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Monster Hunter: World guide: monster hunting basics, combat tips

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With Monster Hunter: World now being out on PC for a fair while, players are starting to get into the later game. However it can still be somewhat daunting for new players who are not as experienced. Console players have had at most a decade’s head start with new things being introduced steadily, though this is being widely seen as an optimised version of the previous games. There’s still a lot of concepts which can seem unnecessarily complex, so in order to ease the new and veteran players in a bit more, this guide will bring everyone up to speed with what to expect in this deceptively taxing game.

Monster Hunter: World guide

Once you’ve customised your character and your adorable Palico (cat), it’s time to venture into the world of Monster Hunter. After a while, it becomes hugely apparent that this isn’t a game where you get instant gratification upon defeating a monster for the first time; you’ll need to do things over, and over, until you have the resources needed to craft better gear for the next big hunt.

While we will be going into detail in the subsequent guides on the more complex things about the game, this guide will focus on the things you should know going into Monster Hunter: World. It’s a huge game and the first step is to get a general idea of how the game plays. After all, some things may not be especially obvious when first starting out and they’re not very well explained in-game either.

PC specific guides

Individual monster guides

A map of the hub world Astera

Monster Hunter: World guide to the hub world: Where to find the armoury in Astera

The main hub area of Astera is a huge, bustling place, full of people plying their trade for that all-important Zenny. It’s therefore a little intimidating for newer players to make sense of what’s on offer. You are shown around a little bit when you start out, with the Smithy and Canteen being highlighted, but everything else is left for you to discover. You can bring up the map and hover over certain icons to show where things are, but accessing them isn’t 100% obvious and not everything is unlocked immediately for use.

On the ground floor is where the Tradeyard is. This includes the provision shop, the bounty request, and a short climb up the stairs to the north are the ecological and botanical research centres. This is also where the big table that has each commander gathered around it, as well as your quarters to allow for accessing the training area and your Palico’s inventory. Eventually you’ll also unlock the ability to transmute items into other items, which will be located nearby the provision shop.

As for where the armoury is, the second floor houses the Smithy and the Armourer and you’ll be spending a lot of time here; crafting new items and upgrading them to be able to take on new and more dangerous monsters. Always check here for if the items you obtained are enough to upgrade your equipment. For more information on weapons, check our Monster Hunter: World weapons guide.

Those who are a bit peckish can check out the third floor where the Canteen is. Not only can you grab a bite to eat before your next journey, but you can also complete a few quests to unlock new meal options. This is always the preferred method for getting your grub on before venturing out on a hunt. You can also find your Watcher on this floor.

Up one more floor is the Gathering Hub, where you can interact with other players online, grab a bite to eat together, take on the various Arena challenges, and find your fellow players on the server to go and hunt a certain type of monster.

What’s in the Research Base?

At a certain point in the game, you’ll awaken in some kind of base. This acts as a secondary hub, though nowhere near as packed with things to do. It has its own shop, but the main reason to keep coming back here is the Tailraider Safari. This allows you to send a group of Palico off on their own little expedition at the cost of a little research points. Each safari consists of five acts with stars indicating difficulty, with each focusing on a skill set: Hunting, Gathering, and Research. Matching the squad’s proficiency with the right tasks is the best way to improve their chances of success, thus gaining better loot than if they fail.

Player has mounted and is attacking the Great Jagras

Fighting in Monster Hunter: World guide

As a rather methodical combat game, Monster Hunter: World requires patience and well-timed blows. Those who have experienced Dark Souls and similar games can use the skills they’ve learned for fighting the monsters; the difference here being there’s plenty more moves to execute and each weapon type feels drastically different.

For newer players who are wondering why they’re out of breath all the time, attacking in Monster Hunter: World is free, but actions like running and dodging cost part of your stamina meter. You’ll need to always keep an eye on that stamina meter to ensure that you don’t tire yourself out, otherwise a monster might get a free big hit on you.

Get a feel for the controls in the training area so you aren’t just flailing buttons with reckless abandon. Should you get hit, if you back off for a bit, the red portion of your health has a chance to recover, meaning you won’t need to chug on potions and other healing items.

Where you hit the monsters also has a huge impact on damage output. Taking a look at the research gathered for each hunted monster will ensure that you know where it hurts the most – more on that in our Monster Hunter: World ecological research guide. Breaking a monster’s weak point nets materials gathered at the end, but also can knock a monster prone, so you can get a lot more hits in. Always try to hit a monster in these places as you’ll get the best value from your weapon.

As for the more advanced manoeuvres, if you have the opportunity to jump on top of a monster, do so. This will allow for you to get a few decent hits in as long as you can hold on for dear life while it flails around. The circle on the bottom left of the screen will have a white aura around it that will flash yellow when a monster is about to attack. Brace yourself to avoid losing stamina. If it ever flashes red, move to another part of the body and brace, or you’ll be thrown off. As long as you still have stamina, you can attempt to use the grappling hook to latch back on if the monster throws you off. Once the circle dwindles enough, your hunter will enter a state where they’ll execute a powerful attack that can cripple foes and even sever tails from enemies whose tails can be severed.

Player is visiting the Smithy

Tips for hunting in Monster Hunter: World

Now you know the big things that you need to know going in, there are some smaller details that you should always keep in the back of your mind at all times. After all, there’s nothing worse than being unprepared and making a fool of yourself.

Always be upgrading your gear

First things first, try not to hoard items for upgrades. As soon as you can improve your weapons and armour, do so. Since you’ll be creating a bunch of different ones to combat different strengths and weaknesses of the monsters you’re trying to hunt, it’s best to be prepared. You can always check out our Monster Hunter: World armour guide for more on that. If you don’t have the necessary items required for said upgrade, you may need to go and hunt specific monsters to obtain the ingredients required for each hunt, so you can also check out our Monster Hunter: World materials guide for where to find each item.

Always keep your weapon sharp

It may be tempting to just chase after a monster when it flees, but your weapon degrades as the battle goes on. Weapons have a certain degree of maximum sharpness, indicated by the coloured bar in the equipment screen. You’ll want to keep it as high as you can as this will maximise your damage output. There will be times where you need to sharpen weapons multiple times, but it’s worth taking out the time to do so.

Change up your weapons

It may be tempting to choose a particular weapon type and stick with it for the duration of your time with Monster Hunter: World. Don’t. There are weaknesses of monsters that are found out through research, and some include using certain weapon types to do so.

A good early example of this is using heavy hitting weapons on the Great Jagras’s face, forearms, and torso can break them when hit enough, causing massive damage and knocking the creature prone. If you didn’t bring a weapon such as the hammer and instead opted for dual daggers, you’ll never be able to exploit that weakness. Most enemies have multiple weak points and elemental weaknesses, so make sure you prepare for that.

Also, don’t be afraid to learn the flow of combat. Monster Hunter: World’s fighting is methodical at times, so knowing how to strike and how your chosen weapons work is key to mastering the game. You can always check out the training area found in your home to test out weapons to get a feel for how they work, but practising a few lower level hunts with your new weapon is the best way to get a feel for how to use them effectively.

Player has just broken part of the Great Jagras

Farm Great Jagras materials for early Zenny

As for obtaining Zenny, a good and easy way to get lots of Zenny early on is to repeatedly hunt the Great Jagras in the Ancient Forest. If you start in the south-west camp, the monster will nearly always be towards the north-east of your position in the open area where the Kestrodon live, as it is their prey. Since each large scale sells for 1000 Zenny, while small scales sell for 500, it’s a good way to get money fast.

Just be aware the sell-all option after each hunt sells everything you get for rewards, including rare items, so make sure you don’t have anything you need before clicking that option. Later on, money isn’t as much of an option thanks to trade-in items that can be regularly brought into Astera, but if you’re short on cash early on, this is a good revenue.

Prepare for each hunt

Preparation is the big thing to always remember before going off on a hunt. Getting into good habits may be the key difference between successful hunts and failing spectacularly. Some of these facilities are unlocked as you progress in the game, so if you don’t have access yet, you’ll have access to them eventually. If you need an aide memoire, try to make a checklist of the following questions.

  • Have I eaten yet?
  • Do I have the right equipment equipped for the monster I’m hunting?
  • Does my item pouch only have what I need?
  • Are my bounty slots all filled?
  • Have I obtained all the items from the botanical research and Palico safari?
  • Have I upgraded my equipment fully for the monster I’m hunting?
  • If playing with others, have we agreed on whether to capture or kill the target?

A lot of this will take a few minutes to sort out. Choosing what to eat before heading out on a hunt is a little more involved if you want to get the most out of it, so have a look at our Monster Hunter: World cooking guide for the full menu of ingredients. There may be instances where you need to hunt lower quarry in order to have the right upgrades for the monster you are hunting. Only once everyone is truly ready should you head out there.

Always have a full set of Bounties

In the checklist, I mentioned having bounties all filled before setting out on a hunt. This is so that you’ll always be rewarded for whatever you do and not miss out on items or Zenny that could be used to upgrade certain equipment. If there’s ever a blank slot in your six bounty slots, make sure you fill it. The bounty shop is unlocked after defeating the Great Jagras for the first time, which is an early story quest. To access it, you’ll need to speak to the Provisions Manager found nearby the Provisions shop.

Gotta catch ’em all

I go into more detail in our Monster Hunter: World capture guide, but generally speaking there’s a slim chance of obtaining rare rewards for capturing a monster rather than killing it. There are however some obvious downsides, but learning how to capture a monster early on is advantageous. It also contributes more to researching that monster for future hunts. There are however certain monsters, such as the Elder Dragons, that you can’t capture, so be sure that what you’re fighting can be captured in the first place before attempting to do so.

How to make unwanted monsters go away

There will be times, particularly when fighting against higher ranked monsters, when another monster comes in to ruin the fun. Sometimes it’ll fight your target, while others it will assist it against you. This isn’t so much of a problem early on, with some attacks even weakening monsters or making them drop materials. However, when you have a Bazelgeuse harassing other monsters that you’re targeting and catching you in the crossfire, maybe flinging some dung isn’t such a bad idea. Dung is the answer to this, as if it is thrown against the interrupting monster, it has a chance of running away, possibly due to the embarrassment of smelling so bad. If you’re going after targets where this is possible, make sure to have some dung available.

That’s all the tips we have to share for now, but keep checking back as our coverage continues with more individual monster guides still to come, as well as updates to our existing guides.

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Dave Irwin

Guides Writer

As guides writer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it is my privilege to understand how to play certain games well, so that newer players can understand the more complex things about them.

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