I guess spoilers in some sense within. But frankly to reach the end of Iceborne you’ve put in nearly 60 hours.
So the “last” elder dragon is down, and that’s a hell of a fight. One move in particular I don’t think it’s possible to survive, and you need a Farcaster to avoid it (return to base). It’s very similar to the Xeno fight, in that it’s a very LARGE dragon, and it seems like you’re tickling it more than anything else. I won’t go and say that it’s necessarily difficult, but I can say that it punishes mistakes. Painfully so.
There are a few more monsters to discover in the Guiding Lands. I have a chunk of optional quests to clear out, including some arena battles. Then there’s the whole process of levelling the Guiding Lands themselves. That will be it’s own topic at some point. The general idea is that it’s a large map with 6 zones. The zones level up as you do battle/collect materials. Higher levels = tougher monsters and better materials. But raising one zone will reduce the level of another, so that you can realistically only max out 2 zones at a time.
While those are activities I can undertake, there’s still the underlying purpose of gear acquisition. Iceborne put in a TON of new gear compared to base game, and really seems to have gone all out on set bonuses as well. There’s plenty of new levels to charms (element attacks go to 5!), and the general augment/enhance options for gear is deeper than prior.
Quick math bit. Deep Schnegel II has 480 base ice attack. With augments it can be boosted to 550. Then add level 7 Frost attack for an extra 100 + 10%. Then the 4 set Namielle which adds 90 more ice damage. The end result is something like 880 ice damage. In more practical terms, it’s double the damage… and not at all clear to players in game. Now, this only applies to Ice damage (since it’s based on the weapon), so you need a different gear set for Ice resistant/immune enemies.
The big thing here is that there’s a LOT of RNG to get to the end. We’re talking about some decorations that have a <1% chance of dropping – on battles that take 15 minutes to complete. Then the material to actually augment your gear is also RNG based (and guiding lands level based too).
MHW, in that sense, is very much like the long tail of an MMO. You complete the main story in a week or two, then have months of re-runs of the same content. Except in MHW, the monsters themselves have random spawns/battles, your weapons change your class at any point, and you’re always getting something. No run ever seems a waste – whereas I could run 10 dungeons a night and get zero for it in WoW. In that sense, MHW has a similar long tail, but a much wider one.
I had some early thoughts, and this I guess would be the mid-point.
- The story is more nonsensical than the base game. Nergigante is somehow the ultimate badass. (side note, Ruiner Nergigante is infinitely more fun than AT Negigante)
- There’s a larger reliance on item pouch management. Great that there’s a new slot for the garden, just wish personal inventory was a few slots larger.
- There are 30 “new” monsters. 16 of them are reskins – generally just “tougher” with more damage or a new element.
- The added movesets make combat more enjoyable than simply using the same combo over and over again. Lateral moves and flinch shots are a joy. Offset with the addition of snow/sand to restrict movement.
- Clutch attacks are extremely powerful, but there’s a lack of training on how it all works. A successful knockdown (to the wall) causes an enrage. Attacking the head requires specific timing. Combined with creature mounts, it’s a great way to “get off the floor”.
- There are still some bugs that need to be worked out. Using the radial menu to equip Mantles doesn’t always work. Enemy health indicators don’t always trigger. The new MASSIVE monsters can block camera angles.
- Some new monster’s effectiveness is entirely based on their movement speed and your ability to react. Tigrex/Barioth/Deviljho are good examples. It’s cool the first few times fighting them, but eventually you just want the ADHD stuff to end.
- The looks of the armor is top notch. The player housing is also really cool, but sadly you need a loading screen to get to it. The weapons though… there was a general lack of effort there. Lots of reskins, or things that just don’t match the theme.
- Fishing is still in the game. All small creatures have a quest to capture a gold trophy (very large version) for some room cosmetics.
- PC version has mod support!
Let the hunting continue.
Clutch Claw does have some ingame training available — it it’s never really made clear how to find it. It’s a 1-star (low rank) optional mission you can do. Which I guess makes sense in the fact that a brand new character can use it right from the get-go, but rather difficult to find for the majority of the more experienced player base!