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Monster Hunter: World guide: What the heck am I supposed to do next?

The unspoken loop that makes hunting monsters slightly easier

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Monster Hunter: World isn’t exactly forthcoming about, well, much of anything. But it’s also silent on the why behind all of the activities you can do. Your handler is always telling you it’s time to go on your next assigned quest, you’re getting constant notifications about new investigations being available, and any time you take a walk out in the world, you meet a new giant monster to hunt. It’s overwhelming and keeping track of everything — and learning what you can ignore — takes a lot of practice.

It’s easy to get lost in an endless cycle of investigations, expeditions and bounties while ignoring the main story (assigned quests). You might even get really good at them. But they’re going to limit you to one geographic area and a limited variety of monsters. Then, when you do return to the main story, all that work you put in may seem useless against new monsters that require new tactics in a new region.

Alternately, you might choose to ignore the constant barrage of side quests and grocery lists to mainline the story. You’ll quickly find yourself outclassed by increasingly difficult monsters and un(der)prepared for the challenges you face.

This is what you want to avoid.

Both of those approaches are a recipe for frustration (trust us here, we’ve fallen into both of these traps). There’s a middle path, though, that takes a more logical approach to the game. We’re calling it the unspoken loop.

The steps of the unspoken loop

Monster Hunter: World’s unspoken loop is our way of making all the monster hunting and exploring more intentional. Using the list below, you’ll be able to filter the signal from the noise in your growing to-do list. Everything you do becomes preparation for the next assigned quest and this approach lets you decide which investigations really matter.

  1. Do an assigned quest. These might introduce a new monster or a new area full of new monsters. New monsters mean new materials, and new materials (sometimes) mean new armor, weapons and upgrades at the workshop.
  2. Check in with the smithy at the workshop in Astera. Look at what’s available to you after the last assigned quest. Pick out what you want to work on. Pay attention to what monsters you need to hunt to build that shiny new armor. Check out what you need to upgrade your weapon. Look at how many armor spheres you need to bump up your current armor’s level.
  3. Head out on expeditions and investigations. Use expeditions to unlock investigations that target the specific monsters you need to carve parts from. Head out into the world. Check out every footprint, skidmark and whatever other monster leaving you find. When you pick up enough — and earn enough research points — an investigation quest becomes available. Only focus on the investigations that get you the stuff you need from step two (unless you just want to practice with a different monster).
  4. Always have a full list of bounties. Bounties are (relatively) easy to complete and they usually earn you an armor sphere. Armor spheres help your current armor stay useful and make that shiny new armor even better. You’ll complete most bounties while you’re out on investigations. Any bounty that lingers can usually be taken care of with a brief expedition into the wild. Once you cash in some bounties, reload your list and continue on.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you achieve your goal. Like we’ve said in other guides, there’s no firm answer for how much upgrading you have to do to be prepared for your next story quest. You don’t want to rush into the next challenge without improving anything, but you also don’t want to spend days perfecting some armor that’s going to be outclassed by the next set that becomes available. Set a reasonable goal and work toward it.
  6. Move on to the next assigned quest. Assigned quests usually introduce a new monster if not an entirely new area full of new monsters. New monsters mean new materials, and new materials (sometimes) mean new armor, weapons and upgrades … you get the point.

When you start to think of the quests, investigations, bounties and expeditions this way, the overwhelming variety of choices starts to take on a purpose — preparing for the next story quest. Monster Hunter: World will make a lot more sense, and you’ll start to have a lot more fun (or, at the very least, you’ll know why you’re doing what you’re doing).