Breaking down what’s coming to the Monster Hunter: World Iceborne expansion

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Capcom’s award-winning action RPG is about to get bigger, better, and cooler with a massive update featuring new and returning monsters and much more.

Sony’s second episode of State of Play gave viewers a quick dive into new and upcoming titles for the PlayStation 4. Kicking off this short-lived stream was a trailer to the upcoming Iceborne expansion for Monster Hunter: World. The trailer showed what appeared to be a whole new locale to explore— along with new monsters, quests, and gear to look forward to.

After PlayStation’s State of Play broadcast, the official Monster Hunter Twitch channel held a live stream of its own to explore and elaborate on what is to come in this behemoth of an expansion for the game. This expansion takes place right after completing the main story. With it, we are going to get a new difficulty after high rank called Master Rank.

The developers said it would be akin to the G-Rank difficulty like in previous Monster Hunter titles. Personally, the tempered and arch-tempered monster hunts were hard enough for me. These will definitely be even more challenging.

The new locale shown in the trailer is called the Hoarfrost Reach. The executive director of Monster Hunter: World, Kaname Fujioka describes it as a “snowy, polar stage, which is something a lot of fans actually asked for.” It is also the largest region in MHW so far.

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  • While it is a visually stunning biome and very different from the other locations in the game, the weather affects the players. The cold will cause player stamina to decrease more than usual, but its effects can be negated by crafting and consuming hot drinks. There are also natural hot springs in the new locale where you can nullify the cold effects.

    The developers also introduced a decent number of returning and new fauna to populate the vast new world coming to Iceborne. Some returning species include Popos, the herbivore species with huge tusks. Newer species include birds called Stonebills and a dung beetle-like creature called rime beetles. The rime beetles in particular roll snow up into sizable balls which can be inspected to pick up slinger ammo. There are also wingdrakes scattered throughout the Hoarfrost Reach called Cortos. They help with exploring like other wingdrakes did in other regions.

    With the lesser hostile species of animals in the Hoarfrost Reach, there are also some new and returning monsters to be on the hunt for in Iceborne. We are shown the Banbaro, a brute early-game wyvern with huge horns which can use the environment to be a nuisance to players in combat. They charge at hostile players, picking up tree branches and rocks to fend them off.

    Also becoming a target to the hunters is the Beotodus, a seemingly polar reskin of the Jyuratodus from the Wildspire Waste. Instead of dealing with this piscine wyvern in a muddy area, you’ll be dealing with this in some rather thick snow, so this should be a tricky fight.

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    Coming from Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is the Nargacuga. It was spotted attacking the Handler in the reveal trailer and it’s even more vicious and epic than ever. If it gives even the more iconic monsters like the Rathalos a run for its money, it’ll be a great fight.

    Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper expansion to Monster Hunter: World if there isn’t an elder dragon to fit the theme of the new locale. We are given a preview of a new elder dragon: the Velkhana. Not much information was given right now, but hopefully, it will have an epic intro, hunt, and a nifty armor set to add to the game’s meta.

    Along with the content comes new features to the combat system. Players will soon be able to use slingers while having their weapons drawn. This means that there will be smoother and easier combos to perform in the longer and more difficult monster fights.

    There will also be a new mechanic called the clutch claw, giving players more mobility options to close the gap on the monsters. It’ll allow players to be more in control of the monsters to either bait them into traps or put them in disadvantaged states to help gain an edge in combat. It doesn’t seem to allow players to easily mount monsters; to greatsword and insect glaive users, you are not obsolete.

    Capcom /

    The light bowgun got some love as well in the form of new mods that allow the player to reload ammo while evading attacks. Even the dual blades got some love with making the clutch claw add a whole new layer of combos and ways to avoid monster attacks. Not too much was expanded on here, as there will be another live stream to showcase some quality of life improvements and adjustments to the vast arsenal provided in Monster Hunter: World.

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    If you already own the base game and only want the expansion, you can opt to buy just the Iceborne digital version to be up to date with content. For collectors or those who want additional cosmetics, you can buy the Digital Deluxe version, packed with the Silver Knight layered armor set, three gestures, two sticker sets, a room decoration set, a face paint and a new hairstyle.

    For those who do not have the game yet, there will be a definitive Monster Hunt10er: World Iceborne Master Edition with everything included as a physical version. Preordering Iceborne will give you the Yukumo layered armor set.

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    Monster Hunter: World Iceborne will be releasing worldwide on September 6, 2019, coming first to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For Steam, it will be released sometime this winter. Happy hunting!