My story is complicated. I've been playing Monster Hunter for a very long time, since Freedom on the PSP around 15 years ago. In that time, I've 'mained' a lot of weapons but the experiences all felt.. wrong I suppose. Don't take this the wrong way, I love almost all of the weapons in this game.. which was sort of the problem. When I would try to stick to a weapon, inevitably I would grow tired of that weapon and would want to use another. There's so many fantastic weapons and different playstyles, why bother locking myself into one? That was round-about the logic I was using. So I bounced all over the place for years, never really able to stick to a main weapon for more than a few months. One game cycle (from release to the next game releasing after it) I would 'main' around 3-5 weapons. Sticking to one for more than a few months was difficult to say the least.
Back in the PSP days I was a fan of Greatsword and Longsword, the 'big sharp stick go swingy swingy' philosophy carried me through my more inexperienced days with the series. These weapons are incredibly simple and easy to pick up but have a very high skill ceiling to boot so they kind of worked well for my starter weapons. I would sometimes use SnS or Dual Blades but GS and LS were my big two and this was the closest I came to having a 'main' weapon before now, albeit it was two main weapons instead of one main weapon. By the time Tri came out I was enamored with the Switch Axe, a weapon I will still fall back on to this day when I'm trying to go all out because in my heart I know it's the weapon I'm the most skilled with using. I probably have more time on the Swag Axe than any other, mainly because in Gen / Gen U / XX (I had all three, yes) the aerial and brave styles along with the hunter arts the Switch Axe had turned the weapon into a powerhouse.. seriously last gen MH's Switch Axe was borderline OP in my opinion. In 4U I was attracted to the Charge Blade, it was new and shiny plus it was completely broken back in that game to boot so naturally I thought it was cool. In Gen / Gen U / XX as I said SA was my closest thing to a main weapon but I bounced all over the weapon tree so often in that game due to the styles / arts that I hardly think it counts. I've also played some of the Japanese exclusive MH titles via PSP emulators and even the JPN MH MMO. Never tried the Chinese one though. I say all this to just get the point across.. I've bounced all over the weapon tree. I have used every single weapon in the series for many hours and hunts. I was never able to really stick to one for the duration.. until now.
Of all the weapons, I never expected the Gunlance to be the one to truly seduce me. I was always terrible with the Gunlance, I was decent enough with Lance but the added shelling aspect along with the types of GL's (Wide, Long, Normal) I found the weapon to be all over the place and every time I would use it I felt strongly that just using the normal Lance would see me do better.. and I wasn't wrong. I don't think I was horrible with the GL, not truly, but I was barely proficient. It was easily one of my worst weapons, and despite thinking it was really cool and a lot of fun to use every time I picked it up ended after a few days at most because I never felt like I could truly get a handle on the weapon. It wasn't some hidden layer of complexity or anything, I think it was more the preconception of what a lance with a gun on it SHOULD be doing in a hunt combined with my ton of experience with the regular Lance guiding me into a less than optimal style of play. I was also bad about skills and setting myself up with gear that really complimented my weapons on most of the weapon tree, the only weapons I felt I could make optima loadouts around were Greatsword and Switchaxe, everything else just put me off.. again, until now.
So I picked up the GL in Iceborne recently. The new makeover the weapon got in World combined with the Iceborne changes made it seem really cool, plus that speedrunning video that I'm sure half of you have seen back when IB was still in beta was a big thing that made me want to try it again. Something.. just clicked? Maybe it's because managing skills and making gear sets (for me at least) is easier in MHW or maybe the right gears just began turning, but I was able to throw together a passable GL armor set skillwise and got a Lv. 5 Normal Gunlance (literally the Rarity 10 GL in the iron tree that you get access too quickly once you get into Master Rank, you can literally craft it straight up at the Rarity 9 version and do one upgrade to get it to the Lv. 5 Normal version) to go with it. I dicked around in training for an hour or two then I began farming some older high rank monsters because I had some weapons I wanted to upgrade from the Master Rank tree extensions that required I get some HR stuff up to par first. I was blowing through hunts in 2-3 minutes, I know using MR gear in HR naturally will make it go faster but this GL is basically a starter MR GL so I doubt it's really THAT big of a power boost compared to true endgame stuff. But using other weapons I would still take at least 5-8 minutes to get through it unless I just tanked through everything with GS charging or the hammer.. or stuck to a Great Girros like glue with Dual Blades.
Once you get into your groove the damage output on this thing can get insane, and I love having a proper shield with guard up because it allows me to stick to monsters instead of constantly looking for openings which in the higher ranks helps a ton because stuff isn't fond of staying still. The sheer satisfaction is really what sold me though, looping full burst combos and seeing the explosions and damage numbers fly out, staking a monster right in the face and watching the explosion flinch or topple it, using wide or long gunlances to cheese through monster armor, being able to reliably and safely hit airborne monsters with a blademaster weapon while grounded, sneaking up on a monster or finding it asleep only to get a big fuck you blast in (especially when they're sleeping as you can use mega bombs), the pivot hopping with evade extender making the weapon waaay more mobile than it first seems.. god damn I truly love it all when it comes to this weapon. It has no problem cutting tails, breaking heads or other parts, staying glued to a monster with Guard Up + the shield, being able to hit monsters reliably through armor or while airborne, the sick combos.. this thing is just bae.
So now I finally TRULY feel that I've fallen in love with a weapon enough to main it for the long haul. Even into the next MH game. Going back and playing GU even to test it out, the GL is just my weapon now. I hate that it took so damned long, but I finally feel like I'm home. That home, is with the G(F)unlance. With my backup weapons right now being Greatsword and Switch Axe. I at some point would like to add a Bowgun to the list as for some hunts ranged truly just looks like a godsend, like Lunastra (least favorite monster in the entire series tbh) or something. I've seen some bowgun players absolutely clean house recently so I feel like my end goal would be maining GL with the backups being Greatsword and Heavy Bowgun. I honestly want to retire the SA for good as the weapon has just gotten boring to use after so long with it and the SA designs in MHW are for the most part more lacking than a lot of the others imo.
There was no real point or moral to this story, I just felt the need to get all this out as I'm genuinely ecstatic to finally have a main weapon (And such a fun one at that) after all these years and thousands of hours spent bouncing around. Happy hunting.
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