So first off, before we start:
Monster Hunter is not a complicated game, though it may appear so from the outside. It bucks certain conventions in games like these, which can seem intimidating, but ultimately the beauty of Monster Hunter is that its a set of incredibly simple systems that come together to make complex/interesting encounters.
This thing is a list of Questions I had when I first got into Monster Hunter with MH4U. I am not an old school Hunter, I got in fairly recently, but I have put in a lot of time, and hopefully this will be helpful.
As a note: This wont go super into detail on specific weapons because all of that has already been covered in great depth by people such as Gaijinhunter and Arekkz. In general those two produce a large cadre of great videos going into some great depth on Monster Hunter. These are more just questions that weren't covered by those videos I had. first starting out.
It's more than possible I missed questions some may have in this list, or that I just didn't think of. So if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment with the question and I'll try to respond to the best of my knowledge.
I've also gone ahead and broken this into three different categories: General Questions, Specific Questions, and Light Bowgun Questions (my area of expertise).
1. What even is Monster Hunter?
It's hard to describe what the game is in terms of other games, because its a niche genre. Instead I will just lay out the gameplay loop.
The main loop of the game is simple. You start in a Hub, Select a Hunt, are sent to a map for that Hunt, find and kill your Target, gather parts from their body, and then return to the Hub to craft gear/armor from those parts.
The overall progression of the game is through what are called Hunter Ranks. You start at Rank 1, and after you do a subset of Hunts that are required to progress (which in World will be marked), you are given a special quest to test your skills, and if you succeed at that quest you progress to Rank 2. Rinse and repeat until maximum rank.
2. That's it? You just hunt monsters rinse and repeat?
Yep that's the core game loop. You also end up hunting monsters to get better gear, or doing small side quests to unlock certain buffs, but in general the game loop as described above is the majority of the game.
3. Is there a story?
Yes. Each hunt does not have its own story, but typically the story of the game is told during the quests that you complete to upgrade to the next rank.
4. Is there multiplayer?
Yes! In fact its better than ever in Monster Hunter World. In previous Monster Hunters the single player and multi player portions of the game had completely different progression routes, and if you wanted to do everything you had to do both!
In Monster Hunter World this is no longer the case. Now any quest can be done in single or multiplayer mode, and progression is recorded in both.
5. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY WEAPONS?!?!?!
I imagine this is the most intimidating part of Monster Hunter world for those coming to it for the first time.
The reason there are so many weapons is because Monster Hunter does not have classes or skill trees. Instead the way they achieve different game play is by making all the weapons play differently!
6. O.K. ... but I still don't know what weapon to use?
There isn't really any single weapon that's outright better than any other (unless your going for World Record status), so the general advice is to pick a weapon that feels good after trying it out for a bit.
My advice is just to pop into the training room with each weapon and get a feel, whichever one feels right to you go with it.
If you're still unsure, generally good beginner weapons belong to the Light Weapon category: Sword and Shield, Dual Blades, Long Sword, and Light Bowgun.
7. What if I choose the wrong weapon?
Don't worry about it!
One of the best parts of Monster Hunter is how easy it is to change what you use in terms of weapons. Unlike other games monster hunter does not have a skill tree or classes, instead your strength is determined by the weapon your using and the skills on your armor.
The armor skills are all generic enough or tied to non weapon related things that they are interchangeable between weapons.
As a result, if you want to change what weapon you use all you really need to do is craft a new weapon! You should be able to hit the ground running with no disadvantage in terms of gear.
In general: Play what feels right, and don't be afraid to change weapons. I've changed what weapon I "main" no less than 3 times in just 2 games, and its been great!
8. Wait... armor skills?
Yes Monster Hunter does have a skill system, but instead of being on your character its tied to your armor.
This was recently changed in Monster Hunter World to make this even more simple.
Basically each piece of armor has one or more skills on it (Attack Up, Longer Dodge Frames, More Sharpness), and if you equip armor with the same skill they typically stack to increase the effect.
9. Should I spend a long time farming for armor in the early game, for the best skills?
Typically Monster Hunter is broken into 3 levels of ranks: Low Rank, Hi Rank, and G Rank. In Monster Hunter World we do not appear to have G Rank yet (possibly DLC), but Low and Hi do exist.
Armor from a lower rank is basically useless in a higher rank.
This is done on purpose. Low Rank is kind of a time to figure out the basics of how to play without having to worry about grinding or armor building or any of that nonsense.
In general, when just starting focus on learning how to play, and worry about Armor later. (The game will indicate when you have reached High Rank)
10. How worried should I be about gear?
Gear is incredibly helpful for not dying, but you can do any hunt naked if you wanted to. As long as your wearing gear that's within a rank or two of your current Hunter rank, no one has a right to complain about what you're wearing.
Many people when reaching the end game of Monster Hunter treat gear as a fashion game, not a skill game. They can do this because even at the highest levels of play the most important thing is your skill as a player, not the things you wear.
11. Is there anything else to do in the Hub?
Yep, the hub typically has services that can be used to help out in hunts or speed up some of the boring parts of the game.
For example there is typically a farm in the Hub that will let you generate common gathering components so you don't have to do it yourself.
12. Whats gathering?
Typically armor requires more than just monster parts to craft. Often you'll need metal/plants/mushrooms or some other non monster related thing.
These are simply gathered on the maps you play on when hunting. Monster Hunter World has made this easier by making it easier to gather and less dangerous mid fight.
13. Is there any non armor/weapon crafting?
Yes. There are a handful of useful items you can use while hunting: potions, traps, bombs. These can all be crafted with things you gather on the maps.
Although typically the most important of these items are also purchasable from the shops in the Hub, so you don't have to be very up on this mechanic.
(Personally, I forget to do this kind of crafting all the time and have been fine)
14. Why am I not doing as much damage to monsters as my weapon says I should be?
I'll go more into this in the gear section down there, but in general this is a combination of the numbers on the weapons being inflated and the fact that not every move does 100% of that damage.
Don't worry if your weapon does 14 damage even though its listed as like 200 or even 2000 (I haven't seen the numbers yet), that's normal the way the math works out.
As long as your using a weapon within a rank or two of where your at, your good.
15. What is "mounting"?
In certain situations you can do a leaping attack a monster (typically when jumping off a ledge), this sometimes has a chance to knock the monster over.
If you were the one who initiated it, you get to play a little mini-game. If you succeed the mini game the monster is toppled over and everyone can wail on it for a bit consequence free.
If you did not initiate it: DON'T ATTACK THE MONSTER.
If you attack the monster, the mini-game the mounter is playing gets messed up and you fail the mount. Just take the chance as a time to heal/sharpen your weapons.
16. Why are people getting mad at me for hitting them?
Several of the larger weapons have large sweeping attacks that can do friendly fire. They can hit people and knock them out of their attacks.
In general its considered bad etiquette to knock people around with these abilities. Its usually easy to identify which they are, and generally no loss to the player to just not use the abilities.
So in general avoid them if possible in multiplayer, or at least try to make sure your out of range of your fellow hunters.
17. What is the point of blade sharpening?
In monster hunter Blade Weapons have to sharpen their weapon over the course of a hunt to keep it sharp and doing maximum damage. They do this by bringing whetstones and sharpening the blade mid battle.
The sharper a blade is the more damage it does, and the higher levels of weapons have lots of levels of sharpness. So keeping them sharp is useful.
In general this is easy enough to do safely. Monster will typically run between areas, and when they do give you plenty of time to sharpen your blade.
There are also plenty of skills that change how quickly your weapon dulls or how quickly you can sharpen it.
It may seem odd, but one of the main parts of the design of Monster Hunter is asking you not to just wail on enemies, but becoming familiar enough with them to know when you have chances of respite to heal, sharpen, reload, or any number of things.
18. What are palicoes?
Palicoes are NPC cats that come along with you on hunts. Each hunter in Monster Hunter World will have their own palicoe.
In general they are a weaker player character controlled by AI that can support you when hunting. They can do things like heal, buff your attack, aggro the monster, etc.
If there are empty slots in your party those slots will be filled by the party members palicoes if possible.
19. Are hunts harder with less people?
The Hunts in Monster Hunter World will scale with the number of people in your party. So doing them solo or with a party is more about the joy of jolly co-operation.
Specific Weapon-related Questions
These are a set of questions specific to how weapons work in Monster Hunter that confused me for a long time.
1. Why are all the numbers on the weapons crazy?
Yeah so if you start comparing weapons you may notice the numbers compared between different weapon types can be wildly different!
The reasons for this are simple: The numbers are bullshit.
They are based off stuff, but they use a bunch of math to convert them from real numbers to inflated/fake numbers per weapon for various reasons.
Instead of getting into those reasons just go with this advice: Weapons of the same rank are generally of the same strength, but if comparing within the same weapon category, higher number means more damage.
2. Why do all the elemental weapons have more damage than the non elemental weapons?
This confused the heck out of me for a long time. You may notice when you look at elemental weapons, if you add the base damage to the elemental damage the total is almost always higher than the comparable non-elemental damage weapon.
Unfortunately its not that elemental weapons are super strong, it's just a case of bad UI.
The elemental damage listed on a blade weapons is not applied on every hit. Instead you have a % chance (base 20 I believe), to apply that elemental damage on every hit you do.
The number listed on the weapon is the damage it will do if the elemental damage is triggered.
If you do the math you'll find that the expected average damage will be similar to the non-elemental weapons. Sorry, no super elemental weapons here.
3. Why would I use elemental weapons then?
The main reason to use elemental weapons is that most monsters are weaker to elemental damage than regular damage. So if the elemental damage does trigger it's possible for you to do more damage than a non-elemental weapon.
If you like those odds.
4. Why do people say to use elemental weapons on Dual Blades or Bowguns?
Well for Dual Blades the reasoning is expected values.
If your weapon is slower, you will get less hits on a monster over the course of a hunt, giving it less chances to activate. On the flip side Dual Blades get much more hits per hunt, so your more likely to be approaching the expected average.
Bowguns are a different story. Unlike blade weapons elemental shots always deal their elemental damage, and typically the elemental bullets just do more base damage than non elemental ones. So depending on the weapon its generally just a better idea to be using elemental shots if possible.
5. What about Status Damage on weapons, how does that work?
Status damage works the same as elemental damage in terms of % chance to activate on blade weapons.
As for how they are applied to monsters: The best example is Dark Souls status bars.
Essentially every monster has a different status total they have to hit to be affected by a status. When you deal status damage to them that bar increases, but it degrades over time. If the bar fills the total the status effect is applied.
Every time you successfully apply the status to a monster the size of the bar grows bigger, so it requires more damage to apply the effect next time.
6. What the heck is "Affinity"?
Affinity is Monster Hunters way of having critical hits.
By default weapons can't have critical hits, only weapons that have a positive or negative affinity value can.
The value on the affinity is the % chance you will get a critical hit, and what type of critical hit it will be.
If the affinity is a positive number, then you have that % chance to do +25% damage.
If the affinity is a negative number, you have that % chance to do -25% damage.
In general elemental damage is not affected by critical hits, unless you have an armor skill that changes that.
7. What the heck is a "Motion Value"?
First off: congratulations on watching one of those channels I talked about earlier in my post, or visiting a resource site for Monster Hunter! Good Research instincts!
You won't see the term Motion Value anywhere in the actual game of monster hunter, but you will see it references all over the place in external resources, so what is it?
A Motion Value is the % of your nominal attack a specific move does. Every move has a motion value, so you are never doing 100% of the attack listed on your weapon.
This is typically used as a way to encourage doing combos (longer combos tend to have a total combined motion value that is larger than just spamming one move), or by making longer riskier moves more powerful (charged attacks tend to have high motion values).
8. What is Monster/Part Toughness?
Every part of a monster has a Toughness. This is the damage reduction on any incoming damage to that part, and is a straight percentage reduction.
There is a different toughness on the part for every type of damage as well: raw, fire, lightning, dragon, ice, etc.
Typically monsters will have one or two areas that have lower toughness than the rest of their body, and so its a good idea to try to aim for those parts.
In Monster Hunter World this toughness information will now be available in the game itself, through the new encyclopedia feature on monsters.
Non Light Bowgun Users Look Away...
Light Bowgunners Hello
1. What makes the light bowgun distinct versus the heavy bowgun?
The main feature of the Light Bowgun is its "Rapid Fire" move, which allows you to shoot multiple bullets but only use one of your shots.
Rapid Fire is a bit of a misnomer in this case. The Heavy Bowgun is much better at doing high raw DPS because of their ability to load their full clip into their weapons.
Where the Light Bowgun excells is Effeciency.
Rapid Fire essentially multiplies your shot total. The additional shots from Rapid Fire are not typically at 100% damage (aside from fixed damage shots like status shots, which are at 100%), but even so you are increasing your shots by some % even if its not a simple 2x or 3x increase.
As a result the defining feature of a Light Bowgun is that it can more effectively use specialty ammo that is typically restricted by the # of bullets you can bring in a hunt.
2. What the heck is "Critical Distance"?
Every shot type that you can use in a bowgun has a different critical distance at which they do maximum damage.
You can tell if your in that critical distance because there will be some sort of on screen indicator when you hit the monster that you've done more damage, such a shaking screen or a noise indicator.
There is actually more than one critical distance as well. Theres a 1.5x damage one, 1.25x, 1.2, and 1x damage one, each have different levels of indication.
There's no great way to teach these distances, other than just using a lot of different shots and getting a feel for it!
3. Do all shots have a critical distance?
Nope. Only certain shots do.
You can either look up which ones do, or simply use them to figure it out. Typically shots that do not have a critical distance instead have a distance where they simply disappear off the face of the planet. (Elemental Shots, Status Shots are the big ones).
4. How does a Piercing Shot Work?
Most shots when they hit a monster simply explode and dissapear, piercing shots continue through the monster.
If the monster is big enough the piercing shot will hit multiple times while traveling through the monster.
5. What about Normal Shot Lv 3?
This is kind of the weird bullet in the bunch. This shot has a special feature where when it hits a monster it can split and bounce on the monsters.
This is different than a piercing shot because it bounces on the skin of the monster. It requires a monster with a large surface area, but not necessarily a deep body.
6. How does Shrapnel work?
Some ammo is shrapnel based, like a shotgun. When you shoot the bullet it actually shoots a spray of bullets that generally require you to be close to the monster to do maximum damage.
7. I always hear I should be using elemental shots on LBG, why?
Because you do the most damage with them.
Elemental Shots have a higher base damage than non Elemental Shots in general. Additionally, because of Rapid Shot the LBG can often fire more of the higher level Elemental Shots in a given hunt than a HBG can.
Once you add that to the fact that monsters tend to be weaker to at least one element than raw damage, typically elemental damage is your best bet to achieve high damage.
8. Ok but I've also heard that Status shots are important on LBG?
Yes, because Rapid Shot is incredibly Effecient with Fixed Damage shots.
The main limiting factor for bowguns using Status Shots is that typically you are only able to bring a handful of shots into the hunt.
This works out that, if your gun can even carry both types, with Lv1 and Lv2 shots you can maybe get 1-2 applications of the status on with a regular Bowgun.
With a LBG with those shots as a rapid fire, that increases to 3-4 due to the effeciency of rapid shot.
9. Does this apply to other fixed damage shots?
Yes! Lots of Light Bowgunners out there will run guns that have rapid fire on explosive shots, or shots that simply do a static fixed damage, because the extra bullets from rapid fire do not take a penalty on fixed damage.
10. What about these shots that heal or buff party members?
Personally I don't use them. They don't stack, if I remember correctly, with the equivilant items that give the buffs they give. Most Hunters if they want that buff bring those items with them, so seeking out a bowgun that is good at these buff/healing shots tend to be a wasted investment.
That being said it is a viable path to take. Your group of friends can maybe save time on buffs by just having you buff them.
11. O.K. whats "Deviation"?
Bowguns have a stat on them called Deviation. Deviation refers to how far the bullets tend to right or left. No deviation means they go exactly where your arming. L means left, R means right.
12. What about "Recoil"?
This is a bit more complicated.
Each shot has its own recoil level at which your gun needs to be to experience "no recoil". If you are within 2 levels of that, you shoot with medium recoil. Any farther is high recoil.
The recoils levels are: High, Average, Some, Low, V. Low, Minimum.
There are tables out there for what each shot has, but as you play the game you can get an idea for what each shot requires by feel.
13. What about "Reload"?
Same as above, each shot has its own level your guns reload speed needs to be at to reload it at its best speed. If you do not meet that level the ammo reload slower for those shots.
14. That's a lot to keep track of?
Thankfully Monster Hunter World has made this easier, with the new gun attachment system, you will be able to see the levels or reload/recoil for each shot in game in a handy table.
Yes in previous monster hunters you could add attachments to your guns to customize it slightly. Generally you could change the reload/recoil/deviation slightly.
The system in Monster Hunter world is a bit more robust than this now, I suggest watching the Arekkz video on this to learn more.
And there you have it, those are the questions I had when playing MH4U and the other Monster Hunters over the last 2 games. Hopefully this was useful for anyone reading it, if there's any questions I missed I'm happy to answer through the comments.