Monster Hunter World weapon types come in a range of shapes and sizes, and deciding which to choose can feel overwhelming.
The beta provides one example of each, plus a limited selection of armour and other items to choose from, but they're all in their base configuration with no upgrades so there's not much scope for experimentation. In the full game each item will have an upgrade tree allowing you to increase and expand your arsenal's potential, but for the purposes of the beta all the items available are in their vanilla fresh out of the box state.
If you're after more help, our Monster Hunter World beta guide and tips gives you an overview of how tackle missions against Great Jagras, Barroth and Anjanath, and we explain how to join and create games in multiplayer.
Which weapon is best for you in Monster Hunter World?
For the beta, especially for new players, for simplicity we'd recommend sticking with the default weapons choice, the Steel Axe, as it's a good all-rounder - in Sword mode it's reasonably quick, in Axe mode it deals heavy damage, it has plenty of combos, plus it looks cool.
That said, you may prefer a faster or more impactful weapon - the below list explains the pros and cons to every type - so try them out in the Training Area to get a feel for how they perform.
For those coming from other Monster Hunter games, it should be noted there are no new weapon types in Monster Hunter World, so if you have a favourite from a previous game, then that should behave much the same here.
Monster Hunter World weapon types explained
- Deals huge damage with each swing, and does double duty as a shield. Ideal against large lumbering enemies.
- Not only does the weapon swing slowly, with it drawn your movement speed is also reduced.
- Stick to charged attacks where possible, and only deploy the weapon when you're ready to strike.
Sword and Shield
- Can use healing items with it still equipped, fast, with decent defensive potential.
- Short reach is less effective against large monsters, and attacks don't do much damage.
- Use oils on the blade to increase the damage output, and concentrate on the weak spots.
- Increases movement speed, and building up a string of hits will allow you to enter Demon Mode to further increase your damage.
- In Demon Mode your stamina drains even when you're not doing anything, so careless play can leave you immobilised.
- Watch your stamina; if you're in Demon Mode we'd recommend disengaging when it drops below 50% to give you a margin of safety.
- Fast, with a good reach, and has chargeable combos that can add buffs to your weapon if pulled off.
- Does less damage when not buffed, so if you lose your flow you can suddenly find yourself at a disadvantage at a crucial moment.
- Learn the combos! Without being able to pull them off the weapon is fairly ineffectual.
- Charged attacks that are unblockable, and hitting an enemy on the noggin a few times will knock them out.
- Slow, a bit short range, and drains your stamina rapidly.
- Use charged attacks sparingly, and only when you're sure you're going to actually land a blow.
- Similar to the hammer it can land KO hits, but has a better range.
- Can provide additional buffs for you and your party members.
- Can be complicated to use. Spend time in the Training Area learning the "songs" specific to your horn.
- Long range, comes with a shield, and can attack low and high to get to those hard to reach fleshy parts.
- Reduced mobility when deployed - dodge-rolling is off the table - and using the shield eats stamina.
- The third hit in the basic combo starts a lengthy animation cycle that leaves you wide open, so don't spam it - make sure you're hitting the enemy before making the final strike.
- Similar to the Lance, but with the added ability to fire explosives that add a damage buff to the business end.
- If you fire too many shots it'll overheat, and it goes blunt much more quickly than other weapons.
- Keep an eye on the temperature gauge, and make sure you keep it well sharpened.
- As with the lance, avoid completing the basic combo unless you're sure of scoring a hit as it has the same drawback.
- Can switch between a long range heavy axe and a reasonably fast and incredibly sharp sword.
- Movement speed is vastly reduced in Sword mode, but overusing the Axe reduces its effectiveness, so you have to keep switching.
- Keep switching modes to avoid the Axe running out of steam, and if you do need to recharge make sure you get some distance between you and your enemy as it takes a while.
- Has two modes like the Switch Blade; Sword mode charges the Axe to deal extra damage, and also comes with a shield.
- Switching modes is slow, so it requires a measured approach.
- Avoid Axe mode until it's fully charged, and don't switch unnecessarily.
- Allows for some fancy acrobatics that are ideal against fast-moving enemies, and launching Insects at your enemies can provide some useful buffs.
- Can be tricky to use effectively.
- Spend time in the Training Area learning how to aim the insect launcher. Experiment with using the insects on different parts of your enemies to see what buffs you can produce.
- Range allows you to fight from relative safety, and a number of powder coatings are available for your arrows to suit different enemies.
- Charging attacks eats stamina, and using a bow restricts your armour choices.
- Get a feel for how long it takes to charge a shot, and only start to draw your bow when you're ready - keeping it pulled back will churn through your stamina and leave you defenceless.
- Similar to bows, but uses different ammo types instead of powder coatings.
- Reloading can leave you wide open at unfortunate moments, and they can be difficult to aim effectively.
- Get a feel for the optimum range for your weapon and ammo type; being too close or too far away reduces the effectiveness.