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Monster Hunter: World, a solo experience? - Reader’s Feature
Monster Hunter: World – winnable on your own, better with friends

A reader gives advice on how you can play the whole of Monster Hunter: World on your own, and how it can actually make things easier.

A recent letter to the Inbox asked after the viability of playing Monster Hunter: World solo, as a player new to the franchise who’s done just that (for the most part) and reached the final end game I’m happy to say yes, you can. Totally. Although you might be missing out on some fun, but more on that later. You may well need to adjust your playstyle however, but that’s not to say there are not distinct advantages to playing solo. I’ll say now that it’s no surprise to me that this has become Capcom’s biggest seller, it’s an incredibly deep game and much like Bloodborne in that it rewards you for increasing your own skill.

So, without further ado, here’s some general advice for solo play to kick off with.

1. Choose your weapon, but don’t be afraid to experiment or change your mind
You get a basic version of every weapon at the start of the game, I highly recommend spending time in the training area getting a feel for the ones you’re interested in, to see if they suit your playstyle. In the build-up to release I watched a fair few videos, and loved the look of the charge blade, a weapon that could move between sword and shield configuration to a massive axe. Trying to get to grips with it though proved beyond me, so I settled on the long sword and happily ran that till I had a better grasp of the basic gameplay.

Then I went back to charge blade, running it for a while. Till I hit a wall: Diablos. This thing carted me (caused me to faint, which you’re allowed to do three times in most missions) in short order without even trying. I was stunned, but I had a back-up plan, the bow! Changing to this mid-mission I went back and showed Mr D who was boss. I’m now thoroughly a bow main, I’ve not lost a solo mission since and love the mobility it brings.

Every weapon is viable in Monster Hunter: World, so find one you like using, or one you’re good with, and with luck they’ll be the same one! But bear in mind some are better than others against certain monsters.

2. You’re not alone in solo play
You have a companion in the form of your Palico, a cat-like creature who you can arm and armour to assist you in battle. They will attack and distract monsters and more than that, they can equip specialist tools to heal you in combat, create flashes to stun monsters, play a miniature horn to give various buffs, and even shear off extra materials for you. Don’t negate him or her, upgrade their equipment as you go and they will bring you home safely. You can also unlock other companions that you can recruit in the field, having a team of three to split the monsters’ attention gives you breathing space.

3. Take your time and upgrade your gear
Monster Hunter: World progression is twofold, the development of your skills as a hunter and the gear you carry. The latter is part of the core loop, you hunt monsters to get parts, to craft gear to hunter harder monsters. Make sure you’re spending those armour spheres on increasing your defence and taking upgraded weapons as you can. Depending on your weapon choice you may want a general-purpose set or specialised ones for different monster weaknesses, the latter takes time to farm but ultimately should make things easier. Later in the game you can create extremely specialised sets of gear to give you the advantage in most situations.

4. Prepare for the difficulty walls
There are several monsters in Monster Hunter: World that are designed as gatekeepers and create difficulty spikes when facing them for the first time, and even after that. Some monsters can one-shot your health bar if you’re unprepared, careless, or wearing gear that is weak against their attacks. When this happens you may need to change weapons, farm some specific gear, change your tactics, etc. in order to take them down. Understanding why you lost is the key.

5. Eat and bring buffs and items
The canteen can provide you with more health, stamina, damage, defence, and even special skills like extra monster carves or stronger arrows. You should be eating before every hunt and though initially that chef’s choice seems great eventually you will want to make custom meals to get specific skills. On top of that there is a wide array of items you can pick up in the wild to use for direct buffs or to craft others. Potions for health, null berries to remove most blights, antidote herbs for poison if you’re fighting a poison-based monster, etc. Prepare for each hunt with items you’ll need and they’ll go a lot smoother.

Now then, what are the benefits of solo play?
There actually are some and they are significant. The most obvious is monsters are easier to take down with less health and you may find it’s more efficient to tackle them like this. Their health scales up for multiplayer, regardless of the number with the only difference being with two you have your Palicos, with four it’s just hunters. As a solo player you are also in more control of the fight, the monster will be focused on you or your Palico, you don’t need to worry about disrupting your team-mates or being disrupted yourself. You can back out of a fight and regroup without abandoning your team-mates. You will only lose if you cart three times, having team-mates does not increase that number. I lost one quest because someone joined mine and proceed to die three times within three minutes, it was vexing to say the least.

Multiplayer does have its draws though. A full team working together can annihilate monsters. You may get buffs from the other group members using items and if you are really lucky a good hunting horn user who can make a massive difference to your party. Monsters will focus less on you, so you may get more breathing space. If you are having difficulty with particular monsters you can send an SOS flare for help or look to join someone else’s quest to take it on in a group and learn from other players. If you go for the latter though try to contribute whilst staying as safe as you can, as you don’t want to cart and cause the quest to fail.

And working together is the most fun and rewarding aspect I have to admit. I joined a quest a few days ago with a tight 15-minute window on a monster I wanted to farm, it already had two players in it so adding a third can only help. We had a great moment when the monster was near death with less than two minutes remaining, one player broke off to block its escape just before it tried to disengage and limp off to its nest. He forced it to re-engage us in the same area when it tried, so we didn’t lose time chasing it and I and another player were able to set up big attacks. We stunned it with these and took it down in the time limit, getting high level rewards in the process.

The negatives, random players can muck up your quests, either by carting or just wandering off to fight other monsters instead of the target. Careless users of some weapons can disrupt your attacks, which doesn’t hurt you but may leave you open. They may also not be very good/learning players, putting more emphasis on you to carry the battle. You can restrict joiners though, so it’s not required, or even play in offline mode.

So, what do I recommend? Trying it of course! You absolutely can play it solo, but I would say keep an open mind to the mutliplayer element as you may just find it the best part of the game.

By reader astartespete

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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