Monster Hunter: World may be the most accessible game in the series (read our review) but it’s still a tricky game to jump into, particularly if you’re completely new to the Monster Hunter series. We’ve compiled some helpful tips and explained some important mechanics to help start novice hunters on the right path to hunting and slaying.
No Level, All Gear
In Monster Hunter: World your progression is tied directly to your gear, as well as a single Hunter Rank number. This number could be considered your level, just without all the normal RPG benefits of stat increases and abilities. Your HR determines how difficult of a mission you can accept, as well as unlocking new areas, quests, and facilities in Astera. Every quest has an HR requirement, and you can never join one that’s above your HR. Keep that in mind when playing multiplayer.
Playing through Assigned Quests, or main story missions, will naturally raise your HR level.
Since your power comes directly from your gear, forging new weapons and armor is not only paramount to your success, it’s the primary method of essentially leveling up. See below for more tips on weapons and armor, but in general you should be stopping by the Workshop frequently and gathering what you need to forge the best equipment available to you.
The Easiest Starter Weapons
You begin with the basic iron version of all 14 weapon types, which is both very handy and incredibly overwhelming. Stick with the Sword and Shield at first for a solid baseline into standard melee combat, including both blocking and dodging.
From there you can experiment with the Great Sword and Hammer for slower but weightier attacks, the Dual Blades if you want to zip around quickly, or the Bow if you want to attack from range. There’s no wrong answer and much of your personal enjoyment will come from finding that right weapon set that works for you.
The weapons I would gently discourage completely new players away from initially are the very slow Lance and Gunlance, the Bowguns for micromanaging tons of different ammo, the Hunting Horn for its musical mini-game, and the Insect Glaive for adding a whole new dimension of buffs, kinsect customization, and aerial attacks.
Before heading out to the field with a new weapon, go to your room on the first floor and speak to your housecat Palico to transport to the Training Area. Here you can easily switch your equipment to test out new weapons. Basic combos will also be helpfully displayed right on the screen, similar to the training modes of fighting games. Experiment and discover what you enjoy.
Gather Your Party
Monster Hunter: World automatically populates online sessions, but you’ll need to select Join Quest from a quest board (or your handler) to actually join a multiplayer hunt – or Post a Quest and hope someone joins.
SOS flares are a useful way to find a greater search of online matches, provided the person in the hunt has fired a flare seeking help. You can do the same thing during any quest or Expedition after the first Great Jagras hunt in the main story.
If you’re wanting to play consistently with friends, the best method is to set up a Squad. Squads are Monster Hunter’s version of guilds. Create a Squad, then use the Invite a Friend option from the Start menu to invite them into your session, then invite them to your squad. From then on whenever you play in Squad Sessions, you’ll be playing a private server with your friends, and can easily join each other’s quests.
Expeditions, Investigations, and You
There are several different kinds of quests and missions in Monster Hunter: World. Most involve hunting a specific monster or group of monsters within set parameters, such as a limited number of faints and a varying time limit.
There are four options when you go to the quest board, and a fifth option for free roaming. We’ve explained them below.
Assigned Quests: These are the main story missions. You’ll need to complete them to progress your Hunter Rank. Since they feature cutscenes they are a hassle to play in multiplayer, since no one can join a mission if one player still has cutscenes to watch. A reminder should pop up once you can use an SOS flare, which is a sign that others can join.
Optional Quests: These are organized by Hunter Rank (represented by stars). You’ll unlock more as you complete the Assigned Quests. Optional Quests include standard hunts and captures, as well as gathering missions that can unlock new Canteen ingredients. You can also unlock Optional Quests by talking to people with the familiar yellow exclamation (!) above their heads in Astera.
Investigations: You can register Investigations at the Resource Center. Investigations are unlocked by battling, hunting, and tracking monsters. They’re designed to repeat multiple times and provide bonus rewards in addition to whatever you carve and find during the hunt. They’re also perfect for multiplayer outings, and soon you’ll be drowning in dozens of options. Pay close attention to the parameters; some allow only a single faint or a breezy 15 minute window, though increased challenges come with better rewards.
Events: Event Quests are unique quests provided by Capcom for a limited time. They often involve battling monsters within the arena, and can come with their own unique rewards.
Expeditions: Expeditions isn’t an option in the quest board. Instead you simply open up your map while in town, go to the World Map view, and select an area to explore. This lets you hunt in a zone without any set goals or time limits. It’s useful for gathering materials without worrying about the clock, though you can certainly hunt monsters as well. There’s also a few NPCs scattered around the zones you can talk to who offer special Bounties to complete. Remember to turn them in at the Resource Center.
With the Resource Center (Tradeyard, near the entrance) you can Manage Investigations (see above) and Register Bounties. Bounties are like errands that you’re always working toward, no matter if you’re on a main quest or free roaming in an Expedition. You can register up to six bounties at any time, and they range from completing quests to hunting certain monsters to gathering certain types of materials.
Remember to check the Resource Center between quests for rewards and always have the max number of bounties registered. Bounties are a great way to earn Armor Spheres for upgrading your armor (see below).
Wear the Best Gear
You’ll be unlocking new armor sets at a rapid clip in the early game, as each new monster adds new armor pieces. The most important stat to look for is just boring old defense. You won’t need to worry about Elemental Resistances until a bit later in the game, when monsters start spewing poison or breathing fire.
Every piece of armor can be upgraded using Armor Spheres. These items are given as rewards for completing Investigations and Bounties. Go to the Workshop and Select Upgrade, and use the Armor Spheres to boost the defense stat of your various armor pieces. Each piece can only be boosted a set number of times, providing a natural ceiling for the set. This is motivation to keep crafting better armor!
Keep Your Blade Sharp
Eleven of the 14 weapons are melee weapons, and they need to be periodically sharpened. Weapon sharpness is represented by a small bar below your stamina in the upper left corner. As you strike a foe your weapon dulls, and the bar drops from green to yellow to red. You’ll do less damage and begin to see your weapon bounce off the monster’s hide with an insulting CLANG.
You need to use your Whetstone item (which is always equipped, like the fishing rod) and spend a few seconds sharpening. Since this leaves you completely vulnerable, it’s best to do it when the monster is retreating to a new area, or when it’s tied up with your Palico or other hunters.
Note that weapons are not created equal when it comes to their sharpness gauge. Typically Metal weapons will stay sharp longer (more green bar) than Bone weapons.
Affinity = Crit Chance
There’s a lot of things that aren’t well explained in Monster Hunter: World, and Affinity is one of them. You’ll find Affinity as a percentage stat on every weapon. It’s your chance to critically hit, doing increased damage. If it’s negative it means there’s a chance you could do reduced damage. A 20% positive Affinity means one in five hits should do increased damage.
Don’t neglect the Affinity percentage, and make sure to factor it when comparing weapons. Faster weapons, like the Dual Blades, greatly benefit from a high Affinity rating as you’ll be landing that boosted damage more often. Slower weapons like Hammers may prefer higher raw damage coupled with a negative Affinity, finding the trade-off more than acceptable.
Research Points are earned when gathering materials, examining monster tracks, breaking body parts, and slaying and capturing monsters. Basically everything you do in the wild nets research points. They’re added to a currency-like pool you can use to forge Palico equipment as well as purchase meals at the Canteen.
Each monster also has its own Research Level, which you can view at the Ecological Research (the giant stack of books at the Tradeyard entrance, near the Resource Center). You have to actually visit the Ecological Research to apply any earned points, so make stopping there part of your routine in town. The points will unlock new information about monsters in your Hunter’s Notes (see below) as well as make tracking them via Scoutflies much easier. At level 3 the monster will show up on your minimap when you’re tracking it!
Know Thy Enemy
A good hunter gathers as much information about their prey as they can. On the pause menu you can access your Hunter’s Notes and look up detailed information of all the monsters you’ve encountered.
You’ll unlock additional information the more you hunt a monster, including its specific weak points (usually the head and tail) as well as any elemental and status weaknesses and resistances. If you’re hunting a specific monster it can be useful (and eventually, critical) to bring along the right weapon, though you needn’t really worry about it too much in the beginning. The most important information is knowing which body parts of the monster to target for extra damage.
Never Hunt on an Empty Stomach
Eating meals is usually not an important part of an action game, but it’s incredibly helpful in Monster Hunter: World.
In your home base of Astera you’ll find the Canteen on the third floor, manned (catted?) by a team of Palico cooks. You can pay either with money or research points, and you should have plenty of both.
Meals can boost your health, stamina, and provide useful buffs. It’s even more critical to eat when playing solo or with one other hunter, as your Palico receives several buffs as well (which in turn have a chance of buffing you).
Certain Optional Quests can unlock new ingredients at the Canteen, which you can use to customize your meals to create the perfect combination of stat boosts and buffs.
The effects of a meal last until you complete a quest, or until you faint. You can always eat a meal at campsites out in the world as well, just head over to the little oven near the tent.
Obey Your Thirst
Potions and Mega-Potions will be your primary means of health recovery. Gather Herbs and Honey and keep well-stocked at all times. Eventually you’ll unlock the Palico Vigorwasp Spray for a quick heal, and the Health Booster item for healing over time.
Later you can craft Mega-Nutrients to add to your max health, Energy Drinks to boost your stamina (and stave off Sleep effects), and Armorskin to boost your defense. Check the ingredients you need by opening your Crafting Menu from the Start Menu and when checking your Item Box next to the quest boards in Astera, or at any campsite. You can set items to auto-craft whenever you have the ingredients.
Note that like the meals, any potion effects you have will disappear if you faint.
It’s easiest with the aerial-fighting Insect Glaive but every hunter can attempt to land on the back of a monster to mount it. Use the terrain and items like the Glider Mantle to land on a monster’s back.
If you manage to mount a monster you will enter into a quick-time mini-game as you repeatedly slash at it with your carving knife while it attempts to throw you off. If you stay on you’ll eventually pull out your weapon and deal a massive blow. It’s a challenging, but rewarding maneuver to master in any battle.