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The Grind Loop

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The other day Mailvaltar asked question in a comment on another post about whether I think Monster Hunter World can be enjoyed by someone who generally dislikes grinding.  Ultimately the core loop of monster hunter seems to be… take down big monsters in an epic boss fight, carve off items with varying degrees of rarity, take those items to craft new gear…  to enable you to take down bigger monsters.  The degree to which this becomes a gear collection game is entirely up to you, because I believe almost every single monster is beatable in the gear you start the game with…  it just becomes significantly more challenging as time moves on.  However even with better gear… there are going to be times you fail completely like the glorious screenshot above of my death.  Ultimately I got swiped by Black Diablos, which dizzied me…  which then lead to a full force charge for the rest of my health.  Given that other people had fainted at various points during the hunt…  my failure was the one that kicked us out of the fight.

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Each monster fight tends to go somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes depending on a bunch of factors, so one of the aspects of the game that no one really talks about… is that you need to be able to shake off the fact that you just spent 30 minutes of time and have relatively little to show for it.  Every so often the stars align however and you get exactly what you need.  When that happens it feels phenomenal…  during this single Black Diablos hunt I managed to pull 2 Black Spiral Horn+ aka the thing I was hunting for one more of…  a Wyvern Gem as well as the Non-Elemental Boost Decoration that I ultimately needed for the hammer I had been working towards.  Basically this final Diablos hunt gave me everything I had been questing for to try and assemble the final form of the Diablos hammer.

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So what did I do once I got my hammer all kitted out?  I immediately shifted focus to working on parts from Deviljho.  For me personally it is the grind…. the hunt for parts… that keeps me engaged in the game.  The boss fights all feel great (or at least most of them do) and are definitely a reward in themselves.  However it is the acquisition of gear that is always my guiding force in any MMORPG.  It is why I grind in Diablo 3 or World of Warcraft…  and ultimately why Monster Hunter World clicked with me initially.  It is a gear driven game where your personal skill advancement means often times more than the gear you are hunting…  but the ability to build complex mixed sets with just the right bonus traits keeps me moving forward.  Building a set of gear sorta feels like building a really good deck in Magic the Gathering.

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So last night I spent my evening either hunting Black Diablos or Deviljho… and it was a pretty glorious evening.  Is this mechanical loop right for most people?  Probably not…  however I enjoy it greatly.  Were it not for the release of Battle for Azeroth at almost the exact same time as the PC version of Monster Hunter…  I would have likely been doing this since August.  As far as Deviljho stuff… I am largely down to just needing to get lucky enough to loot one of its Gems, which admittedly is a common place you end up with crafting gear.  The Gem seems by far the most rare of the item drops, and seems to only drop when you no longer need it.  I have a stack of Odogoron and Wyvern gems…  but am not actively working on any gear from either…  though at some point I guess I will make the Odog Scythes and Blunderbuss.  That said there are still a ton of Deviljho weapons I eventually want to craft.  For example I think it is one of the better Sword and Shields out there, and that is a weapon I want to shift into playing more of.

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The funny thing is… I have the patience to constantly be grinding for loot drops…  but somehow lack the patience to move the quest line forward.  I am still stalled out on Xeno’jiiva because it is generally one of the awful feeling fights in the game.  I might snag my friend Exale and con him into running it with me at some point over the weekend if for no reason other than to just speed the process up.  You have to do a lot more dodging when you are the only player in the arena with Xeno.  I think Monster Hunter World is an amazing game, and especially since it is on steam…  if it goes on Sale I highly suggest you check it out.

One thought on “The Grind Loop

  1. It also depends on what type of grind you find appealing. Either the act, or the reward. Diablo 3 is a great example of brain dead gameplay but a continual stream of rewards. 99% of the time those rewards are junk. Really is a slot machine.

    MHW does have slow bits while trying to find/catch up to a monster. The large majority of the fun is in the adrenaline around the actual fights, and the moment to moment gameplay. The rewards are more sparse, but always useful.
    Asmiroth recently posted..The Memory GameMy Profile

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