Monster Hunter Stories 2 Beginner's Guide: Essential Rider Tips

Here's what you need to know to become an expert rider in Monster Hunter Stories 2 for Switch and PC.

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Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a delightful little RPG adventure with a cheerfully simplistic demeanor that belies its true nature. As a spin-off of Capcom's popular Monster Hunter series, it retains much of the nuance and complexity that the main games are best known for, reinterpreting it with approachable, easy-to-understand turn-based combat with a strategic edge. Below, we outline some essential tips to ensure you're always on the right foot in this creature-collecting adventure.

Scavenge, Scavenge, Scavenge

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MHS2 wouldn't be a Monster Hunter game if you didn't have to forage constantly. Many of the game's systems are driven by the resources you gather, often requiring specific components to craft many of the essential items you need to survive, such as potions, armor, and weapons.

You never want to be short on supply of anything in MHS2, so make sure to scour every nook and cranny for anything you can pick up. That means herbs, honey, ore, stones, bugs, spider webs--literally anything that isn't bolted to the ground and you can put into your pocket.

It's also crucial you develop this habit, as many of the game's subquests require you to turn in copious amounts of items you obtain from the environment. You don't want to be without the substantial XP rewards these subquests typically offer, so do not hesitate to be as the wild melynx wandering the treacherous wilds, collecting all the junk forever and ever.

Accept Every Subquest And Consider When To Turn Them In

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Speaking of subquests, you'll typically want to accept every single one available from the quest board before embarking out into the world. Many have conditions tied to slaying specific monsters, so it's best to have those active if you intend to spend a lot of time outside the village.

Another handy pro tip is putting your lowest-level monsties into your party before turning in your completed subquests. Always take a moment to check if you have any on reserve you want to level up, or if you have some eggs you know will hatch a new kind of monster you'll want to make a mainstay to your lineup. Consider getting those into your party first, as subquest XP rewards can be an easy way to power level weaker, newborn monsties.

Fight Every Monster Type You See

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After slaying a monster, you're rewarded with a handful of parts from them. These are just as essential as natural resources, so you'll want to frequently kill various monster types to ensure a steady pool of parts you can use for crafting and upgrading weapons and armor.

It's also imperative to make it second nature to fight every new monster type you encounter in the world, not simply for the sake of satisfying your own curiosity, but because defeating a new monster type will typically unlock its associated weapon or armor set to craft from the Smithy. Even small monsters yield important ancillary parts needed to create weapons and armor sets, emphasizing the importance of never passing up a fight against a fresh new foe.

Always Have Multiple Weapons/Armor Sets On-Hand

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The reason why it's crucial to have as many resources as possible is because of how essential crafting and upgrading new weapons and armor sets is to the loop of MHS2. Like mainline Monster Hunter games, keeping a varied arsenal of weapons and armor is crucial for survival. Each has its own unique skills that either enhance your character's physical properties or give them special attacks, so you'll want to have several on-hand for the various situations where their strengths can be best utilized.

Above all, you'll want to prioritize expanding your weapon arsenal--something the game naturally introduces early on with attack type efficiency against monsters, which relates to the three weapon properties: slash, blunt, and pierce. You'll start the game with the great sword (slash) and hammer (blunt), but once you spend more time exploring what the Smithy can craft, you'll want to expand your efficiency by acquiring more weapons, such as the sword & shield (slash), bow (pierce), hunting horn (blunt), and gunlance (pierce).

The bow or gunlance will fill your pierce blindspot, so jump on either of those first. On the other hand, the hunting horn can be a solid alternative to the hammer that focuses on healing/buffs, while the sword & shield is just a more defensive version of the great sword that can mitigate some of the power of devastating attacks.

It's not necessary to dump all your money and resources into crafting every weapon type, but as long as you have weapons covering the slash, pierce, and blunt categories, you should be golden. The nitty-gritty in-between that you choose to emphasize, such as elemental properties and equipment skills, is primarily up to your preference. You'll want to follow the same strategy with armor--though crafting sets tends to come at a higher monetary and resource cost. If you're short on cash and parts, we recommend investing in all-arounder sets that enhance your HP, defense, or attack.

Regardless, try to maintain a "jack-of-all-trades" approach, and you should be ready for most encounters.

Be Mindful Of When To Upgrade Weapons And Armor

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On the other hand, try to be smart about when you acquire certain weapons and armor sets. The upgrade cap for every weapon and armor set is level three.

If you notice a particular weapon or armor set's max stats isn't cutting it against a tough monster, it might be better to invest in stock with higher base stats to balance yourself against the current difficulty curve better. For instance, if an existing set you own maxes out its upgrade path at a defense of 38 when there's another set available with a base defense of 36, it's best to craft that more powerful set instead of upgrading your current one. This same principle also applies to weapons.

Always be mindful of how your current equipment's statistics stack up to the latest stock. With every new monster type you kill, available equipment changes, so make it a habit to check up on the effectiveness of your current loadout frequently. While it generally pays to be prepared for a wide range of circumstances in MHS2, negligence toward best leveraging your resources with the equipment available will only spell doom (and wasted money).

Utilize The Prayer Pot

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As you explore MHS2's village hubs, you'll notice an altar called a Prayer Pot. This is a handy utility you can use to give yourself passive bonuses while you're out in the field. There are two options when you interact with one: Pray and Offer Charm. When you pray, you get a temporary minor experience boost, but the best bonuses come from offering charms.

As you loot treasure and complete subquests, you'll find charms that activate when you offer them to the Prayer Pot. They also last for a limited time but provide valuable bonuses, such as larger XP boosts, rare drop chance increases, reduced Smithy and Market prices, and more. There's typically a charm that'll enhance any activity you're looking to complete in MHS2, so be sure to offer one up to the Prayer Pot ahead of time.

Try to Sneak Up on Monsters for Rear Attacks

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Like many recent RPGs, enemies are visible on the world map for you to initiate battle encounters. While you might be inclined to jump straight into a fight, it's usually best to approach monsters from the rear. This is because initiating an encounter directly behind a monster's field of vision will start the fight with a Rear Attack, giving you a free turn to lay into a monster without them being able to retaliate.

However, do try to be careful because monsters can also sneak up on you to initiate a Rear Attack phase. If you're opening a chest, for example, a nearby monster can quickly rush you from behind. To avoid these situations, make sure the coast is clear before interacting with anything in the environment. It's a monster-eat-monster hunter world out there, so try not to get jumped.

Be Mindful Of Your Party's Turn Actions

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MHS2's combat system doesn't have you managing many actions aside from your own and occasionally your monstie. Combat is generally quite reactive, forcing you to adapt to an opponent's attack patterns on the fly. While you can quickly shift your strategy against an enemy monster at a moment's notice, your monstie and battle buddies will frequently follow the beat of their own drums--sometimes in favor of the party, other times not so much.

While you can't do anything to prevent battle buddies from using an attack that will cause the enemy to overpower them, you can at least adjust your monstie's attack via the monsties menu. If they don't have an ability that'll properly counter the enemy's upcoming attack, or if they lack the kinship energy to use the right move, try switching them out with a monstie with the correct attacks instead. There's no need to take a senseless hit, after all.

There are a few exceptions when you want to go with the flow of your party. For instance, when you're a bit worse for wear, your battle buddy will typically want to heal you. Pay attention to when they're about to do so--not only to save yourself from double-healing but also to optimize your strategy further so that you can continue to pile on the damage against an enemy.

Being mindful of your party's turn actions can also help you use the powerful Double Attack maneuver repeatedly and more effectively. Obviously, you can Double Attack with your monstie when you both use the same attack type against an enemy when they're focusing their attention on you or your monstie. But you can also do the same with your battle buddy's monstie if the enemy's gaze is on them instead. Always pay attention to your party's turn actions in this way, as the more opportunities you have to Double Attack, the better.

Don't Forget To Sell Your Trade-In Items

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Your time spent gathering resources and winning battles will accumulate what's known as Trade-in Items, which are meant to be sold at either the Smithy or Market. If you're not one to sell your stuff too frequently, you might miss this option altogether. Be sure to jump into the sell menu often to offload any Trade-In Items you've got for a quick buck.

Make Frequent Visits To Melynx Inc.

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In the opening hours of MHS2, you're introduced to Melynx Inc., an industrious businessmelynx that sells all sorts of items you can't get anywhere else. However, he only accepts bottle caps as currency, so you'll need to raid a few dungeons called Everdens to earn enough to purchase what he has in stock.

There are quite a few helpful commodities to be purchased from Melynx Inc. The most useful of them all are the various Stable Upgrades, which increase the number of monsties you can keep in storage. However, he also stocks unique weapons, armor sets, crafting recipes, and talismans you can't get anywhere else, or at least not until later in the game. Be sure to check with Melynx Inc. often throughout your adventure, as he's bound to have something that'll be of use to you.

You Don't Need To Stick With The First Egg You Pick Up

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When you reach the end of a Monster Den, you get the opportunity to pick up a monster egg. The egg you get is randomly pulled from a set of monsters that are known to be native to the area you're exploring. However, something to note when you're picking up an egg is that you have the option to discard the one you've picked up to grab another one. You'll typically want to do this if you've acquired an egg for a monster you already have.

This is an especially critical practice when you're in Rare Monster Dens, which are dens with gold-colored entrances that yield higher-quality monster eggs. When you switch out eggs at the nest, you're typically guaranteed a high-quality egg every time. So if you're looking for a particular monster egg, be sure to utilize this to increase your chances of nabbing it.

Be careful, though, because doing this too many times can sometimes yield consequences depending on the circumstances. For example, if you're at an abandoned nest or one with a sleeping monster, discarding eggs too many times may summon or reawaken the nest's monster. Fortunately, being jumped by a monster while you're holding an egg doesn't harm you, so long as you come out of the encounter alive.

Note The Color And Pattern Of Monster Eggs Before Hatching Them

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To help you better identify monster eggs, try to take note of the color and pattern of the egg before hatching it. Whether you write down details about the design or capture a screenshot, do whatever you need to start improving your ability to identify eggs. It becomes paramount the further you get into the game, as the need to acquire more monsties for the Rite of Channeling increases (more on that later).

Don't Be Afraid To Get Creative With Rite of Channeling

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When you first unlock the Rite of Channeling, it can seem a bit intimidating. This complex system has you splicing monstie genes into other monsties to enhance their power and capability.

To explain: an individual monstie's genes are laid out on a 3x3 grid. Some nodes are active with combat skills or passive abilities, while others open with even more combat skills or passive abilities when that monstie achieves a certain level. Some nodes can't be accessed unless you feed a monstie a stimulant, a special item you can purchase from Melynx Inc.; these unlocked nodes will appear as open slots that you can freely insert a gene into. If you slot the same type of gene three times in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, that monstie will receive a bingo bonus that further enhances their power. On the other hand, overlapping a gene with the same gene will increase its effectiveness.

Rite of Channeling isn't required to contend with the challenges that MHS2's story throws at you, but it can be a fun diversion to pour time into in order to min-max your monsties. Part of the appeal comes from simply getting creative with it and not worrying too much about the consequences. With this form of gene splicing, you can imbue monsties with certain attacks or elemental abilities they wouldn't naturally have otherwise. You can even defy a monstie's natural skill affinity by giving them access to every type in the game, or maybe you want to enhance the strengths that monstie already has. The sky's the limit when it comes to Rite of Channeling, so don't hesitate to have fun and see how things turn out. After all, you can always get more monsties.

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