I very recently noticed someone’s post on the concept of “passive evolution” for monsters, and thought the idea was pretty fascinating (as well as filled with possibilities).
My take on passive evolution would work towards solving an “issue” that many hunters have faced: a monster that refuses to fight. We’ve all been in those matches, and we’ve all been told (reasonably) that it’s not the monsters fault, it’s the point of the game for the monster to escape until they feel strong enough to actually fight.
Thus, the only real reason for a monster to engage before stage 3 (unless trapped) is to attempt to get strikes. However, I feel like the concept of passive evolution could act as extra encouragement for tentative monsters.
Here’s how it would work:
The Monsters are super-organisms. They’re massive, vicious beasts capable of rapidly morphing into stronger forms fueled by organic intake. Therefore, they should be able to “adapt” to combat situations. Therefore, passive evolution functions based on the specific hunter a monster faces. Essentially, each time you engage in combat with the hunters and take damage, get hit with stasis and harpoons, etc, you gain very slight passive buffs.
Facing Hyde? Extended flamethrower exposure creates a thicker hide and gives you slight buffs against fire damage
Getting constantly stasised by Abe? Increased muscle mass allows you to move slightly faster out of stasis grenades.
and so forth,
Each time you fight the hunters, these buffs stack slightly, giving you increased incentive to strategically engage hunters.
Once you’ve fought the hunters, you make your escape, and after a duration of time (or after you’ve exited combat) the buffs you’ve accumulated begin to appear (perhaps indicated by a slight bubbling on the skin, similar to the evolution cocoon) and you’ve gained your very slight buffs.
A tiered system can also be introduced, in which engagements at stage I lend the greatest buffs for fighting, while stage II lends smaller buffs and stage III lends no buffs at all (and by reaching stage III all buffs are erased, because this is the final form and you shouldn’t need a buff crutch at final form).
Just an idea, and I’d love to flesh it out more. Let me know what y’all think.