You may have defeated every monster in the game, but the grind has just begun! Okay, that's not entirely fair. You've certainly created some of the armor you'll be using into perpetuity, but there are new versions of monsters to kill, new decorations to obtain as well as other, rarer upgrades to score. This section, then, will be devoted to discussing change you should be aware of after Xeno'Jiiva, some relatively trivial, some quite important. Afterwards, it'll be time to focus on what lies ahead for you, gameplay-wise.
Note: Xeno'Jiiva materials are required for many top tier weapons, and there's little chance you'll have obtained all you need from one fight with the beast. Fortunately, the optional quest A Light Upon the River's Gloom will randomly become available after completing other assignments/quests/investigations, allowing you to fight Xeno'Jiiva again. Much like the Zorah Magdaros fight, this is timed, and unpredictable... although you can always try to play online and help out others with this quest, or with the actual assignment itself.
Armor Spheres and Hunter Tools
First, the simple stuff. Completing the assignment Land of Convergence will have unlocked a new armor level limit for you to aspire to, allowing you to pad your defense just a bit more. To facilitate this, registered bounties should now offer Hard Armor Spheres, although Advanced Armor Spheres won't be phased out entirely. Hard Armor Spheres are worth 80 Armor Spheres, making them four times more potent for leveling up armor than Advanced Armor Spheres, which of course, are worth twenty Armor Spheres. Keep following your routine of picking up bounties after every quest and fulfilling their requests as part of completing other tasks and keep the Armor Spheres flowing.
In addition, you can now equip two hunter tools at once, which will prove to be a great boon for you in the upcoming assignments. The Affinity Booster, Health Booster, Vitality Mantle and select elemental mantles are all popular choices, and should be swapped out as the situation demands.
Hunter Rank Unlocked
Now that you've defeated Xeno'Jiiva and solved the mystery of the Elder Crossing, your Hunter Rank is uncapped... well, sort of. Previously your Hunter Rank was restrained by your main story progress, but now that's largely (but not entirely) a thing of the past. However, every time you completed an assignment, optional quest or investigation you were gaining Hunter Rank experience. This experience was not lost, and after defeating Xeno'Jiiva, you'll attain whatever Hunter Rank you've truly earned so far... up to Hunter Rank 29, anyways.
Once your Hunter Rank hits certain plateaus, you'll find new assignments available. These assignments call on you to hunt Tempered monsters, a new, higher tier of monster, which will be covered in more detail shortly. For now, just be aware that you'll need to grind up your Hunter Rank - usually large intervals - between these new assignments are dished out. Again, you'll gain experience by completing optional quests and investigations, with hunts being more rewarding than other forms of quests.
While the actual strength of the monster you hunt accounts for surprisingly little as far as your experience reward goes, you should endeavor to hunt monster who can drop materials you need, rather than padding your Hunter Rank by picking on weaker (albeit High Rank) monsters repeatedly. You really want to make sure you have access to a variety of charms, weapons and armor so you can tailor your loadout to the monster you're fighting. While you may need more decorations to complete your build(s), you should immediately strive to eliminate arms, armor and charms as a source of concern.
Talk to the Elder Melder and she'll tell you about some Streamstone you found after the battle with Xeno'Jiiva. While she's excited by the possibilities of mixing it with a decoration of yours, she does warn you that the results are - unlike other services offered here - rather unpredictable. Essentially, this is a way for you to re-roll junk decorations, which you'll be accumulating a great number of as you complete High Rank and Tempered monster hunts.
Select the "First Wyverian Ritual" option and you'll see three categories to choose from - Spire Sorcery, Coral Concoction and Strange Stream, which will create a Mysterious Feystone, Glowing Feystone or Worn Feystone, respectively. Mysterious Feystones reward you with the lowest-quality decorations when appraised, while Worn Feystones offer high-quality decorations, although there's significant randomness and overlap involved, so you shouldn't always expect Mysterious Feystones to be junk (mostly because some low-tier decorations, like the Tenderizer Jewel 1, are quite good) nor should you expect Worn Feystones to necessarily be great.
To re-roll decorations, you'll need three things: Research Points, Melding Points and Streamstones, which come in three varieties - Streamstone Shards (creates Mysterious Feystones), Streamstones (Glowing Feystone) and Gleaming Streamstones (creates Worn Feystones). Research Points should need no introduction, but Melding Points in this case can be obtained by sacrificing decorations, which the quality of the decoration determining how many Melding Points you'll gain. Generally, expect to be pouring far more decorations into the melding pot than you get out.
Each Streamstone can - depending on how many Melding Points you accumulate - create three new decorations, so you should save up junk decorations until you can make three new ones. Just to put things in perspective, using the lowest-tier possible decorations for Melding Points will earn you four Melding Points per decoration. At this rate, to get one new Mysterious Feystone it'll take three decorations (12 Melding Points) for one Glowing Feystone it'll require six decorations (24 Melding Points) and finally, to fuel the creation of a Worn Feystone you'll need to scrap nine decorations (36 Melding Points). Still, considering how many hunts you'll have to completing to increase your Hunter Rank and get some other, rarer materials (as yet to be discussed), and considering that each Tempered investigation can give at least 2-4 decorations... it's not that unreasonable of a rate.
They've been mentioned before, and during your Elder Dragon expeditions you may have come across their tracks... or even unlocked some investigations to go hunt them down. Now, however, they're no longer an excessive curiosity you can indulge in, they're the meat of the game's focus from now on. Combat-wise, Tempered monsters are simple. They do more damage than High Rank monsters, but are otherwise identical. They don't even have any more health, and generally, whatever worked for High Rank monsters will work for Tempered monsters, you just have less room for error.
There are some differences in drops, but most materials remain identical, so if you were expecting, say, ultra High Rank armor... well, it kind of exists, and Tempered monsters are the way to get this armor, but you're not going to be unlocking new armor sets. Before getting into the new materials, however, let's discuss how you unlock Tempered monster investigations.
Tempered monsters won't just appear over the course of a normal expedition, they can only be found in the odd upcoming assignment (which cannot be repeated once complete) and via investigations. To unlock these investigations, you'll need to go out on expeditions, where you'll start finding blue tracks (as highlighted by your trusty Scoutflies) marking the passage of these monsters. Spend the time scouring the Ancient Forest, Wildspire Waste, Coral Highlands, Rotten Vale and Elder's Recess for these tracks and after you return to Astera, check with the Resource Center and see if any Tempered monster investigations have unlocked. They'll be intermingled with normal investigations, but are easy to spot given their high Hunter Rank requirements, the purple outline of the monster in question, and the purple reward icons.
Each monster has its own threat level, as indicated when you investigate their tracks, as indicated by the table below:
|1||Anjanath, Barroth, Jyuratodus, Paolumu, Pukei-Pukei, Radobaan, Rathian, Tobi-Kadachi|
|2||Azure Rathalos, Bazelgeuse, Black Diablos, Diablos, Lavasioth, Legiana, Odogaron, Pink Rathian, Rathalos, Uragaaan|
|3||Kirin, Kushala Daora, Nergigante, Teostra, Vaal Hazak|
Note: Not all monsters have Tempered variants. For example, there are no Tempered versions of the Dodogama, Great Girros, Great Jagras, Kulu-Ya-Ku and Tzitzi-Ya-Ku, nor are there Tempered versions of the story monsters, Zorah Magdaros and Xeno'Jiiva.
The higher the Tempered monster's threat level, the better materials - decorations and Streamstones - they can drop, although even a threat level one monster can drop a Worn Feystone from time to time, and each Tempered monster investigation will drop a set number of Feystones of random quality, as denoted by the number of purple reward icons on the investigation. Streamstones are more picky, however, and are usually gated so that threat level one monsters will give you Streamstone Shards, threat level two monsters will drop Streamstones, and threat level three monsters (exclusively Tempered Elder Dragons) will drop Gleaming Streamstones.
While decorations and the materials (Streamstones) to make more decorations are all well and good, they're not the only draw to hunting Tempered monsters. There are two higher grades of Streamstone you can get from threat level two and threat level three Tempered Monsters - Sullied Streamstones and Shining Streamstones... but to regularly hunt those monsters, you'll need to increase your Hunter Rank and completing the next two assignments, so they won't be discussed just yet.
Simply put, Tempered monsters are harder-hitting versions of High Rank monsters that frequently drop Streamstones and decorations of various quality depending on their threat level. Unlock their investigations by going on expeditions, where they'll offer a guaranteed number of decorations (as indicated by the purple reward icons) and usually a Streamstone or two. More importantly, for the time being, they'll increase your Hunter Rank every time you bag one.
Note: To speed up the rate at which you unlock Tempered monster investigations, consider crafting some armor with the Scholar skill. The Hunter's Headgear α armor happens to have such a skill, is easily and cheaply crafted with Jagras Hide+ and Jagras Scale+ materials, and it comes with the helpful (for the task at hand, anyways) Scoutfly Range Up skill.
A Batch of Bazelgeuses
Now that you're properly acquainted with post-game play, you'll once again be left to your own devices. Undergo expeditions to search for Tempered monsters, polish off outstanding optional quests, undertake investigations... and generally, you know, hunt monsters. As you do so, your Hunter Rank will increase until you hit the next experience plateau - the artificial limit where you'll be forced to progress through another assignment before your Hunter Rank will increase again.
One such plateau is at Hunter Rank 29, after reaching which (or now, if you hit Hunter Rank 29 immediately after Xeno'Jiiva) you'll be able to talk to the Commander (or if you leave Astera, you'll automatically end up talking to him when you return) and he'll tell you about a new, urgent mission. You'll find this assignment listed below.