Much of the fun in Monster Hunter World multiplayer is teaming up with three other players and battle it out against overwhelming odds.
While the basic mechanics remain the same as in single player, the addition of other players provides a great opportunity to go farming for precious loot - with four players in the mix you can take out a lot more monsters in a short space of time than going solo.
That said, it isn't the easiest system to work out - so here's an explainer of how it works.
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Elsewhere, our Monster Hunter World tips can help you decide when to farm, what to forage and what to do between hunts, and our Monster Hunter World walkthrough and guide can help with main quest and story progress.
What you need to know about Monster Hunter World multiplayer
Before we get started, there are a few things to note about how Monster Hunter World multiplayer works:
- You cannot join a friend's game is they are doing a hunt that requires a higher Hunter Rank than you. So if you are rank 2 and your friend is rank 8, then you cannot join that tougher quest. But, your rank 8 friend can come in and help you out on a rank 2 quest.
- Assigned (story) quests are a little fussy, and won't allow you to join until any cutscenes have played out, which is usually as you encounter the target monster for the first time. From there, invite or SOS away.
- Difficulty will increase in multiplayer, but it doesn't scale per additional player - so two players (with their Palicos) is the same as four players (who will enter without their Palicos).
- If you're worried about loot, don't worry - you can all carve and get rewards, so you won't miss out compared to solo farming.
How to party up, join friends or create multiplayer games in Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World's multiplayer is a little convoluted, but there are a few easy ways to bypass the many menus.
How to play solo or play with friends
1) When you select your save data at the start, you are promoted with options for 'Search an Online Session', 'Create an Online Session' and 'Squad Session Search'.
This essentially allows you to find an session with random other players, a closed lobby (which a friend or Squad member has made), or start your own.
Whatever you choose, you'll still load into Astera and can start whatever activity you like - but to keep it simple, select 'Create an Online Session', then go to the bottom and choose 'Private Session'.
This creates a lobby, but with just you in it. This means you can play solo, but you can still invite friends directly.
2) To invite a friend, press pause to bring up the menu during a social space such as the Gathering Hall or Astera, then going over to the Communication tab, then Invite a Friend. The PSN or Xbox Live overlay will appear, and you can invite away.
3) You are now in the same session. You won't 'see' each other unless you are both in the Gathering Hall (you can go here from Astera) or are in the same Quest.
To start a Quest for a friend to join, go to the Quest board, then select whatever Quest you want. When you do, you'll be given the option to put in the number of players, and a passcode. The latter is only relevant if you are in an open lobby and don't want randoms joining you.
4) If you start the quest, you can ready up and start whenever you're ready. Your friend, meanwhile, will see a notice on the screen saying you've started a quest. They must go to a Quest board, and instead of Post a New Quest, select Join a Quest, then Available Quests.
How to play with friends in an Expedition
Expeditions are particularly fussy to play with friends, but you can do so by firing an SOS flare (and ideally setting a passcode to stop random players joining you) then having a friend search for your game by going to the Quest Board, then Join a Quest, then SOS and changing the quest type to Expedition and manually finding your session.
If you want to join random players, then you can search using this method. As our Monster Hunter World tips page suggests, though, we wouldn't recommend this if you want to hunt specific monsters - there are activities with better rewards available.
How to join a Squad in Monster Hunter World
Squads in Monster Hunter World is the game's equivalent of a guild or a clan, and has all kinds of benefits if you are playing with the same group of people regularly.
What are Squads in Monster Hunter World?
- If you are part of a Squad, you can see and join friends online much easier. For example, when you start the game, 'Squad Session Search' will automatically join the session of a Squad member already online.
- If there isn't a Squad-created session active, you'll create it, and others can join you later. This means you won't play with randoms, and don't have to invite people to sessions as described above.
- Squad sessions aren't exclusive to Squad members - so feel free to invite others by invitation or sharing the Online Session ID. However, joining the Squad is invite only, as explained below.
- You can leave messages for your Squad - even if they're not online - and you'll be adorned with a Squad icon and name above your character.
- You can be part of up to eight squads at once, allowing you to pick and choose different friend groups easily.
- Each Squad can hold up to 50 members.
How to join a Squad
Joining a Squad is a little cumbersome, as you must be personally invited by the leader of the Squad as there's no manual searching or Squad join request feature.
We're not sure whether you need to be in the same session or not, but to be safe, join the same session as the leader, and have them send an invite (if you are the leader, see below for how to manage your Squad).
Once you get the invite, the game will make it obvious of what to do next. Press start, go to Communication, then select Squads at the bottom, then Join Squad.
You can use that same Communication tab to see your Squad info and leave later if you change your mind - otherwise, you're in and can join whenever you like.
How to start a Squad
Fancy creating your own Squad? First, get over to the Gathering Hub. This is a multiplayer lobby connected to Astera. To get there, you can use one of the lifts to the fourth floor where it's based, or from the World Map, select Astera and select it from the menu to jump straight there.
The Squad Counter is housed right in the middle of the deck. Approach and the top option is Create a Squad.
As a Squad leader, you are the only one who can invite or remove members. So if you start a Squad, it's probably best to be reasonably active so you can deal with new requests from friends!
You can manage your Squad, including sending invites, by pressing pause, then Communication and Squads.
Looking for more Monster Hunter World tips? Our Monster Hunter World walkthrough and guide explains how Assigned missions, Expeditions and Investigations work, which will see you hunt Anjanath, Zorah Magdaros, Diablos, Odogaron as well as Elder Dragons Kushala Daora, Teostra, Vaal Hazah, Xeno'Jiiva and Kirin. If you are starting out, we recommend first using our weapon types list to decide the best weapon for you, learning how to join friends and Squads in multiplayer, plus how to capture monsters and mount monsters. There's plenty of optional stuff - such as Grimalkynes and Doodles, helping unlock Plunderblade and Gajalaka quests - as well as the some new updates coming soon, including the Deviljho release and Spring Blossom Festival.
How to get the most out of Monster Hunter World multiplayer
Whether you're relying on matchmaking, or able to schedule a match with friends, here's a few tips based both on experience with previous games in the series, as well as what's new in World:
- It's worth having a clear goal, assigning roles, making a plan, and balancing your loadouts appropriately. If you're planning on facing off against Diablos or Rathalos it's particularly important that everyone sticks to the agenda as there's little room for heroics!
- Set aside a good chunk of time. While a successful fight won't take long in and of itself, unless you're supremely lucky there will be a lot of failed attempts beforehand.
- Make a couple of runs just to gather intelligence - working out what strengths and weaknesses your foe has, learning their routes as they move from location to location, finding places that allow you to use the environment to your advantage, etc. - before making any serious attempt to tackle them.
- Familiarise yourself with the lay of the land, paying particular attention to how to get from the Camps to the monster's various locations, as you'll likely be fainting and having to make your way back to the battle regularly and getting lost on the way is embarrassing.
- Don't be afraid to abandon a fight if you're running out of time; it may seem like a waste of time to quit after 15 minutes and start again, but it's less of a waste of time than keeping on for another five minutes even though you know you're going to fail!
- On the flipside, don't give up. These fights are designed to be tough, and they reward players who have the patience to keep trying.
Additional reporting by Mat Hall.