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. This is the first installment.
So you’ve decided you want to hunt monsters, eh? Well, welcome to the Guild! You’ll find yourself in good company before long, although like any entry-level position you will have to first prove that you have what it takes to face down the big boys. Which brings me to this document. You see, not that long ago I was a fresh-off-the-boat hunter like yourself and I know what you’re going through. There’s a lot to take in here, and although the villagers mean well they’re not really hunters like we are. So I’m here to help you get your footing as best I can.
Let’s start with an unpleasant truth: your first several hours of being a hunter will suck. It will be boring. You might find yourself echoing Gabe from Penny Arcade, a not-unjustified opinion of the village’s (and Guild’s) early offerings. This is the game trying to teach you all of the very dirt-simple basics before challenging you with an actual monster hunt. Each one has a purpose, although that purpose is not immediately relevant to newcomers who are just looking for some immediate action.
Your first couple of tasks will basically involve beating up defenseless herbivores for meat. This is a no-pressure way to give you the opportunity to learn how to use your weapon of choice. You might not know this, but you begin owning one of every type of weapon available. If you go into your room (behind the red curtain) and to your blue storage box, you can change your equipment and take any one of the nine blademaster (melee) and three gunner (projectile) weapons for a spin. I can’t really help you with specifics, as I’ve pretty much been married to my various Dual Blades for over 700 quests now, but there’s help to be found out there if you look for it; Guild members tend to be very friendly to newcomers, for reasons I’ll get into later on.
The leather armor you start wearing will work with both general types, although be aware that this will rarely be the case going forward. It would be a good idea to check your hunter’s notes for a quick rundown of the various maneuvers available to your weapon, although broadly everything is the same within the same class of weapons and only the fine details differ. You have two basic states: weapon drawn and weapon sheathed. While sheathed, you have additional mobility and can use items, and it is important to know that (unless you are using the Sword and Shield) you must put your weapon away if you want to use items.
Stop posing, darn it!
Speaking of using items, let’s discuss animations. Whenever you use an item, your character will go through a lengthy animation that will leave you vulnerable until it completes. It might not be a problem now, but it will once the aggressive monsters start showing up!
The other major function these initial tasks teach you is how to carve and gather (which is the same as carving, only without killing something first). At first you will only be able to gather with your hands, your hunting knife, and your fishing rod but before long tools like bug nets and pick axes will be added to your kit and you will learn to recognize the various hotspots at which each is used, although unlike your knife and rod these are not part of your standard gear and must be brought on a quest specifically. The importance of these two actions cannot be overstated, as the materials you gather with them will be the building blocks of countless items, weapons, and armors. Learn to love gathering, and it will reward you in the end.
Before too long, ol’ Junior will start blabbing at you about Resources. These are what the villagers use to improve the place; why they can’t just use zenny I have no clue, but it works for them so don’t rock the boat. Anyway, you generate resources by hunting in Moga Woods without being on an actual Guild quest. When you first start out, this will actually be your only option as your Guild membership will take some time to become official (bureaucrats, eh?). Just remember two things: it will take you an entire day to get beyond the village’s gates and back (this also applies to going on quests), and you have to report your hunt to Junior when you get back. You can also turn some ores and other objects into resources by talking to Junior, although I would avoid doing this too often as you’ll probably want that stuff for your weapons and armor later on.
The amount of words in this game can be a problem if you are playing on the Wii U, as the text box is tiny in proportion to the rest of the screen. The bigger your screen, the better. Another problem (on both systems) with chatty villagers is the indicator the game uses. You want it to be over your desired target, but you will neither be able to move the camera nor to fine-tune your character’s facing. Using the D-pad to cycle through available targets can help, but is not a fix-all cure.
Over time, villagers will have requests that you can fulfill by turning in resources and needed items. A lot of times these requests will be made to you through Junior himself, so be sure to chat him up if it looks like something’s on his mind. In fact, you should talk to anyone who looks like they have a thought rattling through their heads. You’re not just here to (eventually) beat up wyverns, after all. Helping your host village will help you in return.
For now, just focus on doing your menial grunt-work. Take out some small predators and get to know your weapon’s ins and outs. Gather resources for the village by hunting in Moga Woods. Maybe upgrade your weapon or forge some new armor if you can.
Stick with it, and eventually you will be able to take on your first large monster: a Great Jaggi. Good luck!