Niantic’s newest AR game Monster Hunter Now has only been out for a little over a week, but it’s already had its first weekend community event. Like Pokemon Go, Monster Hunter now will feature limited-time special events to encourage players to come together to take on unique challenges. In Monster Hunter style, that means hunting rare and powerful monsters together with friends. This weekend introduced Diablos, one of MH’s most infamously dangerous beasts, and challenged players to farm the monster’s rare parts to craft valuable weapons and armor. Sounds great, except no one could actually kill the bastard.
Diablos is a five-star monster in Monster Hunter Now, which is the difficulty tier you unlock upon completing the story. During the event, Diablos was meant to spawn in desert regions and would appear as long as your character was at least Hunter Rank 11, which is the level you achieve upon finishing the tutorial. But just because you could see the monster didn’t mean you had any real chance of actually defeating it, which is a frustrating lesson I had to learn the hard way.
The first problem was finding him to begin with. Diablos seemed to have incredibly low spawn rates. I spent a couple hours playing each day this weekend, exclusively hunting in desert regions where it spawns, and I only encountered two Diablos the entire time. Both of them kicked my ass back to hunter school.
The problem with allowing HR11 players to participate in the event is that they have no chance of actually succeeding. I’m HR20, and some of my two-star hunts go down to the wire on occasion, so there’s no way I was taking down a Diablos by myself. It was a community event though, so it’s understandable that Niantic wanted to make a monster that required players to work together to defeat, similar to a Pokemon raid. So, I jumped on Facebook and found a couple of local players to meet up with, both around my level, and the three of us took on Diablos together. We barely managed to chip half of its life total away before time ran out on the hunt.
I looked around online and talked with some other local players I know, and most people seemed to have the same experience, including those who were higher level than me. One person told me his group of three friends were all around HR35 and couldn’t beat a single Diablos. On Reddit, the consensus is that the event was way too hard for a game that’s only been out a week.
Even for a five-star monster, Diablos is a special challenge. Elemental damage gives you a crucial advantage in Now, and Diablos is only weak to ice. The only ice weapons you can make right now come from Legiana, another five-star monster, so realistically, you need to be at a point where you’re farming Legiana in order to have a chance against Diablos. Even then, some of the weapons don’t have a Legiana version. If you’re a hammer main, you’re out of luck for Diablos.
In the normal Monster Hunter games, it’s normal for the post-launch monsters to require end-game builds. But Now has only been out a week, so I don’t understand who this event was designed for. There was a lengthy closed beta that ran for most of this year, but those players had their progress wiped in June. Another closed beta then started, and while I’m not sure whether or not progress was carried over, there were only about 10,000 Android users that were even invited to join. Surely this event wasn’t designed for those beta players, plus the no-lifers that grinded the game non-stop for the last week. I’ve seen people online bragging about reaching HR100 already, but those people are outliers, and certainly shouldn’t have been the target for a global community event.
Seeing the game’s first event flop this hard is disappointing, but the thing that really rubs people the wrong way is the fact that beating players up with an unreasonably difficult challenge makes Niantic more profits. The main money pit in Now is potions you can use to replenish your health. You get five First-Aid Meds for free each day and can hold a total of ten, but when you use those up you have to either buy more or wait for your health to naturally recover over time. By creating an event that’s too difficult, Niantic has created a situation where players are more likely to run out of potions and forced to buy more if they want to keep playing. I’m not suggesting that’s why Diablos was made to be so difficult, but it’s certainly a very real consequence of the event.
Hopefully Niantic learns from this and makes future events more reasonable and accessible to all players. Introducing a new mid-tier monster with a unique elemental type would have been perfectly reasonable for a first week event – and there’s plenty to choose from. It was an unfortunate start for what otherwise seems like a promising game.
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