Monster Hunter World: Iceborne has a lot to offer, and while the game doesn’t exactly tell you everything from the beginning, it makes sure you have a nice and cozy start to your new journey.
In Monster Hunter World: Iceborne we get a new difficulty rank called the Master Rank. It is essentially G-rank for Monster Hunter: World, where hunters face new challenges that include a mix of brand-new monsters, returning monsters, and new Subspecies. And they’re all powered-up. A lot. In addition to new areas there are G-rank versions of the previous areas that come with much tougher foes. That said, you’ll need to bundle up with adequate gear before stepping into Master Rank. Well, I suppose you could go in naked if you’re into that, but thankfully the game makes it really easy for both new and returning players to step right in.
If you haven’t finished the main story for Monster Hunter: World, or if you’re just starting out, a Guardian Armor set was sent to all players for free in an update last night. With 50 defense a piece and room for upgrades, it’s more than enough to help you cruise through the main story and get right into Iceborne with the help of other hunters.
Just like G-rank in the previous generations, everything hits like a truck in the Master Rank areas. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to gear up early on. All equipment from Master Rank are significantly stronger than any High Rank gear. That means you don’t have to farm the rest of that Xeno’jiiva set that comes with 72 defense a piece, because you can simply pick up a bunch of stones and bones to craft an Alloy or Bone Alpha armor set that has a whopping 114 defense a piece in comparison. You don’t really have to worry about any skills until about halfway into the expansion. In a way, it kind of feels like you’re starting a new game, where you’re basically picking up scraps to make gear, again. Except everything is angrier and fully roided-out.
The early armor sets of Iceborne are also really cheap, so if you often find yourself broke from crafting everything possible, you’ll be just fine… until they start getting expensive again. I started out with a mix of Jagras and Hornetaur Master Rank gear that actually lasted me longer than I expected. The only part that felt noticeably slower in terms of progression were the weapons, as you still need to build them up from the start of the tree, unlike armor sets which can be made once you have the necessary material. However, when you do get to make your new weapons the jump feels a lot more noticeable.
The new base is called Seliana. The first thing I noticed was the overall improvement in accessing the facilities and NPCs. In Seliana you’re not going up multiple levels, so it’s much less of a pain in the ass to get from one place to the other.
It has all the facilities from Astera with its own touch, like the Grammeowster Chef getting down at the Seliana Canteen. She actually used to be a member of the First Fleet, and was the mentor of the Meowscular Chef that feeds you in Astera. To go with the ice-cold theme of the expansion, she cooks up stews and other hot meals that will warm your hunter soul before heading out.
The Gathering Hub has also been vastly improved from Astera’s, with access to practically all facilities without the need to ever step out. The multiplayer certainly feels more streamlined this way, especially during those long hunting sessions. It also offers new ways to interact with other players as well as your own Felyne. Unfortunately for those still finishing the base story, you’ll need to reach Seliana before getting to take advantage of the convenient new hub.
I never really bother with room customization, but the personal rooms in Seliana offer way more customization options. Compared to the one from Astera, it actually feels more personal with options to add more of your own touch. You can get furniture from optional quest rewards and there’s a lot of those to keep you busy for some time if you want to make your perfect room. The new personal room will definitely appeal more to you collectors and decor-savvy hunters out there.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne launches on September 6, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.