Hey there, Monster Hunter Rise is finally out and we like it quite a bit! As you all dig into the game over the course of this first weekend, there’s gonna be a lot to do and tons to decipher. After all, these games have maps, weapons, armor and materials as dense as their menus. So if you’re jumping in today and this is maybe your first Monster Hunter game, here’s a handful of tips that should make your time with the game, or at least the first dozen hours or so, just a little easier.
You may be compelled to immediately jump into hunting once you get your hands on Monster Hunter Rise. I get it, so did I. However, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t find the training area and hit it up for a bit. I didn’t realize this existed for a long time back when I played Monster Hunter World and it’s an invaluable resource. Not only does it give you the space and time to figure out what weapon might work best for you, but it also gives you basic combos you can use with each weapon. This begins to show some of the complexity behind your weapon choice and reveals that the Monster Hunter games have actually always been fighting games all along. Please go to the training area and save yourself the pain of rocking a loadout that doesn’t fit your style at all in a hunt.
You’re going to be building up some money early on, so don’t be shy and hit up the Buddy Plaza with it all. Buddies are the fleshed out system tied to your palicoes (your little cat friends) and palamutes (your new doggos). There’s a lot to do with them at the Buddy Plaza, but perhaps the best thing you can do early on is recruit a bunch of each to send out as Meowcenaries. If these are weird loaded terms, I’m sorry, it’s the game’s verbiage, not mine.
After a certain amount of time and a few visits to the Buddy Plaza, you will unlock the ability to talk to a Palico named Kogarashi who runs the Meowcenaries. There you can assign teams of buddies you’ve recruited and send them to locations you’ve been to in order to hunt down resources tied to the monsters and endemic life there. So if you’re looking for a painless way to farm some materials from a Pukei Pukei or an Arzuros, but don’t want to fight them or simply want to continue the story, send out your buddies with Kogarashi. As you finish missions, your Meowcenaries will complete a mission on their multi-step expeditions. You can collect the rewards of these after every mission or you can get them once the Meowcenaries come back. It’s a really handy system that’s worth taking advantage of.
Beyond the Meowcenaries, you will continually unlock new features in the Buddy Plaza related to growing your buddies’ strength or sending them on trips abroad to bargain for you to get rarer resources, so it’s definitely worth investing some time and money into the Buddy Plaza and your furry friends early on.
Wyvern riding is a new feature in Monster Hunter Rise and one you’ll definitely want to take advantage of as much as you can, even if it doesn’t look like it’d be handy to. Wyvern riding allows a player to ride a monster (they don’t actually have to be a wyvern) once they have been weakened enough or after you’ve inflicted a bunch of Silkbind damage (these are attacks tied to your new Wirebug tool, please I’m begging you to go to the training area and figure this all out ahead of time). Once you get control of a monster, you’ll be able to move them around as well as make them do attacks and dodges. While your time is limited on these creatures, don’t let the time restraint scare you off. Because you can see where all the monsters on the map are at all times, it’s worth running these monsters into each other, attacking and knocking loose monster materials you can turn into upgrades. You’re almost always sure to get a few good hits in and come out of this with some reward. Plus there’s a decent enough chance that running them into each other will also cause them to fight each other in a turf war once you dismount, which may net you even more monster materials. The best possible outcome is this, because usually your wyvern riding will leave the monster you just attacked weak enough that you can then mount them and retaliate against the monster you just used. It’s very fun to pull off, a great shortcut you can take in the early stages of a fight, and a surefire way to get resources.
There are a few things worth noting about Monster Hunter Rise. First is that it’s a tremendously fast game, with the average battle lasting maybe 10-15 minutes. Despite this, you’re given a 50 minute timer every mission. It’s also worth noting that through the first few ranks of Monster Hunter Rise, you can get away with minimal planning and going full aggro. This may be to introduce a friendlier learning curve to incoming players, whom this game feels especially taken with courting. What these things come together to mean though is that you can often afford to hunt more than one monster per mission, even if the missions only require you to get one. While the goal of the mission may be to hunt down just one monster, the implicit goal of the game is to build a bunch of armor sets and weapons tied to these monsters, so you really never want to pass up an opportunity to take down several if you can. You can make the game work with you, so it’s best to do this early on.
You may notice that I keep bringing up materials, and that’s because getting as much of these as you can is the key to not only succeeding but having fun with the game. Otherwise, you’re left without upgraded weapons, cool-looking armor sets, or the resources to craft the stuff that will keep you alive on later hunts. Above all else, you’ll want them no matter what kind they are (monster parts or crafting materials), so it’s good to know where to farm. It will break up the pacing a bit but going on expedition tours, where you are free to roam the biome you pick and hunt anything that spawns with no time limit, is a great early place to not only become familiar with the map and uncover their secrets (there are tons), but also just hunt monsters and gather herbs that will help you craft things in the future.
While not exactly early, you’ll eventually be introduced to Rampage missions within a few hours of starting the game, which rounds out the big additions being made to Rise. Once you do the first Rampage, which is a wave-based survival and tower defense kind of mission, you’ll unlock the ability to do several of them. Do them. Not only will you collect materials off of the several monsters that attack you, but you’ll get Horde materials that go beyond the scope of monster parts too. The monsters here are weaker than they are in the normal hunts too, so it’s a great opportunity to get your feet wet but also lower the stakes and help you farm.
Moises Taveras is an intern for Paste Magazine and the managing editor of his college newspaper, the Brooklyn College Vanguard. He was that one kid who was really excited about Google+ and is still sad about how that turned out.