Monster Hunter: World Survivors' Guide

For Monster Hunter newcomers, here's everything you need to know to get the most out of the first 10 hours.

Monster Hunter: World is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and it may be the most impressive Monster Hunter game yet. It’s definitely the most welcoming entry in what is otherwise a notoriously obtuse series, but there are still many ways for a brand new hunter to feel overwhelmed.

Since the first 10 hours are important for getting your monster hunting legs, there are certain things that are more worth focusing on than others. But never fear, this survival guide will cover everything you need to know to begin your journey to becoming a Monster Hunter pro!

A Hunter of Many Faces

While it may be tempting to spend forever in the character creation screen at the beginning of the game, rest assured that most features can be changed if you find you’ve made some dire mistake. Hair style and color, eyebrow color, facial hair, makeup, and base clothing and color can all be switched up at any time at the item box in your room. Your Palico, however, can’t be altered once it’s created, so spend as much time as you need to most accurately replicate your favorite cat.

It’s worth noting that while gender has no impact on your character’s in-game stats, the armor for male and female characters is different.

Pick a Weapon, Any Weapon

One of the most overwhelming aspects of Monster Hunter: World for a new player is the plethora of weapon choice. Right off the bat, you’re given 14 different weapons with little explanation on how to pick which one to use. Luckily, the weapon training grounds are just a conversation with your housekeeper felyne away!

Before jumping into quests, it’s a good idea to test out a few different weapons that look appealing in order to get a feel for how they play. Better yet, try them all! While you won’t know how they really perform in combat until you go out on some actual hunts, the training ground is great for making that difficult first step towards choosing a weapon.

If you go on a few quests and find you’re not clicking with your current weapon, don’t be afraid to switch things up. The first few quests are perfectly doable with any of the starting weapons provided. For more help with how to choose the weapon that’s best for you, stay tuned for our upcoming weapons guide!

Questing Explained

Once you’re armed with your weapon of choice, it’s time to do some quests. Monster Hunter: World has four main types of quests, not counting the arena: assigned, optional, investigation, and event.

Assigned quests are story quests – completing these will give you access to new areas, complete with all new monsters to fight. Assigned quests generally have a story section that you’re required to play through alone, but will eventually unlock the option to send out an SOS flare that allows up to three additional players to join and help you complete the quest. Completing story quests will also raise your hunter rank, or HR, which is an easy way to show how far you are in the game, but also becomes important when there are certain quests that have minimum HR requirements.

Optional quests are quests that do not advance the story or unlock new areas or monsters. The main allure of optional quests is fulfilling the requests of the various NPCs around Astera, as these unlock important expansions to your canteen and other useful upgrades. To make sure you receive all optional quests, talk to anyone who appears with a yellow exclamation mark above their head. Quests that are requests from NPCs will appear with a little “…” quotation bubble next to them on the quest board.

Investigations are the most of all quest types to set up, but they’re very helpful for getting the parts necessary for crafting armor and upgrading weapons. First, in order to have an investigation quest even appear on the quest board, you’ll need to register it by speaking to one of the members from the resource center and selecting “Manage Investigations.” Then, you can select the Investigation quest from any quest board or quest counter in the game. When equipping an investigation, keep an eye on the special conditions, rewards, time limit, and remaining attempts. All investigations have a limited number of times they can be played, unlike optional quests, which can be played as many times as you’d like.

Event quests are more straightforward; they’re special quests that are only available for a limited time. The first tie-in event quest with another game is called “Lessons of the Wild” and rewards you with Horizon Zero Dawn gear for your Palico. It’s only available until February 8th, so be sure to complete this and any other event quests as soon as they pop up if you don’t want to miss out on special items!

Tally Ho?

While it may be tempting to charge ahead in assigned quests, I suggest alternating between doing one assigned quest and spending some time completing optional quests and investigations. These side quests not only help you learn how to navigate the maps and fight each monster like a pro, but you’ll also be collecting money, monster parts, and items necessary for upgrading weapons and creating new armor.

When you post a quest, you’ll usually have the option to choose which camp to start at and how many players you want to join. If you know the general area the monster likes to hang out, you can choose the closest camp, but since fast travel to any camp is available from the map during the quest (unless you’re in the middle of battle), what camp you start out at doesn’t make a huge difference.

If you select two or more players for the quest, players in your online session will be able to join the quest once you post it. Keep in mind that they won’t be able to join right away for assigned quests where you need to watch a cut scene or complete a short story segment before fighting a monster.

The SOS flare opens the quest up to anyone to join, which is useful for when none of your usual hunting buddies are online. Responding to other players’ SOS flares is a great way to hone your own skills, so lend out a helping hand!

It’s also possible to just wander out into the wilderness on an expedition by heading out the main gate of Astera, if you want to do some general exploring or gathering.

Eat Up

One thing I always make sure to do before going out on a hunt is grab a bite to eat at the canteen. You can also eat at campsites, but since it takes a while to load a quest, it’s good to stop by the canteen while you’re waiting. Not only are you treated to an adorable animation of the felyne chef preparing your meal, but you’ll gain stat bonuses that come in handy in battle, too!

Early on, the most important boost to look out for is health. I tend to be a pretty pathetic dodger, so I usually look for something that raises my defense, as well. If you know you’re going up against a monster with a nasty elemental attack, perhaps you’ll want to spring for some elemental defense. Or if you’re feeling confident, go for that attack boost!

10 minutes into a quest, the effects of the meal will wear off and you’ll be able to eat again back at camp. If you’re having difficulties with the fight, you can always fast travel back to camp to get some more food boosts.

Become an Item Juggler

Before heading out on a quest, it’s important to stop by an item box. You’ll find these located next to quest boards and in your room. The item box is where you store all your things, from parts carved from a felled monster at the end of battle, to honey and other ingredients forged in the wilderness. Since items from the pouch you take out with you on quests are not automatically stored in your box, it’s good to get in the habit of managing your items at the item box before heading out again.

By storing things you’ve picked up, you’ll make sure you won’t fill up your pockets during a quest and have to make a tough decision about what item in your pouch to swap out for the new one. You can also take items out of your item box, such as potions and mega potions, which is great for replenishing your pouch after an item-heavy battle. If you do find you need to grab more items from your item box or clear out space in your item pouch when out on a quest, simply head back to any campsite tent to access your item box.

It’s also possible to craft items, so be sure to take advantage of it! Simply open the main menu to find the crafting list option under items and equipment. Items that can be crafted will appear in white. You can always have a look at what ingredients are needed to craft greyed out items by highlighting them. Don’t be shy about crafting all kinds of items and using them in quests, because you can always replenish your ingredients by gathering or cultivating them once you unlock the Botanical Research Center.

Useful craftable items include bombs (try detonating them near a sleeping monster for extra damage!), traps and tranq bombs for capturing monsters, and dung pods for tossing at monsters that you need to get off your case. Some items and ingredients can be purchased from the Provisions Stockpile, whose stock will expand as you complete assigned quests.

Making Camp

The campsite is where you’ll start every quest. There are a few things to know about the camp that the game doesn't explain to you upfront: you can cook and eat meals here, as well as healchange your equipment, change your palico’s equipment, and access your item box at any time in the tent.

Entering the tent for the first time prompts the tutorial about the campsite, but it’s easy to miss since the game never really indicates that you can enter the tent in the first place. Take some time to have a look and familiarize yourself with the different features, because you’ll be in campsites often.

The other main feature of the campsite is the supply box, which is a blue box that comes stocked with some helpful items. Depending on the type of quest, provisional items range from first-aid meals and EZ rations to traps and tranqs that you need to capture a monster for capture quests. Any item with a little web-like icon next to it will be taken back from you at the end of the quest, so be sure to use them before dipping into your personal item reserves. There is always lots of ammo for light bowguns and heavy bowguns, as well as coatings for bows in the supply box that isn’t taken back at the end of the quest, so it’s a great way to store up on ammo if you’re using a long range weapon or think you might want to try one in the future.

It’s Okay to Run Away

Not only is it okay to run away from large monsters, but there are many instances when you should! If you’ve suffered a heavy hit to your health bar and need to whip out a quick potion: run away. Gain some distance from the monster, or even go into hiding to make sure you aren’t attacked in the middle of healing. Keep an eye on your stamina gauge (the yellow one beneath your green health bar), as running or climbing for extended periods uses up stamina. If your stamina gets too low, you’ll be unable to run or may even have to stop for a few moments to wait for your stamina to recover. This can leave you completely open to massive monster attacks!

The ebb and flow of a Monster Hunter: World battle includes not only tracking down the monster to initiate the battle, but also following it around the map as it hunts for food or seeks shelter. In fact, if the monster runs from battle, that probably means that you’ve dealt significant damage! Take time to regroup, sharpen your weapon with a whetstone if necessary, and resume pursuit when you’re ready. Don’t get discouraged if you have to chase after a monster multiple times.

Investigate Everything

One of Monster Hunter: World’s biggest new additions is scout flies, which are little glowing green bugs that point out areas of interest when you’re out in the field. Scout flies will indicate whenever there’s an item that can be gathered, as well as help you track large monsters. While you may be tempted to ignore when the scout flies highlight monster tracks or other traces left by a monster if you already know what direction to go, take the time to investigate them anyway!

Gathering data on a monster ups your research level for that monster, which unlocks various information, as well as scout fly and point bonuses. Drop by the Ecological Research icon on the Astera map to talk to the Chief Ecologist, who can update you on everything you know about each monster, such as which parts can be broken using different weapons, and what items each monster drops.

Scout flies are also extremely helpful for guiding you to specific items you need. Any gathering points you’ve gathered from before will appear on your map, and you can press R3 to pin one of these points for your scout flies to lead you to. This helps make the large, multilevel maps easier to navigate. You can also pin monsters, and even other players, too!

The Resource Center will constantly have new bounties to register, which reward research points and armor spheres upon completion. Since you’ll constantly be collecting things out on the field, it’s worthwhile to equip new bounties whenever you turn in old ones so you’re always reaping the benefits of all your hard work. Armor spheres, in particular, are great for boosting the defense of your armor. Bounties stack, so it’s good to select similar bounties, such as “gather 6 honey” and “gather 8 honey,” whenever they’re available.

To Craft or Not To Craft

The most important thing to keep in mind with armor crafting and weapon upgrades in Monster Hunter: World is that you shouldn’t attempt to collect everything the Smithy has to offer. Unlike a traditional RPG, where you might be tempted to buy every new piece of equipment you find, here it’s best to only focus on obtaining one or two sets of armor as wanted/needed. In fact, it’s very possible to get through the first 10 hours of the game with your starting armor set, which can be upgraded for higher defense if necessary.

However, if you want to change up your look or find yourself running into difficulties fighting certain monsters, look for pieces of armor with higher defense and abilities that complement your play style. For example, I use the hunting horn weapon, so I crafted the bone coil in order to obtain the “horn maestro” ability, which increases the effect duration of my weapon’s songs. Keep in mind that you can mix and match pieces of armor from different sets, and skill levels will stack based on how many pieces of armor you equip with the same skill.

Weapon upgrade trees can be confusing at first, so it’s good to have a look at all the different options before committing to a particular path. For example, if you reach the Anjanath fight in your first 10 hours and are finding yourself having difficulties, a weapon with water attack will help you deal more damage. To be notified when you have all of the necessary parts to create a certain armor piece or upgrade a weapon, add the desired equipment to your wishlist by highlighting it and pressing triangle (on PS4) or Y (on Xbox One).

Repetition is Key

In order to craft new gear and complete various quests, you’re going to fight each monster many, many times. But rather than getting bogged down by the grind, think of it as valuable experience you’re gaining to become a better hunter! You’ll be amazed at how easy the monsters seem after fighting them a few times and getting used to their patterns.

Additional Tips

There are a few extra tips that it’s good to keep in mind while you’re still getting your bearings in Monster Hunter: World.

When logging into a session for the first time each day, press triangle/Y to retrieve your login bonus. The daily login bonus is a lucky voucher that can be redeemed when selecting a quest to gain bonus rewards. There are also additional rewards for when you log in multiple days in a row.

In addition, the game only performs an autosave after a quest is completed, and it’s not possible to save manually when out on a quest or expedition. If you come back from a quest and do anything such as crafting new gear or delivering bounties, they won’t be saved until you complete another quest. Be sure to save manually if you do anything in Astera before you quit the game!

These tips should get you through the first 10 hours of Monster Hunter: World without a cinch. By the time the difficulty starts to ramp up, you’ll have a great grasp of the fundamentals of the game, and will be ready to start dealing with some of the more convoluted aspects of armor, charms, and more. Happy hunting!