I’m not a Monster Hunter pro. Monster Hunter: World, which is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, is the first time the series has captured my attention. It’s a fantastic action role-playing game that’s fun to play alone or with friends.

But now that I’m a slightly more seasoned hunter, I wished I knew earlier some basics before heading out. So, before you get started on your own adventure, take heed of these early lessons that will get your hunting career started with as little pain as possible.

Above: I like big swords.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Try every weapon as soon as you can

Early on, you go on a tour of Monster Hunter: World’s hub town. This includes a trip to your room. From there, you can access a practice arena that lets you try out all of the game’s weapons. Do just that.

Every weapon in Monster Hunter: World has a different attack style and feel. Great Swords are slow but strong, Bowguns let you shoot from a distance, and the Hunting Horn plays music as you attack, with specific songs granting your party buffs. You have access to 14 different weapon types, so practice with each one a bit to see what you like. Some are better suited to beginners. If you’re new to Monster Hunter, maybe don’t go with the complicated bagpipes.

Progression in Monster Hunter: World focuses on building and upgrading your weapon. Making it stronger requires parts from the monsters you kill, which are precious resources. You don’t want to waste time upgrading a weapon you don’t really like, so it’s worth it to figure out which weapon you want to focus on early.

Above: Worry more about avoiding attacks than landing your own.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Fight defensively

Fighting giant monsters takes a lot of time and focus. These battles are long, and you won’t survive them if you just run up to your enemies and spam attacks. A single hit from a monster can take out a lot of your life.

You need to fight smart and defensively. Observe your enemy and notice patterns of invulnerability, and then strike. And always be ready to dodge one of their attacks with a roll.

Also, it’s OK to run away. You’re going to need to use potions to restore health and your sharpening stone to keep your weapon dealing as much damage as possible (your weapon won’t break, but it begins to become weaker if you don’t keep it sharp). Using these items takes time, and the action gets cancelled if you take a hit. If you need to heal, try to get some distance from your enemy or hide.

Also, monsters will sometimes run away from you after they take a beating. Before giving chase again, take a moment to plan. Heal up and use any other support items you need to. If your monster flees, you can always track them down again.

Above: Get em!

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Don’t be afraid to play with strangers

You can play Monster Hunter: World solo and have a lot of fun, but don’t be afraid to try out its multiplayer. The game makes it easy to connect with friends or strangers online. From the hub town, every mission board gives you access to an online lobby. You can search for certain conditions like hunter experience to refine your search, or you can just press a button and have the game automatically connect you to a session.

If you want to play with others with even less hassle, use a Signal Flare during a mission. This lets other players join your mission immediately and offer help. You can also volunteer to help players who have used their own Signal Flares from the town hub.

Playing with others is a different experience that’s worth trying. Having a monster’s attention split between multiplayer players gives you more room to use items. And, hey, it’s neat to have a buddy help you when you’re trying to take down that giant dinosaur thingy.

Above: Eat the fish.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Make the rounds around town between every mission

The game’s town has a lot shops and offerings that you should take advantage of before every mission. The Canteen gives you food that will grant you a temporary buff. You should eat something from there before any activity.

You can also take up bounties. These are like mini-quests that you can complete during other activities, things like collect six mushrooms or kill two giant monsters. You can hold onto six of these at a time, so always make sure you’re stocked up on them. You get good rewards for finishing them, and they don’t take much effort. You’ll complete most of them just by doing your usual thing during a hunt.

Also make sure you visit the smithy after every big monster kill. You collect parts from creatures that you can use to craft and upgrade weapons and armor. See if you can use any new items to bolster your equipment before going out on another quest.

Above: Don’t forget to upgrade your buddy’s equipment.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

Keep your inventory clean

You can only hold so many items in your pouch, so make sure you use one of the chests scattered around town to place things like plants, bugs, mushrooms, and more inside them. You won’t have direct access to them when you’re running around during missions, but having a full pouch means you can’t pick up any new items.

You should be good taking what you need from your chests before every mission. Also make sure you’re crafting items you need as early as possible, so you don’t have the base ingredients cluttering up your inventory. And if you have items you don’t need — like ammo for a weapon type you aren’t using — don’t be afraid to sell them.