'Monster Hunter: World' Is Making Me Better at Video Games


#1

My disdain for managing items in games dates back to 1993, when I played my first video game, A Link to the Past. I was four, so of course all I really cared about was getting Link from one block to the next. I didn’t have the time or concentration to worry about the extra things I was picking up and what to do with them. My habit of ignoring my items entirely (with the exception of healing) continued throughout my young life, and made games harder and harder to play as the years went on.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vbpv4d/monster-hunter-world-better-at-video-games

#2

What are some games you’ve played that have made you feel like you’re really improving at video games in general?

Divinity: Original Sin II is helping me improve at so many aspects of video games and being a dungeon master. Every encounter in that game is designed to take advantage of different mechanics but also allows you to approach it from so many different party compositions. It’s generous respeccing mechanic also allows me to hone in on an optimal build for my character without any punishment, which has been surprisingly helpful as I’ve honestly in on what my role in the party should be. This game has me almost convinced I’d be able to understand Pillars of Eternity if I ever went back!

Related, many games need to do a better job at encouraging players to improve and understand them. Whether that be through being generous to the player and giving them ample room to experiment and try things out (see monster Hunter allowing you to downgrade most weapons for full refunds), or need to be strict enough to require players to respect the mechanics (see Prey’s combat and leveling tree). So many games are in some weird middle ground where I don’t need to fully understand a mechanic to succeed, so I’m more often inclined to ignore them (see every skill tree and crafting system in a Ubisoft open world game).


#3

Hi it’s me your resident Celeste Praiser.

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I didn’t connect with Dark Souls games until I played Bloodborne, where the mechanics finally clicked. Playing as that sort of fast, aggressive opponent meshes much better with me, and I got a better feel of how Dark Souls game as a whole are meant to be approached, making me better at those games as well…though I still like Bloodborne more, haha.


#4

It was Demon’s souls that got me into playing games with animation priority.


#5

Yes! I haven’t played it yet, but from everything I’ve heard Celeste seems like it does an excellent job of allowing players to tinker and get a grasp of it’s mechanics!


#6

interesting observation! thinking about it the design flowchart seems to be “defeat the boss, here’s a bunch of mechanics to make that an easier task” (monhun, souls, etc) vs “defeat the boss and here’s a bunch of side mechanics that you can do for fun but won’t really come up in the core loop” (farcry, other open world things)


#7

Playing Punch-Out!! at an early age prepared me for the countless difficult action games I’ve enjoyed over my lifetime. Beating any of the opponents past Glass Joe requires study, pattern recognition, quick reactions, and good timing.


#8

Agreed. Part of it might also be that many games have similar core loop (aim and fire, Arkham/platinum styled combat, etc.) and familiarity with those mechanics makes it easier to ignore other less immediate mechanics, but there are ways to force or encourage players to learn the side mechanics as well. Like low health and strict resource limitations in Prey force you to optimize your skill tree correctly and learn it’s crafting system, which is both to the games advantage and disadvantage. Or in Hyper Light Drifter, the chain-dashing mechanic isn’t required for combat as single dashes often suffice, but it used in some of the harder platforming sequences so learning it is encouraged. On top of that the game provides an area to let the player practice chain-dashing so they can perfect it.

I just wish more AAA games would be more careful with making sure side mechanics and systems were meaningfully structured into their game and we’re directed towards enhancing the core loop in meaningful ways! I know often the developers might not have the choice but far too many times I find myself sighing when the tutorial prompt for a crafting system comes up instead of feeling like “hey, this might be helpful!”


#9

I have a couple:

-Monster Hunter: I definitely felt myself getting better at analyzing enemy attack patterns and being patient when fighting tough enemies.

-Destiny 1 and 2: Destiny raids helped me get better at playing as a part of a team, and focusing my effort on a particular objective.

-Warframe: (Kinda similar to Destiny) helped me understand the benefits of playing a particular role/class, especially as a part of a team.

-Rhythm games: Every time I pick up a new type of rhythm game, I get the hang of the basic mechanics pretty quickly, but I’m always surprised at how good I get when I put in some practice.


#10

Coming back to warframe after i fell off a few years ago hit many of the same notes as what you’ve mentioned here. Although i know i’m bad at games (but good enough to hit level 60 on HZD with only 500 or so photo-mode pictures clogging up the PS4 Pro’s hard drive)

In the last two weeks i’ve played over 50 hours of Warframe and surprised by the level of depth, and the amount i actually care about the next task, mission or thing to do, often obfuscating the feeling of “grind” which many talk about with that game. Today i noticed it has a similar feature to adopt a hunter in the game for years, which i am considering signing up for to help new players hitting the plains for the 1st time.

I can’t watch MH streams (i have to put it on and hide the video) but listen to them and can totally see how it can enforce or encourage a different mindset [or make someone bounce straight off it] and glad you are enjoying it so much.


#11

A couple of games that clicked for me:

  • Pokemon series: The first games I can really say I felt like I put my all into. I rarely finished games as a kid and sticking to(and eventually beating) Pokemon Blue was really formative to me. I finally got why people cared about beating games.

  • Guild Wars 2: I bounced off this game hard the first time I played at launch(I did not even get a single character to max level before leaving to do something else). I came back to it a few years back with the goal of just getting my Warrior to 80. Then the goal became getting her good gear. Then getting her better gear. Before I knew it I was hunting achievements, collecting niche items, leveling crafting and building legendary weapons. Learning delayed gratification and an appreciation for longer experiences has helped me immensely in other games.

  • Overwatch/PUBG: I’m lumping these together because even though they don’t really play the same, they’re the only real online FPS games I feel like I really cared about. They taught me faster reflexes in regards to targeting but most importantly the importance of clarity when communicating to teammates. Not sure if I owe this one to the games as much as to my patient and kind friends, who helped mentor me through these experiences.

  • Dark Souls series: These taught me a simple lesson. Dying or failing in a game is not the end of the world. It’s a learning experience and every failure teaches me new things I can apply to my next attempt.