Whether you’re a veteran wanting to know what’s changed, or entirely new to the Monster Hunter series, you’ll find these starting tips useful.
If you played the beta, you might have found it overwhelming. I certainly did. The good news is that the full game does a much better job of introducing all the systems to you gradually over a period of hours, but it would still be a stretch to call Monster Hunter: World accessible. This advice will give you an edge before you start.
First, pick a weapon
Monster Hunter is really very simple: go out, kill things, make better equipment, kill bigger things. Still, parts of the game are needlessly complicated. The first thing you need to do is pick a weapon. There are 14 to choose from—all of which have appeared in previous Monster Hunter games—and there are star ratings that show how easy they are for beginners to use. There are close-up weapons like big ol’ swords and axes, flashy weapons like the Insect Glaive (a sort of sharp pole you can vault with), and ranged Bowguns for shooting monsters from afar. Good beginner weapons are: Long Sword, Sword and Shield, Dual Swords, Light Bowgun.
You can go to your room to access the Training Ground, where on-screen prompts will help you learn your weapon’s combos. This is definitely worth doing at least once. After a bit of grounding, you can learn on the job.
Get better weapons and armour
Once you start killing monsters, you’ll want to go to the Workshop to make better gear out of their remains. There are complicated upgrade trees for weapons, but at the beginning, all you need to know is that all upgrades will help. Don’t agonise for ages trying to work out which one to pick.
Armour is more simple: there are no upgrade trees. You just craft the best armour you can from the monster parts you have. There are lots of stats to get to know, but for the early game, go for whatever has the biggest Defence number. Or, more importantly, whatever looks most fashionable. Monster Hunter armour can get very silly. Embrace it.
Eat a meal before every hunt—or during hunts
Meals eaten at the canteen run by the one-eyed cat give you boosts to health, attack, defence, and lots more. The meals get better as the game does on. Plus, the cooking animation is hilarious. You can also eat meals at the campfire at any campsite out in the field.
You’ll collect lots of plants, bugs, mushrooms and other stuff on your adventures. This can all be used to make useful items that can give you an edge in a fight, like power-enhancing potions or antidotes that cure ailments. You can do this out in the field through the menus, or by standing next to your item box and using the Crafting List. The latter is easiest. There’s also an automatic crafting feature, which is helpfully turned on at the start. Whenever you pick up the ingredients for a potion or other common item, the game will auto-craft it for you.
Look at the map
The map in Monster Hunter: World is your most useful tool. As you explore each new environment, it will fill up with icons that show you where gathering points are, where monsters are, where the camps are, and anything else you might need to know. Look at it often.
Take time to explore
An hour or so into the game you will be allowed to go on Expeditions. This is Monster Hunter: World’s free-roam mode. There are no objectives or time limits, and you can explore freely, avoiding or fighting creatures as you see fit. Definitely take the time to do this. It’s an invaluable way of getting to know the beautiful places that Monster Hunter: World sends you to, and they’re all full of secret nooks. I was still finding new places in the Ancient Forest, the first area, 20 hours into the game.
Out in the field, monsters leave traces: tracks, gouges, mucus, shed scales. Examining these traces builds up a better understanding of the monster. Your useful Scoutflies will then blaze a green trail towards it, allowing you to keep track. It will also be marked on your map. Select the monster you want to follow on the map, and the Scoutflies will do the rest.
Use your slinger
The slinger is a versatile tool that can be a crossbow or a grapple hook. You pick up ammo for it from the ground, like rocks, seeds, and moss. The slinger will equip whatever ammo you last picked up. Generally it doesn’t do much damage to monsters, but it’s a useful tool for exploring the environment. Look around to see grappling points, hanging rocks that you can shoot and drop on a monster, or traps that you can spring by firing a rock at them, such as plants that ooze poison. You can also distract a monster by firing something at a wall, if you’re trying to sneak past it.
Be prepared for hunts
Monster Hunter veterans will be delighted to know that you no longer need to fill up your inventory with breakable bug nets and pickaxes, fishing rods, or a BBQ spit. All of that stuff is always with you now and doesn’t take up space in your inventory. Monster parts, too, go straight back to base, so you’ll never kill a creature and then be unable to collect your rewards without dumping a bunch of mushrooms on the ground.
This means there’s much more space for traps, potions and gadgets in your item pouch. You should take potions and cooked meat on every single hunt. These restore your health and stamina.
Mount monsters for extra fun
Leap from a high place and hit a monster with an attack, and there’s a chance you’ll mount it. Riding around on a monster while it tries to throw you off is one of Monster Hunter’s most exciting pleasures, and it gives you a shot at a powerful finishing move if you can hold on long enough.
Palicoes are your friend
Your Palico is the cat-pal who accompanies you on every quest. You can equip the cat with weapons and armour, and they will also have a helpful gadget. Your cat starts off with Vigorwasp Spray, which summons healing insects during fights. You will unlock different Palico gadgets much later on, so don’t worry about them in the early game.
Use the net to capture all the small bugs and animals you see
I won’t spoil why, but get your net out whenever you see any wildlife. You’ll want to have a collection of them.
Visit your room
I didn’t visit my hunter’s room until about 10 hours in, whereupon I discovered that it’s where you access the Training Ground for practising with new weapons. You can also customise how it looks, change your equipment or your Palico’s equipment, or just chill out.
Talk to characters at the base
Talk to everyone with a little exclamation point above their head. They’ll give you optional quests that usually unlock something useful.
Don’t turn off all the screen clutter at first
There is a lot of UI stuff on-screen obscuring your view of beautiful waterfalls and giant dragons trying to eat you. You might be tempted to turn it off. Don’t do that for at least five hours. The on-screen information is essential at the start, even though it’s not pretty.
Always pick up Bounties
This here is the Resource Centre. You will go here often; it’s where you pick up Bounties. These are easy goals (hunt one large monster, do two quests in the Ancient Forest, gather plants five times, that kind of thing) that you will passively complete while getting on with the game. Every time you fulfil a Bounty you’ll get Armour Spheres, which upgrade your armour. They’re really useful. Make sure you go back to the Resource Centre every few quests to make sure you have a full slate of Bounties.
Know the difference between quests and expeditions
Quests are time-limited missions with a fixed goal: hunt a monster, gather something, or kill a number of smaller creatures. They usually allow you 50 minutes and three deaths before you fail. There are Assigned quests, which further the story, and always involve hunting a big creature. Optional quests, which you pick up from characters back at base, unlock new ingredients for the canteen, new gadgets, and that kind of thing.
Expeditions are not time-limited—you just head out into one of the environments and explore. You can do whatever you like: hunt whatever big monster is hanging around, find new base camps, or gather plants, fish, and ores for crafting. Investigations are optional goals for your expeditions that offer better rewards than just tooling around. You pick these up from the Resource Centre (see above).
So, you’ve just conquered an Anjanath and now you want a full set of Anjanath armour. You can’t repeat story quests in Monster Hunter: World, so what do you do? Have a look at your Optional missions and see which ones send you out to hunt Anjanath. Browse through the available Investigations at the Resource Centre, and you’ll definitely find one involving Anjanath. Or just go on an Expedition and find one yourself; this is the worst option, though, as you won’t get bonus rewards. Finally, you can fight any monster in the Arena, which you can access from the Gathering Hall at the top of the base.
Gadgets and mantles
Do not worry too much about gadgets and mantles at first. These useful things unlock as you work your way through the story and optional quests. One early-game ghillie mantle hides you from monsters, which is very useful. You’ll also pick up a health-giving gadget early in the game. More advanced versions of these tools lurk further down the quest lines. You can get familiarised with them later.
It’s very easy to play multiplayer—but monsters scale up
Just post a quest on the board and anyone can join, unless you make it a private quest. Beware though: monsters have WAY more HP when you’re hunting in a group. That extra HP will be the same whether you have two hunters or four in your party. This makes two-person fights actually more challenging than hunting on your own, sometimes. The nightmare scenario is that you start out with four hunters and two or three of them drop out, leaving you struggling on your own against a monster with masses of HP left. A patch might address this and scale the monsters’ health to the number of players, but for now, be advised.
That should be enough to get you started. Look out for advanced tips once Monster Hunter: World has been out for a while. Enjoy!