Whether you are new to the series or just jumped aboard since the latest game, Monster Hunter is a game that requires both skill and patience. Yes, there is a grind involved for gear. No, this grind is not required for you to enjoy the game, it’s perfectly playable if grinding for loot isn’t your thing.
If it is, get ready to be frustrated a lot and then elated when you finally get your goodies, because they are by no means guaranteed. Monster Hunter games are about probability. There’s a chance you could carve that Rathalos Plate during the hunt or get it as a reward afterward. You might get it the first try, or it might, if you are super unlucky, take you dozens of hunts to acquire it.
You’re not rendered completely powerless by the whims of probability, RNG, or as my friends and I call it in this game particularly, “the desire sensor.” As in, the game somehow knows you really want that Plate, therefore at least one other person on the hunt with you will get it, but you won’t, or you’ll get a rare item you don’t care about instead of the one you do. There are things you can do to improve your odds: certain armor sets that grant luck, eating for the Lucky Cat skill at the Canteen, making sure you get certain breaks on the monster (breaking horns, cleaving off the tail, etc) . . . there’s a lot you can do to maximize the chance you’ll get what you want, even if you can’t guarantee it.
If skill and patience are critical to enjoyment and success in Monster Hunter, the last critical element of the game, at least in my mind, is preparation. This is not a button-mashing game where you just do whatever it takes to get your DPS as high as you can. I’m not saying you can’t play that way, or that damage isn’t valuable. Certainly it is. However, the game gives you a lot of options– tools, equipment, items, and skills– to customize the playing experience, and most importantly, to maximize your chance of success against different monsters.
Not all monsters are created equal. If you wear the same gear, take the same weapon, and bring the same tools (or worse, not many tools) to each fight, you are leaving a lot on the table and doing yourself– and your team– a huge disservice. To illustrate this point, I’m going to talk about the latest event on PC, hunting the Kulve Taroth.
The Kulve Taroth siege is rather unique. You still fight in groups of four, but you want to be in a full online session to do this hunt (an Online Session can hold up to sixteen players), because what the other potential teams do, you get partial credit for, and you’re supporting them too. If everyone works together well, the rewards are maximized. Yes, you can do this fight solo, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it.
You only have to be Hunter Rank 16 (your HR is merely a measure of how experienced you are in the game, how many quests you’ve completed, monsters you’ve killed, and so on) to do this quest, so by no means do you need to be super geared or skilled. That said, I’ve seen a lot of hunters with very high Hunter Ranks die to Kulve Taroth due to what I can only describe as laziness and unpreparedness. No matter what your Hunter Rank is, there are some very simple things you can do to maximize your chance of success, and I’ve seen a lot of people that should be doing them not doing them. Which is driving me a little nuts.
1. Collect Kulve Taroth’s traces, because research points count toward Pursuit Level!
A major way to get Pursuit Points, which is the measure of tasks in the quest you can accomplish that improve rewards and that other teams get partial credit for, is to always look for tracks and examine Scattered Gold Chips, which Kulve Taroth leaves behind her all the time, especially after you’ve hit her or broken something on her. Collecting Kulve Taroth’s traces is a great way to get Pursuit Points, and I almost never see people stop and do it. It’s so much easier and faster to gather things than it has been in previous games in the series! You barely have to break your stride. There’s no excuse not to do this.
Also, the higher your Pursuit Level– which everyone in the Online Session contributes to– the faster subsequent fights go until the siege ends and Kulve’s horns are either broken off or she escapes, so everything you can do to get that number higher is important. Collect the traces to improve your odds of winning.
2. Bring your tools, and use them!
Mantles and Boosters are important tools, and if you’re not utilizing them, you’re not doing yourself any favors. In order to be HR 16, you have to beat the main story of the game by completing the quest Confluence of Fates (which is hunting Xeno’jiiva), and having done so, you can bring two tools to a hunt. You must complete the quest Tickled Pink (which is hunting Anjanath) at HR 11, which means you have the Vitality Mantle, and you can complete the quest A Fiery Convergence (which is hunting Lavasioth and Uragaan) at HR 13, so you have access to the Fireproof Mantle. These are super useful to have when fighting Kulve Taroth.
Bring them, and then remember to use them, please. People get stuck in DPS mode and forget to put their mantles on. The Vitality Mantle can save your life if you put it on when you know you’re about to take a lot of damage or if you’re close to dead and need to ensure you have a few seconds to heal up. The Fireproof Mantle is super helpful in Area 3 of the fight, where there’s molten lava all over the place. Don’t forget to take your Mantle off as soon as the effect wears off so it can start recharging.
If you for some reason don’t have the Fireproof Mantle, Health and Affinity Boosters are always good to bring. If you are quite experienced, I believe you can pick up the Rocksteady Mantle at HR 50 (I don’t have it yet), which eliminates damage reactions, prevents wind effects, protects your hearing, grants tremor resistance, and makes you receive less damage from attacks for its duration, so obviously that’s a great general use tool.
3. Use your environment
There are rock overhangs you can use your Slinger to hit (there are stones to arm it as you leave camp) that you can drop on Kulve Taroth for massive damage in multiple places in Area 1. There are cannons all over the place in Area 1 you can load up and fire at her as you get familiar with her movements. There are ledges to slide down and vines to jump off of in Area 2, ledges to jump off of in Area 3, and a surface to run up and leap off of in Area 4 to try and mount her. In Area 3 there are three stalactites, one near where you enter and two on an island in the lava, that you can drop on Kulve to stun her, and two lava geysers, one in each location, that you can position her over to do damage to her when they erupt.
As you can see, there are a lot of things in your environment you can use to help you destroy your enemy in this quest. Not using them is like leaving money on the table. Dropping those stalactites on Kulve Taroth to stun her while she’s over a geyser is super effective, and if you’ve got your Fireproof Mantle on, if you need to hit her while you’re standing on the lava itself, it doesn’t hurt you.
4. Bring Large and Mega Barrel Bombs
Sleep bombing, or bombing Kulve Taroth in the head when she’s stunned, or placing bombs over her as she burrows back out of the ground . . . that’s just extra damage, and you need all the damage you can get. I can’t tell you how many fights I’ve been in where we were nearing the time limit when she was about to escape– and we were therefore unlikely to break her horns off in time to get to carve them– where stunning her and bombing her in the head saved the day. Bring those bombs. But leave the traps and Flash Pods at home, sadly, they don’t work.
5. The Partbreaker skill is your friend
Many of the ways you can rack up Pursuit Points involve breaking parts of Kulve Taroth, tail, chest, and head. The Partbreaker skill, gained through certain armor pieces or use of Destroyer decorations and/or a Breaker Charm, makes it much easier to get breaks. Level three Partbreaker means you’re doing thirty percent more damage to breakable monster parts. If you can spec for this, you really should.
6. So is any skill that improves your survivability
I wear a full Uragaan Alpha set to Kulve Taroth hunts. This not only gives me max levels of Partbreaker, it gives me three levels of Guard (which reduces knockbacks and stamina depletion when I guard successfully), a level of Defense Boost, and the Guard Up armor set bonus skill, which allows me to guard against ordinarily unblockable attacks.
This armor set also gives me enough decoration slots for three Fire Res Jewels to improve both my baseline defense and fire resistance, and three Gobbler Jewels to give me Speed Eating, which means I take items (such as healing potions) very quickly, so I am much less likely to be interrupted, and I therefore tend to get the item’s full benefit. I also wear a Blessing Charm at max level, which means that whenever the effect procs (which is often), it reduces damage I take by fifty percent, which saves my life all the time.
What does all this mean? I have done this quest many, many times, and in so doing I have only ever died one time. I am very, very durable. Kulve Taroth is enormous. Especially while you are new to the quest and still learning what her attacks look like, it is very difficult to get out of her way.
I am also very good at baiting her to stand over those lava geysers, because I don’t really have to move much to defend myself. I am a career sword and shield girl, so I can block quite well, and use my slinger and items on the fly without putting my weapon away. I can often position Kulve over that geyser and drop the stalactite on her without even sheathing my weapon. I am making the most of my gear and weapon to improve my survivability and my usefulness to my team.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen people come in the most random armor sets! Now, they may have decorations on to improve their survivability that I can’t see, granted, but I see people taking a lot of fire damage they don’t necessarily need to.
I admit I am not super great at dodging. Rolling I’m OK at, the superman leap dodge, not so much. If dodging is your thing and you use a weapon that doesn’t block, there are skills that can help you, Evade Extender and Evade Window, for example. But you really need to keep that sort of thing in mind. Kulve Taroth is huge and hits like a freight train. I’ve seen her “roll over” and “the floor is lava” attacks kill a lot of people, and three total party deaths ruins it for everyone. Not that you can’t die, of course, it happens. But spec to ensure you’re maximizing your survivability for this particular foe.
Eat at the canteen before the fight. An all vegetable meal gives you a large elemental defense buff, and you want fire resistance. An all fish meal give you a large defense boost. Some combination of the two will give you lesser but still helpful bonuses along those lines, if you don’t have all the veggie or fish items unlocked.
Some helpful Felyne Skills to eat for include Defender, which decreases damage taken, Moxie, which prevents fainting one time when damage taken exceeds your remaining health, and Insurance, which prevents your group from being penalized the first time a member faints. Especially while you’re learning, eat for defense, not attack.
Don’t just eat the Chef’s Choice Platter to get max health and stamina! You can bring items for that. On that note . . .
8. Buff. Just a little.
A normal Armorskin and Demondrug are not difficult to craft. Please bring them and use them to give yourself defense and attack buffs for the duration of the quest. Also, bring at least one Max Potion to start with max health. I’m not asking for an inventory full of trinkets and potions here. Just a couple of things. Every little bit helps.
If you want to go the extra mile and use a support build and/or a Hunting Horn to heal and buff other people, that’s awesome! And thank you! Just make sure it doesn’t impact your survivability too much to do it. We love the support, but we don’t want you to be fragile in exchange for it. Luckily, people with support builds tend to be experienced players, so I haven’t noticed this to be much of a concern. I have a great support build. But I don’t really trust myself to use it on this fight. So props to people who pull it off well!
This may sound like a lot to the uninitiated, but if you have access to Kulve Taroth, you’ve beaten the main story of Monster Hunter: World, so you’ve had time to get familiar with everything here. My build is not the only way to be survivable in this siege. It may not even be the best for a sword and shield user! But it works for me, and I’ve given thought to what I’m fighting as I put it together. Preparation and strategy are key in this game, and a large part of what makes Monster Hunter so much fun. So many options! So many solutions to the same problem! Be a smart hunter, be prepared.
By the way, don’t worry if you haven’t gotten everything you want from Kulve Taroth yet (oh, you cruel random weapon rewards! How you elude me, rarity 8 blast element sword and shield!). The Winter Star Fest starts for PC players on Friday, November 30 and goes to Monday, December 17, and Kulve will be back for the duration of the event. Happy hunting!