Monster Hunter World is based on the simple concept that you kill monsters, make gear from their loot, and kill harder monsters. Rinse and repeat. There’s, for the most part, a linear structure to the power curve. Think Diablo; you get more powerful stats to get stronger.
I have currently “red completed” all the optional quests to 7*, which I consider having completed the proper game and entered “end game” – the tempered monster hunt.
Further, MHW is split into 3 tiers. Low Rank, High Rank, and Tempered. The first two follow the same power curve, the latter does not.
Low Rank is split into 3 sub-groups of monsters, in terms of general difficulty – Great Jagras as the low end, Odogaron at the high end. That works, and there’s a somewhat clear path to progression. It’s also fairly linear, meaning the change is gradual.
There’s a major milestone when High Rank is unlocked, since the needed power level is just a tad more than what Low Rank can provide. You need to offset that power need with better gameplay performance. Git gud. High Rank has 4 sub-groups of monsters (elder dragons are the 4th), and once you are comfortable with the low end, moving to the high end isn’t too bad. The gaps between the sub-groups are larger than low rank, so killing something like a Laviasoth is a challenge if you only have gear for a Pukei Pukei.
Still, it works and you can see progress.
Unlocking these enemies is also rather straightforward. They all have a preferred habitat and you can generally find them within a minute or two. This also unlocks investigations and optional quests to hunt them ad-infinitum.
Tempered enemies are different. These are the same enemy types as in High Rank (3 subgroups), but they are at much higher power levels. A tempered Bazelguese will kill you in a single hit if you’re not adequately prepared. There is no power increment (HP/Attack/Defense) from gear to offset this change. You need to start crafting potions. You need to select specific gear sets, with specific skills. You need to have a specific set of decorations (gems) for even more skills.
Potions are easy enough to farm up. The pieces can literally be farmed from the Tree in Astera. Gear isn’t too bad either, since all the drops are from High Rank enemies. Some pieces are a bit more rare (Wyvern Gems) but it usually works out in a couple runs. That leaves decorations, which are randomly dropped, and have 4 drop tables (A, B, C, D). There’s a whole hidden table on this, and multiple YouTube guides to make the best of th situation. The point is, that you need to either be a) lucky or b) gaming the system to come out ahead. And there’s no path of progress… you simply loot the decoration or you don’t. Even the Melder (to upgrade 3 gems to 3 other gems) is randomized.
Did I mention that these quests are not optional, and to find investigations you need to track down tempered tracks in the maps? There are about 8 tracks per map for Tier 1 monsters, 4 per map for Tier 2, and 1 per map for Tier 3. Getting an investigation is random, and the monster assigned for that investigation is also random. In fact, in order to get Tier 3 Tempered investigation missions, it’s best not to complete the HR49 mission for a Tempered Kirin, and simply follow it collecting tracks.
From Low Rank to High Rank, the path is both clear and somewhat linear. From High Rank to Tempered, the path loses that clarity and is dependant not only on hidden systems, but RNG on top of other RNG. After WoW-Legion, I have had nearly enough of that model.
My guess is not enough people have hit this milestone. It honestly takes quite a few hours to get here, and even once there the problem isn’t exactly evident as you’re still working on gear sets. I am also guessing that Capcom is going to modify this sytem in a future patch, to make it both more transparent to the player, but also to open up more challenging hunts that don’t require RNG to unlock.
Until then, I think I’m going to take a step back.