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Monster Hunter: World bow guide

Master this precision ranged weapon


Monster Hunter: World’s bow is a precision ranged weapon. You’ll be laying down continuous charged shots from medium range — not too close to the monster, but not too far either — while you dodge attacks. This weapon is quite straightforward to use and highly versatile. Hitting monster weak points is as easy as aiming and firing, and arrow coatings allow bow users to paralyze or poison enemies at will.

However, like all gunners, the bow user pays a penalty in physical defense. Monster Hunter: World is a game where it’s best to avoid being hit at all costs, and this is doubly true for hunters who use ranged weapons. You will be dodge rolling a lot.

This also isn’t a great weapon for players who want to snipe safely from a long distance. To deal effective damage, bow users must engage the monster at a moderate distance and constantly be dodging incoming attacks.

With proper use, bow users can inflict steady, strong damage while constantly shifting position to keep just beyond the reach of the monster. If that sounds like your style, give it a try.

Critical distance

The most important concept for the bow is something longtime Monster Hunters call “critical distance.” As we mentioned previously, your shots will do the most damage when you aren’t too far from or too close to the monster. You can see this when you aim your shot with L2 or LT.

If you’re too far from a target for an arrow to hit, you’ll see “Out of Range.”

Once you get into striking range, the targeting reticle will turn yellow. Your arrows will find their mark, but at this range they’ll do negligible to low damage. Especially if you’re using a coating, hitting from this range might be a waste of a shot. Don’t stay in this range, and if you see a yellow reticle try and take it as a sign to move in a little bit.

When you get a little closer — but not all the way up to your target — you’ll see a smaller orange circle inside the targeting reticle. This is critical distance. You should notice much higher damage from this range, especially when hitting weak spots. To maximize your damage, always try to remain at critical distance when attacking. Positioning is key: Not too close, not too far.

Power shot

After taking a shot, you can always press circle/B to fire a second power shot. While a regular shot fires on the exact point where you aim, the power shot has a wide spread like a shotgun blast. This is a powerful tool and a major source of damage.

To get the most out of a power shot, use it when you’ll hit a wide surface of the monster, like, for example, when you’re facing it sideways. It’s great against long weak points like the head and tail of a monster. The power shot may not be so great when a thin monster is facing you straight on, as the additional shots will just fly off into the air.

The recovery time of a power shot is much longer than that of a regular shot, and if you use it with every shot indiscriminately, you won’t recover in time to avoid the monster’s attacks. Always consider when you are safe to take a power shot before pressing the button.

Charge shots

You’ll notice immediately when you hold down the fire button that your shot starts to charge. A charged shot naturally deals more damage and has a wider critical distance. The bow has a base two levels of charge.

The quirk of charging with the bow is that you can gain charge by firing successively. For example, if you take three shots in a row, the first shot is a regular shot, the second one is charge level one, and the third is charge level two. A power shot after a charge level one shot will charge to level two. Though you can usually only charge two levels, if you fire a power shot after a level two charge shot, it’s a level three power shot. This is applicable between all shots, including the dragon piercer.

Of course, it isn’t quite safe to just stand in place firing all the time. Dodging while charging a shot will also give you a charging sidestep, which charges your shot instantly. You’ll be dodging a lot, so this is a very helpful addition to the bow user’s repertoire. You can even sidestep forward to get a charge while closing distance.

Dragon piercer

The dragon piercer is the bow’s special attack. By pressing triangle and circle (or B and Y), you will charge up an extremely powerful shot that pierces all the way through the body of the monster, doing damage repeatedly as it goes. Charge levels apply to dragon piercer, and if you have the time to use it, you should probably try to do so with a charge.

Though there is no limit on the amount of times you can use the dragon piercer. It has extremely slow startup and recovery, and you cannot cancel the move if you guess wrong or the monster moves out of your sight. You’ll want to go for this attack when you are absolutely certain that the monster is going to stay in place, like when it’s knocked down or trapped.

If you know the monster’s attack patterns really well, you can find the time to land dragon piercer when it’s up. Just understand that it’s a risk, and if you miss this attack you’re in trouble.

Because of the dragon piercer travels straight through the monster, you want to land this shot from a position where it will go through the monster’s entire body. For example, firing a dragon piercer straight through a monster’s head from the front will go through the body and probably hit the tail as well. dragon piercer is also a great way to target particular parts of a monster to break, and it can even cut off tails. Try to hit the monster from straight on or at a diagonal angle to maximize damage.

Arrow coatings

The most important arrow coating is the power coating. As you might guess, this simply boosts the attack power of your shots. If you’ve done the proper preparation for the monster you’re fighting, you should be striking weak points with the monster’s weak element, causing big damage with every shot. Pile onto that damage with the effect of power coatings, and you’ll be hitting extremely hard at the very start of the fight.

These coatings are so essential in every fight that you should spend money on keeping a stash and eventually devote one of your harvest spots to nitroshrooms to craft them with. The gains you make crafting power coatings will far outweigh the cost.

Poison, paralysis and sleep coatings will override the element of your weapon for the time they are active, so in effect you will sacrifice damage for the desired effect.

  • Damage-wise, poison is only really worth using if the monster is specifically vulnerable to it or you’re feeling adventurous and have customized for a poison damage build.
  • Paralysis is especially useful to inflict in a party situation where the whole team can pile on or against monsters who like to run away a lot.
  • It’s also possible to capture a monster with tranq bombs after putting it to sleep with sleep coating arrows.

One overlooked trick to beat the limit on the amount of coatings you can carry is taking the ingredients into a quest with you. For example, on top of the 50 power coatings you can bring into a quest, you can also take 20 nitroshrooms and 20 empty phials with you. When you run out of power coating ammo, you can hit the crafting menu and quickly make 20 more.

Armor skills

Every hunter should pay attention to their armor skills, and bow users have particular needs. Start with core attack skills, like the basic attack boost, critical eye, and elemental damage depending on your weapon. From there, here are some recommendations.

You’re going to be dodging a lot, and there are those unavoidable moments when a monster forces you into close quarters and you have to dodge-hop away for dear life. You’ve surely dodged a monster only to get slapped out of your roll anyway by the second wag of its tail. The evade window skill increases the invincible period of the dodge roll. Level this up, and you’re going to roll through a lot of attacks and get hit a lot less often. Evade extender extends the physical distance of your dodge, and might also be worth trying on top of Evade Window.

Charge shots, power shots and dodging are all huge drains on stamina. Though you should be maxing out your stamina with food every hunt, you’re still going to find yourself running on empty pretty often. To counteract this once you reach high rank, you’ll be able to invest in skills that save stamina. Constitution cuts down on your overall stamina use. Stamina surge speeds your recovery, which will help to a lesser degree when low stamina forces you to take a break on attacking.

The focus skill, which cuts down charge time, used to be a must-have for the bow in previous Monster Hunter titles. But with the speed of charging a bow shot in Monster Hunter: World, and the many ways bow users are now able to get an instant charge, the utility of the skill decreased sharply. It isn’t terrible to fill a free space with, but you shouldn’t go out of your way.

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