Monster Hunter: Starting From Scratch

Monster Hunter: Starting From Scratch

I‘ve taken a lot of flak off TheGameJar team, especially on the DBR Podcast, for purchasing a WiiU, especially when there weren’t many titles available then or even a few months after. With Rayman Legends moving to September I felt a little disillusioned with Nintendo and my WiiU. It’s the first Nintendo console I have purchased when it was relevant (I had an N64 about three years after it was no more) and the single biggest reason I wanted one was so that I could expose myself to games that I had never played before. I’ve never played a Zelda game for more than ten minutes, can’t say I’ve touched Smash Bros and with the WiiU Gamepad I’m certain there will be unique titles coming down the line. Thankfully though, to pull me out of my disillusioned state there is a game that I have heard a lot about. A game that has a hardcore following and is a pretty big deal, especially in Japan. I am of course talking about Monster Hunter.

Monster hunter 3 1I don’t really know much about Monster Hunter at all… there are huge monsters and you go hunting for them? I’m not trying to antagonise any hardcore fans who may end up reading this – it certainly isn’t my intention. I’m just uneducated. So as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is coming out for the Wii U on March 22nd in Europe, I wanted to try and look at the game and its fans, to try and learn some basic knowledge for when I throw myself into this completely alien world.

My first port of call was to the Monster Hunter Facebook page where there are plenty of images of small people fending off huge monsters in various locales. It’s actually pretty daunting with names like “Duramboros” and “Nargacuga” being banded around. With pictures of these behemoths, for someone new it’s very difficult to think just how much game time would need to be put in before you get to such monsters, as generally you start with small things and build up to the big baddies. Or maybe I have it completely wrong and you start off with the huge monsters and just get even bigger. If that’s the case then it sounds pretty awesome, but I’m sure there will be a lot of systems I need to get used to in order to become remotely good at the game.

Something else that stands out from the Facebook page is how engaged the community is. Whoever it is at Capcom keeping the page updated is doing a fantastic job with weekly live streaming sessions, and new images being released. The fans who want to know more and see more are getting that and eating it up. There are a lot of user posted pictures and people talking amongst themselves – it’s really great to see and there is one particular cosplay image that just blew my mind.


When you see something like that and you read some of the Wiki’s or fan sites that are around the web, as a new player it really does scare you a bit. The community seems lovely but as a newcomer to the series, someone who hasn’t even picked up a controller and tried to play it, I’d feel a bit silly jumping in and asking a question. What exactly is Monster Hunter? What’s the appeal of it to you? Do you have any hints and tips that I should do when I play it for the first time? I just wouldn’t do that, not because I don’t think they would respond well but because, well, it’s such a huge franchise that I should really know about it.

Monster hunter 3 2Come March 22nd I will know all about Monster Hunter because it will be in the disc tray of my WiiU and I will dive in head first. It will be a brand new gaming experience for me and that’s something that a lot of people don’t seem to want to do nowadays. They will play the same type of games again and again, which is fine because they like that genre they are playing. But me, I want things to surprise me and getting involved in a game that you have no idea about and going outside of your comfort zone is the only way to truly be surprised. If there are any die hard Monster Hunter fans who stumble across this page, help me out. Please answer the questions a couple of paragraphs back, help me to understand what it is you love so much about Monster Hunter and why, hopefully, I will too.

Joey Dale

Joey D, J Dizzle, J Money, J Dawg. All names no one calls me...except me. I've come and I've gone. Now I'm back again. Ready to play all the video games and tell you what I think of them.

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  1. mikey
    February 11, 2013, 1:31 pm

    A good place for you to start would be My Fair Hunter and Teamwork.

  2. Joey Dale
    February 11, 2013, 1:46 pm

    Thanks Mikey!

  3. Monsterhuntertri player
    February 11, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Monster hunter tri was a game me and my friend started playing. It was a very addicting game and its hard when you first start out because of the fact you start with horrible weapons and bad armor against monsters that just keep getting harder and harder. I love monster hunter because the monster never does the same thing time after time and every time you go against a monster it is different. Offline is fun until you get to the hard bosses, then i went online to defeat thise bosses and get their armor and better weapons then i continued offline. Once i beat offline i started online playing and the monsters are even harder there. Im hr 80 something and it took me a couple months to get there online. And now after beating online I can defeat any and every monster within a half hour

    • Anthony Richardson
      February 11, 2013, 3:00 pm

      See it’s comments like this that make me wanna play the game. I love things that offer variety and leave you to figure out how to slay a monster!

  4. hunterA
    February 11, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Monster Hunter is an action adventure rpg where you hunt monsters to survive and help out your village/town. It’s not like traditional rpgs cause there aren’t any levels or leveling up per se, but
    you have hunter ranks that you steadily rise in.

    The way you get new weapons and armor is by hunting monsters and carving them for parts. You usually get 3 carves per medium/big wyvern you slay. There are other items to gather as well such as Ore through mining, herbs /mushrooms. Items have rarity, so you won’t always get the same ones. from monsters, for example Rathalos plates were a 5% drop rate back in the original Monster Hunter.

    You can cook raw meat into steaks to help you maintain your stamina while hunting. You can combine ingredients to create useful items. Like combing a blue mushroom + herb = potion. to heal hit points if you are injured.

    The higher your hunter rank , represented by stars., the quests you embark on get harder. It’s a series of progression, you start out by completing gathering quests like collecting raw meat or herbs for your village. You fight the incredibly powerful wyverns/dragons at the highest ranks.

    it’s appealing to me because of it’s unique feel and culture. It has great music that sets the mood in towns and during hunts. Each weapon is unique , thus bringing a different challenge each time you hunt a certain wyvern with it . I enjoy collecting things and creating all armors and weapons. The social aspect is fun too, you group up with 3 other players and hunt down the beasties.

    As far as the learning curve goes, it can be a lil daunting at first. I suggest to learn in the ff order.
    1. learn the town, blacksmith will create and upgrade things for you, kitchen is where you bring food items to get cooked (give you buffs when you eat) , your room is where you save the game, have a stash to store items you’ve collected etc
    2. master your character, how stamina works, rolling and dodging attacks, running and climbing etc
    3. learn the weapons and pick a weapon class you like and use it to get a feel of the game. I started out with a great sword cause you can block and it has huge swing radius.

    each weapon has its perks: e.g. great swords are good at cutting off a dragons tail. Lances are good at poking out a specific part and are kings of defense. Dual swords don’t have any defense but turn you into a whirling dervish. etc
    that’s pretty much it, then once you’ve gotten comfortable, it comes down to fighting the monsters.
    4. now it’s time to fight the monsters! each one has its own habits and learning them is part of the key to success! for example, X monster is weak versus fire or this one hates loud noises so I’ll bring Sonic bombs.

    hope that helps, sorry for the jumbled thoughts
    happy hunting

  5. hunterA
    February 11, 2013, 2:23 pm

    last thought,

    the stars of this game are the monsters! Soon you will find your favorite one just as all of us have! ;)

  6. Joey Dale
    February 11, 2013, 3:01 pm

    Wow, hunterA Thanks for that!

    Certainly a great introduction to those of us who know very little! I cannot wait to pick up MH3U on Wii U come the end of March.

  7. Geoff Hankes
    February 11, 2013, 8:38 pm

    Good luck Joey! You’re either going to love the game or hate it, that’s just how this series has worked. Hopefully MH3U has the smoothed out content in terms of difficulty that Monster Hunter Portable 3rd had.

    The Monster Hunter Tri had a weird beginning. The starting quests were pretty boring and then took a huge uphill turn in terms of difficulty.

    Hopefully the game clicks for you because these games are super rewarding when they do.

  8. hunterA
    February 11, 2013, 10:42 pm

    @Joey np happy to share

    @Geoff yes, usually when you run into a “wall” the monster is too hard to defeat in a quest, then you need to upgrade your weapon or armor…

    There are weapons that are not so good vs certain enemies, Swords usually bounce off of uragaans and other enemies with tough armored hide. Using a lance versus a Barioth or Nargacuga who are known to be speedy predators is gna be difficult to say the least.

    If you aren’t a seasoned hunter (some hunters solo everything) , then you can resort to team work to take something down. Veterans play in parties of 4 too! I was just pointing out that there are some hunters who play solo. Having 4 players with traps and flash bombs etc usually makes a hunt easier.

    As far as upgrading armor goes, the armor you make usually inherits the weakness and strength of the wyvern/dragon whose materials it uses. For e.g. if you create a Rathalos Armor set for yourself then while wearing it, your fire resistance goes up, but you become vulnerable to
    thunder/lightning and dragon elements iirc.

    This is one aspect I find interesting as you can mix and match armor to create your own personal sets, to unlock set abilities or negate weaknesses or just to look cool

    Team play opens other strategies to use, like what weapon composition will your team bring to the hunt? An example of a balanced line up would be, 1 Great sword user for tail cutting,
    1 hammer user to break shells or stun wyverns, 1 hunting horn user for buffs and more impact damage, and 1 ranged player who brings a bow or gun.

    be creative and experiment , heck even 4 dual swords might work versus some monsters haha

  9. maurym
    February 12, 2013, 8:50 am

    A few years back I took the Monster Hunter plunge too. The box art looked cool, I needed a new PSP game, and it was on clearance. Didn’t quite get it until the Wii version though. They introduced a lot of usability improvements to the core loop, teaching the basics, and added in-game hud indicators of lootable objects (instead of having to know what the 3d models look like).

    After playing Tri, I realized it is the ultimate action sandbox game out there. You can do what you want, how you want, and at your own pace. As someone else has said, the monsters are the stars, they are the main characters – you collect bits & bobs to make sharp things (or trap things!) to defeat them. It is an Action game first and foremost, but really plays to my RPG min-max brain well. In the later game you can make choices between:

    “Do i want the attack damage boosted set?”
    “Do i want the defensive set?”
    “We are fighting XXXX, I need my YYYYY-Res set.”
    “The other players in my party are X, maybe i’ll go Y.”

    Having that broad of equipment takes a lot of time and dedication, but is worth it :)

    The game really appeals to me in that I love boss style combat. Especially combat design that doesn’t focus on a macro pattern of attacks (x happens at a minute, followed by, y happens at b minute) but micro patterns in random sequence, or sequence you learn by pattern recognition. I was a huge WoW raider, and Monster Hunter allowed me to fight cool things, make cool armor & weapons – without having to play for 14 days before being able to participate in cool things. Also, every time you fight something, it is a little different. You could find a gigantic flying dragon thing one hunt, or a minuscule version of the same flying dragon thing later.

    I’ve been trying to convert as many friends as I can, some tips I always tell them:

    - Most importantly: If you don’t like your starting weapon, try another one. If you prefer God of War/Devil May Cry/etc, try starting with Sword and Sheild (SnS), or Dual Blades. Starting with a Great Sword or Mace will probably cause you to rage and throw the controller. The Bow will always look and sound the coolest, but try using the gun instead starting out. Its hard to master but very fun to use.

    - Take a minute and get used to the camera. It can be a little funny, but is pretty cool.

    - monsters take different damage values based on where you hit them, and most monsters are different. Some parts can be destroyed! Tails, Horns, Wings, Shells, etc. Breaking them gives you extra items and chances at more items when the quest ends.

    - Not all quests in a Star rank are required to move up a level, but I recommend doing every one in 1* and 2*. These quests aren’t just busy work, they kind of serve as a tutorial.

    - if you get frustrated, don’t give up. The game won’t apologize or tell you what to do if you’re failing. Your best bet is to kill what you can, and kill a lot of it. Once you kill enough visit the Armor and Weapon smith, and make things from that stuff. Then try the hunt you had a hard time with.

    - items you pick (herbs, mushrooms, bugs) can be combined to make other items that are useful to you. Some of those items can then be re-combined to make stronger items. Become very acquainted with picking/growing herbs on your farm.

    - Once you are on a hunt, you do not have access to items in your home box/stash. Always be prepared and keep at least 10 potions, 10 high potions, paintballs, and a shock & pitfall trap in your bag/inventory.

    - Don’t be afraid to run away from monsters :)

    - Traps are useful for more than capturing a monster when it is limping. You can use them in conjunction with bombs for lots of damage!

    - Upgrade your weapons, but always read what the next level of item will do. Sometimes it upgrades to a lower-damage, higher elemental weapon- and most monsters have elemental resistances and weaknesses

    - You can do any hunt/quest multiple times.

    - Skills are acquired when you have 10 of a certain skill point. Ie two items with Gathering +5 and Gathering +10 will give you the stat Gathering +15. If you have +9, you will not gain that skill. Skills are essential to customizing yourself, gaining utility, and getting stronger.

    • Joey Dale
      February 12, 2013, 11:45 am

      Wow, Thank you! I will certainly digest this and use it when I get my hands on my first MH :-)

  10. Rob
    February 12, 2013, 3:06 pm

    There are also lots of shortcuts that become obvious to experienced players but are just as useful to new comers.

    I always start off with Full Leather gear as it gives boosts to gathering. Make some quick money on one gathering quest and then grab some pickaxes/bugnets. Iron ore will give you a lot of the first weapon upgrades early on.

    If you hate gathering you have access to a farm/travelling sales man that helps streamline the collection of raw material. Also you really don’t need to bother amassing to much material early on since all low rank quests provide items for you to use (Potions, Rations, Whetstones) and usually are more than enough.

    I recommend trying all weapons but I usually gravitate to the Great sword in the beginning to score a high damage weapon for quick kills and an easy path to your first high defense armor

    The best part of Monster Hunter is the Multiplayer. Play with friends online or locally. Take advantage of Voice/Text. I learned the majority of what I know from friends and it makes the game far more enjoyable. Its also the easiest way to progress and open up more of the game.

    Learn to Dodge (you can go into dodge between weapon swings to cancel out of most slow animations) and sheath your weapon to run faster. Learn to find openings to attack and also have an escape strategy when that opening closes.

    Any Dark Souls player should find the transition easier as a lot of the same mechanics apply. Patience, skill, and strategy will go a long way for this game!

  11. Chozobill
    February 12, 2013, 3:30 pm

    There are two major aspects: hunting the monsters and improving your gear.

    Hunting the monsters

    Stick with a weapon for a little while to get comfortable. This is not a hack and slash game. You have to get into the rhythm of the fights. You need to learn when to get out of the way, and when to swing (or shoot). If you try to just run up to the monster and wail you will lose with early weapons. I’ve played the entirety of tri and portable third on PSP with a great sword because that fits my play style. My friend plays bow pretty much exclusively. Lots of people mix it up, but I found I progressed farther when I focused on one weapon, and wasn’t broke from constantly upgrading each type of weapon.

    Don’t neglect single player! Tri probably does the best Job of easing you into the fights by gradually upping the challenge.


    I can’t really give you gunner advice, but blade masters should relentlessly focus on upgrading a weapon until you get to green sharpness. This was the biggest struggle for me when I was playing the original MH on ps2. I kept bouncing off the monsters! Someone told me get green sharpness and the whole game opened up.

    There’s a whole lot more to type, but if you do these things you’ll soon taste victory, and that will be enough to drive you forward.

  12. Drakeagle
    February 12, 2013, 3:59 pm

    just dropping by to say good luck! Monster hunter has some scary learning curves.

    I began with monster hunter tri and at the start found the game exceedingly challenging but very rewarding when you finally kill that monster after a good three quarters of an hour battle.

    as some people above have said before test out the different weapons for yourself. I believe you get a copy of each basic weapon when you start, either that or just a few of them but make sure to try them out, each has quite the unique feel to it.

    I’ve found I prefer different weapons for different monsters. for example for fighting a rathalos (the big red dragon thats the flagship for the whole series) I like to have the defencive capabilities of a lance while with other monsters like the great jaggi (one of the first things you’ll fight) I like myself a longsword or a sword and shield/dual swords.

    Armour is your next big step. once you’ve killed a few beasties you’ll be able to craft armour out of their scales/skin. each set of armour has different bonuses and weaknesses so chose carefully.

    I will direct you to this wiki for the games which has a ton of information on anything in the games, including weapon and armour stats, monster weaknesses and which parts of the creatures body will take the most damage:

    hope this clears a few things up for you. I would be happy to answer any more questions you may have.

  13. John
    February 12, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Also!!! For anyone who didn’t know :3 the wii u will have a demo for monster hunter on the 21st of this month <3

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