It’s been a long time coming, but Monster Hunter World Iceborne is finally PC-bound. Console players have been enjoying the savage beatdowns offered by series favorites returning in the expansion like Brachydios and Rajang, and it’s almost time for PC players to feel the same pain.
If the lengthy lull in meaningful content led you to fall off the Monster Hunter World horse (or, like me, go back to your roots with Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate), now’s the time to get all caught up before Iceborne brings the hammer down on the PC servers once more. If you’re new to the game or just didn’t get all the way through, here’s how to rush the campaign and grind HR ranks through Monster Hunter World event quests.
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Monster Hunter World progression is tied behind HR or Hunter Ranks for the most part. As you complete key quests in the storyline, your hunter rank increases, giving you access to more difficult fights. Your hunter rank can increase almost infinitely, but the final fight of the base campaign unlocks at HR 16, making it a soft cap. It’s where you’ll want to be as a bare minimum for the release of Iceborne, but there’s a lot more content to be found by pressing on. There’s no way to skip the HR 1-16 grind, but it isn’t until you beat the final campaign fight that you unlock the more traditional way of increasing your hunter rank — a good old-fashioned grind, so you’ll have to go slowly before rushing through the rest.
Once you reach HR 16 and finish the final campaign fight, any HR experience you earned throughout your adventures is tallied up and applied to your now-uncapped HR — up until 29, anyway. At that point, you hit another soft cap and you’ll need to beat up two Tempered Bazelgeuse to unlock it one last time.
After that, you’ll reach the final HR grind of the game. Additional Tempered monsters begin to unlock as your HR increases, up until HR 50 where you’ll find the game’s toughest creatures like the Arch Tempered Elder Dragons and crossover event monsters like the Behemoth from Final Fantasy XIV and the Ancient Leshen from The Witcher. You can climb beyond that, but no base game content is unlocked beyond HR 50.
The Defender and Guardian armor sets were added recently in an effort to get new players all caught up before Iceborne. You won’t find these armor sets in the smithy. Instead, the Defender set can be found in the shop as you walk into the Forge for 300z apiece, while the Guardian set can be obtained on the character creation screen or in the item box of a new character. Each set can effectively take you from the beginning of the story to the absolute end of the base game (and quite far into Iceborne) with the only difference between the two being color.
And it isn’t just the defense value of the set that’ll help you along the way. Like any good armor, the Defender set piles on the bonuses when worn as a complete garb; with the set skills below
Defender /Guardian Armor Set Skills
- Recovery Up (Level 3)
- Increases the amount of health recovery by 30%.
- Marathon Runner (Level 3)
- Slows down stamina depletion for actions that continuously drain stamina (like running) by 50%. (a good one for beginners who’re aren’t used to stamina management)
- Health Boost (Level 3)
- Increases player health by 50 (so you don’t need to worry about eating for or losing a chunk of your health gauge on death. No more Max Potions!)
- Divine Blessing (Level 3)
- Gives a chance of reducing the damage you take by 50% on hit. (this was an almost essential food skill in older games!)
Then there’s the more important part of the fight — weapons. Just like the Defender set, Defender weapons were also recently added as a way for new and lapsed players to get all caught up. They won’t start as strong as a weapon you might naturally end up with later in the game, but with far less effort, they can become as strong, if not stronger, than any late-game equipment out there right now. Basically, every major quest you do throughout the campaign will almost certainly afford you a meaningful upgrade to these weapons. With high base attack power and a hefty chunk of the Blast element, you’ll stagger monsters with ease and beat them down in a flash. These weapons come highly recommended for almost everyone but the most dedicated hunters.
Monster Hunter World Iceborne doesn’t expect every player to have reached this pinnacle. If you only stayed for the story the first time around, you can enjoy whatever tall tales Iceborne has to tell right where you called time on your adventure. If, however, you want to grind up to HR 50 to try your hand at every monster the base game had to offer before diving into the snowy climes of the new world, there are a couple of ways to go about it. Well… sort of. There’s the fast grind and the slow grind.
Doing a quick grind to HR 50 in Monster Hunter World depends entirely on the quests on offer at the time of your mission and your current HR level. We’ve broken things into two categories – the 16-29 grind, and the 29-50 grind, as one major quest doesn’t unlock until the latter half.
HR 16-29 tips
After defeating the Xeno’Jiiva at HR 16 your hunter rank cap will lift, and those invisible points you earned by running things like Investigations and Event quests outside of main story progression up until that point will be retroactively added to your bar. This might catapult you all the way to 29 if you tried hard enough, but probably not if you’ve been abusing the gifts afforded to you by the Defender sets.
If you did stop short of HR 29, don’t worry about it. You can still get there. Unlike the higher ranks, there’s no clear-cut way to grind your way there, though. Just find quests for monsters you enjoy killing and can beat relatively quickly. The difficulty of the quest affects the experience they dish out, so focus on a monster (or monsters) you know you’re good at. Everyone has a different skillset. Taking on multi-monster quests can help, too. These typically have lower HP and can offer a nice variety to stave off repetitive boredom on the grind.
HR 29-50 tips
Once you reach HR 29, the true test begins. You’ll need to complete the final Monster Hunter World “Assigned” quest “Beyond the Blasting Scales” to lift this final HR cap. Hunting two Tempered Bazelgeuse won’t be easy, but the Defender armor and weapons are still up to the task. Once you down these two foes (split them with Dung and play safe when they enrage), your HR will uncap and, just like at HR 16, any experience you gained at the cap will be retroactively applied, potentially catapulting you again.
From then on, it’s the grind to HR 50. HR 30 unlocked by far the best way to grind HR ranks with the Monster Hunter World Event quest “Snow & Cherry Blossoms”. This event quest includes the relatively weak Tempered Legiana and Pink Rathian duo and gives around half an HR level with each 10-15 minute run at around HR 45. The bad news is that it’s only available a handful of times a year — like during the Winter Festival event. Another similar quest, “A Nose for an Eye” swapped these monsters out for the more aggressive Tempered Anjanath and Azure Rathalos.
If these don’t happen to be up as you prepare to grind your way to the top, there isn’t much more to suggest. It’ll be quite the crawl without these HR boosting event quests, but there is worth in using just about any Tempered Monster quest to grind HR ranks. They won’t give as much as those tailor-made event quests, but the jewels they’ll drop along the way will still serve a purpose in end-game Iceborne fights later down the line.
The expansion’s new “Master Rank” levels are entirely separate from traditional Hunter Rank gauge, so you don’t need to worry about missing the add-on’s content. But just know that running through the Iceborne story after launch won’t increase your old Hunter Rank either. If you want to face off against those legacy New World monsters, you might at least want to start the grind now and come back to it once the dust settles.
Whatever you manage to accomplish before Monster Hunter World Iceborne nudges our attention to new and mysterious places, we have plenty of guides from the console version ready to send you off in the right direction.
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