A Social Weekend

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It was a pretty great weekend as far as hunting monsters goes.  I got to hang out with so many different groups of people and do so many varied things.  On Friday night it was all about hanging out with Tam, Ash and Kodra as I was finally up late enough to allow our schedules to align.  On Saturday it was all about hanging out with Pizza Maid, Wolfy and Rakuno… and then in a little pre-podcast gaming some more with Tam, Ash and Kodra.  Then Sunday I streamed for a bit in the morning between editing two podcasts.  Then in the evening I spent quite a bit of time in the evening running around with Sushi Geisha and Smashy doing some high rank egg birb killing among other things.  The variety and quality of my company was absolutely the best.

The other thing that really happened this weekend is that I spent a ton of time hanging out with various groups of folks on twitch.  I’ve never really acclimatized to that community but right now I am spending a significant amount of time with folks connected to the very awesome casual/positive Moogle’s Pom Tavern.  They have all accepted me as one of their own and call me a streamer even though I barely qualify as one.  Just to give some shout outs… some of the folks I spent time lurking or actively hanging out in are…

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Right now my jam seems to be playing Monster Hunter on the 43 inch 4k monitor while trying to cram a bunch of windows on one of the 23 inch monitors.  As a result a lot of the time I have spent soloing, has been hanging out in a twitch stream and occasionally throwing random comments.  During the shenanigans of Saturday and Sunday I actually wound up on voice chat and as a result “on stream” with Pizza and Sushi.  The world got many opportunities to watch me fail at longswording and miss attacks as monsters shifted on me in combat.  It was a lot of fun and I need to sort out a time when I can stream for myself more regularly.  I had a lot of fun with the little bit that I did this weekend and the whole Sunday morning is starting to turn into a routine.

As far as Monster Hunter itself…  I have now progressed into High Rank hunts but have not done a whole lot of them.  I’ve taken down Pukei Pukei which is the gatekeeper of sorts to unlock High Rank, and then taken down Kulu-Ya-Ku a bunch of times to farm bits so I could upgrade to this crazy two handed scimitar of sorts called Last Dance I.  I am wearing a mishmash of gear because I basically went to the workshop and crafted whatever the hell I could as soon as I hit high rank.  As a result I have 1 piece of Zorah Magdaros gear, 2 pieces of High Rank Bone and 2 pieces of High Rank Alloy gear.  This shockingly has wound up being a fairly reasonable set of gear to run around and do stuff with, and the added defense helped a lot as compared to the amount of damage I was taking during the Pukei Pukei fight.

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I could go into a bunch of detail about the various hunts I did, but for this morning I am not.  The weekend as a whole was all about hanging out with various groups of people for me.  That is always the problem I have when it comes to online gaming.  There are so many different groups that I want to be hanging out with.  I spent a lot of the weekend as a sort of fill in, but still had a blast in doing so.  Right now the timing for me is just weird in actually hanging with the AggroChat crew given that the majority are now on the west coast.  On most nights they are starting to get active around 9 pm…  as I am starting to wind down and prep to head to bed.  This has made organizing anything in a time other than the weekend a pretty fraught experience.

The whole grouping experience in Monster Hunter does not make this easier, given that for much of the weekend folks were having trouble joining specific sessions.  I know last night we kept trying to get a 4th in to help them with some quests…  but the sessions kept timing out.  What I crave the most for Monster Hunter World is some form of a viable friends list, with the ability to invite to parties from it…  and even more importantly have a Diablo 3 style “request to be invited” system.  I hope as time passes that the whole cludge that is grouping in this game improves.  That said… the core experience is compelling enough that I can look past all of that nonsense as I obsess about getting monster bits to make awesome weapons and outfits.

Catfish Dargon

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At least on some level I feel like I might be playing this game wrong.  I’ve put a little over eleven hours into the game at this point and I am just now hunter rank 4.  At this point I have managed to take down Great Jagras, Kulu-Ya-Ku, Pukei-Pukei, Barroth and Jyuratodus.  Now some of those I have taken down multiple times like I keep farming Barroth for bits and pieces to craft gear and I have taken down Kulu several times just because killing the angry chicken is fun.  Side note…  hunting Kulu in Wildspire Wastes is so much easier than Ancient Forest because it doesn’t keep running away up into the canopy of the trees.  My mission for last night was to farm some Barroth and attempt to get better gear… and another Monster Bone M which I did in both cases.  I don’t have a full set of gear yet, but I did manage to upgrade two pieces of Barroth gear and one piece of Jyuratodus.  It is around this point that I decided to start using the Samurai cosmetic armor because wearing Barroth armor makes you look like you are a walking rack of prime rib.  Jyuratodus so far has been the most annoying thing I have fought to date because it cannot decide if it as a Catfish or a Dragon…  so from now on it will simply be known as Catfish Dargon.  I never really got to a point where I was in danger….  I just found it terribly annoying to fight because being in the water and mud is dumb and I never want to do that.

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On my Palico front I now have Kenzie kitted out in a full set of Pukei-Pukei armor which seems to be working well.  I am completely in love with my Palico, and it sorta makes me sad that in the above screenshot she ever doubts that I will be bringing her along on the next hunt.  Side note… I have no clue if my Palico has a gender but in my head canon Kenzie the Cat is female so Kenzie the Palico is also female.  I feel like I am improving at the game largely because of the continued shortening of time it takes me to hunt certain things.  My first Barroth kill was a complete bear and I wound up firing an SoS flare because I had run completely out of mega potions.  On kill number two at the beginning of last night I still struggled a bit, but never really got close to either fainting or running out of resources.  On kill number three…  it finally felt like I knew what I was doing and simply executed a sequence of attacks I had rehearsed over time.  The other thing that I finally started getting the hang of last night was mounting the monsters and going into rodeo mode.  I think more than anything that has probably sped up my process because when I finally knock them down I can get in a bunch of really powerful attacks.  When I took down Kulu last night after my first ride the monster was already limping.  So far all of the monsters have been challenging, but I feel fairly comfortable in my longsword abilities and it is mostly me just executing on the same things I have learned to this point…  which I guess is maybe the point of the game?

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I love the cheesy grin and weird uppercut pose on my guild card, so you are likely going to keep seeing it over and over.  The biggest thing I am not quite grasping at this point is how the hell multiplayer actually works.  My theory was that I could potentially hop in on quests that folks were doing in the game session I happened to be in.  However when I click on a name everything seems to be grayed out.  I have no clue how social connectivity is supposed to work in this game and I have no clue what throwing someone a guild card actually does but I keep receiving a bunch of them.  Connecting with other people to play the game just feels way harder than it should be.  It should be as simple as…  is a friend of yours on…  okay click to join their game and kill monsters together.  Instead it feels like this weirdly contorted system that makes absolutely zero sense to my western brain.  I keep thinking back to the madness of Final Fantasy XI and World Passes…  and trying to place my mind into that sort of mindset because I just do not get it.  If someone could explain to me like I am five how this system works… I would greatly appreciate it.  I would love to be able to just hop in on someone else’s session and kill monsters because at this point I could give a shit about quest progression and just want more crafting bits.  Based on what I heard from Grakulen last night apparently people can’t join me when I am in an expedition, which seems sorta broken.  Regardless I am having a lot of fun in my own little sandbox… but sorta want to start learning how to group to take things down.