|Monster Hunter 4. This double-ended staff is capable of quick, fluid attacks (similar to the the Long Sword) and allows the hunter to jump at any time in a pole vaulting fashion. The staff is also capable of summoning a Neopteron to attack monsters. The hunter can either freely send out the Neopteron in a direct flight, or first shoot out a pheromone bullet on the target that would work as a "lock on", which allows the insect to homes in. When the Neopteron successfully hits an enemy, it will drain out an "essence" which varies in color and atrribute, depending on which part of the monster it hits, which can be used to power up the hunter when the Neopteron is called back. The Neopteron is always found clinging on the right arm of the hunter when it's not attacking.|
The Insect Staff's attacking style is based on the art of Bōjutsu, where the wielder employs various long-ranged techniques like thrusting, sweeping, and spinning. The techniques are not limited to just attacking, however, the staff can also be used to perform tricky maneuvers like pole vaulting to gain a high-ground advantage, or for evasive purposes. The Insect Staff has many uses and suit both front-line players and support players. Other interesing facts about the weapon includes:
- The player can enter "aiming" mode to shoot the "pheromone" bullet to mark specific body parts of the monsters, which will allow the Neopteron to homes in on the marked spot to easily get a desired essence.
- The pole vaulting is primarily used to do a "leap-attack" that's usually possible only by jumping off ledges to stagger monsters. This is very useful, since an Insect Staff users will be able to stagger monsters with the pole vault virtually anywhere. The vaulting leap-attack is also very useful for chasing monsters that's about to flee by flying upwards.
- Apart from using it for attacking, the pole vault is also very useful for evasive purposes. One can vault out of the way of long-ranged projectiles like Gravios's sweeping beam, over incoming monsters like a charging Rathalos, or area of effect moves like Khezu's electrical discharge.
- In addition to offensive and defensive uses, the pole vaulting can also be used to assist hunters to travel more quickly, such as vaulting onto elevated platforms that would otherwise require the hunter to first sheathe their weapon and climb up.
- The staff is a very mobile weapon, allowing the users to constantly change their positions as they attack (via the leaping attacks). Though, its shortcoming is also for the very same reason, that it might put the users in disadvantaged position whilst moving carelessly. It also has a rather long stance-recovery animation that initiates automatically after every attacks. It is advisable to roll after finishing an attack to avoid said animation.
- The Insect Staff's unsheathe attack can be immediately chained by other attacks.
- The staff is considered to be as fast and flurrious as the Dual Swords, while still fluid and has a longer reach like the Long Swords.
- The Insect Staff can deal both "Slash" and "Blunt" damage. The top part of the staff deals the "Slash" damage, while the end tip (bottom of the staff) deals a "Blunt" damage that also "marks" monsters with pheromone. The Neopteron's flying attack also counts as a "Blunt" type damage.
The Hunting Insect is the default insect (in Monster Hunters' case, Neopteron special subspecies) which is available with each Insect Staff. Each of them have a distinctive physiology, stats and are even enhanceable in accordance with evolving them into better forms. Although, it is not exactly sure if any of them have status effect attacks such as Paralysis or Poison.
When an insect is used to attack (drains essence) from a monster, the body part which it hits determines what type of essence it 'stole' to power up the hunter upon its return. There are 4 types of essence, which are:
- White = Increase the hunter's speed.
- Red = Increase the hunter's attack.
- Orange = Increase the hunter's defence.
- Green = Recover a small amount of health.
The parts that provide each essence varies between monsters. What you can get from the tail of one monster, may yield a different essence from the tail of a different monster. It is very important to learn the essence locations of each monsters, to be able to use the Insect Staff to its fullest potential.
There are 3 essence slots, one for each color (excluding the green one, since it gets used straight away), in which the hunter can mix the colors together to get certain buffs (similar to mixing the musical notes with the Hunting Horns). The hunter can gain various buffs and skills; like Earplug, Gluttony or Runner, with the right combinations. Though, the buffs do not last very long, and forces the hunter to constantly seek opportunity to steal the essences again.
By combining two types of essence together, the player can gain beneficial buffs momentarily; for example: White and Orange essences will grant the hunter a "Defense Up" buff and the “Earplug” skill, which grants immunity against some monsters' roars. There are 3 different "Double Up" in total:
- Red + White
- White + Orange
- Orange + Red
This is the ultimate power up, gained through the combination of all 3 different essences, also know as the "Full Power Mode" which grants all the buffs: "Attack Up", "Defense Up", and "Speed Up" along with various skills such as "Earplug" and "Quake Resistance". In this state, the hunter will glow in 3 different colors, ranging from red to orange and white. The hunter's basic attacks also get an upgrade in this mode, with a faster rate of attack, and an extra combo for each attack; like the basic vertical slash will now slash twice.
X = Vertical Slash
X・X = Vertical Slash / Diagonal Slash
X・X・X = Vertical Slash / Diagonal Slash / Roundhouse Slash
A = Side Slash
A・A = Slide Slash / Frontal Slam
X・A = Vertical Slash / Frontal Slam
X・A・X・A・A・X・A・A... = Vertical Slash / Frontal Slam / Stab / Side Slash / Frontal Slam / Stab / Side Slash / Frontal Slam... (infinite combo)
Mobile Attacks (With a combination of analog control in any directions):
X = Stab
X・X = Stab / Diagonal Slash
X・X・X = Stab / Diagonal Slash / Roundhouse Slash
A・A = Front Flip Slash / Frontal Slam (can chain into the infinite combo)
X・A (whilst holding backwards) = Stab / Back Flip Slash
X・X・A (whilst holding backwards) = Stab / Diagonal Slash / Back Flip Slash
Attack Up Mode & Full Power Mode:
X・X・X = Double Vertical Slashes / Double Diagonal Slashes / Double Roundhouse Slashes
A・A = Diagonal Slash / Leaping Roundhouse Slash
A (whilst holding forwards)・A = Frontal Slam / Leaping Roundhouse Slash
X (midair) = Do a double downward slash that can stagger monster (equivalent to the leap-attack off the ledges).
Other Staff Functions:
R = Make your insect staff shoot out a pheromone bullet that lets your insect homes in where the shot lands. Very useful for draining the essence from hard to reach spots.
R (after any attacks) = Strike with the end-tip of the staff for a "blunt" type damge that also leave a pheromone mark where the hit lands.
R (hold) = Control the aiming reticule for the pheromone bullet shooting mode.
R + X = Send your insect out in a direct path.
R + A = Call your insect back instantly.
R + B = Do a forward pole vault-jump
R + B (whilst holding backwards) = Do a backward pole vault-jump
X (midair) = Do a downward slash that can stagger monster.
B (midair) = Shoot a pheromone bullet in midair. Since the firing's recoil pushes the players backward, this move can be use as an evasive maneuver when the players sense an attack coming from the monsters in front (for example, a Khezu is about to discharge an electric attack as a player jumps into it, he can fire the pheromone bullet to bounce back to avoid the attack).
- The Insect Staff's initial designs depicted it as either a spiked club, or a musical intrument.
- The initial designs also show that the hunter can control a swarm of small Neopterons, like giant hornets, instead of a single large one. There's also a scrapped armor design that resembles a beekeeping suit, which is covered in countless pill bugs. The wearer seems to be able to send out the pill bugs to roll and ram the enemies. Though the idea was scrapped, the pill bugs live on in the form of the new Neopteron enemies, the Kunchuu.
- In each upgrade tier, the neoptron must be fully fed first, before the Insect Staff itself can be upgraded further.
- Depending on what the player feeds the Neopteron, the player may be able to make a weapon with multiple elements, even of oppsoing ones like Fire and Water, on top of the Instect Staff's abnormal status property.
- The Neopteron's wings' color changes depending on the element it's tied to. For example, if the Neopteron's element is fire, the color will be red (if it has multiple elements, the color will be based on the one with the highest value).
- When calling the Neopteron back, the process can be cancelled by sending it out to attack again. If the player repeats this multiple times. it seems to make the insect confuse and flies wildly for a while, ignoring any further commands.
- Has great speed and power.
- Can attack fluidly like a Long Sword and as fast as the Dual Swords.
- Has a jump move that can be used for a mounting attack or evasive actions.
- Bug has multiple uses.
- Can inflict status effects such as poison, paralysis, and sleep with ease.
- Getting all three buffs can power up the hunter in speed, attack, and defence.
- Mixing bug essences can give Earplugs and extended combo attacks.