In my last article, I discussed how Monster Hunter World‘s exclusive Playstation 4 beta proved to be disastrous for Xbox One players. While the game itself is engaging and wonderful to play, online connectivity issues make the overall experience slightly frustrating.
On launch week, I gathered with a few Enthusiasts to stream Monster Hunter World. We all finished the tutorial missions and sent invites to each other in the main hub world. We were able to join each others party with little trouble. The issues began when we actually tried to enter a mission. I queued up for an assigned mission, “The Great Jagras Hunt,” and waited for them to accept my invitation to play. Each of them went to the quest board and didn’t see the mission we wanted to start. It was confusing, frustrating, and it took away from the fun.
After a while, we looked online and found that you can only play with other hunters after they see the cutscene that accompanies your target for that particular quest. This meant that all four of us would have to enter the mission individually, make it to the correct section, quit, and then queue up again. Alternatively, three players can retreat back to the hub, the remaining player can shoot an SOS flare, and then they can all join your quest. It’s a convoluted system that doesn’t make it easy for people who want to play through the main narrative together. Eventually, we found out that we could embark on optional quests, events, and expeditions without going through this hassle, but for a game that encourages people to play together, why is there no definite answer on how to do this?
In our experience, we needed to use outside help in order to find out the correct way to play online. If it weren’t for other websites, we might not have gotten to play that weekend. Online gaming has become more popular over time. Look at online-only games like Destiny 2, Overwatch, Titanfall, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds; each has small, simple steps to invite friends and start playing. Unless server issues persist, there are no problems getting to experience these fun games with friends.
There’s no denying how great Monster Hunter World is. The reviews for the game are absolutely stellar. On Metacritic, the Xbox One version has an average of 93, while the PlayStation 4 version has an impressive average of 91. It’s clear that a lot of people are playing and enjoying the game. Just last week, it was reported that 6 million units of the game had shipped. Why people haven’t been talking about the tedious nature of playing with friends is beyond me. I feel like Capcom should remedy this situation.
Sure, it may take a lot of work and require a few patches, but it can benefit the game down the line. The Monster Hunter franchise is very popular and is meant to be played for the long haul. Most games in the series take over 100 hours of game time to complete every mission, side-quest, and investigation. Monster Hunter World is a game that is meant to be played with a group, but how can it survive when embarking on quests with a squad feels tedious? It’s tough to change the infrastructure of game and overhaul mechanics, but I think it’s a necessary thing for Capcom to do. The company has a massive hit on its hands; the development team must do all that they can to ensure the players are happy.
Despite having a few friends and colleagues that play Monster Hunter World, I’m unfortunately playing by myself more often than not. I don’t want to quest solo, but I don’t have much of a choice. This is the first Monster Hunter game where I’m dedicating hours to completing everything the package has to offer (I dabbled in Monster Hunter Tri for a little bit when it launched) but playing alone doesn’t bring the same experience that is clearly meant to be had.
Monster Hunter World’s weird, strict, and unusual conditions for playing online with friends is an annoyance that players are forced to accept. With all of the great decisions made with the game’s design and the obvious care from the developers, it’s crazy to see how something as simple as playing online has become a hindrance on my time with the game. I’ll spend countless hours tracking down and hunting the myriad of monsters that the game has to offer, but I can’t help think that I’ll be a solo player for most of my career. The group of players that I would want experience the game have different schedules, their own lives, and jobs that prohibit us from always being online together. When we get online, the hope is that the game sessions we have will run smoothly. Monster Hunter World is one of those games that pushes people away instead of bringing them together.
I hope that Capcom makes some significant changes to Monster Hunter World over time. It’s not an impossible task. Ubisoft has done it with Rainbow Six Siege. Bungie made Destiny better after a rocky launch as well. Can Capcom improve Monster Hunter World’s online functionality down the line? Sure. Will they actually do it? That’s something I can’t answer, but I really hope that Capcom takes a hard look at some of their decisions for the game and acts accordingly. Monster Hunter World is an amazing game, but could reach its full potential with proper attention on its online implementation.