Monster Hunter: World Shows How Destiny 2's Grind Could Improve

At a first glance, it may seem like Destiny 2 and Monster Hunter: World don't have much common. But there are several clear reasons why people like me are switching from Bungie's first-person shooter to Capcom's third-person monster-fighter. The biggest one, in my view, comes down to grinding and loot.

"Grind," in a video game, is the thing you can do forever. The game shows you a reward that can only be obtained after hours spent doing repetitive activities, usually with some element of randomness involved. If you've played a grindy game, you know the drill: You can only get the flame sword if you mine 50 fire crystals and obtain the proper parts from six lava beasts that you can only find in the Burning Plains. 

Grind gives dedicated players something to work toward once they have unlocked every new area, beaten every boss, and more or less "done everything" in a game. There are no more cutscenes, no new areas to explore, and no more story revelations. There's just a spreadsheet to gradually fill.

Grind isn't for everyone, but assuming a game itself is fun on a basic level, it can give people who need one a "reason" to play beyond the moment-to-moment pleasure of gameplay.

Over the last week and a half, I've put dozens of hours into Monster Hunter: World. It's become my go-to grind game, occupying the same space in my gaming diet that Destiny 2 did last fall, and that the first Destiny did before that.

It's the game that I can return to every day and always have something to do, whether I have a free hour or a free afternoon. As a result, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the two games, and why I'm playing the one instead of the other.

There are plenty of similarities between them, even though one is a first-person sci-fi shooter, the other a third-person dinosaur beat-em-up. Both games have hard-to-obtain gear. Both games assign rarity tiers to that gear, and in both games the rarer, more coveted gear is usually more powerful.

The most consequential difference is that in Destiny 2, the majority of loot will drop randomly across all events, while in Monster Hunter, you have to actively hunt down whatever you want. That may not seem like a big difference, but it's massive in practice. It makes Monster Hunter a more rewarding game.

In Destiny 2, your Guardian can earn the majority of the game's weapons and armour from just about any activity. You can hop on the strike playlist, do some public events, or grind in the competitive Crucible with the comfort of knowing that each chest, strike boss, and engram can drop any tier of weapon. There's even a chance at getting the rarest exotic gear every time you get a standard drop.

There are a few exceptions to that: the raid is the only place you can get raid gear, and the new weapon Forge added in the Curse of Osiris expansion asks you to repeat activities to "charge up" objects that can then be used to unlock specific guns.

Some weapons are constrained to the loot pools for a particular activity or vendor, like the Vanguard or Gunsmith. New armour ornaments require you to repeat tasks in order to unlock them, and there are a handful of exotic weapon quests that have you complete difficult missions to unlock exotic weapons that aren't in the standard loot pool. By and large, though, Destiny 2's loot is spread evenly across all activities.

Monster Hunter's crafting-based grind works differently. You don't get "drops" in the traditional sense; you never open a chest and get an item you've been hoping for, or see a rare sword fall from a boss. Instead, the whole game is built around killing (or capturing) tougher and tougher monsters in order to get better and better parts, which you can then use to craft higher- and higher-tier weapons and armour.

You're not grinding for the gear itself, you're grinding for the materials you need to make the gear. It is not a minor distinction.

I like Monster Hunter's approach because it gives me so much more control over what I'm getting, and when. Here's an example: Right now, I want to make a blessing charm. Crafting one requires me to get specific parts from a Paolumu, which is a fabulous flying mouse-monster that I can find in the Coral Highlands. My way forward is clear: go to the Coral Highlands and slay or capture a Paulumu. There's still some randomness, because I might not get the exact parts I need on my first try.

That will just mean I need to go fight one again. Not such a big deal, because, like taking on most of the monsters in Monster Hunter: World, the Paolumu is consistently exciting to fight.

Compare that with Destiny 2. In Bungie's game, if I were to want a similar item — say, a pair of boots that gave me a higher Recovery stat — I'd have no direct way of chasing it down. I'd just have to play the game, doing activities until eventually the boots dropped.

Destiny 2 does have different loot pools, meaning that if I want a specific piece of Iron Banner armour or a specific Crucible gun, I should focus on repeating those events so that every drop I'm getting will draw from the loot pool containing the item I want. But it's a vastly different experience, more vague and less satisfying.

A diffuse and unengaging grind isn't Destiny 2's only endgame problem, of course — much of the gear itself is unexciting, drops repeat too often, and activities rarely actually require the best weapons, just to name a few. Bungie has already copped to the endgame's shortcomings and promised that it will be improving things over the months to come.

The Forge in Curse of Osiris was already a step in the right direction, and Game Director Christopher Barrett indicated on Twitter that secret exotic quests - hidden challenges with specific rewards - will also be returning to the game. Blog posts about the game's future have included sentences like "we will be making adjustments to shift more rewards into specific endgame pursuits instead of generic XP grinding."

Destiny 1 already had a fair number of rewards tied to specific activities, and given how many of Bungie's planned changes to the sequel are lifted from the first game, it stands to reason that eventually Destiny 2 will at least resemble Destiny 1 in that respect, too.

Crafting-based loot won't be anything new to longtime Monster Hunter fans (this is how the series has always worked), nor will it amaze anyone who's gotten into crafting in MMOs like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV.

Destiny was my first MMO-style grind game, however, so diving into a crafting-based loot game has been eye-opening. Given that World launched just as fan interest in Destiny 2 reached a nadir, I'm guessing I'm not the only lapsed Guardian currently discovering the joys of monster crafting.


Comments

    Totally made the switch since MHW came out.. havn’t touched destiny, loving the game!

    Hm.

    Sorta, maybe? Not really?

    I stopped playing Destiny after the third expansion. I'm not sure it's the loot grind that turned me off. I think it was the lack of content.

    I remember shortly after I stopped playing Destiny I played EDF. That thing has a sort of loot grind, but it also had something like 50+ missions, often radically different, many of them spectacular showpieces in their own right.

    Monster Hunter too. Endless boss fights on their own might sound boring, but some of those are really unique, there's a ton of charm and many different systems, it mixed and matched monster targets to make for some interesting hunts. Also, the environment is more than just a backdrop, it can be a tool, it can be a hindrance and it can be a help, and is often a delight all on its own.

    Elder Scrolls Online seems to be doing very well as well, and I enjoyed that when I played it. I haven't played it since I think the Thieves Guild came out, but I still people playing it on my friends list, and that game is overflowing with content. Also PVP that's pretty unique, and makes you feel part of something bigger. One day I might even go back.

    Destiny was content to throw differently colored enemies at you through each of its expansions, which could be completed within a couple weeks. The time gated quests felt like big obvious attempts to dribble out its meagre content and keep people coming back. It's was hamhanded and felt very shallow.

      The Thieves Guild revolutionized ESO and made it almost worth playing, to me. I say 'almost' because the game is - by necessity - a slave to 'balance' which means no broken Skyrim stealth-archery. And that, plus kleptomania, are pretty much the only reason I play TES games.

    I was thinking the other day just how much Monster Hunter World scratched the itch that I was hoping Destiny 2 would scratch.

    Gods Destiny 2 was such a bitter disappointment. I wish I hadn't bought it digitally on PC so I could have returned it or traded it in. If you're thinking of buying Destiny 2, don't. Get MHW instead.

      i got both games.. i share this sentiment.

    I got Warframe for my space ninja shenanigans and now MH:W for my dino-bashing (and both for my closet gaming fashionista needs). Destiny is dead to me and I thoroughly do not miss it.

      That Ogdaron armor is amazing!!

        After receiving a significant windfall I spoiled myself and got a Mirage Prime warframe. It looks very harlequinesque in design for starters, then after painting it black, flesh-tone and red it turned out ultra hawt, like a 40k dark elf or Slaaneshi cultist in a g-string and bondage gear. An awesome friend of mine wants to cosplay it, bless her cotton socks (and studded leather knickers!)
        TL,DR- Warframe has some of the most reasonable grind, the best Cyber/biotech styled fashion gaming ever and I highly recommend that anyone with the means get into it (and if you're a looker, cosplay the hell outta it!)

          Oh I play Warframe, freaking love it and love that I can put it down for long periods and pick it up again when the itch needs a scratching.

          I stick to male frames to restrict my need to get everything and also for immersion, but it's tough when you see some of the female frames and their abilities. (and that it becomes irrelevant for story reasons)

          Really dig the unique biological metal style and the ability to customise so deeply.
          Turning a gun in to something that's almost completely different is so much fun and any game that lets me run about deflecting bullets with a katana is always gonna tickle my fancy.

    mh world so much better than destiny

    At least in MH:W you feel satisfied farming for items AND craft the equipment you want. Destiny 2 made it pure RNG, whatever you do, pray that you get the RNG you want. You want that specific exotic gun? Prepare to play the game for 6 months and not still not get it.

      Well that was d1, the problem with d2 is that it's now too easy to get all the exotics and they're not even game changing. ...the guns r dull as fuck. Took me like a yr to get a gjallarhorn and the wait was worth it!

        I didn't play much D1 coz year 1 completely killed the vibe and never get to go back. Went back to D2 and it was fun at first month and then it was completely boring including the expansion.

          Yeh I stuck around to play with my bro but even he has gone off it and he's casual af so that's saying something. I barely log on anymore, everything has been dialled back so much from the first. Like rocket mag sizes used to be 3 they used to lock on etc...so many powerful perks have been left behind and I realise it's for better balance but I just can't go back now, it's super boring

    Completely different game. Time to move on from bashing, sorry I mean "criticising" Destiny 2. Stop acting like as a consumer you have an invested interest in the product. If they stuff it up then don't buy it and play it. Only way they'll get the hint. At this stage it is just sad now that every week there is an article about Destiny.

      I get why they do it, though. It's the case of 'so close, yet so far.' People can see potential in Destiny and it's just so close to being great that they really, desperately want the devs to get their fucking shit together and actually live up to their fucking potential.

        So much this. I love the setting of the Destiny games, and the gunplay feels really good, but the actual game is so shallow and grindy that it makes it a chore to play.

        There will, one day, be a truly great Destiny game that lives up to the promise, but in the meantime, I'll just keep playing Monster Hunter World, Diablo 3 and all these other games that actually satisfy that 'kill the thing to get the loot to kill the thing to get the loot to kill the thing...' cycle my brain so desires.

          *cough* Warframe *cough*

          Sorry, I'll quit plugging it (for now). Absolutely smitten with that and MH:W. Both are seriously cutting into my sleep n social time.

      Tbf I don't think there has been much lately cos they haven't a ) fucked anything up for a couple weeks at least b ) done anything interesting to the game design ( surprise surprise ) since masterworks weapons. The content really isn't the stuff of anecdotes this time round so that equals far less articles

      Both are the sort of games you sink hours into and play with friends. One is genuinely fun, the other feels like a chore. That's reason enough for guardians to migrate and become monster hunters. Most people who've played both games feel that way.

    It's not the grind or the rng that makes D2 a chore to play. We farmed godrolls in D1 until our thumbs bled. D1 made us feel powerful. Guardians were fast and deadly and I mained a hunter the fastest moving class. Enter D2 and even the hunter feels like it's trudging through half dried cement. Add that to bullet sponge enemies and the endless pointless running - I'm looking at you CoO - and you've got yourself a game that's doomed to fail. IMO.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now