Monster Hunter World’s upcoming Iceborne expansion brings some big changes and bigger monsters. But while cool new tools like the Clutch Claw have likely already caught your eye, there are tons of less flashy tweaks that will probably make seasoned hunters yell “YES FINALLY” with the same level of enthusiasm.
We got to play through the first few hours of Iceborne last week, and while you can watch us take on three of its new subspecies monsters here, these little quality-of-life improvements really stuck out. There are surely plenty more, but here of nine of the most exciting tweaks we've seen saw so far - be sure to watch the video at the top of the page to see them in action!
There's an In-Game Event Schedule
Right out of the gate, when you go to get your Login Bonus you’ll notice two new buttons, one of which sends you to an in-game event schedule. It was empty in the work-in-progress build we were playing on, but this probably means you won’t have to check an external website to see what event quests are coming up anymore. Hooray!
Seliana’s Gathering Hub Has Everything
Bringing things closer to your fingertips seems to be a trend of Iceborne, one the Gathering Hub in the new town of Seliana leans into hard. Everything you would normally have to leave Astera’s Gathering Hub to access is all contained within this one. The Armory, the Resource Center, the Argosy, your Harvest Boxes. You name it, it’s here, all without a loading screen to get to any of it. What’s more, you’ll be able to return here as usual after missions if you like. And honestly, why ever leave at this point?
New Headquarters-Specific Radial Menus
Another nice tweak you can use in either hub is the addition of new Radial Menus specifically for when you are back at base. Separate from your mid-quest Radial Menus, you can now create ones made specially for things like gestures and stickers without having to worry about making space for items.What's more, in a related addition, swapping Item Loadouts will no longer automatically change your Radial Menu settings. You can still have custom Radials for each Loadout, but you can now choose not to swap to it when changing!
Setting “Craft All” From the Radial Menu
And those aren’t the only Radial Menu improvements: While you could always assign item crafting to a slot, it would previously only craft one of the item you chose at a time. There’s now an option to “Craft All” of an item with a single press of a Radial Menu shortcut, which is sure to come in handy during long fights.
New Monsters in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Customize Bowguns From the Item Box
The Item Box has gotten a long-overdue buff, as you can now customize your Bowguns from them. That saves you a trek all the way to the armory just to make a single change if you need to.
Similarly, Seliana has a place for your Palico to sit next to each Item Box so you can adjust their equipment without going into your room. Seliana is basically a convenience dream.
YOU CAN FINALLY PET YOUR PALICO
This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.
In what is likely the most important change on this list, you can finally pet. Your. Palico. A great wrong has been set right, as the Foot Bath in the Seliana Gathering hub allows you to pet them, play with them, and give them lots of love and scritches. You can even pick them up and let them splash their feet in the water!
I am dead.
Fire Your Slinger With Any Weapon Drawn
Out of the sauna and into the slightly less relaxing fire of battle, an absolutely wonderful change is the ability to fire your Slinger with any weapon drawn. You can simply fire away as usual without sheathing, similar to how the Sword and Shield already could. Doing so with ranged weapons and the Insect Glaive is a little bit clunkier since they share controls with the Slinger, but it’s still simple enough. It’s a tiny change that makes a huge difference.
A Small Slinger Ammo Visual Tweak
Slingers got another quality-of-life improvement that’s maybe not quite as monumental. When you equip ammo from your pouch, you’ll now see the icon of any picked-up ammo you already had loaded behind it. Nothing has functionally changed here, but it's a nice tweak for the forgetful among us - especially with the Clutch Claw’s new emphasis on using Slinger shots to knock around monsters.
Improved Dynamic Difficulty Scaling
And finally, as previously announced, Iceborne’s difficulty will now scale more smoothly with your party size. Where the health of a monster used to simply double in multiplayer regardless of if you had two, three, or four players in your party, Iceborne will scale better for parties of two. Parties of three still get the short end of the stick, but it’s a welcome change regardless.
Excitingly, that change will actually be coming to Monster Hunter World whether you buy Iceborne or not. While the joys of Seliana’s Gathering Hub will obviously be limited to the expansion, here’s hoping some of these other changes will make it to the base game as well. We’ve asked Capcom if that’s the case for everything on this list.
[Update: Capcom has confirmed to us that being able to change your Palico equipment at Item Boxes, crafting all from the Radial Menu, and HQ-specific Radial Menus will be available with or without Iceborne, while customizing the Bowgun from Item Boxes and firing a Slinger while your weapon is drawn will be restricted to those who own Iceborne (similar to the Clutch Claw).]There are certainly more quality of life improvements we didn’t mention here, and be sure to watch our new gameplay videos fighting three of Iceborne’s subspecies as well, and we'll have lots more to come from Iceborne!Tom Marks is IGN's Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.