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How to start Monster Hunter World Iceborne

How to start your journey in the frosty expansion.

Monster Hunter World Iceborne is the expansion to 2018's big-budget take on Capcom's colossally successful action role-playing series, bringing with it a whole new audience that's ever eager for more monsters to slay.

Iceborne introduces a new land mass and monsters to Monster Hunter World, but also revamps all existing content too as part of a new Master Rank - with tweaks and changes to existing encounters - as well as a Clutch Claw, giving hunters a new option in combat.

For seasoned Monster Hunter World players who have been chipping away at the end game, you should have access. For everyone else, there are certain requirements you need to achieve before the expansion is available to you, so we've explained these, along with how to start Iceborne in Monster Hunter World when you complete them.

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Monster Hunter World Iceborne starting requirements

There are two main requirements you need to complete before you can start Monster Hunter World Iceborne:

Something that can help speed things along is the option of using Guardian Armour - a free powerful upgrade introduced alongside Iceborne we explain just below.

High Rank 16 is almost guaranteed by completing the main story. If after completing these quests you still aren't there, then keep hunting - it might be a nice excuse to visit some of the DLC and optional monsters, such as Behemoth and Bazelgeuse - until you reach it.

(And, when you do reach High Rank 16, you'll also get access to The Witcher crossover quest.

Cover image for YouTube videoMonster Hunter World: Iceborne - 5 News Things Added in the Huge Expansion

How to get Guardian Armour in Monster Hunter World Iceborne

Available free for all players - whether you are buying Iceborne or not - is the Guardian Armour set. This is a defence-heavy set that helps you speed through the High Rank portion of the game so you can reach the expansion's Master Rank content faster.

As well as High Rank stats and defences - which can be equipped as soon as you start Low Rank - it has the following skills, according to Capcom:

  • Recovery Up Lv. 3: Increases the amount of healing effects by 30%
  • Marathon Runner Lv. 3: Slows down stamina depletion for actions which continuously drain stamina (such as dashing) by 50%
  • Health Boost Lv. 3: Increases maximum player health by 50
  • Divine Blessing Lv. 3: Gives you a chance to decrease damage taken by 50%

It won't let you brute force your way through the game's challenges - our own Martin Robinson says it's pretty useless against the late game Elder Dragons - so you don't be out of the woods when it comes to grinding for materials. But to speed you through the early-to-mid game, it sounds pretty handy.

(If you are looking for some useful late game High Rank armour, Arekkz's build described here helped us out a lot!)

Cover image for YouTube videoMonster Hunter World | Odogaron Dragonking - Best High Rank Armor Recommendation

To get the Guardian Armour, make sure you have downloaded the Iceborne patch on September 6th, then do the following:

  • New Monster Hunter World players: On the 'create your Hunter' screen, open the Default Armour option and select Guardian α+. If it's not there, double check you have the latest game update.
  • Existing Monster Hunter World players: Once you have got as far as your first Astera assignment, head to your room, visit the Housekeeper and go to 'Claim Add-On and Bonuses', where the Armor set will be waiting.

Once you have beaten final boss Xeno'Jiiva and reached High Rank 16, it's then time to start Iceborne...

How to start Monster Hunter World Iceborne

Once you have met the Iceborne requirements above, or are entering Iceborne past High Rank 16 already, the rest is relatively straightforward.

To start sure you have the latest patch installed - you know you have when you're visited with patch notes upon loading that explain the game's various differences - then head to the Asteria hub.

From there, talk to the Feisty Fiver at the start of the departure gate to start the opening quest in the Ancient Forest.

Here's how that mission plays out:

Cover image for YouTube videoMonster Hunter World: Iceborne - The First 17 Minutes of Opening Gameplay

Once you have beaten Iceborne's first monster Beotodus, you then have access to the Hoarfrost Reach hub area:

Cover image for YouTube videoMonster Hunter World: Iceborne Gameplay - Exploring the New Hub Area

From there you can continue hunting the expansion's many new monsters, take on new side-quests - including the Surveyor Set and Boaboa - and more.

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Matthew Reynolds avatar

Matthew Reynolds


Matthew Reynolds edited guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer from 2010 - 2023. When he wasn't doing that, he was out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.