Monster Hunter games typically get “Ultimate” versions, which include the base game along with new quests and features. With Monster Hunter World, the developers are doing something different. On September 6, Capcom will launch Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, a huge expansion that picks up after the events in World. Iceborne‘s new region, the snowy Hoarfrost Reach, will be the largest in the entire game. Here’s everything you need to know about Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, from new monsters to mechanics and more.
Iceborne‘s story takes the Fifth Fleet of hunters to Hoarfrost Reach, a snow-covered landmass. Capcom has said that Hoarfrost Reach is the largest region in Monster Hunter World. We spent time with Iceborne both at E3 2019 and during the two beta sessions on PS4 and can confirm the region seems to be quite large. Additionally, it will change how you approach the hunt (check out our beginner’s guide).
Along with sporting some winter attire to stay warm (the Palico outfits are adorable), you’ll have to consume plenty of Hot Drinks. Hoarfrost Reach steadily chips away at your stamina and demolishes it quickly while running without hot drinks. Don’t worry. Once you have the warm beverage, your stamina will act normally. Just remember to drink another if you faint or if the first wears off before you take down your prey. There are also Hot Springs scattered throughout Hoarfrost Reach, which replenish stamina and have healing effects.
In terms of standard movement, tall piles of snow slow you down and cost more stamina to move through when running. Also, the icy areas can be quite slippery. More than ever before, you’ll be battling both the monsters and the elements. Thin ice in Hoarfrost Reach can shatter beneath your feet, sending you or (hopefully) your foe into the depths below.
Capcom hasn’t revealed too many specifics about Iceborne‘s story, but we know the main antagonist is Velkhana, a new Elder Dragon that specializes in ice attacks. We also know, based on footage, that some of the missions will take place in previous World regions such as the Ancient Forest. So while the main setting is Hoarfrost Reach, expect aspects of World‘s other regions to change throughout the story.
Iceborne Hunter Rank requirement
Since Iceborne is an expansion, you need a copy of World to play. But you also have to complete World‘s campaign and reach Hunter Rank 16 before you can travel to Hoarfrost Reach to start the expansion’s story.
The full list of Iceborne monsters hasn’t been revealed, but so far we know Hoarfrost Reach will include new monsters, old monsters, and variants on existing monsters from World. Here are the large monsters Capcom has announced so far for Iceborne:
- Velkhana: The aforementioned Elder Dragon, Velkhana uses ice attacks. But expect more from Velkhana, as Capcom has hinted at a surprise or two. Elder Dragons typically have dynamic movesets, so Velkhana figures to be a mighty foe worthy of the leading baddie role in Iceborne.
- Banbaro: Featured in the beta, Banbaro is a brand-new brute wyvern who looks like a giant moose. His horns can create snow boulders when he charges towards you. If you’re hit by a snow boulder, you’ll become afflicted with Iceblight. He can also pick up trees, increasing the range of his charge attack.
- Beotodus: New to Iceborne, Beotodus is a piscine wyvern who burrows into the snow and “swims” around like a massive snow shark. Like other piscine wyverns (Lavasioth, Jyuratodus), you’ll have to lure Beotodus out of the snow to make solid contact.
- Tigrex: Originally featured in Monster Hunter Freedom 2, Tigrex is technically a flying wyvern but he stays on the ground. Also featured in the beta, Tigrex is extremely nimble, making him a tough foe to dodge.
- Barioth: Hailing from Monster Hunter 3, Barioth makes its World debut in Iceborne. A flying wyvern, Barioth has spikes on his wings and incredibly strong legs that can knock you down in a hurry.
- Nargacuga: A flying wyvern from Monster Hunter Freedom Unite and Monster Hunter Generations, Nargacuga also makes his World debut in Iceborne. Capcom showed footage of Nargacuga in the Ancient Forest, so you may not have to face this tough and stylish wyvern in the frigid cold.
- Shrieking Legiana: Shrieking Legiana is a variant on Legiana, a monster native to World. The Shrieking Legiana seems to have been designed specifically with Hoarfrost Reach in mind, as it can slow hunters down with chilling winds and pounce with ice attacks.
- Viper Tobi-Kadachi: This sub-species of the nimble Tobi-Kadachi can inflict poison with its tail and fangs. The venomous large monster can also induce paralysis. This will likely make Viper Tobi-Kadachi a far more significant challenge in Hoarfrost Reach.
- Coral Pukei-Pukei: Another sub-species of a World monster, Coral Pukei-Pukei uses its tail to vacuum up water, which it then shoots at you, inflicting the Waterblight status effect. Coral Pukei-Pukei appears to have a mostly similar moveset outside of the aggressive and frequent use of water blasts.
- Nightshade Paolumu: A sub-species of the flying Paolumu, Nightshade Paolumu can put you to sleep with the fumes it releases from its mouth. When it takes a huge gasp of air, you’ll have to watch out or else you’ll start to get drowsy.
- Glavenus: Introduced in Monster Hunter Generations, Glavenus is a brute wyvern with a massive spiked tail. Shown off in a recent trailer, Glavenus’ tail basically acts as a fire rod. His blue-plated body provides a sturdy defense.
- Acidic Glavenus: A subspecies of Glavenus, Acidic Glavenus has, you guessed it, sulphuric acid abilities. Based on the gameplay footage released by Capcom, Acidic Glavenus is more feisty than the regular one. He uses his tail like a powerful, precise sword, slicing away at hunters in a flash.
- Brachydios: Hailing from Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Capcom has teased the brute wyvern for Iceborne. Brachydios can sling puddles of exploding slime and coat you with it if you are hit with its arms.
- Fulgur Anjanath: A variant of World‘s Anjanath, Fulgur Anganath can be found in Hoarfrost Reach. Essentially a T. Rex, the Fulgur Anjanath will inflict thunder damage on you if you aren’t careful to avoid his attacks.
- Ebony Odogaron: A variant of Odogaron, Ebony Odogaron is a fanged wyvern that deals dragon elemental damage. Odogaron is a speedy monster that will gnaw and swipe at you once you’re in range.
A variety of new small monsters will also be introduced in Iceborne, such as the winged Cortos.
Gathering Hub, reimagined
Iceborne brings a brand new outpost called Seliana. Hot springs will let you move from level to level to access the various vendors and NPCs scattered throughout Seliana.
With Iceborne, Capcom has made improvements to the Gathering Hub to make a more convenient and social multiplayer experience. The Gathering Hub has a smithy, resource center, and botanical garden this time around, which will eliminate the need to go back and forth through loading screens. Seliana also has bath and sauna social areas to hang out with friends, and Squad cards will help you easily invite friends to your game and recruit new players to go on the hunt with you. Additionally, you’ll be able to customize your room in Seliana and then show it off to your hunting buddies.
Master Rank and dynamic difficulty
As previously mentioned, Iceborne essentially replaces the need for an “Ultimate” version of World. Ultimate versions have traditionally added the ultra-difficult G-Rank mode for brave hunters. Iceborne will add Master Rank, which sounds like a rebranding of G-Rank. Master Rank will let hunters square off against the strongest versions of Iceborne‘s monsters.
Capcom will also add dynamic difficulty levels to World when Iceborne launches. You don’t even have to buy Iceborne to get this update. Large monsters will now have different HP levels depending on whether you’re playing solo, duos, or in a group (3-4 players). Previously Capcom only had two difficulties, one for solo players and another for co-op hunts. The new dynamic difficulty setting will make duo hunts less of a pain.
Clutch Claw and Flinch Shot
One of the most exciting new features in Iceborne is the Clutch Claw, a grappling hook that lets you quickly mount monsters. It’s pretty much an extension of your Slinger. Aim it like you would a stone, shoot, and latch on. Once mounted, you can perform standard attacks, unique claw attacks (if mounted on monster’s head), or a Flinch Shot. Claw attacks force the monster in a different direction. The Flinch Shot rapidly unloads all of your Slinger ammo, which can disorient a monster and send them into walls and other obstacles.
The Clutch Claw uses a ton of stamina, so you don’t want to constantly try to mount monsters. When a monster becomes enraged, mounting them with Clutch Claw is much harder. More often than not, if the beta is any indication, enraged monsters will toss you aside like a rag doll the moment you mount them.
All hunters, regardless of weapon, can now fire Slinger ammo without sheathing your main weapon first.
New weapons and armor
Monster Hunter World‘s 14 weapons will have new moves and combos to learn in Iceborne. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, Capcom has uploaded videos on the changes to light weapons, heavy weapons, and technical weapons.
There will also be Master Rank armor for monsters such as Rathian, Anjanath, and Odogaron. We’d expect to see Master Rank armor sets for Iceborne‘s new monsters as well.
Training Area updates
Monster Hunter World‘s Training Area is getting an update with Iceborne. You can substitute the barrels and tree trunk for a dummy monster. Doing so will let you test Clutch Claw moves and give you a more realistic setting to experiment with the new moves. The Training Area has always been a great, safe place to get acquainted with the vastly different combat styles each weapon brings to the table. Now you can use it to hack at something of the same scale as the monsters you meet in Hoarfrost Reach.
Raider Rides and Palico updates
Monster Hunter World introduced speedy travel options with the addition of multiple camps throughout each region. That feature returns to Hoarfrost Reach, but you can also travel in style on the back of smaller monsters. Using the Raider Ride to call in your inventory, you can summon small monsters like the Wulg and Jagras in a matter of seconds. The small monster will take you either to a designated spot on the map or follow the tracks of larger monsters. Despite responding to your call, these small monsters will remain wild, so you can’t use them to roam freely.
Your Palico will have new gadgets to use in the field. A better Vigorwasp can revive you after fainting rather than having to get carted back to camp. The Meowcano shoots fireballs at monsters, and the Shieldspire Stooge creates a moving decoy that attracts a monster’s attention.
Capcom hosted a Monster Hunter World: Iceborne beta across two weekends: June 21-24 and June 28 to July 1. The beta was exclusive to PS4, with the first weekend being reserved for PlayStation Plus subscribers. The second beta period was open for all PS4 users, even if you didn’t have a copy of World.
The beta let PS4 players visit Hoarfrost Reach to hunt Banbaro and Tigrex and head back to the Ancient Forest for a fight against a Great Jagras.
Iceborne is the end for Monster Hunter World
Since Monster Hunter World‘s launch, Capcom has added new monsters and hosted events for World. On numerous occasions, World has crossed over with other games and franchises, including The Witcher 3, Final Fantasy XIV, Devil May Cry, and Assassin’s Creed. Iceborne is the first paid expansion for World, but it will also be the last. We can probably still expect new events and monsters to arrive in World post-Iceborne, but don’t expect any major content updates after Iceborne.
Release date and pre-order bonuses
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne launches September 6 on PS4 and Xbox One. Sadly, PC players will have to wait until January 2020 to explore Hoarfrost Reach. The standard version Iceborne costs $40 and is only up for digital pre-order as of now. Pre-ordering the standard version nets you the Yukumo Layered armor set. PS4 users will also receive a special theme and the Velkhana dynamic theme.
For those who don’t have a copy of Monster Hunter World, you can grab the Master Edition containing the base game and expansion for $60. If you happen to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, you already have access to World.
For $80, you can get the Master Edition Deluxe, which packages the base game and expansion alongside a number of pre-order bonuses: Silver Knight armor set, two sticker sets, three gestures, one face paint and hairstyle, and a room decor item.