Though the Monster Hunter World betas let us experiment extensively with all 14 weapons, they aren’t great representations of what the game’s online experience will be like at launch. We were able to play the first 12 hours in a preview build with multiplayer compatibility, and learned a lot. Here are nine cool things about Monster Hunter World co-op, and one not so great thing, that we think you should know about.
Before I get into the meat of online co-op, let’s just get this out of the way: You can play the entire game with no internet connection, by yourself. I don’t recommend it, as one of the huge draws of Monster Hunter is the ability to hunt with three friends, but you can. At least now the voice-acting and more robust story may make single-player feel more like a traditional campaign, and you do have a Felyne Palico friend. Speaking of offline play, there is also no couch co-op, and (sadly) there never has been.
In previous Monster Hunter games, single-player Village Quests and multiplayer Guild Quests were separate. Basically, you’d have to do the same quest twice – once by yourself offline, and once online – to continue to progress. In Monster Hunter World, these quests are one in the same, and can be accepted from the same main town hub, so you don’t have to switch between online and offline depending if you want to solo hunt or not. Just change the settings as you post a quest.
Along with being able to accept multiplayer quests from town, you can also go to the Gathering Hub, where you can socialize with your hunting party before a quest. Arm wrestling is a simple button mashing mini game, but it’s a fun way to pass the time while waiting for a quest to start.
Monsters have two difficulty settings: solo and multiplayer, which scales automatically. When with others, monsters gain more HP, and may change in other ways not officially discussed. However, hunting with more people means you’ll be targeted less by the monster, giving you time to recuperate. Keep in mind if the difficulty has already raised to accommodate more players, it won’t drop back down if teammates inadvertently leave.
Leave before everyone has hit the ready button? No worries, they can join after the quest starts, even if they didn’t sign up for it when the poster did. As long as they’re in the quest before 10 minutes have passed, they’ll get the same rewards as everyone else – after that 10 minute mark, rewards start scaling down. We weren’t able to experiment with this much, and the mechanic may change with the full game, but this is how it worked in the preview build we played.
If you embark on a solo mission that’s more difficult than expected, you can use an SOS Flare to call for help. Then, friends (or anyone online) can join and help you take down the troublesome monster.
All Monster Hunter games have received ongoing support in the form of free DLC, from special quests to cool collaborations, like the Horizon Zero Dawn collab Monster Hunter World PS4 players will get. Sometimes this new content introduces new, difficult monsters, and will extend the life of Monster Hunter World. We already know the first Monster Hunter World DLC pack will include the infamous Deviljho. Check out the end of the video below to learn more about this infamous death pickle.
Because Monster Hunter World is on a home console, the developers said they can assume more people will be connected online more often. With this assumption, they looked for what more they could do to enhance Monster Hunter World, and mentioned there will be special time-limited Monster Hunter World events.
Don’t worry about having to share a long code every time you want to play with someone, it’s as easy as inviting someone on your PlayStation or Xbox friends list. Squads make playing with friends even easier. Once you’ve joined a squad, you should be able to log onto that squad session online, automatically enabling you to play with any friend also in the squad session.
Up to 50 people can be in the same squad (though we don’t know if there’s a restriction to simultaneous online players in the session), and you can join up to eight squads at a time.
Because the single and multiplayer quests are one and the same now, I was looking forward to playing through the entire story with friends without having to switch back and forth between co-op and solo play. There is, however, a small obstacle that prevents this from working how I expected.
Assigned Quests (essentially replacing key quests, for those familiar with the series) come with cutscenes now, more elaborate than the Monster Ecology scenes we’re familiar with. These cutscenes, which generally trigger when a monster is found in an Assigned Quest, must be viewed before you can play the Assigned Quest with another person.
To get around this, my hunting partner and I would both start the quest at the same time, then, I would drop out of the quest as soon as I saw the cutscene, and join his – after he too viewed the cutscene, of course.
You do only have to play an assigned story quest solo once before you can fight the same monster with others as many times as you’d like under Optional Quests, so though annoying at first, in reality the attempted forced solo-hunting will take up only a tiny portion of play.
When we asked Capcom about why it’s set up like this, they said to wait for the final build, so perhaps this particular mechanic will be tweaked in the final version. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Casey DeFreitas has been hunting monsters since ’05 and can’t wait to get back to the grind. Catch her on Twitter @ShinyCaseyD.