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Monster Hunter World; Community

It can be an intimidating prospect to step into a series that has such longevity, with multiple instalments that span across a variety of platforms. A series renowned for its steep learning curve and an intricate array of systems, yet behind Monster Hunter World’s complex exterior lies a rewarding, challenging and inclusive ensemble of solidarity.

In Japan, the Monster Hunter series is somewhat of a phenomenon, yet has only managed to gain limited traction in the west. With the launch of Monster Hunter World, Capcom aimed to create the most ambitious yet accessible instalment of the series so far. Creating such a beast requires a great understanding of the balance between a fresh, yet familiar experience that tailors to longtime fans while also offering an inviting, more accessible reach to a wider audience.

“We don’t tend to open the game up to more people simply by simplifying. It’s more that we want to have this great core action gameplay where players observe monster behaviour and then learn how to take advantage of that and manipulate that to assist in hunting them. We want to make it so that if they make mistakes they don’t feel it’s unfair but instead think that it’s their mistake and they have to grow and learn.”

Yuya Tokuda, Director

Although Monster Hunter World offers both solo and multiplayer aspects, I feel it really comes into its own when delving into the latter. A strong sense of solidarity is felt when playing as a group, often bonding together to form an efficient unit, united against a common enemy, each member sharing the same goal and reaping a similar reward. The game at times can often feel deeply challenging, yet never feels at a fault of the player.

Each monster has a variety of strengths and weakness, meaning that preparation and solid teamwork is essential to defeating each one efficiently.

A particularly infamous and unpleasant trend in online video games is the observance of a players inability, in particular, a discourteousness and intolerant attitude towards newcomers—often feeling ubiquitous throughout the industry. This mentality can be one that can turn many potential new players away—especially those who are breaking into one that holds such extensive terminology and complexity like a Monster Hunter game. Yet with World, it has remained the exact opposite, partly down to the fantastic community it has managed to build over the years.

“Since 2004, the Monster Hunter community has grown and expanded to become one of the most inclusive, welcoming, and helpful online gaming communities that we have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. We hope to continue to not only preserve but nurture that effort so that the Monster Hunter community as a whole continues to grow and be seen as a beacon of positivity in an otherwise bleak online gaming world.”

via Adopt-a-Hunter.org

The initiative, conceived by online Monster Hunter communities, was formed with the intention of alleviating the burden of knowledge required to become proficient with the game. As a novice to the series, I felt it was the best course of action to undertake before the release of the title; joining a community that was able to provide assistance and mentorship.

There seem to be a lot of subtleties and nuances that are best taught by someone who already knows the ropes. Upon signing up I was eventually paired with a veteran that had over a decade worth of experience in the series. Through this mentorship, I was taught basic skills, able to ask questions free of judgement and begin to develop proficiency and hone my skills with a weapon that matched my playstyle—all through the generosity and guidance of my paired veteran.

Watching monsters go head-to-head while you stand back and watch in awe with your fellow hunters is a sight to behold in Monster Hunter World

As my confidence grew, I was able to branch out to other members of the initiative and began to form hunting parties of my own, assisting others with information I’d been passed down from more experienced players. A real sense of community began to form, something I have rarely ever experienced within a video game. Each member was willing to help out and lend a hand, whether it was to help towards gathering materials to craft a new set of armour or setting off on an expedition to gather supplies.

Regardless of the objective, the true feeling of solidarity comes when tackling the towering behemoths that offer up an almost impossible task of taking down, yet through careful planning and tactical teamwork the once daunting task becomes a possibility—with each member focused on a common objective and reaping the reward successively after the primary target has been dealt with.

“That’s exactly what a good multiplayer game does best. It focuses the attention of a group of people on a common goal, even if they think they have nothing in common with each other. And it gives them the means of motivation to pursue that goal, even if they had no intention of interacting with each other previously”

An excerpt from ‘Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World’ By Jane McGonigal.

Monster Hunter World manages to create a fantastic feeling of unity, combine this with a compelling feedback loop in which you prepare, track, hunt and scavenge together, and you begin to cultivate a community like no other.

“When we have community, we feel what anthropologists call “communitas,” or spirit of community. Communitas is a powerful sense of togetherness, solidarity, and social connection”

An excerpt from ‘Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World’ By Jane McGonigal.

With this positive participation from the majority of a community and sense of solidarity when hunting in a group, the will to help others begins to grow. Rather than seeking guidance, experienced in the initial stages of the game, it creates more of a willingness to offer what you have learnt to newer members, creating a better experience for everyone. Monster Hunter and its community continue to be seen as a beacon of positivity in an otherwise bleak online gaming world.

At the core, Hokinoto is about the analysis of specific aspects within video games, with a primary focus on those of a Japanese origin—whether it be in relation to a game, publisher, developer, company or less frequently, a Japanese connection or influence.
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