Tips for Playing Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Monster Hunter World has been one of the biggest treats this generation. When the base game launched back in early 2018, many players were hooked, myself included. With the excellent Iceborne expansion finally coming to PC shortly, I’ve provided a few tips for newcomers and returning players to help them get the most out of those vital early hours. There are some really early game spoilers here, but nothing that wasn’t in the promotional material for the game.

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1. Getting Started

The most important thing to know is how to actually gain access to the Iceborne content. The requirements are simple: complete the main story and reach Hunter Rank 16. HR16 should be achieved alongside the story completion so there’s not much to worry about. For new players, there isn’t any means to skip the 40+ hour questline, instead a new armour set has been given to make the low rank quests much quicker to go through.

Once you have done the main campaign you are almost ready to go. Just go to Astera and talk to the highlighted NPC. A short introductory quest later and another quest will open up that will take you to the area of Hoarfrost Reach. Welcome to Master Rank!

If you haven’t played in a while you might want to refine your skills a little by doing some high rank hunts. The new Master Rank isn’t a joke and is a step up from the High Rank quests from the base game. Beotodus is the first monster you will encounter before you are able to access the new hub. He isn’t a particularly tricky monster to fight, but he is the most irritating. To make things simpler, this is technically a monster encountered in the expedition mode, so you don’t need to worry about timers or limited lives. To be brutally honest, this is the worst monster in the expansion so don’t be too put off by it; the next monsters are much better. Though if you are still struggling the next tip will help.

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2. You can get Rarity Level 9 gear really early

You don’t need to worry too much if you haven’t grinded the hell out of Monster Hunter‘s endgame and got the highest rarity gear. If you’re MR16 you should be fine to deal with the opening of Iceborne. Though if Beotodus is giving you some trouble or if you want some peace of mind going in, you can get Rarity 9 gear incredibly early.

As soon as you have unlocked the Master Rank quests, go to the handler and start an optional quest instead: go around the area and farm for some resources. The Wildspire Wastes are a great area to do this in. It won’t take too much of your time and can make the start of Iceborne significantly less painful to go through. Once you’ve got enough resources, go build your new weapons and armour and you are ready. 

With how easy it is to get Rarity 9 weapons, this is also the perfect opportunity to experiment with weapon classes and find something new. I took this moment to try out the upgraded bows; something I never really used before. Go wild and remember there is a training room in Astera that you can access to learn the combos and specifics of each weapon.

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3. The Clutch Claw is an essential new tool.

One of the biggest new features in Iceborne is the Clutch Claw; with it also comes an upgraded slinger. Now you don’t need to stow your weapon away to actually use it. For most weapon types all you need to do is hold the left trigger and you will have access to the slinger, though for weapon types like bows and insect glaives you will need to hold LT and press in the right stick. It might seem like a tiny change, but this upgrades its functionality a lot, especially with its new ability.

Essentially the Clutch Claw will allow you to grapple onto enemies and deal a variety of attacks. Flying enemies are no longer truly out of reach for pretty much every class.

The Clutch Claw will have a different effect depending on not only what attack you use, but where your attack lands and what type of weapon you have. Planting the Clutch Claw into the head will give you momentary control over the monsters positioning. Leave this until the monster starts charging and you can guide them straight into a wall, stunning it for a few seconds.

4. Seliana is your new hub

Welcome to Seliana; your new home in your time at Hoarfrost Reach. Whilst you can go back to Astera at any time, Seliana comes with a few major key advantages that makes it my new main hub. The main advantage is that everything is packed closely, no longer is there a need for longer treks or fast travel to get to the blacksmith quickly. This alone makes Seliana a much simpler hub that you should be using. However a new feature exclusive to this hub makes it almost essential: the Steamworks.

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The Steamworks is essentially a mini-game in which you put in your old resources as a fuel and get rewarded with some useful items. For the most part it’s a game of luck and RNG as you need to hit three buttons in the correct order. However the rewards make it worth it, ranging from the useful Mega Potions all the way up to Max Potions and Celestial Wyverian Prints. There’s no reason not to go to the Steamworks if you have an excess amount of resources. Just don’t put too much in there if you are running low.

5. Read the patch notes! There’s a lot to discover!

Along with the release of the major Iceborne expansion comes patch version 2.0 which brings in a host of improvements from simple QOL improvements and a ton of major gameplay changes. The patch notes (which can be found here) are extensive with a lot to go through and it’s well worth doing just so you know how much has changed if you are returning after a break.

The biggest changes come in the weapon types. Most, if not all of the weapons have had some changes that should make them much more usable and effective. The Insect Glaive for example is easier to aim and will give you those all important boosts a little easier, a small but welcome buff.

Then we got one of my favourite new additions: trailraider mounts. Essentially small taxi rides across the map. You don’t have direct control over these monsters and they will travel to your waypoint.

6. Hoarfrost Reach is cold and dangerous

The new area of the Hoarfrost Reach is an icy tundra with snow impeding your movement and snowdrifts that can knock you into other parts of the map. It’s important to know positioning, as getting stuck in the deep snow in the middle of a fight can lead to a carting. Whilst the snowdrifts can be dangerous to you, they can be weaponised as you send a monster tumbling down them, dealing a good amount of damage whilst stunning them for a precious few seconds.

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It’s a cold brutal world and this cold effects gameplay, wherein your maximum stamina will drop at an alarming rate. To counteract this, you will need to drink a Hot Drink made by picking up Peppers scattered around the map. This will usually only last a short while so every-time you get the chance, top-up to ensure you don’t drop too much. Later on in the game a decoration will become available to you, so you won’t have to worry about topping up on hot drinks.

7. Camp Sites and the Canteens

This applies to all of the maps, but as soon as you can get all the camp sites around the Hoarfrost Reach. This provides a couple of benefits, namely in giving you more starting points to choose from and fast travel options in case you need to catch up to a monster.

Before you go out on a hunt you should visit the canteens and get a meal to boost your stats as high as possible. Although if you forget you can grab a meal at the camp site. Having all the camp sites unlocked will also benefit from being able to get a meal from more places on the map in the case you get carted back.

8. Go for the capture

Capturing a monster is actually really easy, in fact. It will often be easier to capture the monster rather than fight it to the death. Not only will this end the fight earlier, but it will also net you some more resources to build better gear.

To capture a monster you need to deal enough damage to it for the monster to go into a injured state, this will start to reflect in their animations. Once the monster is injured it will try to escape by limping away. Catch up to it, throw some tranquillisers in its face, and finally slap down the shock trap in front of it. If the monster is moving too fast or is a flying variety of monster, just follow it back to its resting point; the scout flies will help. It’s that easy and will cut off a decent chunk of the fight.

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9. Botanist and Field Guide

These are something you should be using in the base game for how essential they are, but for newcomers, don’t underestimate the importance. The botanist will basically allow you to gather a huge amount of resources with little effort. Setting up some herbs to get a good stock would mean you will never have to go hunting for them again, whilst cultivating honey means you can upgrade your current potions in large quantities. I recommend getting a good stock of Honey and Lightning Beetles as you will be going through a lot of these. After that, go for the more specialty stuff.

Then we’ve got the monster field guide. Once you start collecting tracks and fighting monsters, more information becomes available to you. Namely monster’s weak points, resistances, and elemental weaknesses. This is an important tool in preparing for a hunt. Knowing which body parts you should be targeting with your weapon of choice will make gathering rare resources easier. Be sure to go back to the hub and visit the NPC to keep your field guide up to date.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The Monster Hunter community is a friendly bunch and more than likely ready to help new players. They know that Monster Hunter can be a bit daunting for new players so don’t be afraid to ask. The subreddit is a great place to start whilst the subreddit’s own discord server can be also be great.

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Also, don’t be afraid to use the signal flare if you are having issues with a particular hunt. Some of the newer monsters are way tougher than anything in the game before and it can be pretty off-putting. Just send your flare up and someone will join pretty quick. Make sure you aren’t sitting on the sidelines watching the fight though. Bringing in more players into the world gives the monster a health boost that can be much harder if everyone isn’t doing their part. You won’t learn by just sitting on the sidelines and watching; jump in and help your co-op partner, but also play it a little safe by moving away from attacks you don’t full understand yet. Also, bring tools in that will help your allies; the health booster will give a nice safe area for allies to heal whilst they buff up.

We hope these tips will help newcomers and returning players out. If we missed anything, let us know in the comments below.

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