Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Monster Hunter World: Hunting Horn, Regular and Tempered Nergigante Under 15 Minutes With Some Practice

TL/DR: Click on the pictures of the builds below

I love the nearly fail-proof defensive (I'll call it "fail-proof" for short) build that I wrote about in the past post, as anyone can use the build and succeed as long as you have at least 30 minutes to complete the mission, no practicing required.

Since I finally got another Hero's Streamstone for my Hunting Horn, I needed a missing Nergigante gem to augment it with health regeneration. Therefore, it was time to farm regular Nergigante. Regular monsters are the best way to get parts, whereas their Tempered counterparts are the best way to get Streamstones and Jewels.
  
Using the fail-proof build while farming regular Nergigante, I noticed that he wasn't doing much damage, not even his notorious dive bomb (Tempered Nergigante is a different matter) was able to 1HKO as long as my health bar was at least half-way full (also I was never stunned due to stun negate). Therefore, it didn't seem like I really need all those defensive skills.

Because it takes a lot of farming to get the rare Nergigante gem, in order to save time, I decided to make an offensive build to kill Nergigante quicker (Alternatively, you can buy the gem from the Elder Melder if you have Gold Wyverian Print, but I wanted to practice and farm Nergigante to "git gud").

I decided to revisit the Deviljho (Pickle) Hunting Horn line, ending with Deep Vero, for a more offensive build, as his weapon has the highest raw damage if you build for it, along with the Heavy Bone Horn II.

Deep Vero has the Attack Up Large To Extra Large song, as well as Defense Up Large to Extra Large, which is wonderful because that means I can tank hits more.

The issue I had with Pickle previously when constructing the fail-proof build is its lack of gem slots, which were needed for all the skills. But I can see why the Hunting Horn gurus find Deep Vero the best because they don't need all that defense and utility due to their skilled game play.

At any rate, in my first outing, wielding Deep Vero, I was taken aback at the huge damage numbers, on average hitting 100. I often see even higher numbers upon song recital and encore which hit multiple times (not sure if this added to 600?). Because this horn was hitting so hard on Nergi's weak spots, the Pickle horn appeared to exhaust, stun and/or KO Nergigante more frequently than with a weaker damaging horn.

He KO'd whenever I broke parts or trip him which is due to the huge amount of damage Pickle's horn was doing. Stun procs by number of hits rather than damage. Whenever he's fallen down from KO, I can easily hit him on the head many times. By the time he gets up and I hit him a couple more times on the head, he tends to stun. Niki, my Palico, also paralyzes him once per mission. As you can see, this leads to quick kills.

Excited about the prospect of killing Nergigante fast, I then made a build around the Pickle horn. You really need to build around it to bring out its true potential.

I also watched this really great YouTube guide that breaks down Nergigante's moves and attack patterns. Indeed, if you really know all of his moves and can anticipate and counter all of his attacks, you can cruise through even Tempered Nergigante with an offensive set, or even a naked run!



How To Build for the Pickle Horn
Upon researching Pickle Horn Builds, Handicraft and Protective Polish skills are needed to get it to the highest level of sharpness, which is White. Protective Polish allows your weapon to lose no sharpness after sharpening, for an impressive 1 minute. Due to the Pickle horn's negative affinity of -30%, it's recommended to have Weakness Exploit to offset it. Lastly, my Pickle horn has health regeneration augments.

I opted for a second health regeneration augment, though most would argue for health regeneration and affinity for the 2 slots. However, since it's easy to gem out the negative affinity, I went for extra health regeneration instead.

I think if you can only augment your weapons once, the health regeneration augment seems to be the best choice out of the other augments of Attack, Defense, Affinity boosts, and extra slot. Instead of wasting time to heal, you can hit the monster to not only do extra damage, but also heal at the same time. Not only will you be attacking, but you'll be healing, preventing the possibility of carting.

Protective Polish is a gem that's very rare, so I recommend watching this YouTube video as a fail-proof way of getting precious gems.



And then VERY carefully read this reddit post before you start gem sniping.

After building for Deep Vero, my time was actually really fast for me (I think it was around 10 minutes). Excited, I practiced and tinkered with builds some more. Through experimentation, I found, at the same skill level, my times were significantly faster with a mix offense/defense build than a purely offensive build!

The purely offensive build had the near almost"ideal" offensive stats for the Pickle horn: Weakness Exploit 3, Maximum Might 3,  Handicraft 2, and even the optimal Attack Boost level 7 (highest level possible).

The only utility skills were: Protective Polish and Horn Maestro. I carried the Rocksteady and Impact Mantle. My Palico, Niki, was using the Coral Orchestra for stun negate. 

The problem with this offensive build occurs when the Rocksteady mantle wears off. Without the mantle, I routinely flinch from the roars, which prevent me from hitting huge damage numbers on his head.

I also got hit by his spikes and his dive bombs since dodging without evade extender wasn't far enough to avoid these attacks.

Further, without Niki's stun negate (often she doesn't play the song), being stunned has led to carting (albeit rarely), but even though I didn't cart, being immobile prevents attacking.

Because of all these interruptions, my time was actually MORE than 10 minutes with this purely offensive build, even during missions when I didn't faint. Time was also taken away from drinking healing potions.

With the pure offensive build ranging at best 10 mins without carting, there might be times when I do cart, which would lead to panic, rushing to kill him before the 15 minutes are up, which can feasibly lead to yet another faint due to carelessness.

So, for me, I feel that utility and defensive skills are more effective. With these extra skills built in, my best time was 6 minutes 42.68 seconds, which isn't "amazing", but actually amazing for my skill level.

I consistently get under 7 minutes for regular Nergigante (no carts), which gives a huge safety net if I ever need to do regular Nergigante 15 minute no faint investigations. The absolute worst time was around 10 minutes when I was really loopy and not hitting him on the head.

A mixed offensive and defensive build is safer and more relaxing, and paradoxically faster than the purely offensive one.

With testing, I found that these skills led to the safest and fastest times for regular Nergigante:

Earplugs 5
This is essential for faster times. Every time Nergigante roars, which is a lot, there's a huge window where you can attack his head, landing at least 1 Super Pound. His roars give you enough time to position yourself perfectly near his head to land these hits (even when I was flailing about), which eventually leads to breaking his horns and spikes, exhausting, and/or stunning him. This lets you attack his head even more.

The pros wear the Rocksteady mantle to avoid his roars, and in the event that he's alive after the mantle wears off, they can effortlessly dodge them. Even so, why dodge his roars when you can use that opportunity to hit him on the head instead?

Evade Extender 3 and Handicraft 2, Protective Polish
To fit these skills in, I couldn't have Handicraft 3 and Evade Extender 3 at the same time, so one of them had to be level 2. I tried a build with Evade Extender 2, and there were times when the rolls didn't go far enough to avoid his spikes. Being hit by the spikes leads to less time attacking. But, with Evade Extender 3, you can clear the spikes and even his dive bombs, and immediately roll back to Nergigante's head and attack.

Interestingly, with Handicraft 2 and Protective Polish, the Pickle horn stays white most of the time, until he moves to another area. There are few times when it dips into blue sharpness, but that's for a pretty short time. You can sharpen again before entering the next area.

Stun negate
This is a must, because so many times I could've been carted but by sheer luck, I survived.  The times I was stunned and survived, that was time I could be attacking. You can't really count on your Palico to play the stun negate song (Niki often doesn't play this song for entire missions), so I decided to gem this in. 

Horn Maestro
Deep Vero's Attack Extra Large boost doesn't last long, so I gemmed in Horn Maestro. When I left this skill out for the purely offensive build, in order to max out Attack boost, I noticed that I didn't have the buff on for the entirety of the mission, losing out on massive damage of 20%.

Health Boost or Attack Boost 3
When I first practiced, I carted, so I put in health boost 3 giving my health bar 200 instead of 150, which made the hunt much smoother and faster, because no faints.

However, since practicing against regular Nergigante and no longer fainting, I don't need that extra health boost, so I left that out and put in Attack boost 3. Divine Protection is not needed as none of his attacks will 1HKO as long as your armor is fully augmented and upgraded, you're dodging reasonably well, and you're not stunned.

So the beauty of this build, but ONLY for regular Elders, is that you can swap the three gem level 1 slots for other skills of your choosing. For example, instead of three attack boost jewels, for Vaal Hazak, gem in Effluvial Negate 3, for Teostra, gem in Fire Resist 3, and for Kirin, Lightning Resist 3.

I'll be practicing this build against the remaining normal Elders to see the viability, and will write a post about my findings. I may have to use another build for Kushala Daora, using Kushala 3-pieces for the All Wind Negate armor set bonus, if I want to use the Deviljho instead of the Xeno'Jiiva horn (which has All Wind Negate song).

Food and Buff Items
I eat the meat platter for Attack large. I bring in the following buff items: Armor and Demon drug, Demon and Hardshell powders, and Might and Adamant seeds for extra Attack and Defense boosts. Immunizer for recovery speed.

Mantles
Rocksteady and Impact. I find, psychologically, it's best to put on the Impact mantle when you first start the battle, and try to mount to knock him over. Even if you can't get the mount, the Impact mantle will help you stun him so you have a good start.

Palico Niki
Coral Orchestra since your Palico can buff you with stamina, health recovery, tremor resist and other helpful songs. With regular Nergigante, you don't need heals from Vigorwasp as long as you dodge reasonably well.

Niki wears the Kulve armor (Xeno armor is just as good) and wields the Butterfly wand. If you missed the spring event when you can get this paralysis weapon, you can alternatively use Kitty-of-the-Valley Rod. She procs paralysis at least once per mission. 

You can also have your Palico equip the Baan Ball (Radobaan) hammer which inflicts sleep. You can then sleep bomb. I preferred the paralysis route because there are times when I can't cancel my hits in the middle of recital when he falls asleep, waking him up.

The Kulve event is coming this Friday, so you can get your Kulve sets and weapons!

With all these skills in mind, here's the build, but ONLY good for regular Nergigante.

Regular Nergigante 15-Minute Build
Pickle Horn for Normal Nergigante

The skills include:

1. Earplugs 5
2. Horn Maestro
3. Stun Negate 3
4. Attack Boost 3 (or swap out for Health Boost 3)
5. Evade Distance 3
6. Weakness Exploit 2
7. Handicraft 2
8. Protective Polish
9. Critical Boost 1 (from Kulve Armor)

Tempered Nergigante
Tempered is a different ballpark altogether. I carted quite a few times using the Pickle build even with Health Boost 3. But if you're better at dodging and you know his attack patterns, you won't faint. Tempered Nergigante hits really, really hard and I haven't gotten to that level of anticipating each of his attacks.

As a result, I felt I needed more defensive skills such as Health Boosts, Regeneration, and Recovery speed to comfortably beat a Tempered Nerg investigation in under 15 minutes with no carts.

When I ran the above Pickle build, replacing Attack Boost Level 3 with Health Boost 3, my best time was around 8 mins and 30 seconds. Average is around 10 minutes but if I cart, it might go to 12 mins, which is pushing it a bit too close to the 15 minute time pressure. Further, it's really easy to cart if you're not paying full attention, so there's the stress.

Now the interesting thing is that when I made this new, more defensive build, I don't faint (unless doing really thoughtless things). It's less stressful because the defense allows my health bar to never fall to near 0. I don't have to waste time healing as much, or even at all when I'm on point. Surprisingly, I got better times than the more offensive Pickle builds.

My best time using this build is 7 mins 47.00 seconds, and it may improve with more practice. I was averaging around 8 to 9 minutes with no faints. If I'm playing very sloppily, my worst time was around 10 minutes.

Because of this safety net, I never feel stressed and I know I could finish well under the 15 minutes time limit. I also feel that I have more control over the mission. I don't flail about trying to hit as much as possible as I do with the more offensive build (often missing the weak spot) as I feel the pressure to incapacitate him as fast as possible. Rather, because of the defense, I don't necessarily have to immobilize him immediately, so I have the space and time to thoughtfully and more accurately land the attacks on weak spots.

When I get better at reading Nergigante, I can always opt for more offense down the road. Even so, finishing the mission easily within 8 to 10 mins allows a lot of cushion for a 15 minute investigation. I never feel panicked or rushed, and I can even take my time to buff again right before entering the next area, though it's not needed due to Horn Maestro.

But, how do you cram in Health Boost, Health Regeneration, and Recovery Speed? Further, to KO Tempered Nergigante consistently, you need the high attack damage numbers, so how can you fit some offensive skills in as well?

The answer lies with the under-rated Nergigante Hunting Horn, ending with Desolation's Overture, with Health Regen Augment. Desolation's damage is in the top 4 along with, alphabetically, Bazelguese, Deviljho, and Heavy Bone II. Again, we need the damage numbers for KO purposes so I had to chose among these 4. I settled upon Desolation because it has the Earplugs Large (equivalent to max level 5) which saves up so much space for the skills I wanted.

Further, you don't need Handicraft since Nergi's horn doesn't go to White sharpness, as you do with the Bazelguese and Deviljho. The Heavy Bone Horn II, from my understanding, also doesn't go to White sharpness, but it may need Handicraft and/or Protective Polish due to its short blue sharpness. Indeed, unlike the Bone horn, there's no need for Protective Polish since Desolation has a very long blue sharpness bar. 

Lastly, Nergigante's horn has affinity 0%. With its Affinity Up Large/Health Recovery Small song, it goes into positive affinity to 20%. There's no need to gem against negative affinities like with the Deviljho's.

I also equipped the Attack Boost Level 3 Charm, further slotting in Attack Jewel for level 4, granting Attack +12 to true raw damage values. At level 4, there's additional 5% affinity. We're now at 25% Affinity with song.

Because of the Nergigante horn's features, it allowed me to equip the meta Dragonking Eye Patch and gem in Weakness Exploit for level 3, giving 50%Affinity when attacking weak points. Since we're tending to attack the weak spots, the affinity is 75%. So it's 75% chance of crit when hitting weak spots, and 25% chance when not hitting weak points with song. My understanding is that Critical hits incur extra 25% damage.

This build uses the 3-piece Vaal Hazak armor which provides, along with Regeneration, additional offensive boost with Peak Performance 2, giving you attack +10 when your health is full.

The build is rather flexible. You can always swap out the Attack charm and the Attack Jewel for other skills! Ironically, despite my fetish for Defense, when I swapped the Divine Protection Charm for the Attack Charm, this led to my best times. Having the increased attack was just as safe and comfortable as having Divine Protection. Due to the extra damage I was dealing, I was able to immobilize Tempered Nergigante more frequently and for longer periods of time so he couldn't attack me as frequently.

I use the same mantles, food,  items and Palico gears as the normal Nergigante build. The Coral Orchestra is especially helpful here, since you can get attack and defense boosts that the Nergigante horn doesn't have.

With all that being said, here's the build.

Tempered Nergigante 15-Minute Build

The build has the following skills:
1. Vaal Hazak Vitality
2. Attack Boost 4
3. Weakness Exploit 3
4. Stun Negate 3
5. Health Boost 3
6. Recovery Speed 2
7. Evade Extender 3
8. Peak Performance 2 (from Hazak armor)
9. Horn Maestro

Practicing Tempered Investigations
I was only able to use these builds after practicing. If you don't have time and/or investigations to practice, than the past post's build will work near flawlessly for 30 and 50 minute hunts with no effort. I think it may work for 15 minutes solo with practice, but I haven't tested it since coming up with these new more offensive builds.

I was able to practice using the save scrum method. I finally got the Tempered and Regular Nergigante investigations (as well as all the other elders). I saved this file on a USB as the "master Practice" file.

I have another separate USB that has the most current "real" file in case I make a mistake. I also make sure I save the real file to the Cloud storage.

Whenever I want to practice, I download USB master practice file to system file. Once finished practicing, I then download the Cloud's real file back to the system file to resume game play.

If I make a mistake by downloading what I thought was the real file to the Cloud file (in other words, both save files are now the Practice files by accident), I have the back-up USB real file to overwrite.

I will test and post builds for the other Elders, both tempered and normal versions, as my goal is to be able to complete all Tempered Elder missions comfortably, under 15 minutes with no faints!

Are you a Hunting Horn main and if so, do you have any recommendations to improve upon these builds? Please feel free to comment below!

Kulve Taroth Siege Friday, May 23rd

Don't forget, during the same day as the Dark Souls Remastered release, Monster Hunter: World is bringing back Kulve Taroth, so it's a great opportunity to get her armors for you and your Palico, many unique weapons and your two armor overlay (though they look almost identical) for Fashion Souls purposes!

I hope I can get the Kulve Taroth Lance "Claw", the rarity 7 weapon that's considered the best lance in the game.

The Lance is really perfect for Kulve, and will ensure that you don't faint as long as you can equip stun negate. The only times I fainted was when I was stunned. I'm not sure why I didn't equip stun negate for the last event.

The reason why the Lance is perfect is because you can guard dash toward Kulve, and while dashing you'll constantly hit up and down her body, breaking off parts. It also has the best guard in the game so you can guard against her lava and body checks.

I'm thinking of using this build. It has Part Breaker 3, as the mission objective is to break off her horns. It also includes Guard up and Guard Level 5. Though I found out you really need only level 3 but 5 allows for less knock back and less stamina drain. Of course, Stun Negate. 

Due to guard dashing eating up sharpness, I'll be using Protective Polish and the Nergigante lance due to its large blue sharpness. Mind's Eye so the lance won't bounce. Weakness Exploit 3 makes a lot of sense, but I couldn't fit the jewels in, since I prefer more health and defense. Mission failures always occur from too many faints, and I don't want to cart.

I've also been fishing for a lot of whetfish scales for faster sharpening. This usable item sharpens in 2 swipes (equivalent to speed sharpening 2), whereas the whetstone takes a long 4 swipes. During the last Kulve event, it was very annoying that whenever I had to sharpen, the Gajalakas would always interrupt due to the long sharpening animation.

Kulve doesn't seem to roar that much so I'm not using Earplugs.


Skills are:
1. Uragaan Protection (blocks all unblockable attacks)
2. Guard 5
3. Stun Negate 3
4. Health Boost 3
5. Partbreaker 3
6. Divine Blessing 3
7. Fire Resistance 1
8. Critical Boost 1
9. Mind's Eye
10. Protective Polish

I'll be eating for Elemental Resist Large. I'm bringing in Fire Mantle for the last area 4, and Health booster for party members.

Are you excited about Kulve's return?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dark Souls Remastered: Buy or Not? (MM44)

My goal, to avoid backlog, is to only buy one game this year, which is Monster Hunter: World, unless it's a must-have such as Kingdom Hearts 3. However, I couldn't resist and pre-ordered Dark Souls Remastered for the PS4, since it's the greatest game ever made. This will release Friday, May 25th.

The rationale is I want to relive Dark Souls without the awful Blighttown lag, and I don't have access to PC for the DSFix that fixes this notorious problem. Since I love the game so much, it's almost a no-brainer for me to pre-order.

So, if you do NOT have access to a PC and you love this game as much as me and want to relive the experience in glorious HD and smooth frame rates, then I would recommend pre-ordering. However, if you have access to PC, I would NOT and just install DSFix for almost the same quality as the remastered version, per Digital Foundry:



However, if you hate or merely like Dark Souls, then obviously I wouldn't pre-order and save your hard-earned money.

Aside from these two extreme ends, what if you've never played Dark Souls before? This is where it gets tricky. I would highly consider pre-ordering for the following reasons.

If you love exploring diverse areas, with rich world-building and lore (albeit weak story), Dark Souls may be up your alley. Indeed, the world is chock-full of secrets, traps, and various surprises, that you'll always find something new upon each play through.

If you really enjoy meticulous combat where you have to think through your moves, this game may appeal to you. Out of all the Dark Souls series, this is the game where I have to min/max my armor to beat bosses in NG+7 (the hardest difficulty level), as opposed to literally full Havel's with maximum poise in Dark Souls 3.

For example, to avoid spoilers, one such boss I needed to flip around his elemental attacks, so my encumbrance had to be 25% with elemental resistances. I actually had to use the Mugenmonkey armor builder calculator to figure out the optimal sets for the most tricky bosses at higher NG+'s.

If you love min/max and creating very customizable (albeit, in general, un-attractive) characters, I think this game is worth pre-ordering.

For more details, here's the link to my review of the game explaining why it's the best game created to date.

If you're going to get this game, and it's your first time playing, I would recommend NOT getting the Master Key as your gift, so you can more fully appreciate the brilliant level design. I know most will recommend the Master Key. Indeed, I followed everyone's advice, until my last playthrough, I chose the Pendant instead, and it made me appreciate the level design even more!

In the meantime, I'm so very excited about this game, and hopefully this time around I'll be able to memorize the entire map and all item locations!

What about you, will you be getting the remastered version?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Monster Hunter: World Near Fail-Proof Hunting Horn Build For Coop and Solo (MM43)

TL/DR: go to bottom of post for the COOP builds, and click on the loadouts.

In the last post, I wrote about a build that's near infallible for solo play, and it has been consistently effective for missions that have at least 3 faints, even for the most difficult monsters, who are the Tempered variants of Kirin and Deviljho (known as Pickle), per general consensus.

There are some issues with the build. Some investigations only allow for 1 to 2 faints, in which case the build might not hold up as the main concept is built around the Fortitude skill that allows for a huge 15% boost in defense, up to two times, total of 30%.

But the caveat is that it only procs when you cart. By the time you become near invincible through fainting twice, you'd have failed the mission.

As you can see, this build may not be effective for coop as well. The most concerning reason is that if you faint twice, and invariably, another party member faints, the whole team loses the mission.

This build also lacks in other defensive skills, which can be problematic in group sessions. Quite a few times I'd get stunned, or flinch from roars, so I can't recite the song buffs. To be a good Hunting Horn teammate, you really want all party members to be buffed at all times so they can be as effective as possible, ensuring a higher likelihood of success.

Additionally, due to being stunned and subsequently hit, I have to drink quite a few healing items which also takes away from attacks. Again, it doesn't really affect solo play, since I don't mind longer hunt times. But in coop, the longer the mission goes on, the more likely a party member will faint, so the goal is to finish the mission as quickly as possible.

Indeed, this need to kill monsters as quickly as possible has gotten to the extreme. Often I see teammates recklessly rush into attacking the monster, not waiting for an opening, carting as a result, in their rush to kill monsters fast.

Another scenario is when a monster flees to another area. This is the ideal time to sharpen, buff and heal with items. However, teammates often would run away from me before I can rebuff them. It appears that they don't want to "waste" even a few seconds despite the buffs being incredibly powerful, always stronger than any consumable items or even armor skills.

For example, everyone's fetish is increasing attack power, and quite a few Hunting Horns have Attack Extra Large after recital and encore, which adds a huge 20% increase in attack power. To put this in perspective, everyone's belly aching about not getting the elusive Attack jewels to get their builds to Attack level 7, which adds on average about 8%. At 20%, the Hunting Horn Attack boost song is more than twice as powerful!

Because of the above reasons, I wanted to create a COOP-oriented build that prevents me from fainting as that's the absolute most important thing to avoid. Also, a viable COOP build must have the right skills to be an effective Hunting Horn team member.

So, next up are the skills that I've considered in making a COOP Hunting Horn Build and the rationale. I've tested this on tempered monsters (both solo and in group) that I always have difficulties killing, except for Tempered Nergigante as I don't have investigations for him. I don't find the HR100 mission a good representation since Nergigante's health is so reduced that it shortens the time so you're less likely to faint. Indeed, I was intimidated by this very last mission, but found it easy in the end.

Once I get a Tempered Nergigante investigation, I'll be sure to post if these builds work against him.

I found these new builds actually more effective solo than even the last posted build, as I rarely cart, and more importantly, more fun since I'm no longer stunned, or flinched from roars.

Stun Negation Level 3

Upon thinking about creating this near fail-proof build, I have to think of times when I faint the most, and it's almost always being stunned by a powerful blow, and then being hit by a 1HKO attack, that almost all monsters have. Because of that, in all my builds, I must have Stun Negate level 3 on my armor, or from a song provided by the Hunting Horn.

Divine Blessing Level 3
To prevent being carted by 1HKO attacks in the first place, you obviously need very strong defense. I found Divine Blessing level 3 the most effective skill as it reduces damage by an enormous 50%. Although it's random, it procs so frequently that I feel like it works practically all the time. So if one of these devastating attacks land, it will only take out 50% of your life bar (or of course less if you have heavy defense), guaranteeing survival. So many times I was saved by Divine Blessing. So level 3 is needed as an armor skill, or from the Hunting Horn.

Health Boost Level 3

I watched this video which gave me a basis for my current build. I recommend watching his other videos as they are very well put together and thought out:



but I got wiped by Tempered Elders' devastating attacks. The build doesn't include Health Boost jewels that can boost your health from 150 to 200, after item/food buffs. However, this build is invincible if you have the incredible skill level of aquChaos, and can stun lock and/or exhaust the monster, preventing it from injuring you.

If you closely watch the video, all of his hits land on the monster's head, which takes considerable skill. He is always in perfect position to do so (even without the evade extender, more on this below), and look how he dodges flawlessly despite NOT having evasion skills on hand!

For mere mortals like me, a lot of my hits land on the monster's legs, body, or completely whiff, as I'm frantically thinking, "finally an opening" and often just strike as soon as possible, because who knows when the next opening will arise.

You need the skill to know where the correct position is, making minute adjustments to somehow land hits where the monster's head happens to be. Admittedly, there are times when I'm in the zone where I'm brilliantly positioned almost the whole time at the monster's head, constantly stun locking or exhausting him, but it's in no way a consistent scenario, sadly enough.

It's impressive that aquChaos's build can withstand Xeno'jiiva's laser beam, but if you notice, this is with Rocksteady Mantle on. Sadly, the effect duration is only 90 seconds, though it can be infinite if you're not moving and not attacking, but of course, you can't stand still the whole time. The cool down is a long 3 minutes, so a lot of the time, you're without the tool.

Because I'm not at this skill level, I made sure all my builds have Health Boost level 3 which will give you 200 with food and/or item buffs. That is 150 base, and then food/buffs add an extra 50. I cannot emphasize how much tankier you are with just that extra 50 points. The 1HKO attacks can go from 150 to 0, but when I had 200, it gives you that cushion to run away, heal and survive.

If you feel you don't need the three gems for the health boost, that frees you up to a lot of other skills you can use, namely Attack Boost 3, Defense Boost 3, Recovery Up 3, any of the elemental resistances, and the like.

Evade Distance Level 3
Clearly if you never get hit, you don't need defense, so I found this skill incredibly useful as it helps you move out of the way of large AOE attacks. 

Indeed, while using the last post's build, it didn't matter that I kept getting hit by Pickle's dragon breath over and over again, since the build withstands. However, this is not going to be effective in COOP. I can't be a useful team member if I keep flopping all over the place, instead of attacking and playing songs, and certainly not if I'm carted back at camp.

Since Pickle's area of effect is so large, Evade Distance is such a life saver. Often a couple of rolls will allow you to escape his breath entirely, as well as Teostra's super nova, and the like.

Further, the other brilliant thing of Evade Distance level 3 is that you can cover so much ground that you can be at the monster to strike before it moves out of range. So many times, I roll away from the monster and/or I'm already far away from it to avoid the devastating blows and enormous AOE attack.


But, by the time I roll back toward the monster during an opening, he's moved away and about to strike again. That has led to a lot of complete whiffs. However, with Evade Distance, I'm quick enough to roll where the monster is and land a blow, quite often being able to position myself at its head even, close the distance, before it has a chance to move.

So Evade Distance is not only defensive, but also offensive.

Evade Window
I tried to cram this skill in as I noticed with Evade Window levels 3 to 5, I shouldn't have been able to dodge those attacks when I did, thanks to the extra i-frames they give! At Level 5, you feel near invincible as long as you have enough stamina to roll.

However, I wasn't able to equip this ability and earplugs at the same time, in some of the builds. After experimenting, it seems Evade Distance was more useful than Evade Window, because you can roll away entirely from the attacks, then you can easily close the distance and hit the monster, which you can't do with Evade Window.

Earplugs--Monster Dependent
In group mode, I really feel that as a Hunting Horn, I must have earplugs so I can play songs without being interrupted to contribute offensively, and to make sure everyone is buffed all the time.

Indeed, the highest damaging attacks are through recital and encore which have long animation: you can so easily be interrupted by the dreaded roars. I also found that even though the last post's invincible build was fun, it got tiring after awhile when I kept getting interrupted. Indeed, it's just lovely to be able to whack Diablos in the face while he's roaring, instead of cringing!

If I'm not using a horn that has Earplugs Large, I've made builds that incorporate appropriate level earplugs for the monster. Fortunately, Kirin doesn't have roars, so my earplugs level 0 build can use Lightning Resist instead of earplugs. So I make sure I consult this chart to see what Earplugs I need:

Monster Roar Levels

Regeneration
Because of the last post's build focusing on incredibly high defense numbers, I tried building around Kulve's armor set, since it's tied with Xeno'jiiva as having the highest base defense. Further, the chest piece B has stun resist level 2 skill (and even Critical Boost Level 1) so you only need to slot 1 Steadfast Jewel for complete stun negation, freeing up 2 slots for other gems.

Even with all the defensive skills described above, using the Kulve armor, I still cart from time to time, and was wondering why didn't I just go back to the meta Vaal Hazak Vitality Regeneration build that I was using for Lance, once I got my guard and guard up jewels?

Incorporating Vaal Hazak set, after playing tons of missions, I only carted twice during one mission against its Tempered variant, failing the 2 faint mission. I was completely unfocused and too over-confident, so I was taking all the hits. Yes, this build can fail if you do really really dumb things (hello, maybe dodge? instead of tanking and trading blows), so you can't be AFK.

But the fact that I never fainted prior after numerous Tempered encounters solo and in group pointed to the power of regeneration over defense numbers. So all ensuing builds incorporate regeneration.

I was only able to get one Hero's Streamstone: Hammer (I'd like two more for Nergigante and Teostra) which I used on the Xeno Manasheena. So if you happen on one, I would augment your Horn with Health Regen.

Fortitude
There are going to be times when you're going to faint, no one's perfect. In this case, it helps if we have the 15% extra defense and 10% attack heading back into the fray.

Horn Maestro
Lastly, this is crucial as you want the buffs to last as long as possible, for the times where there are no openings to play a song to rebuff.

These are quite a lot of skills, so I had to leave out considerations of Recovery Up (which leads to increase amount of health recovery with items, Vaal Hazak regeneration and the like) in some of the builds, as well as Evade Window. I also couldn't cram in Defense boost charms and gems in some of the build. Sadly, we can't have everything, but with these skills in place, this build is extremely strong and near infallible, unless you're extremely thoughtless and careless like I was during that ill-fated Tempered Vaal investigation.

Build Accessibility
Even though these builds require end-game monster parts, as do all high end builds, the jewels are all low rarity and actually easy to get.  You'll most likely stumble upon them through story and ranking up your hunter levels.

Item Buffs
I use Immunizers to boost recovery speed even further (it really makes a noticeable difference), which stacks with the armor skill.

I buff with armorskin drug (I'm replenishing the mega variant) and demon drug as they last until cart (Though I think with Deviljho, you'll have to reapply armorskin if you get inflicted by defense down).

Right before attacking the monster, I pop the adamant seed, might seed (both last 3 minutes) and Immunizer (lasts 5 minutes) since they are time limited. I replenish when monster flees to another area.

Mantles
The Tempered monsters hit so hard, that Vitality Mantle which was my mainstay, has been ruled out. It absorbs certain amount of damage before it's in cool-down, so it doesn't last long.

Instead, I've been using the Health Booster to heal teammates extremely quickly. Further it heals enormous amounts of health over a 1 minute period, which also ensures further mission success by preventing carts.

I equip the Rocksteady Mantle, which is vital. Solo, I buff myself with songs, stock 3 songs to be ready to recite/encore right before facing the monster.

But in COOP, teammates simply can't wait. By wearing this mantle, I can recite and encore all 3 songs at once in the fray, without being interrupted by the monster and teammates, ensuring everyone is being buffed all at the same time.

Palico Gadget and Weapon
If you don't have a full team going in, your trusty palico can join. Niki wears the highest defense armor, Kulve Taroth or Xeno Set, uses Vigorwasp for further fail-proof, and wields the Felyne Butterfly Wand as it procs paralysis at least once per mission. It's recommended to use status ailment weapons.

Horn Considerations
Aside from the skills, buffs and mantles consideration, the next consideration as a Hunting Horn user is which horn to use?  

The good news is that all the horns along the same line have the same songs, so you don't necessarily need the highest tier one.

Strangely, I didn't find the general consensus of best Hunting Horns effective for this near-infallible build, for either group or solo. These are Bazelguese's line (ending with Bazelreid Rookslayer) and Pickle's tree (ending with Deep Vero) Hunting Horns.

The Bazelguese's has the two level 2 gems lots, Attack Boost XL and Recovery Speed L up.  It also has a healing small song, that doesn't heal much. The issue is that you still need to slot for earplugs, and it doesn't have Defense Boost which makes this build near fail-proof solo.

Further, although its Recovery Speed song is faster than an Immunizer drink, but by having Recovery Speed level 3 gemmed in, plus taking an Immunizer, the Recovery is already very fast, so the song really isn't needed. I agree that the Attack Boost XL is significant, but when I used the other Horns solo, I didn't notice any notable difference in kill times.

Pickle's is considered the best due to the highest raw attack, even with the negative affinity. It also has Attack and Defense XL songs with Health Boost Large. It's the Defense XL that really makes this build near fail-proof at least in solo, so it was a great contender.

The issue with his weapon is that it doesn't have any slots, so I wasn't able to gem in all the skills required. I really tried to fit in these skills and make it work, because I love how it looks and when it sings, its mouth moves!

Nergigante Hunting Horn Loadout

Nergigante's horn, Desolation's Overture, is another horn I was considering. Because it has the earplugs large song, it frees so much space that you can even slot in Evade Window 3 to take advantage of additional i-frames!

Further, since a lot of users don't equip earplugs, it gives them extra windows for attacking. With Pickle's weapons having negative affinity, but often being one of the best weapons of almost every category, a lot of players have been using his weapons. Nergigante's horn has the Affinity Up Large that can mitigate the negative affinity, and boost attack power of team members who aren't already maxed out in affinity.

Further, Desolation's Overture has one of the highest raw attack power, and I find it the most unique looking Hunting Horn, along with Pickle's. For one of the slots, I added a Dragon jewel to increase it's Dragon element, but you can use another level 1 gem instead.

I sometimes use Nergigante's in both solo and group, so I included the loadout above, but the reality is, the Xeno'jiiva's horn, Xeno Manasheena, is more effective fail-proof wise, precisely because of its Defense XL song that pushes it over the edge in terms of invincibility. In fact, the last post's build is dependent on having either you or a friend play this defense boost. Further, it's the only horn that has 2 level 3 gem slots, which opens up a lot of skills to chose from.

You can equip earplugs charm level 3, and then slot two earplugs in the Xeno horn for the vaunted earplugs level 5, freeing up armor slots for other skills.

The Xeno Horn has Attack Large (15%)! So not quite perfection at Attack XL (20%) but close! I also find the Xeno songs easy to play as all the songs' notes can bridge onto another song. 

Additionally, Xeno has All Wind Negate for missions against Kushala Daora, and even Stamina Reduction, especially helpful for Bow, Dual Blade and Switch Axe users. So the Xeno Horn is the go to Horn in both group and solo missions against Kushala.

For solo, with monsters that don't inflict ailments, I tend to use Xeno's Horn.

However, in COOP, for all other monsters, especially those who inflict ailments, I use Teostra's line, ending with Teostra's Orphee. It has the all ailment negate song, but also Divine Protection, freeing up a lot of slots for other skills.

The ALL ailments negated song includes full protection against the deadly stun ailment, along with effluvial, paralysis, poison, sleep. Getting stunned leads to most deaths, and Divine Protection reduces quite a few incoming damage by 50%, so this is the go to Hunting Horn in group. 

The issue with Teostra is that it has small blue sharpness, but it has high blast, as well as a song that boosts elemental attack power up Large.

I noticed when I used the other Hunting Horns, the team tends to wipe despite affinity, attack and defense boosts, even earplugs large for Nergigante and Diablos roars. However, the success rate was increased significantly when I bring in Teostra's. It appears that teammates tend not to gem for stun negation or divine blessing, but rather focus on attack and offensive skills.

Finally, here are the loadouts I used in group missions:

Kushala Daora
I use Xenojiva's for Kushala Daora missions, since it has All Wind Pressure Negate, so it totally neutralizes Daora. Further, it always helps to give attack and defense boosts to the party, and if you have bow or dual blades users, it even has Stamina Reduction so they can be even more effective with attacks and dodges.

Kushala Daora Loadout

It's hard to see, but equipped are Earplug Charm level 3, and the two Earplug Jewels since Kushala's roars are level 5.

The skills are as follows:

Vaal Hazak Vitality (speeds healing of recoverable damage, the red/yellow portion of the health gauge)

Earplugs 5 (nullfies weak and strong roars)

Stun Resistance 3 (Prevents Stun)

Health Boost 3 (Health +50)

Recovery Speed 3 (Quadruples the speed at which you heal red/yellow portion of the health gauge)

Evade Extender 3 (Greatly extends evade distance)

Divine Blessing 3 (While active, reduces damage taken by 50%)

Fortify 3 (Increases attack by 10% and defense by 15% with each use, stacks twice)

Horn Maestro 1 (extends melody effect duration and increases health recovery)

You even get the benefits of Peak Performance Level 2 as it comes from the armor itself. When your health is full, grants attack +10, which is over 8% attack.

All Other Monsters with Roar Level 5
Monsters Roar Level 5 Loadout

This build uses Teostra's Orphee. It has the exact same skills as the Xeno build above with additional ability to add in extra skills. Because we don't need divine protection and stun negation slotted due to Teostra's songs, I used the 3 free slots for Medicine Jewels, for Recovery Up 3.

The 3 Medicine jewels let you recover 30% extra health from items, and even Vaal Hazak Vitality. Here, you can swap these out for any other gem level 1 (sometimes I slot in Defense x 3), so it's very flexible. 




Monsters with Roar Level 3
Monster Roar Level 3
Because this build frees up two earplug slots, I swapped out Bazel Helm for Kulve Taroth's Fury B to add the Sharp Jewel 2, which give you the Protective Polish skill. After sharpening, your weapon will not lose sharpness for 1 minute.

My thinking is that Kulve has the highest base defense armor (along with Xeno'jiiva) for the added defense. Teostra's Orphee has small blue sharpness, so the Protective Polish can help retain blue sharpness.

However, the issue is accessibility, because of the time limited Kulve Taroth event, and the rarity of the Sharp Jewel. 

If you don't have the Kulve helm and/or the sharpness jewel, to add more offensive skills, a great easy to obtain replacement is the meta Dragonking Eyepatch A and gem in Weakness Exploit for level 3, so whenever you hit weak spots, you have 50% increased affinity. Affinity is the percent chance that you'll land a critical hit, so there are quite a few offensive builds that skill in as much affinity as possible, often near 100% so almost all blows are critical hits.

 
Monsters with no Roar
In this build, I used Kulve's helmet again, for the extra base defense. Because earplugs aren't required, I used Evasion Charm 3 for the incredible Evade Window Level 3 which gives you more i-frames. Alternatively, you can use the Dragonking Eyepatch A.

Like the Roar 3 and 5 builds, I slotted 3 Medicine Jewels to get Recovery +30%, but they can be swapped for other gems.

For example, for Tempered Kirin (no earplugs required), I swapped the Medicine Jewels out for Lightning Resistance 3, and ate Vegetable Platter for elementary resist large for Tempered Kirin. For fire, use fire resistance, defense gems can be another consideration. If you have the rare attack jewels, you can also gem those in, and so forth.

Indeed, I was wondering why yesterday, Tempered Kirin was so easy? With divine protection, all ailments negated (you can't get stunned or paralyzed which leads to the most common way of dying to Kirin), and high lightning resist, my health went down to 1/2 bar but only a couple of times during the mission, and indeed, by the time I was thinking I better heal, with Vaal Hazak Vitality, my health bar went to 2/3rds then quickly to full, so I didn't need to heal.

Cons of the build
I'm not brilliant with the Hunting Horn, so I can't kill Tempered Elders under 15 mins, like I can with the Lance. However, I believe if you can land many blows to the head, stunlocking and exhausting the monsters, you can accomplish sub-15 mins with these builds. Hopefully I'll get better with the Hunting Horn as missions with the highest rewards tend to be 15 minute ones.

Conclusion 
These near fail-proof builds use end-game armor, but easy to obtain common gems. They center around defense and survivability both in solo and group play, incorporating the following skills:

Stun negation, divine blessing, largest health bar, earplugs, evade distance, evade window (when possible), regeneration, horn maestro and fortitude (for those oops moments). 

What are you thoughts, do you find these builds too defensive?

The How of Happiness review.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Monster Hunter: World A Fun Cheese Build Method (MM42)

My challenge was to beat the game and the last High Rank (HR) level 100 mission with Fashion Souls, and part of this "challenge" is that you can't just hide your head gear, so there were some restrictions on builds. However, since I beat that very last mission with both the Lance and the Hunting Horn, I can now make optimal builds.

I wanted to chill out and use an invincible build that can tank through the very hardest monsters such as the Tempered Variants of Kirin and Deviljho (affectionately known as "Pickle"). RageGamingVideos describes such a build, and it works beautifully:




Exhibit A: Base Defense 536
With the recent Kulve Taroth siege event, if you're able to make her armor set, and wield one of her weapons (her weapons can add anywhere from 20 to 30 extra defense) your base defense can get to 530+ with Defense Charm 3, Defense Gems, and you'll most likely have the armor charm and armor talon in your hunting pouch. It's very easy to make the Defense Charm 3, but if you don't have Defense Gems, with fully augmented and upgraded Kulve Taroth armor, your defense will be 10 less, so you're missing on a rather small sliver of defense.

Exhibit A shows the base defense of my character, who is in Astera, without any buffs, otherwise you'll see a Food logo next to the Defense number to the right.

The Cheese Build goal is to get your defense in the 800's to 900s. With this level of defense, damage will be reduced by 80 to 90%.

One of the ways you can further increase your base defense is through the Fortitude skill. Each time you cart, Fortitude will proc, giving you 15% extra defense up to two times, so maximum total of 30%. For easier calculation, if your defense is 500, by carting twice, your defense will jump to a massive 650.

The damage can also be mitigated by making sure you have the full Divine Protection skill that randomly reduces attacks by 50%, and this actually occurs quite often. So there are quite a few times when Tempered Kirin or Tempered Pickle didn't do much damage thanks to Divine Protection. See Exhibit B for the Load-Out which also includes Defense Charm and Defense Gems for a Defense Level 5 (the maximum level is 7). The build also has the 3 Vitality Gems to get your health to the max possible 200 through buffs.

I really find the Vitality Gems extremely helpful. Pickle has one-shotted me when my health bar was 150 at lower defense and when Divine Blessing didn't proc, so the 200 can give you extra cushion.

Exhibit B: Load-Out

If you don't have Kulve's armor, you can use any of the Elder Dragon armors. In fact, one of the Elders, Xeno' jiiva is tied with Kulve Taroth as armors with the highest base defense. RageGamingVideos likes to use Vaal Hazak's armor as you gain health passively over time.

You can also consume Food and Item Buffs to further increase your defense. The Fish platter has Defense Large which is 15. You can also consume Mega Armor Skin (25), Armor Seed (20), and Hardshell Powder (20). All of these items add up to a whopping 80, so you're now at around 730. 

To put this in perspective, a fully augmented and upgraded Elder Dragon armor averages around 80, so consuming all these items is equivalent to putting on another piece of highest end and max upgraded armor.

I don't use the Armor Pill since they only last 20 seconds but they can be used when monsters are enraged for extra defense.

If you wield the Hunting Horn (or have a friend), you or your friend can play the Defense XL song (recital + encore) that adds an additional 20% of your base defense which is around 100, so you're now at 830.

Wearing the Rock Steady Mantle mitigates an extra 30% of damage so you can easily tank through attacks. You can also carry the Vitality Mantle which negates all damage. My Palico, Niki, provides extra healing with her Vigor Wasp "just in case".

For Tempered Kirin, I brought the Lightning and Vitality Mantles.

When I start, I do NOT eat or use any buffs for the first two faints, since it takes about 15 minutes before you can eat food again (food buffs wear out after you cart). Further, you don't want to waste your resources as Mega Armor Skin can be hard to come by.

Instead, I fight Tempered Kirin and Tempered Pickle as best I can as if this were for "real", and sometimes I'm able to beat them without carting, or carting only once, as I really try my best fighting them. In this way, you whittle down their health as much as possible for further assurance of victory. If I faint the second time, I proc'd Fortitude twice, getting 30% extra defense.

Only after carting twice, do I then consume food and items. I eat the Fish Platter (Defense Large) against Pickle. I think I ate the Vegetable Platter (Elemental Resistance Large) against Tempred Kirin. I also drink the mega armor skin as they last until you faint. Also, caution advised, I think the mega armor wears off if Pickle gives you Defense Down, which is the red arrows pointing down symbol, so you may need to reapply your mega armor if that happens.

Since the Adamant Seed and Hardshell Powder last 3 minutes, and the Defense XL song is also time limited, I would buff with these items and song right before attacking, I also make sure I wear either the Rocksteady/Lightning or Vitality Mantle.

At this point, again, I will fight to the very best of my abilities, and not engage in the antics of  RageGamingVideos, to ensure 100% chance at victory.

As you can see, this will only work solo (unless your party members are friends and they know what you're doing) and with missions that have fail conditions of 3 faints or higher.

The other issue is that Mega Armor Skin is hard to come by since you need Nourishing Extract. You can get them as rewards by fighting Odogoran. An easier way of getting this drink is to send your Tail Rider on a Safari that has Odogoran along its route, and often they return with Extracts. (On the other hand, if you run out of Mega Armor Skin, you can use the regular Armor Skin, which add 15 Defense, instead.

The elder melder also sells Nourishing Extract. I believe there was a sale during the Spring Event, and other sales, so you can buy them in bulk whenever a sale arises, as they cost quite a lot in resources.

It was a lot of fun using this build, and if you have enough Mega Armor Skins, it's a relaxing way to farm Hero's and Warrior's Stream Stones from the current Tempered Pickle Event ("Relish the Moment").

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Backloggery (MM41)

I can see myself playing Fortnite and Monster Hunter: World for the rest of this year easily, given how the game is structured. Fortnite because Epic Games continues to have special events with new heroes and weapons. Strangely, even though the special event is composed mostly of fetch quests, they're still extremely fun to play. This is due to the exploration of finding the various objects, and I love exploring and finding things. I also look forward to getting the special and extremely juicy rewards such as new legendary heroes, weapons and even a special survivor. I also find the stories of these events compelling and humorous, so I want to find out what happens next, and I always get a laugh playing these story missions.

In Monster Hunter: World there are 14 weapons, and every single weapon is very different from each other with unique combinations, move sets, and feel to the point where the game is a totally different one whenever you main a new weapon. Further, because each weapon is different, your builds will also be tailored to that weapons, and it's quite fun to theory craft the optimal build. So far in World, I played the Hammer, Charge Blade, Lance and Hunting Horn at a competent level. Last week, I was able to beat the HR100 mission using the Hunting Horn!

So I can see myself not only trying out weapons I never played in past Monster Hunter games, but wanting to be competent with them. These are all the ranged weapons (Bow, Light Bow Gun, Heavy Bow Gun), Great Sword, Gun Lance, Insect Glaive, and Sword and Shield. In past games, I mained Dual Blades, Long Sword, and Switch Axe. 

In addition to gaining competency with the other weapons to branch out, there are quite a few weapons I want to make, not to mention augment. Also, there are so many builds that I want to try out, which leads to many hours of playing World.

I felt guilty about not playing the many other games I have, even now, even though I feel that this is a misplaced guilt. The whole point of gaming is to have fun, which I wrote about in this post, so if you want to play the same game for years to come, why not?

Because of all the games I have yet to complete, I won't buy any other games unless it's my favorite franchise such as, off the top of my head, inevitable sequels of Horizon: Zero Dawn, Kingdom Hearts, Monster Hunter and so forth. I might not even get the upcoming remastered Dark Souls!

I'm writing about Backloggery.com as a free tool not to help you overcome your backlog, which it does a superb job, but to see all the games you have in a convenient location. This is to serve as a reminder as to which game you want to play next, as you can easily see all of your games in one place.

I think this is a better perspective to the joys of gaming as opposed to playing as many games as quickly as possible to get rid of backlog (even though it's quite refreshing to check them off as completed). I think it's better to savor and cherish your times with your video games, rather than playing them to get it over and done with.

However, it was quite refreshing to donate over 20 video games to the library in a win-win situation, greatly clearing out the backlog. Rather than having the games go to waste, other people (including me) can borrow and enjoy them. Further, it was frankly out of laziness as it takes less effort to drop off the games at my local library then selling them on Ebay with all the hassles that entails.

Conclusion: Check out Backloggery.com as an extremely convenient and free way to categorize your video games!

Apologies again for this late post.

The How of Happiness review.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monster Hunter:World Lance is Easy Mode (MM40)

Apologies for being a day late last week and this week for the Monday Musings. It's actually quite hard to come up with a topic every week on a regular basis. It makes me laugh a bit, since growing up, I thought cartoonists had the best job because they only have to draw a short cartoon daily (which I naively thought would only take an hour tops), and have the rest of the day off. I clearly didn't see the difficulties of coming up with something new and fresh weekly, not to mention daily.

Fortunately with the deep gameplay mechanics of World, I think I'll write future posts about weapons, armor skills and such, especially as I was finally able to beat the very last mission using Lance, which unlocks only when you reach Hunter Rank level 100!

Why the Lance is OP and Essential Skills Needed
Exhibit A: Complete Uragaan Set
So far, I mained the Hammer, Charge Blade, Lance, and I'm getting the hang of the Hunting Horn. Even though I haven't extensively played all 14 weapons, Lance is by far the easiest weapon to use in terms of completing successful missions.

The most important thing in Monster Hunter is to not cart. Medic cats put you in a cart, carting you back and unceremoniously dumping you into your camp when you faint. Sadly in World they don't show you the cats dumping you like they did in past series, which I hope they'll change in future installments.

At any rate, you can only faint twice in most missions, and some investigations you can't faint at all to successfully complete. The Lance is an extremely overpowered weapon because of its shield, the strongest one in the game, that can block all attacks preventing you from fainting.

With the optimal skills of Guard level 5 and Guard Up, you can block every single attack, laughing in monsters' faces, thereby preventing quite a few carts that lead to failure. Further, with the Lance's charging attack, you run like a locomotive towards the monsters, thereby keeping your attack up constantly to wear out the poor things.

Further, it's easy to build for the overpowered Guard 5 and Guard Up skills. You can get them by making a fully upgraded Ironside Charm Level 3. Next is using the Uragaan armor. The set nets you the other two Guard levels for the maximum of 5. Further, you only need 3 pieces of Uragaan for the Guard Up skill that lets you block even un-blockable attacks.

If you wear all the Uragaan pieces, it falls into the category of Fashion Souls, in that you look like a cool Transformer (see Exhibit A above).
Exhibit B: Guild Cross Circlet
 I agree with my fellow Monster Hunters that you must wear the entire set for Fashion Souls, because it doesn't go well at all with other armor, with the exception of the Guild Cross helmet.


With the Guild Cross, it fits the trope of heroes who use extremely bulky armor but no or minimal helmet (see Exhibit B). I didn't find out about the Guild Cross until later when trying to craft an almost invincible build.

The Guild Cross is an amazing piece as it has high base defense, Divine Blessing level 2 and a whopping three gem slots, so you can easily slot in an extra Divine Blessing (Protection Jewel) to get to the maximum level 3. At level 3, Divine Blessing reduces damage by 50% randomly. However, it procs quite often, saving you from many 1HKO attacks.

The issue here is that you may get tired of wearing the Uragaan set. Here lies the difficulty of trying to use other armor pieces if you want Fashion Souls, or if you're trying to min/max. You will need two Iron Wall and one Shield gems for the maximum guard skills. There are Lance users who feel you can get away with just equipping the level 3 Charm, but level 5 is so ridiculous because you can block with barely any stamina drainage. If your stamina drains and you get hit even while guarding, you'll take damage. There's no fear if your Guard is level 5.

You can get away without using the Guard Up skill (blocks un-blockable attacks) if you can foresee the rather few unblockable attacks, but more often than not, you might get caught in Teostra's supernova, for example. Of course, most monsters don't have un-blockable attacks, but the Elders who you tend to grind for the best parts do, so the Guard Up skill is very handy.

Through the unfair RNG process and the fact that you have to kill difficult monsters to get these rare gems (and you need 3!), a lot of people can't get them this way. Indeed, I can see someone hunting thousands of these monsters and never getting a single one because of the random drops. However, there is a technique called gem sniping that although tedious, guarantees success. By the 425th meld (I actually used Google spreadsheets), I got the last gem I needed, the elusive Shield Jewel 2.



Even if you don't have these Guard jewels, I must say that the complete Uragaan set can see you through the entire game easily. It took me to late HR ranks (around 90s) before I got the two Iron Wall and Shield gems.

The Uragaan set has strong base defense, high fire defense (surprising amount of monsters have fire attacks), and maximum Part Breaker level 3 skills. I was pleasantly surprised at how good Part Breaker is. The Lance is not at all known for part breaking, as its centerpiece is its shield. Even so, with the Uragaan armor, I was easily breaking parts solo and even in group play. Not only will breaking parts net you more mats and higher rewards, but it weakens the monsters considerably because no more tail swipes (yes please!), and all of their attacks seem to be weaker as well.

When I first started out with the Lance, I felt it harder than the Charge Blade, not because of the mechanics, but with aiming and movement. The Lance is pinpoint so you can easily miss the monster's face. Because you can't roll and dodge with the lance unsheathed like you can do with all the other melee weapons, that also took getting used to.

However, you have other unique moves at your disposal, including the powerful forward charging where you move like a train, and when you hit the monster, you hit it over and over again in rapid succession, though it eats away at your weapon sharpness. I think the unique move set is why the developers rated it the least accessible to beginners, along with the Hunting Horn.

However, after getting used to aiming and the Lance's unique moves, the weapon is overpowered. With the new monster siege/raid, Kulve Taroth, I got all of her parts for the event armors, and I think I only fainted maybe 5 or 6 times out of many many missions (the grind is real!), while using the Lance. Further, the first 3 faints were during the first couple of missions due to learning her attack patterns.

During the course of this long grind for all the Kulve event armors, I see a lot of hunters faint to her lava, whereas I laugh in her face with my shield up by pressing R2/RT. Instead of "spin to win" it's "press R2 to win". Reading the posts about Kulve, a lot of people were also complaining about her rolling with their huge hit boxes which never occurred to me, because again, put shield up.

I definitely recommend trying out the lance and even though it takes getting used to the aiming and its moveset, it will see you through the toughest of missions. For me, the Lance is the best weapon in terms of winning missions. Not only does it help you survive, but you laugh in the monsters' faces. I actually want the monsters to come at me so I can just stay put and poke them, rather than putting in the effort of charging, guard dashing and/or dash stepping to it! 

As for the other weapons, I find the Hunting Horn the most fun (maybe because it's new to me?), the Charge Blade the most versatile, and both the Charge Blade and the Hammer the most damaging. But in terms of beating missions, the Lance is King.


If you're interested in giving the Lance a try, the recommended tutorial is, no surprise, Gaijinhunter's:



Conclusion 
Lance is easy mode once you familiarize yourself with the weapon. Ideal skills for optimal survivability are Guard Level 5 and Guard Up. You can get this by equipping the Uragaan set and the Ironside Charm III. The Uragaan set additionally has perks of high base defense, high fire defense and maximum Part Breaker skill.

The How of Happiness review.

Monster Hunter World: Hunting Horn, Regular and Tempered Nergigante Under 15 Minutes With Some Practice

TL/DR: Click on the pictures of the builds below I love the nearly fail-proof defensive (I'll call it "fail-proof" for ...