So now having watched a couple of people playing the beta (*cries in Xbox*), I got to thinking about Hunting Horn and what the new mechanics will look like in Iceborne. First and foremost, I'm overjoyed we finally got a pure damage song in the echo waves + red note combo, and it looks like it puts out some really solid numbers if you stack three of those combos and then recital/encore. Combine this with the new second level of Horn Maestro "greatly" increasing song duration—we'll have to wait and see for exact numbers, but maybe 5 minutes for songs like Attack/Defense Up XL?—and we're looking at a nice buff to the whole battle horn playstyle. Less time having to upkeep songs means more time exploding a monster's face with sound waves.
What got me most interested, though—and this is where we get to the theoretical/speculative bit—is that the echo waves combination mechanic could lead to some really interesting new buffs. All hunting horns since fourth gen draw from the same "scale" of notes, which is based on different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
indigo teal, and white/purple. (I love that this matches up with both the division of the visible light spectrum and the Western division of the octave, but anyway…)
All G rank (and, I presume, Master rank) horns share the purple note, but then have two other colors from the scale—the Anja/Bone Horn we see in the Iceborne demo takes green and red, which gives it a specific, unchanging song list based on the possible combinations of those three notes. However, the new echo wave "extended technique" allows for new songs with specific effects based on the color of the subsequent note. Green provides the extended recovery buff and red is the impact echo wave.
Each note in the hunting horn scale has specific characteristics and uses in a given song list. A quick glance at the MHGU horns suggests a few possibilities. The echo wave + blue bubble will very likely be a defense buff, as it's always been coded as defense to red's attack. An echo wave + yellow bubble might provide a flat elemental resistance or elemental attack buff, since it's involved in songs that do both of these things. Teal and orange are where things could really go crazy, since these notes are responsible for buffs like negate/reduce stamina usage, earplugs, bind resistance, wind resistance, knockback negation and negate stun. The echo wave bubbles for these colors could do any number of these things (or multiple at once?). Add to this the fact that apparently the echo wave recital bubbles add special buffs to hunting horn players specifically, and we're looking at a significant expansion of what this weapon can do.
Of course, I imagine horns with the red note (and thus both Attack Up XL and impact echo wave) will still remain the horns of choice for most people, but some of those other notes/songs might have some great situational usage in the master rank battles to come.
TLDR; horns are getting some really cool abilities come Iceborne and we might very well hit like a truck now. Consider this HH main hyped.
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