Monster Hunter Rise – Is Your Anomaly Investigation Safe?

A short guide in regards of illegal Anomaly Investigations.

Foreword

On 2nd September 2022, shortly after the release of Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak Version 11.0.2.0Capcom released an announcement in regards of possible save game breaking issues related to modded content.

The important message along the lines is:

Creating or using game data that cannot be achieved through normal gameplay can cause issues while playing the game, and even make the game itself unplayable, so if you see any quests that you think might be illegally modified, please delete them immediately and do not try them out.

What Happened?

The introduction of Anomaly Investigation quests with Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak brought randomly generated content, which offers high replayability due to different factors.

The content can not only be played together, but also be shared, by “passing on” interesting quests to fellow hunters. While that is all fine and good it became a problem with quests which are not supposed to exist, created in similar ways like cheated talismans.

A sample screenshot of a currently popular quest editor

In theory such quest editors and mods are safe to use, as long as they are being used within the rules defined by the game. However, the moment such editors are used to create e.g. Anomaly Investigations which normally cannot exist it can lead to a permanent save data corruption.

Legal / Illegal?

So far Capcom has used the terms legal / illegal in regards of mods to describe two things:

  • a) legality of acquisition of additional downloadable content
  • b) legality of existence of ingame items

This issue is considered the 2nd, as the mods which are being used to create such problematic quests are not illegal per se. Technically non-mod users are not supposed to notice the existence of such in the first place, which is the actual origin of the issue.

On the one hand you have mod users who act against the wishes of the modders and use the mods in random multiplayer, on the other hand you have the fact that the quests created illegal can be passed on that easily without being noticed by the game yet.

In the past there had been multiple issues before where mod users acted against the code of conduct of modding communities, damaging modders and normal players alike.

But the issues had never been as great and far widespread as it is with Anomaly Investigations.

Big Deal as Big as Frenzy Virus

The problem at hand is somewhat unprecedented. For the community as well as the developement teams alike.

Imagine it like this: one random host you joined has such a cool Anomaly Investigation quest, which you just must have. And with enough luck the quest is passed on to you and from there on you start hosting that quest. Now the whole process restarts with everyone who joined you and again and again with whoever else is hosting that quest in the future. While in the meanwhile only the original host is fully aware that the quest was illegally modified and could not exist in the game under normal circumstances.

Without any means to identify that the quest was illegal there is no way to tell who has the quest now saved with their game. It has been passed on and spread wide like a virus, threatening to destroy the save games of all affected players with future updates.

Why? Because that quest is not meant to exist and the information it carries in your save game might collide with future updates. Similar scenarios could have been observed with players cheating equipment which were not released or did not exist in the game. A new update of the game can brick your entire save game due to simple incompatibility.

A risk modders and mod users are used to carry on their own, and it was fine that way. But if someone passes on a “virus” on you without telling you… well…

Recommended Course of Actions

The Monster Hunter games have so called “sanity checks“. A simple rudimentary check to tell whether something created by the game is legal or illegal. Normally it would delete illegal stuff instantly, like trashing dump files. However, those “sanity checks” are forcibly bypassed, hence the problem at hand.

What you can and should do therefore is be cautious with Anomaly Investigation quests.

If a quest seems suspicious to you, they might be as well. There are some rules what a quest can be and cannot be to be considered legal. Those rules can be used to check quests you got from playing with random players.

If you identified such a quest as illegal, it is strongly recommended to delete it as soon as possible. Even if it is working fine right now, it might become incompatible with the next update of the game and therefore it will be a constant latent threat to destroy your save data.

Be considerable towards other players and do not host such quests, even if they work just fine right now. Not everyone might have read the official announcement and Capcom is still preparing a notification and eventual measures against the issue (e.g. improvements on “sanity checks“).

Rules for Anomaly Investigations

  1. Multiple identical monsters cannot exist within an Anomaly Investigation quest
  2. Legal time limits are 25 minutes, 30 minutes, 35 minutes and 50 minutes
  3. Anomaly Investigations with three monsters must have 50 minutes
  4. Anomaly Investigations with two monsters must have >= 30 minutes
  5. Nine faints are only allowed with A1 – A2 quests
  6. Monsters of higher tiers cannot appear in low tier quests

(e.g.: Elder Dragons which are normally A5 you must not see in <= A4 – etc.)

Authors note: I might add some rules in the future which are not that obvious. As you can see, suspicious quests are easily spotted as they differ strongly from all the other quests you have among your Anomaly Investigations.

What Comes Next?

A big question within the Monster Hunter community is what comes next.

The issue is as much an eyesore to Capcom as it is for the majority of players and modders alike. Similar to the issues in the past with so-called “cheaters” it origins in bad player behaviour of a few which are now not only threatening regular players who never modded their games, as well as modders whose reputations took a dent.

Are mods and their users in the future banned? I personally doubt that.

I am convinced that any kind of game which allows mods is a great game, as they allow for more than just adjustments and fixes by third party providers. Mods allow a community to grow, to challenge the developers with user created community content and in the process keeping the game alive for many more years to come – way beyond a game’s “natural” lifecycle. Mods are “limitbreakers” which can enhance your personal experience with a game.

Therefore mods are and will be still important in the future for games like Monster Hunter as well.

The issue at hand is to be seen more like “an accident”. Most mod users use the mods for their own sake, and it is fine. There are quest editors which allows you to enjoy Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak the way you want to without affecting anyone else. It just happened that the feature of Anomaly Investigations, in where you can pass on a quest, in combination with quests in circulation which are not intended by the mod authors, is creating a weird situation.

Sample screenshots of another quest editor, and how the author repeatedly asks the users to be considerate towards other players in a way no one can miss it.

One could blame Capcom that their sanity checks failed. Other blame the modders, despite they are innocent. The only certainty I have is that mod users know what they are doing and those who shared those quests which bypassed sanity checks knew what they did.

I am not expecting any change with Monster Hunter Rise and Capcom‘s handling of mods at this point and time, considering they way they turned a blind eye in the past.

Mod users breaking their save game is of no concern to Capcom nor the community. But there need to be done something in regards of affected people who do not know that they are affected. And for them I am expecting a special notification very soon, very similar to what this guide is to you.

Nothing more and nothing less.

Do what you want, the way you like it – just do not harm others.

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