I’ve written plenty about Monster Hunter World over the past couple of years, and now I’ve managed to finally get hold of Iceborne. The massive expansion released last year.
Monster Hunter World is a game that I’ve grown to love like very few others. I mean, what’s not to love about smashing giant aggressive monsters to pieces and wearing their skin?
Granted it’s no way nearly quite so grim. In fact it’s quite colourful and pleasant.
Iceborne has a new area to master, a slew of new monsters to hunt and a whole new hunter rank to improve upon. Master Rank hunts!
Holy crap, I’ve missed this game.
Since coming back to Monster Hunter World, it’s dawned on me just how much I love this game. For so many reasons.
There’s a steep learning curve, and although it’s apparently the easiest of the series to get into, you don’t really get shown the ropes. It’s very much a game that lays it all out for you and you just have to go with it.
But it’s all the better for it. Once it “clicks” it sticks, and now, playing in Iceborne, having just hit over 100 hours for the game, I’m still learning, still adapting how I play.
Sure, armour and weapon builds are important. But decorations, loadouts, traps, bombs, equipment. They all need to be considered for each hunt. Each monster can be approached differently. You can’t just play the same style over and over.
Iceborne has brough with it the Master Rank hunts, and I’ll be honest, I’ve been knocked-about far more than I expected. These new monsters (some are series favourites, returning, too) are no joke.
Barioth absolutely messed me up, but I vowed to spend the remaining few hours getting up to 100, by farming him and using all of those parts to build a full armour set. And I did, stupid flying tiger bastard…..
Nargacuga, Tigrex, Nightshade Paolumu. Each of them a new challenge. More aggressive, new attack patterns to learn and body language to study. Iceborne is an absolute dream.
I did a few events and optionals in the base game after hitting the end stages, but never got into the serious stuff that opened up to me. I’ve got so much stuff left to do, and still have the Iceborne story to finish too.
There’s nothing else I want to be playing right now. If I’m not on a hunt, I respond to SOS Flares to help out, and to farm. If I can’t play, I’m looking at builds online, or videos on new features added.
Since having a newborn son, I’ve found getting time to play any game doesn’t always happen. And nor should it, he’s my priority.
However, what I have found is that the 50 minute time limit on every hunt (unless otherwise specified) works so well. I can usually squeeze an hour in here and there.
Better still, you don’t have to hunt monsters to make progress. Playing Iceborne has seen me sat quite casually wandering around the environments and farming itmes I need for crafting.
I don’t have to commit massive amounts of time to it, I can drop out whenever, and I can do it with a sleeping infant in my arms.
With the amount of optional quests, and builds that require materials. Monster Hunter World and Iceborne are as much about keeping stocks of stuff for crafting, and building up an inventory of equipment.
Iceborne has seen me with so many quests that require me to go and perhaps just get some plants, or fish, or ores. I could spend hours calmly wandering around picking things up.
This is a great balance for me right now, and I don’t feel like I’m not making progress.
New stuff, new ways to play
When I started playing Monster Hunter World, I tried to play it solo. Until I got playing often with Chris from VasDown, which was a great way to learn monsters and help each other.
As I got better, I started to join people looking for help. Quickly realising that Monster Hunter is just a much more fun game with other people. Iceborne, for me has enhanced that.
I’ve started using my radial wheels to quick select items, quickly communicate and just make my hunting more streamlined. That’s more important now. I make sure I can carry items that help a whole team.
Better still, when I’m getting destroyed by one of the new monsters in Iceborne, I reach out for help with the SOS flare. Working with others to get the job done.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to be carried, but if I can get that initial hunt done, I’ll drop into the arena and hunt that same monster repeatedly until it clicks.
Add the new clutch claw to my already heavily-aerial Insect Glaive style, and I’m suddenly more of an asset to a team than I ever expected. Iceborne has given me a new confidence to help others.
Playing Insect Glaive doesn’t always see the highest damage numbers, but I’m damaging parts, dropping buffs and getting stuck in all over the place.
I have one rule: Don’t be the guy that carts and fails the hunt.
Heal, take time out and heal. You’re no good to anyone if you fail the hunt. I take a lot of care to never be the one that loses a life.
Iceborne does seem to have brought in a new swathe of players that seem to join an SOS call and then cart 3 times, pretty quickly. Perhaps I’ve been unlucky, but it’s been quite often.
Another 100 hours?
At this stage, it seems almost inevitable to me that I could hit 200 hours and not be anywhere near done with Iceborne. This is a game where people rack-up thousands of hours and continue to play.
My ranks are now both Hunter Rank and Master Rank. I’d like to see those improve. I want to finish the Iceborne story and start to min-max my gear.
I need to unlock loads of layered armour, all of the camps in Hoarfrost Reach and I need to learn the ins-and-outs of the new environment. Playing in the arena and farming those monsters over and over is something that never grows dull.
Constantly learning better ways to do things. Studying builds, trying to get the right decorations and skills built up. Iceborne and Monster Hunter in general seems to be very much a game that has endless life in it.
Is there any wonder that Monster Hunter World is now Capcom’s best-selling game of all time?
With a PC build on the horizon, I’m hoping to carry my account over onto there, but it seems unlikely. I don’t think Capcom have made that provision. Even if I buy Monster Hunter World and Iceborne again.
For now, my focus is on finishing the new story from Iceborne. Watching those awesome new cutscenes introducing monsters, and honestly, I’m looking forward to farming and grinding as much as I can. That, and learning a couple of new weapons, to spice it up a bit.
Hopefully, someone else will pick it up and I can play more consistently with friends, but it’s a big ask to get your head into it against your will.
Iceborne is a massive addition to an already massive game. It’s bloody phenomenal and honestly one of the best games of this generation. Whatever comes next, I’ll be there with a pre-order.