If you're playing Monster Hunter: World outside of Japan, you're missing out a quest for one of the game's most striking armour sets. The Azure Starlord set requires a code that you can only obtain by going to the Universal Studios theme park in Japan, but if you're tenacious, there's still a way to get it. It's just going to take a lot of work.
There are two Universal Studios Japan quests in the game, and unlocking them requires codes that are handed out exclusively at the Osaka theme park. The first quest grants armour for your Palico companion and a low-level longsword. The second quest grants an awesome-looking armour set for your hunter.
If you're in the West, you can't normally access these quests. The theme park codes only work on Japanese consoles. Since Monster Hunter: World was only released on the PlayStation 4 in Japan, Xbox One players are out of luck entirely. If you want the armour, you need to find, and join up with, a Japanese player who is hosting these quests.
If you're looking for a detailed breakdown of the quest, Arekkz Gaming is a great Monster Hunter resource. To give a sense of how much of a crapshoot that is, let me break down my efforts from last night.
First, I tried asking about access to the USJ armour quests on social media, retweeting to Kotaku's two million Twitter followers. When that didn't yield any results, I logged into the game and walked to the event board to search for SOS flares. Players looking for help on quests can fire there flares to call in other players.
Since the new quest involves fighting an extra large Dodogama and a miniaturised Azure Rathalos, I searched for event quest with the Dodogama as the target creature. I spent about ten minutes refreshing my search, turning up nothing, before looking to other outlets.
Since the release of the first USJ quest earlier this year, generous players have made a habit of occasionally hosting sessions where they run the quests. The demand for the sessions has only increased now that the full armour set is released, meaning more hosted servers.
Still, finding an active session on a late Monday night proved difficult. Two posters on the Monster Hunter: World subreddit host scheduled USJ runs, but both of them had canceled due to unforeseen personal circumstances.
Finally, I took to Twitch and looked at streamers broadcasting the game and found a German-language streamer who had been hosting USJ runs for nearly 10 hours. After numerous attempts to join their session, I was in.
The streamer later dropped mention of USJ from their stream title, to manage the overwhelming demand from players looking to join the session.
That was the process I had to go through to find a session where the event was hosted. Next, I had to wait until the streamer posted the quest and hope that I would be one of the three players out of 15 lucky enough to join the quest.
I only wanted to complete the armour set, which required five of the special Azure Stargems that dropped from completing the quest. These are rare items used only in crafting the Universal Studios armour. I used lucky vouchers - consumable items meant to boost rewards - to increase my odd of getting more gems, but never received more than one per run.
There we other problems along the way. My host's internet was spotty and I lost connection to the session twice, placing me back at the step of somehow getting back in the session again whenever this happened. By the end of their stream, I had four Azure Stargems. Granted, that's more than most players have, but one fewer than I needed for a complete armour set.
By the end of my grind, I was one gem short of completing the set.
Of course, just having the gems isn't enough to craft the armour. You also need monster parts from Dodogama and Azure Rathalos. I was short of these materials and needed to spend extra time hunting to gather the various scales, tails and wings required to craft each piece of armour. I finished my ensemble with some Odogoron leggings dyed to match the Azure armour.
It is worth all of this hassle to get the armour? Well, that depends on why you want it. It's basically a variation of Rathalos gear and offers the same full set bonuses, plus a few other benefits such as Critical Boost on the leg piece and level two recovery on the gloves.
As a whole set, I find it somewhat underwhelming - particularly since you can get the fantastic Devil May Cry set right now - but creative hunters might find it useful for mixing and match with other gear.
However, if you're looking to make a personal statement, the Azure Starlord armour is as bold as it gets. The absurd dedication it takes for Western players to get, combined with the striking visual design, is sure to make your fellow hunters green with envy.
It's possible that Capcom will release these quests outside of Japan, given that it has done so in the past: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate eventually received its own USJ armour set worldwide, as did Monster Hunter Generations. But for now, you'll need to jump through serious hoops.