is to armor up correctly, and I hadn’t had enough fire resistance to withstand the one-two punch. The next time I took on Uragon (by myself), I was better kitted out, and it was easy-peasy. You may ask yourself why I took him on again by myself when I’ve been enjoying the world of multi once I kill a monster solo. It’s because of the opaque multi system, which while I understand mostly how to use it, there are still a few things that make me shake my head. For example, I like to play the story missions by myself. So, there’s no reason I need to play online for that. But, you’re not allowed to play offline in this game so I had to figure out that I wanted to start an online session just to play by myself. In addition, I wanted to make it private so not just anyone could jump into my game.

Fine. Dandy, even. Not a problem once I learned that. Except, when I tackled A Fiery Convergence (an optional quest in which I tackled Lavasioth and Uragon in order to get the Fireproof Mantle), I automatically selected one player, then departed for the quest. Once I got to the Elder’s Recess, I went to fire off my SOS Flare, but it was grayed out. I thought, “Hm. Maybe I need to eat first.” So, I did that and still the SOS Flare was grayed out. I realized at some point that it was probably because I set my session to one player, and I had to decide if I wanted to try it myself or abandon the quest and start again. I think I used a Lucky Voucher (which doubles rewards) for this quest or else I just decided to try it on my own. I could always abandon it later if it went poorly. Spoiler, it did not go poorly. I took care of both within half an hour and never was in any real danger. It was satisfying, I’ll be honest with you.

Next up was Azure Rathalos. I was nervous about him, I won’t lie. I took out a few regular Rathalos in multi so I could upgrade my Rathalos Axe II into the Rathbringer (love the name!) Axe I. I buffed myself out max for the Azure Rathalos fight, including Mega Armorskin), girded my loins, and waded into the Ancient Forest. To my surprise, I took him out fairly easily. Not as easy as, say, HR Diablos, but he still wasn’t as hard as I expected him to be. Immediately afterwards, I took on The Red and Blue Crew (optional quest to take down a regular Rathalos and an Azure Rathalos in the same quest) in multi because one, I wanted to clear the quest, and, two, because I’m still feeling punk, and I didn’t feel up to taking on the duo by myself, even though I had just downed Azure Rathalos.

I also tackled the Bageljuice this week by my own damn self. Yes, the B-52 bomber was on my hit list this week, and it was time to take the fight to him. After weeks of him interrupting my hunts, it was my turn to fuck up his day. I knew I probably should use the insect glaive because he’s a flyer, but I’ve become more wedded to my Switch Axe. I’ve made several of them, which, side note: apparently, I’m doing the crafting all wrong, by the way. You’re supposed to only have a few armors and weapons, and I’m making them like they’re candy. Or something. Casey DeFreitas, my MH guru at IGN, used one Sword and Shield throughout the whole game (one with poison on it). She had a lance and a bow as well, but she mostly mained one weapon.

I have at least ten Switch Axes. I just counted. I have fourteen. I have at least four Insect Glaives and four Kinsects, and two Charge Blades that are near my level and one more, I think. As for armor, I have two pages for some of the pieces. Casey had maybe five or six in each category. Then again, I’ve wasted so much time in this game, and I have more zennies and research points than I know what to do with. Also, I learned something amazing. All those Great Jagras Manes I have are not wasted because I can turn them into Mega Armorskins at the Elder Melder. Huzzah!

The video above is the Game Informer Game Club Discussion (Part 2), and I time-stamped the part where Ben Hanson (the host) asked Dan Tack (the resident Souls/MH enthusiast, though Laleh Tobin is the OG MH player) about–let me backtrack. In the first session, he talked about his mind being blown when he figured out that there was an item box (he had been carrying everything around with him, which meant quickly running out of room because the item pouch is SMALL), and everyone just looked dumbfounded at him. In this one, he said to Tack, “I had been playing 35 hours when my friend turned in a bounty. I asked what a bounty was.” The incredulous response was immediate as everyone asked what the hell was wrong with him. It’s super funny, but I also have to say, I kinda feel for Hanson.

There is so much information in this game, and while some of it is fed to you through the tutorials, more of it is not. You have to figure it out on your own, which, depending on your style of play, you might not find some very important information. The bounty thing Hanson mentioned is something you find out when you talk to three of the people in the town of Astera. They have bounties and investigations and deliveries for you, but you’d never know if you didn’t talk to them. Hanson was saying there are a ton of people who are in town, which is true, but most people would at least try to talk to everyone. Apparently, Hanson did not.

It also showed in the way he played because in the second session, he was roughly forty hours in and had tackled Nergigante. On the other hand, he didn’t have any of the mantles. Why? Because he didn’t do any of the optional quests. If you’re the kind of person who is focused on the story missions, then you’re going to miss a whole hell of a lot. I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve found HR to be fairly smooth-going (I won’t say easy, necessarily), and I attribute it to how much time I spent in LR doing every possible thing I can. By the time I reached HR, I had decent armor and weapons, and I knew enough to stack up my buffs–which has saved my ass more than once, I’ll say.

multi-take-down of deviljho
The Angry Pickle in all his splendor.

Back to my foray into the MHW. So, yesterday, I decided I wanted to make the Tyrannos Switch Axe, which meant killing The Angry Pickle over and over again. I had hesitated to do this, even multi, because he’s the one monster I felt could best me. I didn’t want to be a drag on a team, but I jumped in, anyway. The first time, I used the Insect Glaive because there were three ranged players, and no way in hell I was going to be the only melee player. I used it for the next few fights, but I didn’t really feel like it did the amount of damage I wanted. Plus, it’s really hard to gauge what will clear Deviljho and what won’t. His hit boxes are bullshit, and he smacked me down in the air more often than I cared to admit. I need to use the Jump Master skill, which negates knockback during jumps.

I went back to my Switch Axe, and it actually felt better. I think because I’ve used it during the whole game, I feel more comfortable up in a monster’s grill than I do jumping at it from afar. Also, I find it easier to avoid the Dragon Blight breath thing Deviljho does when I’m near him than it is when I’m trying to run away from it. He’s a much easier fight for me with the Switch Axe than with the Insect Glaive, to my surprise.

After four or five fights, I finally got the parts I needed to make the Tyrannos, which is badass. It has a -25% affinity, which isn’t great, but it’s easily avoidable with Weakness Exploit Level 2. The reason I wanted it (beside it looking badass) is because it has high Elderseal, which is useful against Elder Dragons so they won’t do their special skill that often. Like Kirin and his freaking hardened skin phase in which the only weak point is the horn on its face. The problem is that most Elder Dragons aren’t weak to Dragon, which is the element on the weapons that have Elderseal. So, it’s a trade-off.

Deviljho still is a tough fight, but it really depends on the other people in the quest. There was one time, it was just me and another guy and our Palicos until the very end of the quest. That was such a grind and a slog, and he was a bowman to boot, while I was trying to do my vaulting and jumping shit. It was frustrating, to be sure. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again–if I’m the best person or equal to the best person on the team, then we’re not going to have a good time.

The Autumn Festival is supposed to be starting up, and I think there was a teaser of it yesterday with The Limited Bounties only lasting a day (they usually last a week). For the first time, I actually could do all the three bounties. Well, I could have done it before (the same three, I think), but I hadn’t fought Bagel at that point, and killing four of them seemed insurmountable. I had killed Bagel when these Limited Bounties were released, so it meant killing four more Bageljuices. Was I doing this on my own? Oh, hell, no. I jumped in other people’s quests, and it was a blast–no pun intended. We took down all the Bageljuices in a scant amount of time. The people in these quests were all veterans, so we didn’t waste any time. And, in general, Bagel is easier than The Angry Pickle, though he’s infinitely more annoying.

don't i look badass?
Luchador Angry Pickle Palico armor set!

The last quest I did last night was Odogaron because one of the Limited Bounties was doing five investigations in the Rotten Vale. The guy who posted the quest was wearing the armor from the last boss in the main story line; his Palico had on Nergy’s set; and, he was something like rank 35, so I assumed he wouldn’t need much from me. I was wrong. I don’t know if he was just dicking around or what, but he didn’t seem to know what the fuck he was doing. When we got Odo down to the flashing skull point (on the mini-map, how you know he’s near death), I reached his lair only to find the host just standing there. He wasn’t doing anything, and he didn’t give any indication of what he wanted to do. So, I tranqued Odo in the face and put down the shock trap. I wanted out of there as soon as possible, and capturing is the easiest way.

One thing I like in multi is when I recognize the people I’m questing with. During the Bagel run I did (and, obviously, other people were doing the same thing), the same guy hosted the quest twice in a row. The first time, he sent me his guild card, which I didn’t recognize until the end of the hunt–and while I was frantically trying to send mine, my game froze, the Bagel was captured, and I realized I wanted to carve his tail. None of this happened, and I was mad that I couldn’t send the guy my guild card after he sent me his. I don’t know why you can’t do it after the quest ends, but there it is. So, when I saw that he had re-posted the quest, I hopped in and sent him my card first thing. First card I’ve sent. I’ve gotten three.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of the multi, but I still feel the need to take on the monsters solo the first time. All I have now is Black Diablos and then, sigh, Nergigante. My white whale (which is funny because he’s a black dragon). We’ll see how that goes the next time I post.

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