5 Things MMOs Can Learn From Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World may be the first time I’ve played and enjoyed a Monster Hunter game. As an online experience, it’s not quite an MMO and yet it does plenty that I think future MMORPGs can learn from. In this list we’ll explore 5 things MMOs can learn from Capcom’s Monster Hunter World. This list is in no particular order, so dive in.
I can’t speak much for Monster Hunter Online, the “MMO-ified” version of the series that only released in China and Japan, but it seems widely accepted here that Monster Hunter World is the most accessible game in the series. While still having a ton of systems that require learning and practice, trial and error, by and large MHW is a game that anyone can pick up and enjoy. Yet, it requires patience, skill, and no small amount of “grinding” to get the most from MHW. That’s a trend that I bet all of us are familiar with in MMOs.
5.) The Thrill of the Hunt
Monsters in MHW are so much more interesting than those you find in MMOs. At first, I worried that the TTK (time to kill) would make me annoyed, but the more you play the quicker you realize that monsters take a long time to kill so that they can lead you on an adventure. Fights come in stages, and monsters retreat, hide, try to ambush. They’re like massive bosses in the open world of MHW. I’d love to see an MMO try world bosses that not only scaled to the players, but also needed to be hunted down as they moved about the map. Massive monsters that don’t just spawn in the same place on a timer would be something I think we could all get behind.
4.) Movement that Excites
Every time I play a non-MMO that has excellent character movement (think Assassin’s Creed, I’m reminded how stale movement often feels in my favorite genre. Run, jump, maybe double jump. Maybe fly. That’s par for the course in most games, really. There’s something Crowfall’s Todd Coleman once said that I always remember about games (paraphrasing): “The things that need to work well in any game are combat and movement. If those don’t feel right, the game’s already off to a bad start.” I’m reminded how you couldn’t jump in GW1 and how it kept me from enjoying the game as much as I should have.
What’s my point? MHW gets movement right. Characters naturally vault over rocks, climb walls, roll when they land from a great height. I’m anxiously awaiting an MMORPG that can combine the freedom of movement found in games like MHW (or Assassin’s Creed, or Breath of the Wild) with a massively multiplayer experience. It adds to the believability, and yes, it adds to the fun of being in the world.
3.) Crafting - Oh God, the Crafting
How have we gone through so many MMORPGs that claim to focus on crafting and yet none have done what Monster Hunter does so well? In MHW, the whole gameplay loop is adventure, hunter monsters, collect their parts, make your loot, repeat. There’s a story, tons of side quests, and loads of content through bonus missions. But the core of the game is to hunt down the world’s monsters and use their parts to make stronger and stronger weapons and armor. In MMORPGs, we mine nodes, chop trees, harvest plants… but why in the ever loving hades do we not hunt specific monsters to use their parts to make kick-ass weapons and armor? I’d love this so much more than just another loot table on another dungeon boss.
Ok, not every MMO needs a cat pet. That’s not my point. But what is great about Palicoes in MHW is that they’re almost as customizable as your player character. If any MMO is going to let you have a pet or a minion, they should take care you let you customize their gear/look/etc. It adds yet another layer to the personalization of your gameplay experience, and let’s face it - half of what makes an MMORPG stick is the tie you have to your character and/or his things.
1.) Combat Dictated By Weapon Choice
In Monster Hunter, you don’t have skills or spells, but you have your chosen weapon. This effectively changes the way combat works each time you try a new weapon. Elder Scrolls Online does this pretty well too, giving each weapon its own line of skills. As does GW2. But few other MMORPGs let the weapon mean much more than stats. In games with action combat, I’d love to see weapon choice really matter in how your character is played, and to let it be something that involves player skill. TERA does this as well, I suppose, but it’s limited with classes being limited to one weapon type.