Monster Hunter and otherwise, do you like damage numbers shown or hidden?


#1

So I loaded up Monster Hunter World and while looking through the Options menu, I noticed a setting for showing/hiding those little floating damage numbers. I personally don’t like having them on, but I’m having a hard time figuring out why. It’s worth noting that previous Monster Hunter titles didn’t have any damage numbers, but I find myself doing this for other games too.

So I’m curious, does anyone else hide damage numbers, health bars, etc.? Or if you have a reason why you’d rather have them shown, I’d be curious to know that as well.


What's Your Favorite Weapon in 'Monster Hunter: World'?
#2

My initial thoughts are that maybe they break the immersion a little bit, or that it kind of puts me in a mindset where I obsessively want to maximize damage output, or that it can mislead one to misevaluate how “good” or “bad” a weapon is merely because of how high the numbers are.


#3

It’s a game per game basis for me. If the experience is trying to sell me on immersion in the world, get those numbers out of the way! If the game is more tactical and I’m sort of on the outside of the world looking in, please give me the numbers! Examples: I can’t stand the numbers in Assassin’s Creed: Orgins, but I’d feel lost if they weren’t there in Darkest Dungeon or Divinity Original Sin II. Come to think of it, it might simply be camera perspective that influences my preference :stuck_out_tongue:

As for other indicators like health bars, it’s the same, but depends on length of average fight with a single enemy. The Metro games would feel weird with health bars, but they are essential in a Souls game.


#4

Iiiiiiiiiiinteresting…yeah that totally makes sense, and I think I agree. I don’t play too many strategy games, but I think a similar thing applies with turn-based RPGs. As in, I’d definitely prefer to have the numbers there.

Also one thing I’ll say is I disagree about the health bars in Souls games :stuck_out_tongue: I’m totally fine with them there, and I think I’d be just fine without them. I guess in that case, a Souls boss fight would be like a Monster Hunter hunt!


#5

If the game has a lot of complexity, and especially if there’s a focus on “builds” and character optimization, I think some kind of damage number display is essential. If I’m trying to decide between two items with “15% cooldown reduction” and “+17% elemental damage”, it’s practically meaningless unless I can actually see a difference in damage.

Dark Souls really frustrated me for this reason. So much of the complexity (defensive gear stats, damage types, elements, weapon empowerment) feels somewhat arbitrary and pointless because the game doesn’t do a great job of surfacing that complexity. Unless I have the wiki and a calculator open in another tab, I might as well be looking at the Voynich Manuscript. I ultimately just end up picking whichever weapon “feels” good, dump souls into it, and ignore all the elemental stuff.

On the other hand, I never once wished for damage numbers while playing through Zelda BotW. Each weapon has a single damage number. There’s a little bit of opaque complexity with armor/food buffs, but there’s only 3 levels of damage boost, so you can get a feel for it pretty easy (Tier 1, 2, 3 = 20%, 30%, 50% if anyone’s wondering). Also, the enemy health bars give you sufficient info without the need for precise numbers.

I agree with @Glorgu about Metro, Assassin’s Creed, etc. There’s certain types of games where I really want to just put myself into the world. In the past few AC games, I’ve started turning off 90% of the UI (shoutout to Ubisoft for great UI customization options). The AC games are generally really good about using color, audio, and animation cues for enemies and collectibles so it’s mostly playable without the minimap and overlays. I really wish there was a way in AC Origins to disable the RPG stuff, because it’s kinda impossible to play the game without knowing enemy levels.

It also helps that most “immersion”-focused games tend to have 1-hit kills. You don’t need damage numbers when a single headshot or backstab will kill your enemies.


#6

I love big, floating damage numbers in general because they scratch some kind of itch deep in my reptile brain, but interestingly, the damage numbers in Monster Hunter World initially turned me off. Something about the relatively low numbers being floated up—5’s and 8’s are pretty common early on—in combination with the relatively slow attack speed for most weapons felt real unsatisfying.

I suspect it’s because my brain has been thoroughly trained by the hours I’ve spent playing games that pump out ridiculously high numbers like Diablo 3 or FFXIV, but something about the cadence really took me out of it and made me feel like I must be doing something wrong.

I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that I love damage numbers, but there’s a definite art to tuning your damage systems in order to make it feel satisfying if you’re going to display them.


#7

I don’t mind damage numbers as a general concept, but they struck me as weird specifically when I’ve watched streams of Monster Hunter: World because there was no overall health gauge to contextualize them. I feel like damage numbers make a lot of sense if games give their enemies clear health bars or indicators, because then there’s something to give those numbers something to compare against. But with MHW using animations and visual cues to show lost health, they seemed a bit arbitrary and out-of-place. Almost like how I’d find damage numbers to be really distracting in say Metroid, which also uses visual cues (specifically coloration) to indicate a boss’ health level.


#8

i like the addition of damage numbers in monster hunter world because regardless of how much i actually pay attention to damage numbers in games (read: not very much) it’s an element, along with health bars, that i’m very accustomed to seeing. given that monster hunter has no health bars, it would be useful to me to at least have the damage numbers to start out with so i can figure out how much damage my weapon is doing and ease in to the practice of looking for visual cues rather than reading a percentage on a health bar. it’s cool that you can turn them off, though.


#9

Can’t even imagine turning them off in monster hunter world. The visual feedback is pretty good, but not quite enough for me to be able to tell how effective shooting my bowgun in this spot vs that spot is, and the numbers give me a quick way of understanding that, and also what different sorts of ammo are doing.


#10

Something about seeing numbers, regardless of the environment the game is in, is interesting to see. In MHW there not in your face like some games are with damage numbers and are subtle enough to not disconnect with the atmosphere of the game.


#11

Thanks for the feedback everyone. There are some interesting points on both sides and quite a bit of stuff I never really considered before.


#12

It’s definitely a matter of determining the effectiveness of a character build in a game for me; where the wrong elemental weapon or damage type can severely limit your damage output, as is communicated with the numbers.

I think it’s especially important in a game like Monster Hunter, where the creatures you battle won’t have health bars, and harbour various strengths and weaknesses, down to where you hit them on the body.
Hit an armoured part, while perhaps a bit of an obvious example, and you can just tink away forever with 1-5 damage hits, but land a hit on a vulnerable part and score 30-40 damage per hit and you know you’re making a difference.

For me it’s the same approach that lets me enjoy a simpler game like Breath of the Wild without a HUD, where damage numbers and systems are simplified and don’t matter as drastically, while I can’t imagine playing MH or DkS without a HUD or damage numbers because their complex systems rely on being able to keep track of weapon states, elemental damage, status effects and so forth.


#13

As others have said, it depends on the game. Hitting multiple millions of damage in Xenoblade 2 is immensely satisfying in a tactile sort of way.

I actually don’t mind it in Monster Hunter because I used to have to look up where the optimal spots to hit a monster were before going in for a fight. Now I don’t have to, which is good, because I’ve started to hate looking up outside information for games. Monster Hunter World is my favorite MH so far because it’s the one where you have to look up the least amount of stuff. All of the information you used to need a wiki for is available in-game. So I’m happy that the numbers are there.


#14

Echoing what people have said, the damage numbers in monster hunter are useful feedback for seeing how effective you are being with fighting a monster. There are other cues to show whether you are hitting a weak spot or not in the sound and animations, but they are generally pretty hard to distinguish compared to just straight up numbers.

Another aspect of the damage numbers that I like specifically in Monster Hunter is they are a concrete indicator of progress. Since the game is so heavily based on grinding for new gear, it is really satisfying to fight a monster that you used to only be able to do 20 damage per hit and get see those 100’s flying off of them. I don’t think the game has any other means of showing your progress quite as clearly.


#15

Gimme all the numbers.

Like seriously the more numbers you can turn on for me to look at the better. I like to know exactly how much damage I’m doing at all times, and it’s especially important in games that have a big emphasis on resistances, since you can know what does more damage against what without having to dig into a bunch of menus.


#16

Damage numbers all over the place all day. I shoot a dinosaur with an arrow, there damn well be some giant 9s popping out of that thing. I’m into it.


#17

I like to have damage numbers in any game where a given attack can have variable damage. That may be that your attacks have a random damage value, or that attack location result is different damages. In the case of MHW, the damage numbers of the best indicator of where my attacking is hitting on the monster. This is especially crucial because the hitboxes are a little weird and there is so much movement constantly.

Another reason I like damage numbers is for obvious progression, as others have mentioned. Some games show progression of damage via animation which is fine, but in games like MHW where the hit animations are all the same (except for some elemental effects) it is nice to see larger numbers than before.


#18

Damage numbers are confirmation of hits and you can parse from them when you get crits too. They’re pretty much necessary in games with a focus on whittling down health bars, I think. The only acceptable alternative is gigantic health bars.


#19

Shown, absolutely.
I think they make the curve of improving your character much more noticeable than without.
You could gauge how much you’ve improved by how much faster you kill enemies, but it’s even nicer to be able to say “woah I hit a 700 on that dude,” knowing that you started the game hitting 5’s. I think the numbers are part of why I like Castlevania more than Metroid.


#20

I love seeing stats in games, so I’m definitely pro damage numbers. I haven’t played World yet, but I’m glad damage numbers are in World because getting the most damage on a monster is half the game of Monster Hunter. Each of the weapon types damages monsters differently (especially hammers). They don’t make sense in games like Uncharted, but I think they make sense more to be shown to be shown more often than not.