Monster Hunter World Iceborne December 2019 started off strong with its first week letting loose the Stygian Zinogre as well as the opening of a new region to be explored in the Guiding Lands. In there, we also got a glimpse of the new siege monster that we would end up facing the week later. Now is that time.
The second update of the month brought the full siege against the dragon we all once faced in the base game. However this time, it’s a little different, hunters from around the world will face a fully matured dragon dubbed Safi’Jiiva. This will bring in hunters from all over the globe to squad up and join sessions to face the gigantic beast in the very depths of its lair. The update also brought the second part of the Horizon Zero Dawn collaboration event against the Stygian Zinogre that would allow us to craft new full armour, palico gear and the upgrade to the stormslinger light bow gun that also includes a unique modification but we’ll get to that later.
The siege itself is fairly straightforward with most of the 20-minute time span simply being a slugfest of attacking its various body parts to earn more and better rewards for completing objectives like breaking the horns, legs, wings, back, chest or severing the tail aside from depleting the energy in each floor until finally killing off the beast. There are also various traps on each floor like two falling boulders at the very first area aside from the ground where Safi’Jiiva can get stuck on for a while. Meanwhile, the very bottom floor has multiple exploding hotspots of energy where you can lure the monster by taking its aggro using some slinger ammo and a flinch shot to the face. These hotspots when hit by a weapon inflicts massive damage and would at times knock the monster down to the ground for a few seconds.
However 20 minutes is an awfully short time to slay a dragon of its scale, thankfully, each instance between multiple groups of four hunters share the overall remaining energy bar within sessions. Once a floor is depleted of energy, Safi’Jiiva will be unable to absorb what isn’t there and be forced to move to the next floor below much faster and ultimately making the monster easily slayable afterwards.
Safi’Jiiva has multiple large scale attacks from erupting explosions in the ground, sweeping energy beams, claw swipes and an attack that eats a hunter and spews it out with an energy beam that can kill off hunters if not healed by the others. There are so many things that could deplete your stock of mega potions and life powders that having a hunter watching your back with free meal secret and speed-eating 3 is always good for a less cart-inducing hunt. The monster also has access to a long-winding supernova which is easily noticeable once it starts flying up that would kill anyone no matter how high your health bar or defence values are at. So it’s good to have hunters lure it closer to places near the rocks that would save you from insta-death similar to the comet from a Behemoth hunt.
Once slayed, hunters will be able to carve the monster and craft its armour set that not only transforms when your weapons are drawn but also has a fairly unique set bonus of increasing your element or status values, adding up to 40% affinity in exchange for depleting your health when you attack. However, after a few attacks without sheathing your weapon, you also get some of your health back which is fairly great for weapon types that have high mobility like dual blades, hammers, insect glaives or light bow guns as they can continually attack or reposition easily. Having health augment also helps minimize health loss.
Hunters will also be able to obtain various rewards from the quest counter which includes various rarities of dracolites used for awakening your new pieces of weapons that are obtained in the same way however there is a limit to how many can be obtained per siege completion and depends on how high your personal progress went. Session members can get as much as four pieces of weapons and will always have at least one weapon type that they brought along the hunt. Each weapon has its fixed values such as the attack values, sharpness, deco slots, and element/status values. Awakening weapons, however, is what makes a weapon completely different to each other as similar insect glaives can have completely different stats with one having high attack while another can get an absurd amount of natural purple sharpness aside from rolling with a set bonus like Nargacuga’s essence which makes it possible to only equip two armour pieces to obtain true razor-sharp/spare shot as the three-piece set bonus and opens up three other armour pieces for the zorah magdaros’ artillery secret.
This, however, makes for a very grindy expedition against a time-limited siege monster as such, it can get very taxing to one’s mental fortitude that is further hurdled by the RNG mechanics of awakening the weapon to its full potential when weapons don’t particularly let you choose which one gets upgraded like the many times I tried upgrading my attack increase IV to a V but the RNG gods keep giving me an attack increase VI on other attack increase V slots that I don’t even need. It’s an unnecessary feature that at least has to be fixed as most weapons are pretty good and beats most META builds like the Safi’s Burstcannon HBG on spread 3 ammo and the three-week quest availability is hardly enough for most folks.
Meanwhile, the Horizon Zero Dawn collaboration finally brought forth the new full armour set for Aloy that has a unique shield ability boosting defence to a pretty high value for a limited number of hits and works really well with the upgraded stormslinger LBG that has a unique mod that shoots lightning bolts instead of popping wyvern bombs on the ground but after each successive shot, it also builds up a meter that would explode, reducing your health and putting the shield that gives you a massive defence other than rocksteady properties in cooldown. It’s a fairly unique set that offers some good fun that also has some efficient slots to make it fairly useful in certain occasions but mostly against monsters weak to thunder as it comes pre-built with thunder attack 5.
There’s a lot of things that Capcom has given at this point and it’s really exciting to see how much more the game is going to evolve in the next year… heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll end up getting a second or third expansion. In fact, I welcome the idea and humbly await for more exciting collaborations!