I'm not a veteran of this game in the slightest. My first game was Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, so I grew my skills in the arms of edgy dragons and giant spiders.
At that time, optimizing a build meant having enough elemental resistance so that you don't burn when hit by fire. I was wrong, of course, as the postgame swiftly explained, but the feeling stayed. The feeling of "Optimizing is something you do if you have nothing else to do".
Then Monster Hunter World appeared and suddenly optimizing your build was not only possible before the endgame, but expected of you. And with optimization came speedrunners and with speedrunners came hate, as always.
So why the hate? The hate comes from the concept of the meta. The meta is the most efficient way of playing a game, and it currently is, to my understanding, full crit, full damage, murder everything in 1 minute or less. A lot of people don't like that. A lot of people enjoy being able to take more than one hit or not having to roll through every roar.
This spawned the concept of the comfort build. A build that focuses more on quality of life skills than the full crit glass cannon that everyone adores. And it began working as an opposite option, almost like a different flag to rally behind.
But soon, the entitlement took hold of the comfort builders. People began complaining that no builds are bad, that the meta shouldn't be followed, that "if you are having fun, then it is a good build". As with many things, this reasoning has its share of truth, but its share of lies as well.
Of course, such a radical way of thinking could not go unopposed for long, so the optimizers began criticizing every build that didn't 100% follow the meta, even considering users of "lesser weapons" as noobs unable to grasp the game.
To solve this, I have elaborated a list of types of builds a player can make to help realize what your playstyle is, and to unify the community as one whole group of monster hunters.
- The Meta build: This is a build that strictly follows the meta. A build like this assumes that you will not get hit, ever, that your rolling is frame perfect, and that you've memorized most if not all monster movesets in the game. A build like this is unarguably the fastest way to kill a monster, but the average player will lack the skill, experience or framerate required to make it work. As such, a build like this is only apt for speedrunners.
- The Near-Meta build: This build usually has most skills centered around damage, but due to lack of resources or commitment, it isn't fully efficient and houses less powerful abilities. This build is apt for players grinding lower level monsters or on heir way to a true Meta build.
- The Comfort build: A build focused around skills that make your life easier. This builds are often very easy to play with due to the help they provide in the hunt, allowing somewhat sloppy gameplay. However, the true sign of a Comfort build is that, even though not fully focused in damage skills, it often houses skills that support the core playstyle of the weapon, making it effective. Players that use this build don't want to strain themselves with perfect gameplay, but have a deep understanding of their weapon and know exactly what they need and why.
- The Crutch build: Very commonly mistaken with a Comfort build, this is a very defensive build created to compensate the lack of skill of the player. It usually houses superfluous defensive skills that drag on the hunt, which is the main difference between these two: A Crutch build will take significantly longer to do the same than a Comfort build, because its skills are not for capitalizing on, but to hide player weaknesses. These builds are often seen used by hunters yet unfamiliar with their weapon or monster of choice, and although there is no shame in using it, players with builds like these should try to transition to a true Comfort build.
- The Meme build: A loose cannon by definition, this extravagant builds attempt to capitalize on an obscure part of their weapon's moveset. The difference between these and the next type of build, is the inherent understanding of the game by the builder, and the focus on optimizing a non-optimal part of the gameplay. This builds range from somewhat effective "sleep greatsword" and "Palico trainer" to obscure combos that may very well become Meta builds like the ridiculous Heavy Bowgun + Rocksteady Mantle + Health Booster + Cluster Ammo build that I strongly believe was sent by the gods to punish Capcom. These players should be welcome in your team because even if their build is subpar, it will always be funny.
- The Bad build: Finally, we have the builds that denote a player who doesn't know what he is doing. These builds include skills that are counterproductive to their playstyle. Some of my favorites include Maximum Might Hammer, +5 Guard Greatsword or 100% crit Long Shelling Gunlance. These players are often mislead by their lack of experience and will often think that they have made a Meme or Comfort build when, in fact, they are shooting themselves in the foot. They should be politely informed of their mistakes and led to a better path.
I hope this was entertaining and helpful. Have a good day.
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