Monster Hunter World Iceborne's Alatreon Has A Frustrating Gimmick
Iceborne's new monster uses gimmicks to make the fight harder, leading to more frustration than challenge.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne's newest monster is incredibly difficult, in all the wrong ways. The black dragon Alatreon, added recently as part of Title Update 4, is a fearsome opponent, but a gimmick makes the fight more frustrating than challenging.
Alatreon is a force to be reckoned with in all the ways Monster Hunter players would expect. It hits harder, moves faster, and takes more damage to slay than previous monsters, giving you a new challenge to take on. However, Alatreon has a built-in DPS check, and if failed, it instakills all players. The Escaton Judgement attack is unavoidable, so if you don't deal enough damage before about the ten-minute mark, you will be wiped. If you do clear it, the attack will do less damage, but you will still need to use healing items to avoid wiping and you have to continually hit the damage requirement to avoid the instakill until Alatreon is defeated.
The DPS check isn't entirely new, as most recently, the Master Rank version of Kulve Taroth had one too, but Alatreon is different. Its requirement is based purely on elemental damage, which is where the frustration stems from. And the elemental damage requirement is so high that it renders several weapon types, like Hammers and Gunlances, nearly useless.
Having to build gear sets for specific fights is typical for Monster Hunter, but the issue here lies in the limitations. Normally, as long as you pay attention to elemental weaknesses and resistances, you can use any of the 14 weapons successfully. For Alatreon, any weapons that have lower elemental damage aren't viable, which, for players who might only use one or two weapon types, can be very restricting in a way that is at odds with the rest of Monster Hunter World.
There are a few other issues with the Alatreon fight as well. Farcasters are disabled for the entire fight, so you cannot return to camp to swap equipment or refill on health items unless you faint, but you only can only get carted back to camp a limited number of times before the quest fails. This also limits the viability of gunbows, since you cannot return to camp to refill on ammo when you run out.
Not being able to change equipment is frustrating, since Alatreon will change elemental types during the fight, rendering certain elements useless. The change can be prevented by breaking its horns, but if you don't get it, your element will be rendered useless.
As it stands, fire and ice do the most elemental damage to Alatreon, but depending on what form it's in, are also heavily resisted. Dragon and thunder do consistent elemental damage, but aren't as effective. Elementless weapons, as well as blast, poison, sleep, and paralysis weapons, don't count towards the damage requirement and should not be used.
I have made about 20 attempts, mostly in a full party, and passed the damage check twice. Those two runs both ended due to regular failures before hitting the second Escaton Judgement. As a hammer main, it was made clear during those fights that even the hammers with the highest elemental output weren't going to cut it.
Alatreon's fight has the potential to be one of Monster Hunter World: Iceborne's most challenging but rewarding fights, but gimmicks and the disabling of mechanics like the Farcaster make the fight feel artificially difficult. Some of the best fights I've had in the game came from nail-biting, 40-minute long bouts with tough monsters that took quick reflexes and methodical play to beat, so getting spit out ten minutes into a fight doesn't have that same Monster Hunter magic. Artificially inflating Alatreon's difficulty by making certain weapon types unusable betrays the spirit of the game and removes the freedom to use the gear best for you. I hope future monster's find a better way to up the difficulty without resorting to gimmicks and arbitrary limitations.
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