Capcom’s power-selling Monster Hunter franchise has always been deceivingly complex. Although you get past those first few hunts without digging into a vast web of advanced mechanics, veterans are all too aware of those tactical layers that lie beneath each swing or shot of a weapon. Don’t be put off by this – Monster Hunter is still very easy to learn. In fact, pulling back those layers and understanding the many cogs that make up this action RPG machine is where most of the fun is.
Monster Hunter: World made it easier then ever before to access the series, whether you’re a complete newcomer or a grizzled veteran. While those fundamentals carry over into Iceborne, Capcom’s brand new expansion is far from a cakewalk. There’s an unmistakable difficulty curve here and to overcome it you’ll need to employ some sound monster hunting theory to match your weapon skills.
Having braved Iceborne from start to finish, solo, we’ve put together 20 useful tips and tricks to help you get started:
- Actually unlock it! – Make sure you can even play the Iceborne content. You’ll need to have finished Monster Hunter World’s main quest line before Iceborne becomes available to you.
- Claim your free Iceborne bonuses – By simply owning the expansion, you’re entitled to some gear and items to help you on your way, including the Guardian armour set. Just claim them from the Housekeeper in your room. It offers a defence score of 50 (which can be further upgraded) as well as some straightforward perks to boost health and stamina.
- Sort out your radial menus – It can’t be stated enough that the radial menu is the way you should be selecting the majority of your items. You can even use it to instantly craft items mid-hunt; perfect when you’ve run out of Mega Potions.
- Pack a Thermos – Make sure to stock up on Hot Drinks. Every quest in the new Hoarfrost Reach will see your stamina plummet if you don’t neck one of these steamy bevs. Luckily, there are plenty of Hot Peppers around to craft some.
- The deep freeze – Keep an eye on your surroundings. Deep snow will cause you to wade more slowly, which can leave your hunter exposed in a fight. Equipping gear like the Beotodus armour set will help you in this harsh environment.
- Berry good – Nulberries are your friend. Many of the monsters in Iceborne will affect you with elemental blight. See it off by munching on some berries, making sure you stock up whenever heading into battle.
- #resist – Those first few monsters you encounter are all ice types (surprise!) so make sure your armour has decent ice element resistance.
- A song of ice and fire – Similarly, weapons with the fire element will serve you well. That said, your first Master Rank weapons will likely have more raw damage than some of the best fire-infused weapons from the base game.
- Grappling with hooks – The Clutch Claw is an essential new part of your arsenal. Aim your Slinger at a monster and hit Circle or B, depending on your platform, to latch right onto a section of a monster. Successfully land a hit from there and you’ll weaken that section for a few minutes. The damage display will have a small surround every time you hit the right spot, and those monsters will fall much quicker.
- Teach an old weapon new tricks – Every weapon has an expanded move set and/or new abilities. Hop into the menus to check them out and practice with them in the training ground (accessed via your Housekeeper Palico).
- Craft Master Rank armour – Even if you’ve got armour crafted from the base game’s top tier monsters (Elder Dragons, Deviljho etc.) you’ll need to craft the new Master Rank armour as soon as possible. The jump between the two is immense. Don’t completely write your old stuff off though, some of those earlier rank armour sets have very useful skills that you’ll want to include in your early Master Rank armour builds.
- Gems are a hunter’s best friend – It won’t take too long to discover your first level four gem. Make sure you have at least one piece of gear that can slot it in. Decorations are an integral part of getting your armour skills to where you need them to be.
- Two items are better than one – Make sure you equip a second mantle/special item. The upgraded versions of these now have gem slots once you’ve completed the required quests.
- Revisit the World – Once you’ve unlocked your first set of master armour, this will make most of World’s high rank hunts much easier. It’ll be worth spending some time grinding for materials to upgrade your weapons, and be prepared to initially use basics like Bone armour or Bone tier weapons. In Master Rank they’ve been given a significant stat boost!
- Master old monsters – You may want to plough ahead too which is fine. It doesn’t take long for Iceborne to introduce a new spread of craftable weapons. Some of these require you to hunt Master Rank versions of previous monsters. Creatures such as the Barroth, Pukei-Pukei and other early encounters are still relatively easy to farm, helping you lock down an arsenal of new powerful rank 9 weapons.
- Make yourself at home – Set Seliana your default starting location. While there’s nothing wrong with Astera, Seliana has been purposefully condensed for experienced players, allowing them to visit vendors and other stations with little to no legwork required.
- Getting Steamy – Be sure to regularly use the Seliana Steamworks tucked away next to the new Gathering Hub. It’s a silly mini-game that needs no skill whatsoever, but it’s also the easiest way to farm Armour Spheres and loads of other useful items. You can collect extra fuel for it by regularly heading to mining points.
- Layered fashion – If wearing cosmetic Layered Armour, make sure to double check your loadout before quest. It’s easy to forget to swap to your latest and greatest armour beneath in between missions.
- Help out newbies – There’s now a little bonus feature that’s designed to provide some incentive to higher rank hunters for helping out those below them. Aiding newbies and those still making their way through the base game will yield special rewards such as tickets.
- Farm the lower ranks – Once you’ve got your first set of Master Rank armour and weaponry you can head back to Low/High Rank quests and easily run through any of those quests you might have missed. Make sure you’ve done every quest that has a speech bubble next to it – they’ll all give you something good when you complete them the first time! It’s also funny to solo previously impossible beasts like the Behemoth!
If you’re looking for more Iceborne advice, be sure to keep an eye out for our Monster guides, the first of which tackles the Beotodus. While waiting for our other monster battling tips, why not read our Monster Hunter World: Iceborne review?