✖ Close

Monster Hunter & The Companionship Of The Hunt

We delve deep into personal experiences and the communities that have come about over a decade of Monster Hunter gaming goodness.

Monster Hunter has grown in popularity since its inception on the PS2. Even that early title had the indications of what would make Monster Hunter a staple for many gamers across generations. Online connectivity brought hunters together to take on massive foes with staggering difficulties. Beating them would set the stage for boastive tales as in-game avatars would gallantly swing tankards in celebration. While Monster Hunter: World is finally changing the formula for console play, the same magic is there.

I’ve been with almost every major Monster Hunter release since the original. I had found it in a bargain bin at a department store at a young age. I remember being allured by the easy $15 asking price and mesmerized by the amazing box art, which featured a single knight staring down the destructive path of a red dragon. Even with the use of a Game Shark, I could not beat that beast, which I came to know as Rathalos, and I yearned to connect with other hunters for help. At my childhood home, our lack of good internet never did allow for much online play.

However, in college Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate released on 3DS and Wii U. Some friends had invited me down to try it out and it was at that moment that I fell in love with the series once more. They had loaned me a copy to relearn the game’s systems and it didn’t take long before we were tackling some of the toughest monsters in the game. To this day, I consider those sessions to be the best cooperative gaming of my life.

Even in the original days of Monster Hunter, a Rathalos was a beast that required good friends or some considerable patience and skill to bring down.
Even in the original days of Monster Hunter, a Rathalos was a beast that required good friends or some considerable patience and skill to bring down.

We bonded in the heat of battle, steadily learning the nature of these creatures, their weaknesses, and all of the subtle nuances that brought them to life. We trusted each other and made explosive progress as hunters. Unfortunately, as other games in the series remained on the clumsy handheld, we grew apart in favor of other games coming out at the time. I continued to pick them up and play occasionally online, but it was never the same.

Recently, there was a beta period for Monster Hunter: World and we came together again to explore new opportunities. With the new controls, I found myself favoring the more supportive roles and we defeated almost everything in our path. Even in the demo, we spent at least twenty hours learning our weapons and rebuilding our team. Again, I was reminded why I love this series so much. 

During my time playing on my own over the years, I’ve joined a few online Monster Hunter communities mostly to watch the awesome videos of players mastering the system. The main group I frequent, the Monster Hunter International Guild on Facebook, is one of the largest active Monster Hunter groups around. Most gaming communities are built on a competitive gametype, but here was a massive group for a co-op game.

I asked around the community to get some of their thoughts on what about Monster Hunter brings players together. Nathan, a fellow hunter I actually met working at a retail store, spoke to the sheer adrenaline and the difficulty that brings players together, seeking to ease the challenge.

“Honestly it's right there in the name. It's the thrill of hunting large badass monsters. It's the idea that there's a large brute wyvern running amok out somewhere and yes you could beat it on your own, but you can also get three of your friends together and say ‘let's go take care of that.’ I mean, it's the Monster Hunter mythos groups of hunters taking down threats to the villages in game. The idea is that only you can save the village as the ace hunter, but sometimes you need help.”

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and 3DS brought better connectivity to the series, allowing communities to come together with the greatest of ease.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U and 3DS brought better connectivity to the series, allowing communities to come together with the greatest of ease.

Mark, a member of the International Guild, also gave me further insight on the teamwork and friendship building aspects of the series.

“I feel that it’s the challenge, camaraderie, and mutual seeking of improvement of one's state in the game and it's just a plain fun multiplayer game,” Mark explained. “I personally was a solo player, but the first time I played Monster Hunter with someone else was with my childhood friend and neighbor. I will always remember his introduction to the game. I don't think he plays anymore, but he is one of my favorite people. He voluntarily decided to play with me. It strengthened our bond, as a good video game does.”

Meeloo, a member of another community known as the Monster Hunter Gathering Hall, brought up an interesting point on the sheer amount of customization options in each game.

“The creativity that MH brings also fuels the enjoyment, I suppose. Although metas still exist, it's always nice to see a new mixed set or a new full set that I haven't even bothered to look at.”

That said, Monster Hunter has always struggled in the West, selling substantially more units in Japan. Even so, different regions are able to play together and because of this, even language barriers can be overcome when every player has the same goals. With Monster Hunter: World being on PS4 and Xbox One, and coming later on the PC, I think our gaming family is going to be able to connect even more than before.

Monster Hunter has been a substantial part of my life and I am certainly not the only one to make friends through it. Even though many of us may not even see each other in game, there’s a special connection that it brings that I doubt could ever be replaced.

Monster Hunter: World marks the arrival of the series on new generations and on PC for the first time. It bodes for a good cooperative and competitive community when the game finally arrives.
Monster Hunter: World marks the arrival of the series in the newest gaming generation and on PC for the first time. It bodes for a good cooperative and competitive community when the game finally arrives.

Many hunters enjoy showing off their coolest equipment or their greatest moment of skill, but there are plenty of hunters eager to teaching a new player. In fact, there are collections of video lessons online to help players dive deep into this fairly complex game. To those struggling to learn, I would suggest looking for tips or asking a friend. The Monster Hunter reddit is a cavalcade of information (and some good stories and observations), including guides from the moderators such as the recently posted New Players Guide written by the moderators for Monster Hunter: World. It’s a daunting series with a lot to learn, but remains extremely rewarding.

No matter the game or console, hunters share a special bond that cares not where we are or where we are from. It only matters that we work together to pursue mightier challenges, always striving for the greatest of victories.  

Join us