Monster Hunter: World is a pretty big game, and getting all the way to Hunter Rank 16—which is where you'll need to be to start Iceborne, when it comes out—can take a hefty chunk of time. But Capcom says players who haven't finished World yet won't have to worry or hang back when Iceborne arrives, as there are incentives in place to encourage teamwork between higher and lower level hunters.
Eurogamer spoke with several of Iceborne's directors and producers, and during the interview the subject of Monster Hunter's traditional G-Rank came up, and how Iceborne will be adding a Master Rank. While that's certainly exciting for long-time fans of the series, the question becomes, what will this expansion offer players who aren't as hardcore? Monster Hunter: World was the first experience many players had with the franchise—enough to make the game Capcom's best-selling title in company history.
The good news, according to Iceborne's developers, is that there's something for everyone in the upcoming expansion. The hardcore players, the ones who would have made their way up to G-Rank in Monster Hunter 3 or 4, will have plenty of endgame hunts that put them to the test. And while less-experienced players will still have to complete the story campaign in World and reach Hunter Rank 16 in order to start Iceborne, Capcom is building in incentives for seasoned players to help rookies through World's story.
"We've also got a system in place called Hunter Helper, so if you haven't finished World yet and want to catch up so you can play Iceborne, your friends who are a higher rank than you will actually get rewards by playing quests with you and helping you finish up your storyline," explained Iceborne directors Kaname Fujioka and Daisuke Ichihara. "We understand there are people who are still part-way along the journey on this game, and we can reassure them it's definitely something you don't need to think 'it's not for you' just because you haven't finished yet, or because you still haven't reached a certain rank."
What the rewards for higher-ranking players might be the directors didn't say, but this is a good system, and one that's proven helpful in other multiplayer co-op games like Destiny 2.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne arrives on PC in January 2020.