What We Learned from the Monster Hunter: World - Iceborne Spring Update
Not long after dropping an extended new trailer, the Monster Hunter: World team dedicated their entire Spring Update livestream to the game’s first expansion, Iceborne. The first, and possibly most important, detail came right at the top of the stream. Iceborne is set for release on consoles September 6, 2019.
The expansion continues the story from Monster Hunter: World, starting sometime after the events of the original game. It takes place in a new locale called the Hoarfrost Reach. As the name implies, this area is dense with snow and extremely cold. Similar to how you unlocked new locales by progressing through the base game, you’ll have to unlock new parts of the Hoarfrost Reach by continuing the story in Iceborne. According to the developers, Hoarfrost Reach is the largest locale in the game. According to Monster Hunter: World’s developers, fans had been asking for a snowy area since the game’s initial release.
On top of the gorgeous-looking snow and ice effects, including your character leaving tracks in the snow, the elements will have a big effect on how you play Iceborne. Staying out in the bad weather too long will leave you vulnerable to various status effects, the most common being stamina drain just from cold exposure. To offset these effects, you can gather hot peppers from new plants in the area, or visit one of the hot springs scattered around the zone, which have the same effect on your character as hot drinks.
There will also be all kinds of new creatures around, like the Rime Beetles, which are basically like dung beetles that roll up snowballs instead of poo. There’s also a type of monkey that lives in the Hoarfrost Reach’s hot springs, which the developers say they expect to be fan favorites.
Of course, not all the wildlife in the area is quite so harmless. Iceborne quests will fall under the newly added Master Rank, which sets above High Rank from the original game. The first major Monster the developers showed off was the Banbaro, a moose-like creature with massive horns. Its attacks are largely based on using these horns to charge at you, tossing boulders and trees that they scoop up along the way. Based on the reaction from viewers in the Livestream's chat, Banbaro looks like it will already have a pretty devoted following when the game launches.
We also got a look at Beotodus, a significantly less cute Monster that’s something like a giant sandworm with an enormous horn. It looks like it behaves somewhat like Jyuratodus, burrowing under the snow rather diving underwater to attack you.
Iceborne will also bring back some Monsters from previous games, including Nargacuda, which first appeared in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. Nargacuda is a lightning-fast bat-like creature that can quickly dart around the area and launch deadly spikes.
Velkhana was described as Iceborne’s flagship monster. It’s an elder dragon that uses ice-based attacks. The developers were pretty tight-lipped about Velkhana, saying that its attacks will be more complicated than just shooting ice at you, as befits an elder dragon.
Hunters will also get a new suite of actions to help them down these new beasts. One simple but hugely impactful change is that you can now use your Slinger with your weapon drawn, which should drastically speed up its use and open up new strategies. You can also use your Slinger to launch a Clutch Claw, which lets you pull yourself toward and onto Monsters like a grappling hook. Once you’ve latched onto a Monster, you can use new moves like the Flinch Shot, which unloads your Slinger on them at close range, sending them charging away in the direction you’re facing. The bowgun has also gotten some upgrades to make it easier to evade and reload while using it. The developers have promised a video to come in the future showing off new abilities for other weapons.
The livestream was capped off by the announcement of an arch-tempered Nergigante for the main game, along with a new Nergigante armor set.
Iceborne will be available as a standalone DLC for $39.99, or in the “Master Edition,” which also includes the base game, for $59.99. A Deluxe Edition package will also include bonus cosmetics and a pretty slick-looking set of Silver Knight Layered Armor. Pre-orders will also come with the popular Yukumo Layered Armor set from previous games. Iceborne will launch on consoles September 6, but unfortunately for PC players, the game isn’t expected on Steam until later this winter. Until then, Happy Hunting!