Being the avid gamer that I am, I have of course heard plenty about the Monster Hunter series. But it wasn’t until the launch of Monster Hunter World that I decided to give monster hunting a shot. I have to tell you, I haven’t been this absorbed and enchanted by a brand new game in a really, really long time. I immediately fell in love with the environments, the encounters, the weapon/armor progression, and so much more.
Right now you can throw a figurative rock in any direction on a gaming website or YouTube and hit a guide on how to play Monster Hunter World – “Guide for newbies” or “So-and-So Monster Explained” or “How to grind for the most OP weapon”, and so on. I have personally taken a look at many of these guides, as this is the very first MH title I’ve gotten my hands on, and I always like to go into games as prepared as possible without spoiling too much of the content. But I have to be honest with you – all the guides and Wikis and tutorials on the internet only got me so far, and it really took just jumping in and experiencing the game to really start to get the grasp I had been looking for all along. And so I was inspired to put together some of the tips and tricks I wasn’t able to find online, or maybe ones that are super obscure, that I hope might help any aspiring hunters out there get their bearings in the New World of Monster Hunter.
Be okay with getting “carted” a lot when you start, and even 40+ hours in. Look, I’m a pretty proud gamer and I like to think that I’m pretty damn good at it, so I get frustrated easily when I feel like I’m pretty consistently outmatched by a game. It’s something I endure every time I play a new Dark Souls game, or even going back and replaying them after being away for a while. I like the challenge, I like gradually improving and getting better over time, and Monster Hunter World is certainly a game I had to be okay with getting beat down by the monsters, or in this case getting “carted” back to camp to recover. At first, I was annoyed when I encountered a monster that I felt just had my number, but as soon as I just relaxed and went into an encounter with a cooler head, I immediately performed so much better. Once you resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to be handling many fights with some trial and error, you’ll enjoy your time in Monster Hunter World a whole lot more.
Approach each monster encounter strategically. Something that I have to continue to do better at, even 40+ hours in: I just try to spam my button inputs and weapon combos without much consideration for the movement, attacks, etc, of the monster I’m facing. Sometimes it works out just fine, and I can just hack away at some of the slower and easier monsters. Each monster should be respected, especially as you progress deeper into the campaign, because even the slightest error can end with a one-shot that sends you straight back to camp, or a game-changing status effect that put you way behind the eight ball when fighting a tough monster. You want to approach this game like a game of chess, figuratively of course, because you want to prepare your healing and buffing items, traps and ammo for various pieces of equipment, and more. Additionally, each of the 14 weapons at your disposal have movesets and combos that you’ll need to pull off to deal the damage, but don’t go up there and spam away at them, because if you’re not careful with when and how you attack that big dragon you’re facing, you’ll get exposed eventually and punished for not carefully planning those attacks.
Find a weapon you like and own it. There are a TON of videos and guides out there on the ideal weapons and the best weapons and most overpowered weapons, etc, but for me it boiled down to the weapons that were comfortable for me, and weapons that I enjoyed using. I started out with the Charge Blade, which many streamers and YouTubers online told me was the best weapon to use in all situations and it’s super overpowered and so flashy and fun to use – but I found myself really struggling to use it, and it boiled down to me just not enjoying how it felt in my pixelated hands. Now, I’m not going to sit here and highlight the weapons I think are the best, but I will say that each and every weapon is viable in their own way, each and every weapon can function in a solo or a group environment, and they all have very apparent strengths and weaknesses. Also, the “damage” numbers you see in a fight, or on the stat sheet in your character screen, can be very misleading and shouldn’t sway you from choosing one weapon over another – focus on the weapons you really like and mesh with you, and after that you just want to make sure you’re crafting the best one available.
But, there are some good weapons to start with if you’re just starting out. After discovering that the “overpowered” Charge Blade just wasn’t for me, I started to dabble in a few other weapons, and I ended up finding a few that I really enjoyed. Not only was I able to have more fun with these weapons, but I also found that I was far more comfortable, and therefore more successful, facing off against even the toughest monsters wielding them. If you come to the same impasse I did, you should consider trying out the bow, the dual blades, or the sword and shield. These weapons have a level of simplicity in regards to learning how they work and generally executing them during a hunt, but they also have a ton of nuance and complexity you can learn that allows them to succeed in any situation.
- The bow is awesome for anyone wanting to stay out of the fray to dish out the damage, is incredible at laying down status effects and breaking parts off of various monsters, and has some really cool powerful combos to dish out and evasive maneuvers to dodge the big hits – plus, it’s one of the easiest weapons to mount a monster with.
- Dual blades are super fun to use and are by far the fastest playstyle of any of the weapons. The dual blades are able to apply status effects like poison and paralysis faster than any other weapon, and if you’re able to effectively balance your various resource gauges, you’re going to dominate – just make sure to keep an eye on that sharpness level!
- Now, sword and shield might not be the coolest or the flashiest weapon to pick up, but boy is it effective. Can dish out some solid damage and stuns with a variety of sword slashes and shield bashes, plus it allows you to toss up a shield block to avoid taking too much damage – plus, there’s a combo that allows for easy monster mounting, like the bow, and it’s the only weapon that lets you use items without sheathing your weapon, which is SUPER handy.
Don’t sleep on the variety of items at your disposal. I went close to 20 hours into the game before I realized how neat the slinger was, which is a trusty tool all hunters have. I just wanted to go up and lay the lumber down on the bad guys, but I didn’t realize there was a myriad of incredibly strong ammo and items that can be used by the slinger. Is that flying monster giving you trouble? Equip a Flash Pod to your slinger and blind it before it takes flight. That incredibly fast beast running circles around you? Equip the Scatter Pod to your slinger and stagger it to land some damage. You can also use your slinger as a grappling hook to jump back to a mounted monster that bucks you off, to climb up walls faster, or to jump to certain beetles hiding up high on branches and trees (which makes traversing some of the very big maps much easier!). Additionally, your inventory will fill up with a variety of traps and buffing items and healing items, be sure to know what you have at your disposal, and I’d recommend tidying up your various item and radial menus (and customizing them with exactly what you want to have equipped on those menus) to better access those much-needed traps during frenetic moments.
Time for my cliche tip: HAVE FUN! I tend to take games way too seriously most of the time, and at the end of the day, Monster Hunter World is an incredibly fun, challenging, and rewarding gaming experience. I have enjoyed playing it solo, with my buddies, or jumping into another hunter’s game to respond to an SOS. I’ve let myself get caught up in the grind a bit, which can be very RNG (random number generator) when you really need that one damn Monster Plate you’ve been looking for, and I’ve found myself cursing to the Gaming Gods as I got owned by an especially difficult encounter. I just had to breathe it out and have fun, because a game with as much complexity and nuance and challenge as this one can have, it’s easy to forget that you’re playing a game, and doggonit playing games is supposed to be fun! So go grab your weapon of choice, stock up on some traps and healing items, and go hunt yourself some monsters!
Now, this certainly wasn’t a “how to be a pro” at Monster Hunter World, but I hope it was insightful for those gaming folks out there that may have stumbled a bit, like I did, starting out. Got any other monster hunting tips I may have missed? Feel free to let us know on social!
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