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Live Trapping

By Red Thomas on August 16, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Live Trapping

Monster Hunter World is one of those strange games that I shouldn’t like but have kind of found that I enjoy.  It’s a console port action combat game steeped in that grindy sort of culture we see in a lot of the games coming out of the Asian market, and effectively pretty much everything I hate in one game.

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It’s also loaded with a ton of very simple systems that all interplay with each other for additional complexity.  It’s even complicated more by the fact that these systems don’t have linear power curves and instead are highly dynamic in how they impact your game due to how situational everything is.  It’s like hive intelligence, almost.   Maybe they should call it hive game mechanics.

Whatever it is, the sheer number of systems means you never know what you don’t know, and I didn’t know about capturing until I’d been playing for a while.  Thus, we’ll be taking a look at the capture system and why you should consider capture missions rather than kill.  Like everything else that’s super simple in this game, it ties into multiple other systems to create a much more complex result.


Investigations are great opportunities to collect needed resources, cash, and to complete bounties.

You’ll get Investigation missions for most of the critters you encounter in Monster Hunter World, which you should be doing.  They give you the chance to collect the materials from the monsters that you need in order to upgrade your armor and weapons.  Capture missions are a little harder than kill missions but give you more bonus materials at the end.

The specific mission I took in order to get screenshots for this article actually gave me more information than I’d expected.  For one, the first Great Jagras capture missions also give you a free trap and Tranq Bombs, which you need to capture the target.  For another, it was the first time I’d used Tranq Bombs, and it turned out I really needed them badly, which I’ll explain shortly.

Capturing a monster is pretty straight forward.   Once you’ve tracked it down and engage it, you fight it as normal.  When you’ve done enough damage, the monster will run away from you.  It may disengage multiple times, but you’re looking for a specific situation.  You need the animal to be hurt bad enough that it enters the capturable state, without being so bad you kill it.


The “Capture Great Jagras” investigations give you the tools to complete the job… and to NOT accidentally blow the poor thing’s head off.

You’ll know you’re in the correct state because when the monster runs, it’ll have a distinctive limp that’s different from its normal running animation.  At that point, you can either run ahead of it or wait for it to get to its nest and lay down, but you’ll need to drop a trap either on it or in front of where it’s moving so the monster will walk into the trap and get caught.   Once the trap goes off, you have a limited amount of time to put it to sleep.

…and this is where the Tranq Bombs come in.   When I was collecting screenshots, I’d gone back to take on the Jagras, but I’d moved well on from that zone and had upgraded my bow.  Arrows can be coated in a sleep agent, just like bullets can be, and either will also work to put the target to sleep.   The problem is that bows and bowguns both deal damage, and as I found out, sometimes too much damage.

I killed an embarrassing number of Great Jagras before I realized I was just doing too much damage and killing them before I knocked them out.  Tranq Bombs on the other hand, do no damage at all.  In fact, since you’re usually right on the monster when the trap goes off, it’s easy to switch to the Tranq Bomb and just start spamming them.  You’ll know when to stop because the victory screen will pop up and let you know that you’ve been successful and that the hunt is ending.  Plus, Tranq Bombs are simple to make, so spam away.


Capturing rather than killing gives you more bonus rewards related to the monster in question, which is helpful when going for a specific type of armor.

Outside of the early Jagras capture missions, you’ll have to create your own sleep ammo or Tranq Bombs, and the traps.  You can use with the Pit Fall Trap or Shock Trap.  Either will work.  Both traps require a Trap Tool to make (which you also get free in the Jagras missions or can purchase back at base).  You can carry two tools and one trap.  I didn’t confirm it, but you might be able to actually carry one of each type of trap.

That means you have 3-4 chances on a hunt at best to make a capture.  Fail and the mission ends with much diminished rewards.  Succeed and you’ll get a lot of extra material for making that new set of armor.  You’ll also get that warm satisfaction of knowing that you did your bit for the environment by adopting a no-kill policy.   The fact that said critter was shipped to the next county and butchered professionally doesn’t count on your books, so you’re all good.   (A little tip I picked up from PETA and my local ASPCA.)

I hope you enjoyed this little write-up on how to make captures in Monster Hunter World.  I’ve found it to be a surprisingly entertaining game, and the capture system turns out to be a pretty good example of what I think I’m liking about it.  On the surface, it’s a simple system that has unexpected depth and the way it contributes to other systems ends up making for a more complex game over all.  If this article helped you at all, let me know down below and maybe drop a few tips of your own for other monster hunters.

Red Thomas / A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture. Follow him on Twitter:
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