Depending on who you talk to, the Monster Hunter series has a very mixed reputation. On the one hand, it has a ravenous fanbase that won’t hesitate to import the newest games. On the other, there’s a slew of confounded gamers who quit immediately after being locked in the lengthy potion-drinking animation. In an attempt to bridge the two extremes, Capcom rebooted the series with Monster Hunter: World, which addresses a lot of the complaints while maintaining the core thrill of the hunt.
But whichever side of the fence you’re on, there’s a lot to learn before going toe-to-much-bigger-toe with the game’s titular monsters. This guide will get you up to speed.
Table of contents
Character and Palico creation
This step is purely cosmetic, so have fun designing your hunter. Note that gender will affect the design of your armor, but absolutely nothing else. Finally, here is a list of features which you’ll be able to change later, meaning you won’t have to stress them too much:
- Hairstyle and color
- Eyebrows color
- Facial hair
- Base clothing
Welcome to Astera
The tutorial sequences will have you meandering through the game’s first hub, Astera. It’s a sprawling base with multiple levels and loads of NPCs all doing their thing. You may find yourself lost and overwhelmed initially, but you’ll feel more at home here as points of interest become available to you. For now, here are some things to focus on to keep your head straight:
Can’t be bothered to talk an NPC unless there’s something in it for you? Look for these yellow exclamation marks. There’s a chance you’ll receive an optional quest which will reward you beyond simple spending money. You may not totally comprehend the benefits just yet, but it’s a good idea to start collecting these as you wander.
Quest boards and the handler
I know, I know: You just want to get right to business and put the pointy (or shooty) end of your weapon into an angry monster. Using the quest board in the tradeyard, or by talking to the handler in the canteen, you can do just that. Pick “Assigned Quests” to advance in the story, or “Optional Quests” to clear the quests NPCs have given you. You can also repeat cleared Assigned Quests in the Optional Quest section, which will be helpful for grinding later on.
Walking from place to place is time-consuming, and it only increases your chances of getting lost and frustrated. Keep an eye out for these handy elevators which can spirit you away to several of Astera’s key areas:
- Gathering hub
- Waterfall bridge
You’ll probably find yourself heading to the tradeyard and canteen often to post quests and the workshop to check your gear. So for now, use these locations to try and get your bearings.
These handy boxes are peppered throughout Astera and will allow you to deposit items if you get full up, withdraw items if you run out, and combine if you’re running low. They’re a good reminder to keep your inventory from getting cluttered. We’ll talk more about what to carry with you in later sections.
Your room and the training area
Eventually, Monster Hunter: World will drag you into your humble wooden abode. You can change your appearance using the item box, or better yet: access the training area. There, you can try out all the weapons in a safe, monster-free setting. We strongly encourage everyone to try each of the weapons, as they all have their unique strengths and weaknesses.
The dual blades for example, while not necessarily imposing in size, allows you to deliver quick flurries of attacks, while moving and evading quickly to keep the pressure on your target. On the other end of the spectrum, the great sword is a massive beast of a weapon with slow, powerful swings. Since you’ll move very slowly with it drawn, it’s best used to dish out big damage by drawing into an attack when you have a big opening, like after an enemy attack. Which playstyle is best will be totally up to you.
For now, we would suggest trying the base combos listed on the screen while getting the feel of evading and blocking after attacks with each weapon. Since you’ll be relying on whichever weapon(s) you choose for most of Monster Hunter: World, you absolutely cannot spend too much time here.
Exploring the Ancient Forest
Your first set of quests will take you to the Ancient Forest, one of several environments in Monster Hunter: World. It’s a lush swath of forest with an ecosystem that ranges from dark caves to sunlit treetops. That means there’s lots to explore, so we’ll cover how to make sense of it all.
For now, you’ll start your quests at the base camp, a safe zone away from all the pointy, dangerous creatures. While here, you can hop into your tent to manage your inventory or change your gear on the fly. As you progress, you’ll be able to carve out new base camp locations, allowing you to start quests from different sections of the map.
When on hunting assignments, the supply box will contain free tools and ammo for the hunt ahead. Get greedy and take everything! Items labeled as a “supply item” will only be good for the length of the quest. Anything else is yours to keep, use or sell. If you think there’s any chance you might dabble in either the bowgun or bow, be sure to grab all the supplied ammo each quest so you can to start amassing a stockpile of munitions.
Lord of the scoutflies
Once you head out from the base camp, your scoutflies will begin buzzing about, notifying you of any nearby gathering spots or evidence left behind by large monsters. For now, we’d recommend gathering as much as you can, since nearly everything you’ll find will have a purpose. If you get full up, head back to base to unload your stash.
Eventually you’ll be zipping through the Ancient Forest with a purpose, either chasing prey or following monster tracks. When you’re on the go like this, it’s a good idea to keep on eye on the Scout Fly text prompts for items that you can never have too many of. Here are a few to look for:
- Herbs: Auto-combines into potions
- Honey: Auto-combines with Potion into mega potions
- Mining outcrops: For armor and weapon upgrades
- Bone piles: For armor and weapon upgrades
- Godbugs: For potent, end-game potions
- Spider webs and thunderbugs: For crafting traps
Get into the habit of grabbing these while on the go so that you’ll never want for the basics.
Do note that the scoutflies are a bit jittery, so if you’re targeted by any monster, they’ll turn red and suck up inside your Scout Fly canister. Crouching to use stealth can be a helpful way to keep the flies in the field.
Press the touchpad (or its Xbox equivalent) to bring up your map, one of the handiest, dandiest tools in your repertoire. As you and your scoutflies discover points of interest in the Ancient Forest, it will fill in with icons for the zone you’re in. This will become an invaluable resource to refer to if you’re trying to gather specific items or use the environment to slow down an angry monster.
If there’s any specific point of interest you’d like to return to, open the map and press R3 on its icon to set a waypoint for your scoutflies. This is especially helpful when navigating to areas of higher elevation, where it can be trickier to remember the way up. It’s also invaluable on quests requiring you to gather a certain number of materials. If you’d like, you can also select a base camp icon to fast travel there.
In Monster Hunter: World, you should absolutely expect the unexpected. The best way to do this is to make staying prepared part of your hunting routine. Doing so takes several forms.
Upgrade and craft weapons and armor
Your starting gear is fine for the first few quests. After that, you’ll want to craft something better. Head over to the smithy in Astera and see what your options are. At the early stages of Monster Hunter: World, having some monster bones and iron ore will be sufficient to upgrade your starting weapon to the next level for a small boost to attack.
When it comes to armor, if you’ve been diligently gathering from bone piles, you should have enough monster bones and ancient bones to craft the complete bone armor set, which offers a big bump to defense and also an armor skill that raises your maximum HP. This will be a huge help for early quests.
Get into the habit of stopping by the smithy after felling a new monster or gathering from a new environment, as this will open up a lot of crafting and upgrading options.
We’ll talk more about key aspects of weapons and armor in the section of the guide devoted to hunting large monsters.
Keep your belly full
As the quest difficulty ramps up, you’ll want to maintain the caloric intake necessary to make the big gains. This means chowing down at either the canteen in Astera, or at any base camp. Eating brings a variety of temporary but indispensable benefits. Generally the most important one to watch for when picking a platter is an increase in your maximum HP. As the enemies you fight hit harder, this will become an essential step in every hunt.
Completing the optional quests you’ve been collecting from NPCs may reward you with some potent new ingredients that will bring stronger food buffs. These ingredients will become a permanent option in future recipes, so definitely clear these if you want to give yourself a culinary edge.
Hunting large monsters
If you’ve followed our Monster Hunter: World guide so far, you’re more than ready to take on the game’s first set of large monsters. But it’s a whole different ball game, where everything you’ve learned so far and more will come into play.
Keep your slinger loaded
Have you noticed that claw-looking thing on your character’s arm? It’s a rudimentary slingshot which you can load with a number of different bits found through any map or even crafted from things you find. And despite its size, it has a slew of applications.
As you’ll see in each case, nature is dangerous enough on its own. It just needs a little push. There’s no better tool than your trusty slinger! Note that most every base camp has at least some stone you can load, so be sure to grab them at the start of a quest.
Pack your bag with tricks
Up until now, you’ve probably only really had to worry about keeping potions and mega potions on hand. This isn’t too tough since the required materials, Herbs and Honey, are quite plentiful in the Ancient Forest. However, going forward there are quite a few more items you should consider adding to your arsenal:
- Shock trap: Crafted from thunderbug and trap tool. A trap you set on most terrain to temporarily paralyze a monster that steps onto it. (Note that you can’t find trap tools in the wilderness. You have to buy them.)
- Pitfall trap: Crafted from a net (spiderweb + ivy) and trap tools. A trap you can set on most terrain to temporarily paralyze a monster that steps onto it.
- Tranq bombs: Crafted from sleep herb and parashroom. Toss two at a monster caught in a trap to capture them. Only works if they’re weakened to the point of limping.
- Flash pod: Crafted from flashbugs and launched from your slinger. Temporarily blinds any enemy when it detonates in their line of sight.
- Dung pod: Crafted from … well, dung. Encourages any large monster unlucky enough to be on the receiving end to leave you alone temporarily.
- Status-inflicting knives: Crafted from throwing knives (a rare supply item) and any dangerous-sounding mushroom. For instance, parashrooms and throwing knives create paralysis knives, which can paralyze your target. Note that it will take several to inflict the desired status effect. In addition to paralysis, you can also poison enemies to inflict some damage over time, or put them to sleep to dish out one incredible strong waking blow.
- Large barrel bomb: The best way to wake up a sleeping monster! Best placed next to an enemy’s head, and best detonated by placing a barrel bomb next to it. Be sure you don’t place the much weaker barrel bomb within range of the monster’s head!
Not all of these will be a necessity, but as hunts get harder they’ll make your job much easier. So experiment early and get a feel for them.
Learn to track
Large monsters leave telltale signs as they traipse through their environment, whether it’s something as obvious as a footprint or as unusual as a smear of mucous. While running through the wild, your scoutflies will alert you to these in the same text window that lists gatherable items. Examine tracks to increase your familiarity with your mark, eventually fully locking the scoutflies onto its location.
Learn your enemy
The monsters you’ll encounter in the game will grow more and more imposing as you advance in the story. Despite their increase in ferocity, they all still have the same characteristics that you can learn, memorize and exploit. Here are a few key ones you should look for on each hunt:
- Weak Points: As you poke and slash at your target, you’ll notice damage numbers pop off with each blow. If the numbers appear in orange, you’re hitting a weak spot. These are generally some of the hardest to hit spots, like the head, tail or wings. Once you figure out a weak spot, focus your attacks here. There’s even a chance you’ll break a monster’s body part, increasing your chances of receiving rare materials once the quest is complete. This will be key for crafting powerful gear.
- Tells: Monsters have a handful of attacks that they’ll cycle through. Get familiar with all of them. Where should you position yourself to avoid the attack? Better yet, where will the monster’s weak points be once it’s completed its attack animation? Learning this will allow you to be ready to counter and turn the monster’s own attacks against it. You may have better luck simply observing the monster as you scramble to avoid attacks. Once you start to see the patterns, you can begin poking at the openings.
- Tricks: You’re packing a bag full of tools, and now’s the time to use them! Not all items work on all enemies though, so you’ll have to experiment a little. For instance, a sonic pod is completely ineffectual against a Barroth, but works wonders on the Diablos when it burrows underground.
- Exhaustion: Monsters slowly wear themselves out as they attack and move around. Eventually they’ll become exhausted, slowing them down considerably. An additional visual clue is that most monsters will begin to stand around and drool. This is a great time to break out your hardest-hitting combos. Also, the effects of your trick items are extended on an exhausted monsters. That means traps, pods and status effects. This is your opportunity to really turn things around.
- Rage: As you deal damage to your target, they’ll eventually enter a state of rage, where they’ll move faster, hit harder and take less damage. The transition into this state is usually marked with clues like heavy breathing or glowing red eyes. This is the monster’s opportunity to really turn things around. One mistake could spell disaster, so during this time exercise extreme caution until the monster returns to normal.
Learn your environment
As illustrated in the slinger section above, the environments you’ll be tussling in have a number of dangerous gimmicks just waiting to be triggered. Become familiar with which areas have status-inflicting toads, vine traps and boulder traps. You can find them on your map.
If your target happens to wander into one of these areas, position the gimmick between you and the monster, who will predictably scramble toward you. Once it gets in range of the gimmick, you can spring your trap. (Or it will spring itself, in the case of vine traps.)
Maintain the higher ground
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to try and use points of higher elevation to your advantage. Not only will it be easier to avoid attacks, but you can leap off edges or slide down steep hills and follow up with powerful attacks. There’s even a chance that these follow ups may allow you to mount your enemy.
While mounted, you’ll be given pretty simple red-light-green-light prompts. Cling on when the monster is thrashing, and attack like mad when it isn’t. You may also need to reposition yourself using your directional stick if the monster attempts to slam its body into a wall. Clear the mini-game, and the monster will fall over, allowing you to access nearly any part of its body for big, uncontested damage.
Maintain your gear
It’s a good idea to develop the habit of sharpening your weapon with your whetstone whenever the monster heads off into another zone. Maintaining it will prevent your attacks from bouncing off, which could leave you open to enemy attacks. Sharpness is also very important in determining your damage output, so devote this habit to muscle memory early.
Like your weapon, you need TLC too. If your health gets low, don’t hesitate to dip into your potion supply — that’s why it’s there. And if you choose to do so around a rampaging monster, note that you can still move, albeit slowly, while you chug. You can even hold down the run button for a bit more speed. Oh, and if your food effects wear off, either due to time or fainting, you can grab another meal at any Base Camp after 10 minutes.
Call for backup
If all else fails, there’s no shame in requesting a hand. In Monster Hunter: World, you have the ability to fire a SOS flare which will alert other players to your quest and allow them to drop in for support. To do so, open your menu, go to “Quest”, and then “Fire SOS flare.” Note that hunting in a group can make the fight much shorter, and it will limit how much you learn. But no worries: Up your game and give it another go!