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A Beginner's Guide to Monster Hunter: World

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You'll be carving in no time

Monster Hunter has made the jump to modern consoles, and with it comes a brand new audience. I love seeing more and more people experience the series for the first time, just as I did not too long ago.

Where do I even begin? There is a lot to take in while playing Monster Hunter in any capacity, and there can seem to be an endless string of tutorials thrown at you early on. Many of those things will eventually seep into your brain, but for now, here are some tips to help you along the way.

Join the Destructoid Squad -- Palico Patrol!

You can message Sonci (me) on Xbox Live to join on Xbox, or Striderhoang (Marcel Hoang) to get into the PlayStation squad. This way, you'll have people close at hand ready to help you out!

Your "Pre-Quest" routine should look like this

Got a new monster to take out? Great! But before you head out, there are a couple things that you should always do. Here's the basic breakdown:

  • Accept quest
  • Eat food
  • Clear/change items

The best thing is, all of the required locations are right next to each other. After choosing your quest from the lady, turn around and grab a bite to eat. Early on, choose something that you think you're lacking. Tons of attack with little in the way of armor/defense? Order a meal to add more defense. As you become more comfortable and knowledgeable with the monsters and worlds, you'll know exactly what you should be eating before heading out. Similarly, you should start experimenting (eventually) with the "create your own" option.

Clearing your items isn't as important as it once was since this can be done in your camp, but it does save a headache later. You're bound to pick up tons of items during your time outside of Asteria, and those things take up inventory space. Before heading out, it's a good idea to store things you won't actively be using in the field. Again, you'll soon learn that Nulberry is always worth carrying, as are things like Honey that can be used to craft important items.

Utilize the environment during hunts

There are a lot of ways to use the world around you to create a successful hunt. Take a look at the clip above where I use a Paratoad to get in some free hits. There is more to hunting than just wailing on the monster: jumping off ledges or walls for aerial attacks, utilizing the toads, or shooting at the flash flies are all important to note. 

Use your Hunter's Notes

Monster giving you a hard time? Or is it your first time on a specific hunt? 

  • Press Start
  • Go over to Info
  • Open your Hunter's Notes
  • Open Monster Field Guide

Here you have descriptions of monsters and a section called "Useful Information." This information is useful, read it! It will give tips on how to best approach the monster, as well as if it has any specific weaknesses or patterns. Obviously, the best way to learn is to actually fight it, but there are some really simple tips listed here that everyone should know before heading out. It also includes possible drops of monsters -- check here if you're looking for a specific part to craft weapons or armor.

Also important: your Hunter's Notes gets updated! Elemental weaknesses will not be there on your first hunt, but once you've figured it out, the page will be updated.

The Hunter's Notes also has an exhaustive list of weapon controls -- LOOK AT THEM! As Brett brought up to me, there may be button combinations you don't even know about, 20 hours into using a weapon! Not that Brett would know from experience or anything...

Experiment with weapons in the training area!

I'd recommend this for new and veteran players alike. I've seen so many old-school players find a new love with weapons like the bow, thanks to the traditional controller and analog sticks.

If you enter your room and speak with the Housekeeper Palico and select "Go to the training area." While there, you can change weapons at will from the box and go nuts! The game will give you the breakdown of what the various inputs do, and you could always head into your Hunter's Notes to see a control breakdown of each weapon, as I mentioned above.

Understand how mounting monsters works

There's a couple of things that are not immediately obvious when mounting monsters. The first is that you can move positions while on the monster's back. This helps when the jerk goes to headbutt into a wall to knock you off -- if you recognize this you can hop to the back of it and brace for impact.

The second thing is that the game highlights what you should be doing while up there. Look at the upper right of the video -- notice how it highlights Brace as the monster prepares for an attack? Also notice how I don't do shit about it because I did not know about this tip at the time? 

You can pin items on the map to be guided to them.

It's easy to understand how to "pin" a monster on your map and be led to it, but the same can be said for harvesting items as well! It's important to explore around the map and find all of these locations, because one day you may be in need of something specific, and this is by far the best way to get your item. It works the same way as pinning a monster: open up the map, find the item you need around the map, and pin it! 

Animations like mining and gathering can be sped up, and certain cutscenes can be skipped.

Just about every non-combat animation can be sped up, and certain non-essential cutscenes can be skipped. The animation for mining, harvesting, etc. can be sped up by simply holding the harvest button. It may not seem like much, but when you're constantly digging through bonepiles and picking mining deposits, it saves a lot, trust me. 

Additionally, the cutscene of the monster dying can be skipped by pressing Start (or whatever these stupid consoles call it). It's not the biggest deal in the world, and I kind of like running around in the background while watching the cutscene, but sometimes lots of other shit is going down and having a cinematic camera angle is not helpful. You can also skip the cutscenes for making food and weapons. I tend to watch the cats making food, since I'm waiting for the mission to load anyway, and it is amazing.

Monsters have different "states" and it's important to know which one they're in.

Have you noticed that, sometimes, the monster is suddenly kicking your butt? It's not just you, the monster is likely in an enraged state. While there are visual tells to indicate when this occurs (generally some flaps becoming unflapped, or a new visual effect), it's also possible to look at the lower left of the screen to know. See the heart beat looking thing? When there is very little time in between beats, the monster is enraged. Generally, this means to pick your hits very carefully and play way more cautious than normal.

AHB: Always Have Bounties

Okay, I admit. I made that acronym up. But the idea is pretty straightforward: between every mission, re-up any bounties you may have completed at the Resource Center. There's no reason not to!

Weapon-Specific Tips

Now, I'm not here to give you tips for every weapon: that's beyond me. I am here to give you some Hunting Horn tips. I asked my fellow Destructoid writers to share their expertise with their weapon of choice, and here's what we came up with:

Hunting Horn - Patrick Hancock

Ah, the best weapon for people who like to play Bards in their RPGs, Supports in any team-based game, or any Rock Band fans. This weapon was completely designed for someone like me, who loves all three of those. I've been using it since I first got my hands on it, and never looked back.

The first thing is to understand how your songs work. Every horn has Self-Improvement, and that's a song that should always be up. It only affects yourself, but the increased movement speed and prevention from deflection are crucial to play HH. Most songs are rather straightforward based on their name, but some may not be. For example, there is a difference between a healing song and a health boost song. Boosting health means adding more maximum health (which is also very good!), but it will not heal your teammates. Sonic Waves is also obtuse -- it brings monsters up from under the ground (only useful for specific monsters). Know your songs, and bring a horn that will fit the job.

As a Hunting Horn user, you will be loved by your peers. I've just been joining SOS Flares and buffing the crap out of people and I love it. Plus, you're bound to get the end-hunt reward for supporting everyone, proving how awesome you are. Ideally, you can play songs while fighting, though as you move up in the ranks this becomes harder and harder. 

After playing a song with right trigger, you can play encores as noted next to the note sheet in the upper left. Be aware of what is up there and string together some hard-hitting encores to please your fans, err, I mean teammates.

Switch Axe - Jordan Devore

For Switch Axe, remember to ABS (always be sheathing). I've had much better luck running up sheathed and launching right into axe mode (right trigger) for a few safe hits as opposed to starting out in sword mode and transforming to the axe form mid-combo. There's a time and place for everything, but this method generally lets you get in and out in a hurry while still quickly building your amp meter for those sweet Elemental Discharge explosions.

Insect Glaive - Salvadore G-Rodiles

Do you love wielding a weapon that grants you your own pet? If you answered “yes,” then the Insect Glaive is your calling.

Ever since its debut in Monster Hunter 4, the weapon wielder’s goal is to use their bug partner, the Kinsect, to obtain buffs from the opponents. The important thing is that red is power, white is mobility, and orange is defense. As long as you understand this rule, you’ll be a master in no time.

As for the spots, go for the head when you want red, legs will give you white, and the body is orange. In some cases, other body parts can give you these colors so you’ll have to launch your Kinsect to find out. Also, you can heal with green nectar from your opponent’s tail. Even if it’s a little bit, it can save your life in some cases.

If you have trouble with launching your bug at the target, you can fire a pheromone that lets it home in. In previous games, it was a bit counterproductive since you could get it faster if you learn how to aim. Fortunately, there’s a new benefit to sending your pet through this method. Depending on your bug, the special spot will change into an insect swarm that creates an effect when you attack it. Some of these benefits include healing people or creating a purple gas that may poison the monster.

Remember how you had to harvest nectars from specific plants to improve your Kinsect? Well, that feature is gone in World and you use materials instead. To top it off, the bug is now separate from the equipment so you can use the same one on each Glaive. In other words, one of the time-consuming parts of upgrading the weapon is gone. Hopefully, future Monster Hunter titles will follow this trend.

One important thing as a Glaive user is not to rely on leap attacks. Yes, they can help you mount the monsters, but there are better ways to do damage. In fact, you’re better off connecting two triangle attacks with two circle ones. Since this move can chain into infinite strikes, you can mix it up with other moves. If you don’t want to combo through the target, pressing back and circle will let you do a cool backflip, which lets you land some hits while you gain more range to do fluid attacks. Then you can link it with a circle move.

While we’re on the topic of jumping, be sure to air dash if you’re about to run into a target’s attack. Compare to the other installments, this is one of the best additions to the weapon. If you plan to take to leap, the Glaive’s new circle attack can be connected with the same move or the triangle button strike. If you utilize these tips well, you’ll become a master at beating down monsters with your trusty stick.

Dual Blades - Marcel Hoang

I've always gravitated towards the ease and mobility of the dual blades. In World, the DB have been retuned very subtly so that on the surface they still look like the same dual blades but on the inside they can feel quite different. There's no longer mega dash juice and even dash juice only functions like wiggly litchi; dash juice only halves your stamina depletion unlike unlimited stamina from before. Thankfully, the stamina drain from dual blades' demon mode is slower and easier to work with compared to before.

Still, using every bit of stamina you have is important. Using (circle)/(B) performs the classic spin-it-to-win-it, forward whirlwind attack which covers a lot of ground while attacking. Following up with repeat performs the vertical windmill slice. Alternating between this and the (triangle)/(Y) attack allows you to slide around a monster like some deranged ankle biter. It's also worth noting that the previously mentioned attacks plus the demon dance all have automatic mind's eye, that is to say, these attacks will not bounce off hard parts no matter what (note: you’ll eat through your sharpness this way). That's great for brute forcing your way into breaking monster parts!

One balance change to offset the slower stamina drain is the loss of the demon dash during archdemon mode, so you'll have to get used to only having access to that during demon mode. It is worth mentioning that since you'll be switching demon mode on and off more often now that mega dash juice isn't an option how the demon mode trigger works. Using the switch raw allows you to continue moving slowly but the switch is slow. Using the switch during a combo is much faster.

Several weapons have new sliding attacks as well, and the dual blades are similar to other weapons with hidden sliding attacks due to their unique mechanics with overlapping buttons. Anytime you're going down a slope but are in demon mode, just press (circle)/(B) to initiate a slide with a brief slicing attack. The next attack input causes you to fly off into your heavenward sky slash.

Charge Blade - Josh Tolentino

I love the Charge Blade because it's so overcomplicated it barely makes sense. The Switch Axe makes sense: It's two weapons in one. But the Charge Blade, with its off-hand sword-and-board transitioning to a big effin' axe? It exists because it's freakin' cool and looks great in motion, that's it.

It's also one of the more complicated weapons to master in Monster Hunter, thanks to its mode-changing gimmick. Moreso than the Switch Axe, using the Charge Blade requires some awareness of when it's best to to be in one mode or another. The most basic pattern would be to bat away at a monster in blade mode, then, when the "charge phials" are filled, transition to a powerful axe-mode strike to deliver big damage as well as a secondary effect. Charge Blades are very strong at knocking monsters out, provided you can land the last big blow. Monster Hunter World hasn't changed the Charge Blade substantially since the last couple of games, so if you grew accustomed to using it in then, you're already off to a good start. What is new, however, are a few new moves seemingly designed to increase the utility of the weapon's Sword Mode.

As ever, the Charge Blade's main pattern would be to bonk the monster using the Sword Mode to charge up your phials, and, once positioned, going to town on it with the Axe mode and the stored up energy. Monster Hunter World has added a set of sliding slash moves to sword mode to help you do some damage and close gaps. Execute them by inputting on a direction after a basic attack in sword mode. These moves increase Sword Mode's mobility and allows practiced players to "stick and move" more effectively and keep up the pressure. They've also returned the ability to transition quickly from sword mode into the Amped Element Discharge (aka the super finish) by way of the trusty Shield Thrust. Just move from a weak slash to a shield thrust, and hit the same buttons again to go straight to the discharge. It's a good way to bleed off some extra energy if you just charged up and need to let it out right away.

You can also charge up your shield, which toughens it up when you're blocking as well as enhancing any output from your Axe Mode attacks. Just cancel out of the discharge mode above using an elemental roundslash. Axe Mode also gained a distance-closing Dash Slam attack, so you don't have to morph back out of Axe Mode if a monster jukes away at the last second.

The last bonus added to World for would-be Charge Blade masters is the ability to charge your sword, to get a fast, lower-output version of the Axe Mode's beloved energy blasts.The trick is to extend the standard phial charge move by holding Weak Slash. This transfers phial energy to the Sword Blade, making all moves for the next few moments do the same energy bursts. 

Further Research

You will soon outgrow this guide. When that happens, congratulations! You're on your way to becoming an expert. To help you along the way, here are some outlets that I think will help you grow.

  • ProJared on YouTube

ProJared does lots of stuff with his YouTube channel, but is a huge Monster Hunter fan and a lot of his content revolves around the series, especially after a big release. Above is the link to his multi-part guide on the series. Despite it being created for the 3DS entries, much of what he says applies universally.

  • Gaijin Hunter on YouTube

Gaijin Hunter is my favorite content creator for Monster Hunter. I love his voice, and he explains things in such an approachable way. I really do owe a lot of my success to his videos, so check out his channel! He makes a lot of quick videos on how to do specific things, like the one above, and also makes weapon-specific tutorials.

A subreddit for a specific game or franchise is usually kind of terrible and filled with memes and shitposts. The subreddit for Monster Hunter is actually quite good, and is a general reflection of the community itself. Lots of tips are offered, questions are answered, and everyone is just all-around helpful. If you have a specific question, it can't hurt to ask here.

Got any tips of your own? Share them in the comments to help out other hunters! Everyone is in this together!

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Patrick Hancock
Patrick HancockContributor   gamer profile

During the day, he teaches high school kids about history. At night he kicks their butts in competitive games like Rocket League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike. Disclosure: I've persona... more + disclosures


 


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