Monster Hunter World is a major hit. It shipped 6 million copies in just a few days after its release. The game is the latest in a long-running series. It’s online, multiplayer, complex, and there’s a lot for Parents to know and understand.
The game builds off an immensely successful formula from the previous games in the series. It’s streamlined things, though, and added an exciting (but optional) multiplayer aspect. This multiplayer aspect adds depth, fun, and a lot of strategy to an already deep and complex game.
With this in mind, the Parents Guide to Monster Hunter World gives parents all the foundational information they need to understand the game, engage with their kiddos, and to provide help for younger players.
I had no idea what was going on…
I’d been watching for over twenty minutes, and barely understood what I saw… but it was fascinating.
I first came across Monster Hunter World at E3, then later at Pax South and it looked interesting. My interest grew when I saw folks online streaming early Betas (basically tests). The world was beautiful, and the monsters and creatures were terrifying. The animations and combat were fast and fluid. It was, simply, a joy to watch…
It was also confusing as all get out. I had no idea what I was watching. There was simply so much going on. Still, it was amazing.
So, I watched and I waited. Then on January 26th Capcom released the full game. I bought it, installed it, and fired it up – excited to really get into the experience.
And… I was just as confused. Monster Hunter World is just as intimidating as the creatures you fight in it. Once the pieces fall into place, though the entire experience makes sense. You “get it”. Until then, it’s a rush of confusion, panic, fun, and a dash of frustration.
It’s complicated enough simply learning the systems and actually playing the game. To an observer; a parent watching their kiddos play, the game can be incredibly complex and unclear.
That’s why I wrote this guide – To give parents enough foundational information to understand and converse with their kids about the game and gameplay.
Buckle up, though. There’s a lot here. This particular guide is more of a primer. It’ll get you the basics and the information you need to understand what you see. I’ll be adding a few more feature-specific guides, where we’ll do a deeper dive on particular elements of the game that warrant more detailed information.
What is Monster Hunter World?
So, what is Monster Hunter World? It’s an Action RPG where the Players take on the role of a Hunter from the “Fifth Fleet” – a group of elite hunters dispatched to the new world. There they’ll take down monsters ranging from large to titanic, all in amazing and detailed locations rich with unique flora and fauna.
The general goal, as you can imagine, is to take on quests – hunting increasingly bigger and more dangerous monsters. In between these hunts, Players can take on smaller quests to help the locals and gather the materials needed to create and improve their weapons and armor – giving them the edge they need when hunting the most dangerous creatures in the new world.
Why it’s Cool and Exciting.
So, why is the game so popular? Lots of reasons, but the biggest can be summed up in three words. Epic. Freaking. Monsters. The smallest creatures are still bigger than the player. It calls back to every kid’s fascination with dinosaurs – It gives them a chance and route to go toe-to-toe with the big creatures, and it rewards planning and patience.
Add to this that the game is fundamentally built upon a rock-solid gameplay loop – honed over several earlier titles – that rewards skill and promotes repeated play, and you have a fun foundation aside from the awesome giant monsters.
Lastly, the game is multiplayer (which lets your kiddos play with their friends) and add to it the fact that, aesthetically, the game is gorgeous and all together you have a recipe for a game that will get kids across the world excited.
Monster Hunter World Lore and Backstory
The lore and backstory of Monster Hunter World are not as critical as more narrative driven games. They provide context for the game and a spine for the quests that push the player through the game. They also provide details about the monsters themselves, which gives additional information and insight on the best ways to hunt them.
As for the story itself, in the lore of Monster Hunter world, every decade or so Elder Dragons make their way across the sea to make landfall in the New World (where the gameplay takes place). The populace of the world found this migration to be unusual and – presumably – an obstacle to colonization. To counter this, an organization known as “The Guild” (basically, all the Monster Hunters) formed a research commission – tasked with finding the answer to the mystery of the once-a-decade event they called the Elder Crossing.
The commission sent researchers and hunters to the new world. The game casts the Player in the role of a Hunter on the fifth fleet (the fifth group the commission has dispatched) to chase an Elder Dragon – Zorah Magdaros (which surprisingly looks more like a volcano than a dragon) the new world.
Now, before you wonder where Frodo and Legolas fit into all this, remember that this is set dressing; a way to provide some details, world-building, and history for the game. Knowing the details is not needed to play or to understand the game.
As a parent, though, it’s good to have a cursory understanding of it. So, if your kiddos really get into it, you have a chance at being able to converse with them about the game.
You and your kiddos can play the game on two of the biggest platforms around. The XBox One and the Playstation 4. There’s no real difference between the two versions – BUT – Players playing on one platform won’t be able to play with players on another. So, if your kiddo plays the game on the XBox, they won’t be able to play with gamers playing on the Playstation 4.
Capcom announced that the game will be coming to the PC as well, though not until closer to the end of 2018. So, if your kiddos are looking to play now, they’ll need to be on the consoles.
- XBox One
- Playstation 4
- Windows PC (Fall of 2018)
How It Plays
There’s an unstated, but integral “loop” to the gameplay in Monster Hunter World. The game tasks Players with hunting the deadly and devastating Elder Dragon. To do that, the Players take on a series of missions, tackling more and more difficult monsters as they track down the Elder Dragon itself.
Between these missions, the Players undertake research tasks. They hunt and creatures and materials (healing herbs, trap materials, and the like) to aid them in their hunts. Lastly, Players find and harvest the key materials they need to improve their weapons and protective armor so that they can go toe-to-toe with the creatures they face.
Monster Hunter World provides a large variety of different weapon types. Players must choose what type of Weapon they want to use. They can change their selection, but the gameplay encourages mastering one or two weapons for maximum effect.
Each weapon has strengths and weaknesses, and can ties well to particular styles of play. Chances are, no matter how your kiddo wants to play, the game supports it.
It’s important to note that there’s no “wrong” choice. One particular weapon isn’t “better” than another, aside from if the kiddo enjoys how it plays. A heavy mallet might give a great chance to stun a monster, but it will swing very very slow. Conversely, A sword and shield allows the kiddo to block attacks, but won’t do as much damage. It’s a game of balancing strengths and trade-offs. Again, though, the single most important factor is: Does your kiddo want to use it?
Armor is a little different than weapons. There are fewer “types” but as Players unlock and improve their armor, they’ll begin needing to tailor their armor to the hunts at hand. For example, in the beginning, all that really matters is improving the basic “defensive” stats of the armor. Later on, as the creatures get more and more deadly – Players will need to craft and set up the best armor for the job. So, if the mission is to hunt a fire-breathing Wyvern, the Players will want high defense, but also – ideally – something with a lot of protection against fire as well.
Missions and Quests provide the backbone of the story and give the Player context for ‘why’ they’re hunting. They also give the Player secondary goals to work towards while out on a hunt. So, while a Player might have a Quest to hunt a Great Jagras, they may also have a bounty (or subgoal) to collect 10 mushrooms.
To give the Player a variety of options and ways to progress, Monster Hunter World offers several types of Quests and Missions. This ensures that your kiddos always have “something to do” when they play the game.
So, given all that, let’s look at each of the different Quest & Mission types.
Assigned Quests (Story)
Assigned Quests are the “main” quests of the game. They advance the storyline along and provide the primary direction of advancement. In many cases, Players can be undertaking an Assigned Quests while also working on Bounties (discussed below)
Optional quests are granted by characters the Player meets in the world. Successfully completing these won’t advance the main story, but will unlock additional items and elements of the game.
Investigation Quests are small, specific, optional quests that come in 3 flavors: Hunting (Taking down a Large Monster), Slaying (Taking down several Small Monsters), and Capture (Hunt and weaken a Large Monster enough to subdue it)
The actual “Optional” Quests discussed above unlock things in the game. Investigations, though, are meant to provide a context for gathering the materials your kiddo needs to craft or improve their gear.
Investigation Quests give the kiddo reasons, direction, and rewards for hunting down the supplies they need. These supplies let them craft the stronger equipment necessary to take down more powerful creatures.
Bounties are, in some ways, very similar to the Investigations. There are a couple of key differences. The first is that Bounties typically involve more “gathering” than “hunting”. So whereas your kiddo might get an Investigation Quest to hunt a Great Jagras, for a Bounty, they’d likely get something like “Collect 5 samples of honey.”
The second major difference is that Bounties can run in tandem with other quest types. So, whether your kiddo is out on an Assigned Quest, Optional Quest, or Investigation they can also be running bounties and can have several bounties active at one time.
The advantage of Bounties is that while the Player get the materials they’re gathering and also gets additional research points and quest rewards as a result.
An Expedition is different from all the other quest types. Players go on an expedition anytime they enter one of the environments without an Assigned, Optional, or Investigation quest active. Expeditions are entirely freeform. There’s no specific goal and no time limit. The Players can run around, explore, gather, and hunt however they wish.
Expeditions are great for when your kiddo wants to get the lay of the land of a new area. They’re also great to gather up resources, try out and learn new equipment or weapons, or just having fun.
Let’s Talk About Multiplayer
One of the most exciting aspects of Monster Hunter World is that it offers Multiplayer options. In other words, your kiddos can play with their friends or others they meet online in the game. To clarify, the game can also be played entirely solo – so if either you as the parent or your kiddo isn’t comfortable playing online, the game is still a blast.
The Importance of Platform
Something to keep in mind when looking at Multiplayer games – particularly on a console – is that Players can only play with others that are on the same platform. Said differently, if your Kiddo plays on an XBox One – they can only play with others that are also playing on an XBox One. So, if all your kiddo’s friends are playing on a Playstation 4 and your kiddo is on an XBox One, they won’t be able to play together.
A Note On Online Games
Something that’s very important to know, is if your kiddo is playing online with others, there’s no way for them to pause their online game. Of course, if there’s an emergency or something, the game can be turned off. No doubts there. That said, the game tunes mission difficulty to the number of players at the start. So, if one drops out, it makes it significantly harder on the others.
Something good to know, though, is that mission in Monster Hunter World are timed. So, if your kiddo is in the middle of play, and you need them to do something, they can absolutely tell you how much time is left in the mission. That’s the maximum amount of time left before the mission ends. It can, though, end sooner.
Related to the above, if your kiddo is about to play multiplayer it’s a good idea to set expectations about the length of play. Most missions seem to have a 50-minute time limit, so if the kiddo only has ten minutes of play time, it’s best they don’t start one of those missions. Instead, they should look at any of the many other activities in the game. Expeditions are great for this, as they are completely free-form, letting your kiddo drop in/drop out at will.
Talking To Your Kids About Monster Hunter World
If you’re looking for ways to get into a good conversation with your kiddos about the game, there are several great topics you can open with. You can ask them what weapons they use and what they like about them. Or, you can ask them what their “Hunter Rank” is. Another idea is to ask them what their favorite hunting area is.
Another great thing to do is ask your kiddo to tell them their favorite hunting story. The systems of the game in many ways simulate an environment. So, your kiddo could be on a hunt, hiding in a bush, just about ready to strike their prey. Suddenly, out of the trees comes another – larger and even more dangerous creature – rushing into the area and starting a turf war with your kiddos prey. This kind of interaction can (and does) happen all the time in the game. Your kiddo is sure to have some really exciting tales to tell from their adventures.
As I noted above, we’ll be doing some deeper dives on a few topics in the game. Taking a bigger look at how missions work, how multiplayer works, and how the crafting and resource systems work as examples. If your kiddo’s playing the game, and you’d like some more information on a particular facet of Monster Hunter World, please leave it in a comment below. I’ll try to get the details you need.