Monster Hunter Hunters Guide for Beginners
(Written by Veteran Monster Hunter Tom V.)
Welcome Monster Hunters one and all! Whether you’re a new player to the Monster Hunter series or a player who has played before but feels they need tips and tricks to perfect their game play, this handy guide I’ve complied is sure to help you out in all your hunting endeavors. Please be aware before reading this guide that this is not a weapons guide. Depending on the particular game, the controls and play styles for the weapons in Monster Hunter may vary greatly. This guide is meant to be solely a beginners’ guide for general tips, tricks and handy hunter-know-how to improve one’s game play.
Before reading this guide know that Monster Hunter is by no means an “easy/I can learn this game in a day” type of game and that the start of any game may appear confusing, daunting or even downright unplayable to some. From my personal experience I can say that anyone who puts the time and effort to learn how play this game (you need to put a lot of hours into this game if you want to succeed so if you don’t like grinding for gear this may not be a game for you *warning 1*) you will find that once you learn all the basics in this guide and basic weapon controls that this game is by no means impossible to play. I hope that you find this guide to be helpful and hopefully all that you will need to succeed as a hunter/huntress in the world of Monster Hunter!
-Monster Hunter Gale
Monster Hunter in a Nutshell- Part 1: Basics
Monster Hunter is a game defined by its name: you are a hunter that hunts monsters, but there’s a lot more to that, of course. As a hunter you collect items and carve off monster parts to create better gear to make hunting easier next time and the for future hunts. If you just play the demos for Monster Hunter, you’re not getting the full Monster Hunter experience. The demo merely allows players to hunt and kill the monsters given to the players but it doesn’t explain the point of the game at all! You must hunt monsters to: (1) obtain parts from said monsters to create better gear and (2) generate income by completing quests to buy the necessary gear and items to continue playing. I will lay out what I personally find to be very efficient, cut/clean hunter tactics for beginning and experienced hunters below.
1: Gathering – Gathering is one of the most fundamental aspects of Monster Hunter and at the beginning you must gather EVERYTHING in sight! No matter what item you may find at the beginning all items gathered are useful to beginning hunters. For example: Dung?! Monster dung is useful and you should keep it when found?? The correct answer is yes, due to the fact that it can be utilized in many ways. When it is combined with a bomb casing, you can create a dung bomb which can be used to repel large monsters from an area or create specialized ammo that weakens monsters’ stamina! Very few items in Monster Hunter are considered “useless,” as even then they can be sold for pocket change to further your hunt. Gathering provides not only basic items for current and future hunts but also a means to create newer and better items through combining (details and example combinations can be found at the bottom of the guide). As a final note on gathering, the more you gather, the more funding you will obtain if you have an excess of monster materials for example which can be sold. Rule number 1 for beginning hunters: gather, gather, GATHER!
2: Hunter funds – Monster Hunter games require that you, the hunter/huntress, gain income by completing missions in the game called quests which can range from gathering a number mushrooms to hunting an elder dragon. The rewards for completing these quests vary greatly. Gathering mushrooms is much easier than hunting a large monster and thus the reward is usually very small in comparison so you can’t get away with just gathering for the entirety of the game. Carving off parts from monsters is considered “gathering” too! Usually you’re given a small amount of funds at the beginning of the game. These are used to start off your quests which have a small fee to initiate them (varies depending on the game,) but if they are successfully completed you will receive the quest reward and the fee back in full. Generally you don’t have to worry about funds too much as long as you follow a basic rule, in this case, Rule number 2 for beginning hunters: Set a limit to the amount you will NOT spend not matter what! (Example: I have 300,000 Zenny and I want to purchase a weapon upgrade to improve its damage output which costs 250,000 Zenny. However my “limit” is 100,000 in my pocket that I cannot go below. Complete more quests to obtain an excess of 50,000 Zenny to avoid falling below your limit and thus ending up with 0 Zenny!).
3: Understanding the flow of the game – At its core, Monster Hunter follows this cycle: Gather, Hunt, Craft, and Collect which is important to know because this is about 90-95% of this game. Note: Again, this game is heavy on grinding for funds, monster parts and gear which can take days to complete certain armor sets and weapons. If you thought this game was all about just hunting monsters in epic/anime battles with instant crafting and no grinding for parts and gear this may not be the game for you. Plan on spending hours/days on this *warning 2*. On average if a group of experienced hunters are even moderately armed with gear that matches the monster rank (more on this in a bit!) a quest usually lasts 5-10 minutes, if everyone knows the basics and the monster tactics. As a beginning hunter, if you’ve fought (or tried to fight) a monster offline you noticed that it may seem almost unfair: you as a hunter born human must face a monster maybe 3-5 times your size and strength and kill it or capture it within 50 minutes (the usual time limit for hunting large monster quests) with barely any armor and a somewhat unwieldy weapon. This is not an uncommon reaction to beginning hunters and many find this too daunting and simply give up calling this game “unplayable, too hard, crazy, etc.” though it simply requires you to play differently than a typical game! You have to pay close attention to how a particular monster acts and attacks, while also managing how much HP and stamina you have left to avoid fainting on a quest. It may seem like a lot to do but it just takes time and practice to make sure that you are always prepared for the hunt. Fainting as a beginning hunter is not uncommon but it’s also not the end of the world as long as you continue to practice to avoid this occurring again. As you continue to hunt and carve off monster parts you will eventually start to build up enough funds and materials to create new armor and weapons, which is the core aspect of this game! The following guidelines are what I as a hunter have done since my earliest days as a greenhorn:
- Gather in every spot in each area every quest.
- Hunt large monsters until I have enough parts to create an armor set and weapons from said monster.
- Craft 1 – 3 armor sets at most per rank up until the last rank where the most funds and the best parts may be obtained to create top tier gear. This is efficient and I do this to avoid excess low rank armors as higher ranking armors usually have better skills and armor defense than low rank gear (Explained in detail further down in the guide).
- Collect armor and weapons to ensure that in future hunts you as a seasoned hunter will avoid fainting more often with better armor and to more efficiently hunt and capture monsters with better weapons of the hunt.
Rule number 3 is to simply follow the cycle: Gather, Hunt, Craft, and Collect.
Monster Hunter in a Nutshell- Part 2: Hunter Tactics, Monster Awareness and Efficient Armor and Weapon Crafting tips
1: Hunter Tactics – At first you might think that even though monsters have size and power you still have the advantage of intelligence over said monsters to slay or capture them and finish a quest. This is a good mentality to possess in Monster Hunter, however it is a mistake to assume monsters are just simple beasts that only want to kill (or eat) you. You may find yourself pondering this at base camp early on after you first faint to said monster if you don’t know how to properly maneuver your avatar in game. Maneuvering is not just simply controlling your avatars movements, but rather managing your HP meter with potions, your stamina meter which depletes over time, and knowing when to sheathe your weapon and dodge. It’s a lot to manage at first and something as simple as scrolling through items to heal yourself or others around you may in fact put you in a terrible position for a monster attack due to the fact that when you use an item you are essentially a sitting duck for a few seconds which is all a monster needs to land an attack. An experienced hunter knows not only when to use an item but more importantly when NOT to use an item. Here are some general guidelines I follow when I’m using items on the hunt:
- My item pouch is always sorted with HP potions at the top of the list and stamina restoration items below them for ease of access.
- I do NOT use well-done steaks to restore stamina during a hunt as this makes you an easy target for almost 8 full seconds as your avatar eats and pats their stomach in gusto (followed by a Rathalos fireball hitting him/her directly). Only during the beginning of the game and only outside of the area where a large monster is found do I use steaks to restore stamina.
- To restore stamina on the hunt and in the same area where I’m hunting a large monster, I use Energy Drinks which only make me a target for a maximum of 4 seconds (half the time it takes a hunter to eat a steak and much easier to make too!). It also has utility in that if the said monster I’m hunting tries to put me to sleep I now have a countermeasure! Combine Honey and a Nitroshroom for 1 Energy Drink or a Sleepyfish and Hot Pepper for the same combo (gather gather GATHER!).
- I gauge when to use certain potions based on the damage I receive from said monster attacks. For example, sometimes it’s better to be conservative with your potions and mega potions especially if you’re having trouble avoiding monster attacks and it seems like you’re his only target. I carry Mosswine Jerky on every quest for its ability to heal red damage (temporary damage that heals slowly on its own: I call it recoil damage) in full and thus making a mega potion injury sometimes into a regular potion injury! Note: If your HP is very low and you feel like you might not survive even with a mega potion, use a max potion to avoid fainting. It’s costly but the quest reward is reduced every time someone faints and after 3 that’s quest failed, so it can make a difference!)
2: Monster Awareness – In the world of Monster Hunter there are many different kinds of monsters and they are all have different forms of movement, attacks and special moves. As a hunter you need to know everything about the monsters in a current generation, from the smallest of neopterons to the largest of elder dragons, if you want to succeed in this game. I mention small monsters as more often than not they can be more of a problem than the actual monster you’re trying to hunt. For instance, the Bnahabra, which is a small bug that can sometimes paralyze you and leave you wide open for a large monster attack that can be followed up by a stun for more damage! This is why learning about monster habits is extremely important as a hunter and this is something that you must learn through eye contact. Watch a monsters movement very carefully for patterns or feints so you know when to attack and when to counterattack to capitalize on monsters’ missed attacks. An experienced group of hunters that know a monster’s move set very well can easily slay or capture it in less than 5 minutes with the proper gear and take relatively no damage if coordinated properly. This is the type of mastery all hunters should strive for and can be achieved if you watch and learn from hunting monsters numerous times. Be aware, however, as hunter rank increases, monsters adapt and become stronger and their attacks become slightly less predictable which throws off beginner hunters very easily (more on ranks below).
3: Efficient Armor and Weapon Crafting – As you start to gather more and more monster parts and funds, you may notice that some armors have certain defense values above the general armor defense value at the bottom of a set (which shows the elemental weaknesses or strengths of the armor based on the numerical value on each piece). At first you might think it’s better to combine certain pieces of armor with another monster armor to improve or nullify a certain elemental weakness if you’re thinking in terms of pure defense. This is a mistake, however, as the overall elemental defense of an army: (1) depends on the total value the complete armor set gives, and (2) this will hinder your ability to obtain quality skills that will greatly assist you in future hunts. The most efficient path early on is to complete an entire armor set based on one monster (that is to say crafting a Blademaster Rathalos Helm, Rathalos Mail, Rathalos Vambraces, Rathalos Coil, and Rathalos Greaves) to obtain optimal elemental defense values based on the monsters defenses and a good set of skills also based on the monster hunted. Some say the best way to hunt a monster is to wear the armor set created from said monster, though this may not always be the case depending on elemental weaknesses mostly. As far as weapons go, it all depends on your personal play style as a hunter/huntress which is to say if you wish to use dual blades the entire game and feel comfortable collecting all of them then master the weapon controls and craft them when possible (so long as you remember your spending limit!). Note: It’s best to craft an armor that suits a weapons style. For example, building an armor set with the skill Focus is good for weapons with charge up moves and gauges that need to be filled faster to perform certain actions.
Monster Hunter in a Nutshell- Part 3: Ranks, Recommendations and Useful Combinations
1: Ranks – At first all hunters start off in Low Rank or “Village” quest rank and are given basic starting gear and funds as well as short tutorials leading into the plot of the particular game. Low Rank holds quests for beginner hunters and as such the monsters are the weakest in this rank but the least numerous and the rewards are far less than their higher rank counterparts. The gear obtained in Low Rank is useful for village quests and for transitioning into High Rank, which can be achieved by completing certain Guild Quests referred to as “Urgent Quests”. Unlike armor, weapons forged in Low Rank transition rapidly into High Rank but do require higher level monster parts to forge or upgrade (unless the weapon can only be forged it is much better to upgrade weapons since its cheaper and costs less monster parts to create e.g. also less rare monster parts!) and because of this hunters should be encouraged to advance in rank once they obtain a sufficient amount of weapons and armor due to the fact that High Rank gear and G Rank gear are far superior in nearly all aspects to the Low Rank gear. It is not always present in every Monster Hunter game but after High Rank, should a hunter complete a “G Rank Urgent Quest,” they advance to the highest rank called “G Rank” which offers the highest rewards, top tier armor, weapons and skills but boasts the strongest of monsters and elder dragons.
2: Recommendations – For all beginning hunters who continue to practice and grind monsters for parts and rare materials, I recommend that you follow the above instructions as best as possible. For those that know all the above tips and recommendations, there is another aspect of monster hunter that needs to be addressed: dodging. As with games such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, there is a dodge mechanic in the Monster Hunter series. If this dodge is performed and the correct time at just the right moment, a hunter can avoid all damage through a frame of invincibility. This is not a cheat or a hack in the game. It is an actual in-game mechanic for experienced hunters that if performed in succession or with proper skills, can increase this window of invulnerability, can complete quests without taking any damage. I do not recommend new hunters trying this out as it will interfere with the above tactics that should be mastered before attempting this mechanic. When a hunter’s weapon is sheathed there is another dodge known as the “Superman Dive” that gives the hunter a few seconds of invulnerability as long as it is being performed away from the monster (the hunter must be running and facing in a direction away from the monster to perform the dive.). This is the safest method to avoid damage, though the time to get back up can leave a hunter open to another attack if done in quick succession.
3: Useful Combinations – Here is a small list of useful combinations for beginning hunters/huntresses to combine in their item box with the appropriate combo books obtained at the markets (all these ingredients are gatherable but not their combined forms: you have to make them on your own!):
- Potion – Blue mushroom and an Herb
- Mega Potion – Potion and Honey
- Nutrients – Blue Mushroom and Godbug
- Mega Nutrients – Nutrients and Honey
- Max Potion – Mega Nutrients and Dragon Toadstool
- Catalyst – Bitterbug and Honey
- Immunizer – Catalyst and Dragon Toadstool
- Ancient Potion – Kelbi Horn and Immunizer (HP and Stamina bars complete heal)
- Energy Drink – Hot Pepper and Sleepyfish or Honey and Nitroshroom
- Dash Juice – Rare Steak and Catalyst
- Mega Dash Juice – Well-Done Steak and Dash Extract
- Lifecrystals – Godbug and Wyvern Fang
- Lifepowder – Lifecrystals and Wyvern Claw (Mega Potion effect heals allies around you!)
We hope this guide will help you get started. We know it’s a lot to take in! But the Monster Hunter community is always ready to help out new players, so don’t be afraid to ask!