In light of the confirmation of the at least rough size of the expansion for new monsters, I decided to do some napkin math on what the breakdown of that total new cast is going to be. Came up with some interesting conclusions, and thought other people might like a framework to use for discussing this topic.
Working from a basic assumption of roughly doubling World's starting roster, as has been suggested, we get 16 normal monsters, and 21 total fights. Lets start with:
Confirmed Monsters (So Far):
That's 4 new monsters, and one new Elder Dragon, likely analogous to a high difficulty normal ED type fight (IE, not Xeno or Zorah). Next, lets throw out some relatively safe bets, known unknowns, and other things that I don't think most will dispute will likely be in the game. For this, I am excluding Master Rank versions of the base monsters that are not variants. This is a tally of total new fights that will be added to World, not a tally of monsters that will be new to the series; anyone using the term "new monsters" in relation to Iceborne is likely meaning this. (No one thinks your pedantry of "Narga isn't a new monster" is worthwhile, and I say that as someone who engages in pedantry.)
- New Pseudowyvern
- New Bird Wyvern
- New Flying Wyvern
- New Fanged Wyvern
- Oroshi Kirin
- Rathian + Rathalos variants (Gold/Silver or Dread)
- Jade Barroth
For new monsters, I am assuming we'll wind up with at least one new monster of each frame we had, and conjecturing we'll also get something new for the Pseudowyvern rig–that would put us at 4, which would give one for each map, assuming Tigrex crosses over between Hoarfrost and Wildspire, which tracks with previous titles. I could see someone arguing Jade Barroth's inclusion here, since Banbaro fills a very conceptually similar niche; however, Jade Barroth would require so little work to input, I feel confident odds are good it'll be in even if it would be above and beyond the total number of monsters otherwise. Variants like that are less work than full new monsters, and Barroth has major upgrade paths for several weapons. This puts us at, all told, 14 monsters, including 2 Elder dragons.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's very close to the lower edge of the total number of new monsters we're likely to get. That means whatever's left has to pull a fair amount of weight. That also likely means that there are no other new skeletons or rigs besides pseudo, unless we're either a) not getting one or more of the safe bets (possible, bird wyverns are not common mid-high tier monsters), b) they'd put together a new skeleton for a very small number of monsters at release, or c) the total number of monsters is closer to 25.
So, that leaves a list of "notable possibles" to acknowledge. I'm not saying I agree with all of these, but these are the most common ones I've seen thrown around as possibilities.
- Other new monsters, including a new invader.
- Zamtrios (Using a variant of Jagras' rig)
- Gigginox (Rounding out the return of old Pseudos)
- Gammoth or a new mammoth-like monster using the Popo frame.
- Bloodbath Diablos
- Agnaktor/Glacial Agnaktgor/Lagiacrus/Leviathans in general.
It is, frankly, mathematically unlikely we get all of this at Iceborne launch. Even if we say variants are less intensive work wise and limit additional new monsters to one, that just seems far beyond the scope of the base expansion; it would be a total of at least 24. Another thing to consider is that while we don't know if they will continue free content updates after Iceborne, that seems likely, and that opens up some of these monsters to appear later. There's also the question of expansions beyond Iceborne; something that wasn't possible in the past, and may very well be in the possible cards for World. That would give them a reason to hold back on focusing overmuch on returning monsters, and prioritize making Iceborne the best collective package they can.
So, with all that said, I'm going to make some modest predictions, with some reasoning explained.
- At least one of the new monsters will be an addition to the Rotten Vale. The Vale's self-contained ecological nature means that hunts there usually always involve the same cast of characters, which makes it one of the stalest maps to hunt on. Adding variety there would a big improvement to the game, and there's plenty of unique concepts there to explore. I'm personally interested in a new flying wyvern, but Vale variants of other existing monsters are also a possibility, like an Effluvium or Dragon based Anjanath. This would also be an appropriate alternate map for Bloodbath Diablos to the Wildspire, and the most likely map for Gigginox, if we get him.
- We won't get Leviathans. The math here just doesn't seem to support their existence, unless they're not making a new monster for each existing model. I also think the existence of Beotodus points in this direction; having him as an ice-based fish-like monster makes him a Glacial Agnaktor fill-in for Lavisioth's Agnaktor, and while the fights are somewhat different, bringing the Agnaktors to World just seems redundant with them around. And if the Agnaktors are out, then the compulsion to bring Lagiacrus seems much weaker, especially if there's a possibility of making leviathans a focus of another Iceborne-style expansion, perhaps themed around a new beach/bay or swamp type map.
- We won't get Alatreon at release. Based on what we know, the launch leak list seems to have been accurate at the time it dropped, and it seems that Alatreon and Oroshi Kirin were substituted out late in the support cycle for Behemoth and Leshen. Oroshi Kirin seems like a shoe-in for Iceborne's roster, but with Velkhana taking the flagship spot, and being a "mythic" elder dragon, I suspect it's taking the development slot Alatreon would have gone into for Iceborne proper. Now, I think there is still some possibility that Alatreon could come as an Iceborne content update later. However, I also think there's a real possibility it never comes, barring confirmation Velkhana isn't Iceborne's end boss. But right now, I'm only calling him not being in the base expansion.
- Kulve will get a master rank siege fight before we get a new siege. I think we WILL get a new siege at some point, but I fully expect ATKT to get a master rank version before we get something new. This will include new armor, higher rarity weapons, and eliminate the lowest tiers of Kulve weapons from the drop pool for the master rank quest. I make no bets on if this will replace or be in addition to the AT version, and whether it will be a Kulve variant with a different element, or just another tier of the current Kulve.
Thanks for reading, if you made it this far, and let me know what you think!
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