Monster Hunter World is designed to be played with friends. However, if as I do, you hate playing with other people as they slow you down or they carry you neither of which being a great outcome, you can choose to tackle the game solo. While the game scales with each player added, playing solo is not technically harder but sometimes, some monsters, do pose more of a challenge I have read. I learned this the hard way when I came up against Nergigante, my first (official) Elder Dragon.
The Elder Dragons are the big baddies of the Monster Hunter World, while I had fought some Kirin in an event earlier easily enough, I was not prepared for the damage that Nergigante could dish out. What was even more humbling was that a day prior to the fight, I had started to think Monster Hunter World was kind of easy, I had actually felt bad for the monsters I was mercilessly slaughtering.
In the lead up to Nergigante you have to fight a surprise enemy in the form of a Pink Rathian. Rathians are pretty intimidating beasts. Flying dragons that can poison you, bash you, and generally just make your day a little less good. The alternate colour version was supposed to be even more deadly and dangerous, getting a boost from its nutrient rich environment.
I didn’t even need to kill it, I captured it. The fight was so easy, I was already thinking of grinding it in the Stadium and wanted the few extra drops one gets from capturing a monster instead of slaying it. To say I was cocky at this point was an understatement, I felt invincible and was ready to move on to the end game.
Then... then came Nergigante. Who long sword in hand I casually started slashing until the first bash. 10% of my health gone, I was shocked as my armor actually absorbed much of the blow. Another attack connects and I am down to half health. I start realizing that this fight is not like the others.
I am quickly brought down as I struggle to regroup, I go back to the fight and fall again. At this point, I turn off the system and decide to regroup. Nergigante has won the day. For now.
For the first time, I decide to ask for help, not the help of an Ally, I will beat it alone, but just some tips. The one that sticks out the most is get good, its annoying but true. I wasn’t good enough. The other is more useful. Be patient and watch for openings and do not get hit.
Up until this point I had relied on my long swords abilities. Its easy combos to pull off and its quick but powerful attacks. Beyond that I had never really cared it could not block attacks instead relying on quick healing and my ability to dodge. Nergigante proved that skill was no longer optional but required. It was time to dodge or die.
With my pride in check, my ego cut down to size, I decided to once again try my luck. This time with a more conservative strategy based on the five Ds of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.
It worked. Actually, it worked better then I would thought. Keeping myself in open spaces Nergigante’s powerful attacks which a day prior had bludgeoned me dead were now obviously telegraphed. Sticking by the tail proved a sound strategy as well, as I easily avoided avoided his claws and horns. Even its mighty dive bomb attack which can cut a hunter down quick was quickly handled. Within a good ten minutes the mighty Elder Dragon had fallen, though it seemed unaffected my Electric Trap sadly.
I had won and it felt good, a feeling Monster Hunter World excels at giving. Not since my first Rathian slayed had I felt this way in World. Sadly, it is a rare feeling, as once you beat one monster they no longer feel as dominant or threatening. Just loot drops. Unlike the other future loot drops, Nergigante though had taken a win and I respect a boss for that. As it taught me a necessary lesson in humility: do not get cocky you can still fail.
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