Alright Hunters, the floodgates have opened, the new Monster Hunter World: Iceborne expansion officially released earlier this month! And, boy howdy, is this a real chunky piece of DLC. Honestly, it wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to call Iceborne a faux-sequel to the original Monster Hunter World.
It truly develops on the base game in an entirely similar way to sequels from other franchises. Iceborne upgrades past mechanics, adds a new story, fleshes out returning characters, and includes hundreds of hours of new content as well as a huge new location. So, since this is apparently a whole new ballgame, what are some of our best tips for jumping right into it?
10 This Isn't An Expansion For Greenhorn Hunters
First and foremost, and we can not stress this enough, Iceborne is hard, it's basically the introduction to the new Master Rank after all. The new and variant versions of old Monsters in Iceborne are more complex than ever before, with new moves and counters to throw veteran hunters off their game.
It's actually impossible for players to hop into the DLC without completing both Low and High rank. But, Capcom has included some new tools to expedite that process for new players, such as the Guardian Armor. Honestly, for people hopping into MHW fresh, we absolutely recommend using this armor, as well as beelining through the main game story.
9 The Training Area Has Been Upgraded For A Reason
One of the biggest upgrades that comes with Iceborne is the variety of new moves that are added for each and every one of the 14 Weapons. These weapons were already so radically different that they functioned more as "classes" than "weapons". So adding more complexity to them really does change a lot. There are videos that cover all of the new moves, whether from Capcom officially or from the fans. But our biggest tip for getting comfortable with the new version is to use the upgraded Training Area.
Now, players can change the equipment in said area with the Housekeeper Palico, and can even spawn a large cart to act as a "Monster" so that Hunters can practice their new combos and Clutch Claw combos. Basically, warm-up before hopping back in MHW, because it's no kiddy pool.
8 Palico's Can Further Rank Up Their Gadgets, And Even Have Some New Toys
And, speaking of updated weapons, the Palico pals have been patched as well! Previously, all of the Palico gadgets were maxed out by Rank 10, but no longer! Hunter's can rank up all their tools even further, and even gain a new skill with each, such as free revives with the Vigorwasp spray. But, that's not all! There are even some new gadgets for our felyne friends to use, such as the Shieldspire Stooge and the Meowcano.
These are both distraction based abilities, though the Shieldspire Stooge is particularly hilarious to watch. There seems to be an emphasis on new ways to distract/stun the monsters in Iceborne, and we're glad that the Palico is part of that new direction.
7 The New Slinger Mechanics Add Depth To Every Weapon
The Slinger that the Hunter uses in the base Monster Hunter World game has received a ton of upgrades in Iceborne, the biggest of which is the Clutch Claw. This new variation of the Slinger adds a lot of new mechanics to Iceborne such as grapple attacks and new Slinger ammo types. Players can now latch onto monsters and cause them to run into walls, drop Slinger Ammo, or even create a weak area to target. But, more important than the Clutch Claw is the fact that Slingers can now be used at any time!
No longer do Hunters have to store their weapons, fire a slinger shot, then pull said weapon back out. It sounds like a small change, but being able to use Slinger ammo in-between attacks makes a huge difference for weapons like the Hammer and Greatsword that could use a bit of distraction between their big swings. Just imagine being able to flashbang a monster right before the third Greatsword swing.
6 These Aren't The Same Monsters They Once Were
Once again, Iceborne isn't just a few new missions or a pretty Elder Dragon, this isn't like when Behemoth or Lunastra were added. No, Iceborne has already added over 25+ new monsters, whether its returning creatures, variants of beasts that appeared in MHW, or entirely new creations. Seriously, they even brought Rajang back!
And, most of these returning beasts have new attacks. A lot of them now have a flailing or clawing move that they'll use when knocked over, which is a pain. Most also have new counters to when Hunter's grapple to them at inopportune times, such as when they're enraged. Basically, players familiar with new monsters from the games they debuted in will be in for a surprise, as well as the MHW players who think that they know the old monsters 100%.
5 There's Some Use To Launching Teammates Into The Air
This isn't necessarily specific to Iceborne, but there seem to be a lot more attacks coming from a lower angle in this expansion, whether its monsters that swim through snow or ones that flail their super-heated tail around. In all the previous MH games, it was incredibly annoying whenever a heavy weapon user would launch a teammate into the air by accident, honestly, it was basically a death sentence. And frankly, it still can be in MHW. But, what newer players might not realize, is that this is actually a useful tool in the hands of a cohesive team.
Take Velkhana for example, the flagship monster for Iceborne. This monster has incredibly weak wings and loves to sweep the ground, so, a Greatsword user could potentially launch their teammates right over said sweep and right onto the meaty wings for a grapple attack.
4 Different Weapons Have Unique Grapple Effects
The grapple attack isn't the same for everyone. Firstly, the animation is unique, and always brutal. Our personal favorite is the Greatsword attack where the hunter jams their blade in and pushes it down like a lever to create a weak point. Savage! But, they also serve different purposes. For example, most of the heavier weapons like the Greatsword and Hammer create weak points on the body part targeted after a successful grapple attack.
But, lighter weapons only cause more slinger ammo to drop, in exchange for having a quicker overall animation. The key in a 4-hunter squad is knowing when to let the Heavy users grapple and when to use the Lighter users refill the team. Iceborne really seems to be emphasizing teamwork, moreso than before.
3 Monster Scaling Has Been Fixed, Finally
Okay, so this is included in the base game as well, but it's a huge change that every player needs to know about. Previously, if 4 players started a hunt and the other 3 disconnected, that lone hunter would have to face up against a monster with health scaled as if 4 people were still playing, which could be a fun bit of extra challenge but usually just ended up being frustrating. Now, Capcom has finally included another option of Monster scaling, as well as on-the-fly health changes.
Basically, there's a one-man, two-man, and 4 man version of each monster now, and new code in the game that scales their health based on the players currently connected, thankfully.
2 The New Tavern Is The Ultimate Convenience Upgrade
One of the biggest issues that players started noticing after hundreds of hours in base MHW was the hub world. Astera is great and some of the new regions like the Coral Highlands and the Rotten Vale are incredibly inventive. But, for a game all about efficiency, grinding, and min-maxing the amount of time to hunt each monster, the hub area is poorly set up. Players would have to run all around after each mission to check their garden, smelt a new weapon, and store gear.
But, Iceborne has fixed this issue, and the new 4th floor of the hub in Astera is a tavern called the Seliana where Hunters can use the Smithy, Botanical Garden, and anything else they require all in one area. Finally!
1 Players Can Finally Ride On Their Trusty Monster Steeds
And lastly, one of the best new features included in Iceborne is the ability to let hunters ride on the smaller monsters spread throughout the maps. Previously, Hunters would max out their reputation with the Tailraiders which gave the hunter and their Palico access to a variety of extra benefits in each map. Now, one of the newest and best benefits is the Tailraider Ride, where hunters can ride a beast around each map to save some time and look real snazzy.
Unfortunately, these aren't directly controllable, rather they just follow footprints and paths that the Hunter sets in their map. It's not perfect, at all. But, they're still incredible time-savers and an awesome addition that adds some new life to the older maps players might be a bit tired of.