Note: I've been playing MH since Tri, and have over 2000 hours in the series. I even wrote a 4000-word FAQ on how to Charm Snipe in MH3G. So while I may not have the drop rates of every single Gem and Plate memorized, I've been playing MH long enough to have a deep understanding of the series. Please remember this before you call me a pie-eating co*k goblin for my thoughts on MHW, Classic MH, and Scoutflies.
Yesterday, in MHGU, I fought a Yian Garuga. I had killed dozens of Garugas, so much so that I wore a full Garuga set all the way to endgame in MH4U. I knew what to expect. And yet, this fight still took me nearly 30 minutes, because my Paintball had worn off and I didn't notice until it was too late. A high-octane battle of reflex and strategy turned into an absolute slog through the entire map, multiple times. He and I played Musical Zones and only managed to land in the same spot after almost 20 minutes of sprinting, loading screens, and enduring the 2 noises of exertion my char makes while he runs. This is why I like Scoutflies.
WAIT. Before you hit me with the "sCoUtFlIeS aRe FoR bAbByS" chestnut, know that I felt the same way before MHW came out. I believed it demolished a core part of the MH experience and replaced it with a crutch for newbies who didn't understand how to paint monsters. I thought a core part of the MH formula was running across the whole map, using all your resources (paintballs, Pyschoserum, blimps) to track and hunt your prey.
Yeah, well, sometimes the core is rotten and gross and should be discarded.
In World, the process of tracking a monster is organic, both literally and figuratively. You have to manually spot tracks, poop, and mucous until your Scoutflies get the poopy, mucousy scent and lead you towards your quarry. Sure, the concept of "a swarm of magical glowing bugs that plot routes through the forest like Siri with compound eyes" is a little ridiculous. But are we really going to nitpick about the "immersion of Scoutflies" in a game where you can fall 50 stories without shattering every bone in your body? Or how bringing a hammer to fight an all-powerful death-bringing fire-breathing netherbeast is considered a "good idea"?
The importance of Scoutflies wasn't cemented in my brain until the Garuga fight last night, and how arbitrary and wasteful the classic system is. It feels incredibly mechanical and "video gamey" to have the monster simply fly between areas 5-6-7-8-10, with little or no logic dictating their movement behavior. Multiple times, I have seen a Rathian fly to one area of Misty Peaks, land, and take off again to fly to another area of Misty Peaks. This is not good game design. This does not make me feel like I'm fighting an actual monster. It makes me feel like I'm fighting a bunch of random number generators that can also shoot fireballs.
WAIT AGAIN. I can already hear you downvoting me and typing out a response about how "most monsters will only land in certain areas", and "I should only check those specific areas when trying to track them down in MHGU". Well, yeah, but there are a few problems with that:
- That requires a pretty in-depth knowledge of that monster, which is something that takes time to develop.
- That feels even MORE MECHANICAL than simply making the monster flap between areas with no rhyme or reason.
Think about it: how ridiculous is it that, after playing the game enough, you can basically predict where the monster is with total confidence. Multiple times, I've had a conversation that's basically this:
Friend: Okay, let's do a Glavenus.
Me: What area?
Me: Okay, he's at 6.
That is not immersive. That is rote memorization and exploitation of a limited, mechanical system that hadn't been changed since 2004. It takes no skill or critical thinking, and only a small amount of pattern recognition. Hell, here's a spreadsheet listing precisely where each monster in MHG spawns/sleeps (spoiler alert: most monsters only spawn in one specific area, making memorization easy). Once you've fought each monster in each area a few times, you know precisely where they spawn and visit, no Paintballs/Psychoserum/blimp needed.
This is why I believe Scoutflies and the new tracking system are great. They provide a helpful, diegetic (adjective, meaning "part of the world") solution when the monster needs to be found. And just because people harp on the Scoutflies for being easy/non-immersive, I would like to personally debate whoever thinks it makes MORE logical sense to have a blimp mark something on your map from a mile away, or to pop a Psychoserum that suddenly makes the monster appear, regardless of distance. After our debate, I will take you out for ice cream because I am a good sport and desperate to be validated.
tl;dr – Scoutflies are a natural, diegetic replacement for the old system that relied on consumable items and the exploitation of the monster's movement mechanics.
© Post "My Verdict on Scoutflies [Long]" for game Monster Hunter World.
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