Hunting is mostly a vicious cycle, a war of escalation between you and your eventual target. Every quest is another battle in that war, but heading into battle without a clear gameplan can make your life harder than it needs to be.
Let’s say that some Rathian armor has caught your attention. You’ve taken down a few of them, but you still don’t have all the parts you need to complete the set. Specifically, you need something called a Rathian Plate to finish the waist-piece. How the heck do you get one of those? Obviously from fighting Rathians, but is there something specific you need to be doing against them?
Your greatest nemesis
No matter how hard you try, no matter how efficiently you beat up a wyvern, you just can’t seem to get the rare drop that you need. What the heck is going on here? My friend, welcome to the wrong end of the “desire sensor”. This urban legend among hunters states that the more you want something, the less likely you are to find it. It’s probably just superstition, but would a sacrifice to the RNG gods really hurt?
As it turns out, simply defeating a low-level Rathian will only yield a precious Rathian Plate 1% of the time. You can’t get one from carving, either. Well… from carving its body. If you manage to cut off the tip of its tail, though? You actually have a shot of getting a Plate from carving that. That’s still only 3%, but a higher chance is a higher chance, right?
There are a few other ways to make Plates accessible to you. If the Rathian drops a “shiny,” there’s a 1% chance it will be a Plate. Capturing a Rathian gives you a 2% shot at it. Finally, if you “break” the head of the beast — the monster will reel in pain and tiny pieces will fly off when you do — you have a whopping 4% chance of knocking a Plate into your quest-end spoils box. Those aren’t mutually exclusive, either, so be sure to do as much as you can to maximize your chances.
How do I know all this? Well, it isn’t personal experience, I promise you. The truth is an international group of hunters got together a long time ago and actually kept track of these things. They pooled their data and worked out how often each individual item can be found. Their findings are freely available for anyone who wants it, but the trick is knowing where to look.
Bases of data
Ping’s MH3GDex takes a couple of forms. There’s an offline desktop app, mobile apps for both Android and iOS (although the Android app at least is incomplete), and it is one of the driving forces behind kiranico.com if you want to look something up online. Each one has its advantages, so check them out if you can.
There are several databases out there, but the one I use was put together by a hunter named Ping. This thing is exhaustive and contains information not only on monster drops/carves, but also pretty much anything else you might ever want to know. Looking for armor that grants points to Attack Up? Want to know the best weapons to use against Lagiacrus? Curious about where the heck you can catch a stupid Carpenterbug? All of this information and much, much more can be found there.
I have lost countless hours browsing through the various offerings in this database. Time spent there is reflected in more efficient use of my hunting time, as I know what monsters I want to track down and how I want to take them out. I recently needed ten Gourmet Vouchers. Do you know how rarely the canteen gives those things out?! I could have eaten there for months without getting more than a couple. But the database told me that certain quests sometimes offer them as rewards, which sped up the process considerably.
Is this cheating? Eh, not really. You still have to execute those actions, and live to see the end of the quest. No amount of numbers in a database will help you there! It just tells you which specific actions you should focus on, and which you can ignore (or even avoid). Every Rathian you slay instead of capture hurts your chances. Every tail or head you leave intact makes it that much harder to find what you want. As a wise team of hunters once said, “knowing is half the battle”. The other half? Actually battling.
I hope these notes have been helpful to you. If you still have questions I’d be happy to answer them, but for now that’s all I have. Maybe we’ll see each other in Tanzia some day!