Multitap: Dos and don’ts for a Monster Hunter party

July 22, 2014


As part of Snackbar Games’ July column shuffle, Gaming Unplugged‘s Chris Ingersoll uses his local multiplayer knowledge for something more digital in this Multitap entry.

When Graham discussed the best options for handheld local multiplayer experiences, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was mentioned as being “by far the deepest.” Well, thanks to our little feature column shake-up experiment, I’m here to get into that deepness a little more. You can consider this my sixth Hunter’s Notes if you want, although I’ll be taking a more traditional approach to writing for this one.

What you need

Obviously you each need a copy of MH3U. Everyone is going to need their own 3DS (or 2DS, I guess) as well, although one of you can opt to play the Wii U version if you so desire. I strongly recommend bringing your charge cable as well. The original 3DS isn’t known for its battery life, and while the newer systems have improved on this the local WiFi will make these sessions extra-draining. The Wii U player should be prepared to plug in their GamePad for similar reasons. On a related note, you might need some sort of power strip if there aren’t enough outlets handy for your group. Monster Hunter is all about preparation, so be sure you have your play area well-scouted.


Setting up

One player needs to go to the “multi port” by talking to Neko (means “Cat”) in Moga Village; if a Wii U is involved in the group this has to be that player. Everyone else should activate their “Hunter Search” from their touch screen. Find the player in the multi port and join them. It doesn’t matter if you go to the Marina or the Tavern at first, but be aware that you will only see each other in the Tavern; each player’s Marina is private, and where you have to go in order to change equipment. There’s an item box in the Tavern, but that’s only good for storing and receiving consumables like potions and such.

Once you have everyone in Tanzia, here are some tips to maximize your hunting experience.


DO: Have a plan.

There are two basic types of MH3U gatherings: either everyone is the same hunter rank, or at least one of you will be “behind” the other(s). If everyone’s on the same level you can basically do whatever you want. Whether that means ganging up on tough Elder Dragons, farming lesser monsters for rarer carves as a team to cut down on grind time, tackling the challenging quests that you haven’t been able to clear solo, or even daring to face one of the insanely difficult Event quests is up to you. Often groups will take turns posting quests so everyone gets a shot at doing what they want to do.

Things get trickier when one or more of you isn’t as advanced as the other(s), mostly because higher-ranked quests cannot be taken by hunters who don’t qualify for them. Of course, increasing rank is also an option for same-level groups if that’s your situation. Ranking up is a matter of knowing what your “key quests” are. Once all of the key quests are complete, you will gain access to your urgent quest for that rank. Completing this quest will advance your rank. Be aware that if you are leveling up more than one player at a time they will each need to post and complete the urgent quest in order to actually increase their rank.

Finally, get on the same page as to whether or not you want to capture your target(s). Depending on what you need from them, you might have a better chance from carving. And if you need specific breaks or carves, consider the fact that monsters in a multi-monster quest have reduced health and might die before you get those breaks.


DON’T: Gather while hunting.

If you need ore, bugs, or whatever, get them on your own time. Since everyone has their own gathering spawn points, there’s no benefit to gathering as a team so why bother? Obviously this doesn’t apply to carving or shiny drops, although it is considered poor form to carve a tail (or Barroth crown) before that monster has at least left the zone.

That said, going on a Harvest Tour quest is still an acceptable use of your group’s time if that’s what you want to do. This is especially true if, say, not everyone in the group has access to all of their rank’s maps. Being able to visit the Volcano early can be a big help, for instance.

Along the same lines, unless you have down time while waiting for the next monster to spawn, you probably don’t need to be cooking steaks with your friends either.


DO: Know your role.

There are a dozen weapons in MH3U, and each one has its strengths and weaknesses. If you have a Hammer or a Hunting Horn, your job is to hit the monster in the head as often as possible and try for a KO. Likewise, a large cutting weapon like a Switch Axe, Great Sword, or Long Sword should be trying to cut off the tail of the monster for those where that is relevant. Quicker weapons like Sword and Shield or Dual Blades often specialize in status effects and should just get their hits in where they can, preferably on the legs as their rapid strikes will increase the chance of tripping the monster. Lances and Gunlances have heavy defensive capabilities and can cover other hunters while waiting for their openings.

A Gunner’s role will mostly be determined by the ammo they bring with them. In fact, Blademasters can even aid Gunner partners by bringing along additional ammo (or ammo combination ingredients) if you think you’re in for a long battle. This is an advanced tactic but can pay huge dividends in the right circumstances.

Hunting Horns, of course, have a unique role on the team beyond KO damage thanks to their songs. Know what your Horn can do and how to do it. If you can customize that to your fellow hunter(s) or the monster being hunted, even better. A good Horn player is equal parts cleric and bard and makes any team better.


DON’T: Overpower lesser monsters.

I’ll admit that this one is more of a pet peeve than anything else, but if you’re a G-rank hunter helping out a Low-rank friend, you probably don’t need to bring along your usual weapon. Yeah, you can get the job done in about five minutes, but what did your friend get from that hunt? Did they even get in any significant hits? Learning how to fight monsters is what makes the game fun. Having someone else do your work for you isn’t my idea of a good time. Use a weaker version, or maybe try out something different so you both can learn. You can keep your high-quality armor, though; no sense in risking faints unnecessarily, right?


DO: Pay attention and communicate!

Be aware of each other. You can see each other’s health bars and status problems, so be ready with a Lifepowder or status-breaking kick if one of your partners gets in trouble. Likewise, if a monster falls asleep (helpful tip: the music will stop) don’t rush in to hit it if someone wants to lay explosives — and if you want to sleep-bomb, say so! In fact, since you’re all in the same room you should be communicating constantly: where a monster is, if it’s ready to be captured, if you’re laying a trap, etc.. This is a team effort, after all.

While the solo portion of Monster Hunter is more than fine, this game was designed as a multiplayer experience. Online play helps, but there’s nothing like getting some friends (or even strangers if you’re at a con or whatever) together and collectively taking down a Deviljho. Even hunting as a two-person team makes the game feel totally different than the solo experience. However you choose to hunt as a group, after you do so the first time you’ll be coming back for more as often as you can.

Good luck, and good hunting!