In Hunter’s Notes, Chris Ingersoll aims to provide the insight and advice needed to understand the ins and outs of Monster Hunter and become immersed in its world. For more, check out the archive.
So by now you’ve probably taken on your first Great Jaggi. How’d you do? Those guys can be challenging if you’re not ready for them! There’s no shame in riding the feyline cart a couple of times at your level, but eventually you’ll be able to take them out in little more time than it takes you to take out their little brothers and sisters. I’m not here to give you tips on how to best beat those guys; where would the fun in that be? No, learning by experience is the best way to develop as a hunter. What I can do, though, is give you knowledge on some additional tools at your disposal that might make things easier.
I prefer using the “Combination List” and not the “Combine Items” option, but there’s no functional difference. Using the list lets you sort (press X) by what you can and cannot currently make, which is a time saver. It also lets you easily scan the entire list of possible combos to know what stuff you’ll be needing.
Let’s start with the basics: your healing items. I hope you’re at least using Potions you bought from the Gal with the Goods back in the village (plus any First-Aid Kits supplied by the Guild) and not munching on gathered Herbs, but did you know there’s a better option? If you haven’t explored combinations, now’s a good time. You can do this in the field, although that only lets you work with items you have on you. If you go to your room’s item box you’ll be able to combine everything you’ve stashed away.
Anyway, if you take a Potion and combine it with some Honey, you’ll get a Mega Potion that recovers a whole lot more health than anything else you can use at this point! You can bring as many as ten of these with you each time you go off on a quest, and you can even make more on the fly if you bring/gather the necessary ingredients. Speaking of ingredients, you can also make Potions by combing Herbs and Blue Mushrooms. It’s not that TGwtG charges too much (especially when the Argosy is in port), but I know how cash can be tight when you’re first starting out so every little bit helps.
Eventually you will run into a few critters that have poisonous attacks. You’ll definitely want some Antidotes at your side when that happens, which you can make by mashing up an Antidote Herb with a Blue Mushroom. Although to be honest what you really want to do is find a Cactus Flower (in the Sandy Plains) and some Bitterbugs (from everywhere) to make Herbal Medicines; not only will that cure your poison, but it also recovers a little health too. Neat, huh? Other status effects have their own cures, and the Guild will usually take care of you at this level so you don’t need to guess every time, but it can’t hurt to learn.
There’s a difference between attack combos and combinations. Any time the game itself refers to “combos,” it is actually referring to the latter. A +20% combo success rate improves the chance of you not making useless garbage instead of your desired item. It does not, as I first thought, improve your to-hit rate or even give you additional hits. Sad but true.
Stamina recovery is probably less of an issue for you right now, but I hope you’ve learned how to use that BBQ Spit that Junior gave you early on to cook up all of that Raw Meat you’ve carved. Although I bet you’ve had to settle for Rare Steaks and Rations, which are fine but not the best. Here’s the secret to a Well-Done Steak: watch the bone. When the meat has been on the fire long enough, the bone will get darker; that’s your cue to take it off the flame. You can also watch the meat or sing a little tune to get the proper timing, but the bone is by far the most reliable indicator. Also, while eating a good steak is great for recovering stamina, a quick Energy Drink (which has a couple of recipes) can put the pep back in your step with the speed of swigging a Potion.
That’s enough about covering your ass. I bet you want to know about tools to help kick some tail, right? Well the first thing you want to do is get your hands on some Bomb Casings. Sap Plants and a durable object like Stone or Iron Ore will help you make them, and once you have them you can put any number of nasty things inside. Toadstools and Poison Sacs will let you deploy Poison Smoke Bombs which, I might add, are the perfect tools for picking off those annoying bugs without splattering them all over Moga. Just spray ‘em with one of these and let the toxin do the rest of the work for you. Combining casings with a Flashbug will let you temporarily daze a large monster with a Flash Bomb if you aim it just right (tip: they have to be looking at it when it goes off). Of course, sometimes you don’t want to pick a fight. For those situations, add some Dung to create a Dung Bomb that will really foul up their senses and hopefully drive them away.
Take ‘em alive!
Any time you are asked to “slay” a monster (red icon), capturing will also work. Although be aware that if you are sent on a Capture Quest (blue icon) you must capture or you will fail. The trick is knowing when they’re ready to be captured. You have to watch for the right tell. What you want is for them to actually limp away; often they moan in pain a little while doing so as well. Let them leave the zone, then pursue and drop your trap.
By far the most important surprise you can put in a Bomb Casing is Tranquilizer, which you can make with a Sleep Herb and a Parashroom. You gunners can also make Tranq Shots or Coatings, but sometimes Tranq Bombs will just be quicker. You need tranqs (always at least two doses) to capture monsters. Of course, you’ll also need a trap or two. Pitfall Traps can be made with Nets (combine Spider Webs with Ivy) and a Trap Tool (have to buy this from the Gal), and Shock Traps use Thunderbugs. You can also use traps to temporarily immobilize a monster for better hits… or maybe something more explosive. Got Gunpowder (Fire Herb plus Nitroshroom)? Put some of that in a Large Barrel and see what it can do, although you might also want to have a Small Barrel/Fire Herb combo to light the fuse unless you want to do it manually.
Other useful tools you can make are less offensive and more utility. Those same Nets can also be used with various bones to make new and better Bug Nets, and various bone and ore combinations can similarly produce more durable Pickaxes. Hot and Cool Drinks (Bitterbug plus Hot Pepper or Ice Crystal, respectively) will help you to survive extreme temperatures or you can combine those same items with a Well-Done Steak to boost your stamina at the same time with Hot/Chilled Meat. If you like fishing you can make all manner of bait to lure in specific types of fish, usually involving a Mega Fishing Fly and some sort of insect. Although it’s probably best to let the Fishing Fleet be your main provider of piscine supplies.
Of course, the best tools are your weapon and especially your armor, which can’t be simply combined. But I’ll talk about that next time. Until then, be sure to experiment with combinations to see what other goodies you can make!