Monster Hunter: World gives you a choice of 14 different weapons. It can be a staggering choice to pick through them all, even in the game's safe training area. How do you know which is right for you? If you've gotten bored with a weapon, which one should you consider switching to? This list will help you answer these questions by giving you a quick rundown of popular weapons and what their roles are in a fight.
The following weapons are listed in order of complexity, starting with the most beginner-friendly. If you've spent some time with the simpler weapons, try going farther down the list and see if the added complexity gives you the spice you're looking for.
Sword and Shield
If you're looking for an easy jumping-on point for Monster Hunter, you can't go wrong with the sword and shield. This weapon will give you strong offense and reliable defense, and won't hinder your movement if you want to roll away from an attack.
The basic attack combos (pressing either of the attack buttons three times in a row) have speedy animations that make it easy to hit your target while giving you ample time to guard against or dodge an incoming attack. Unlike other weapons that use consumable items or have separate meters to watch, you only have to keep an eye on the sword and shield's sharpness meter and your character's stamina, just like all the other melee weapons in Monster Hunter: World.
The role of the sword and shield is to stun enemies by attacking a monster's head with your shield (by pressing Circle on PS4 or B on Xbox One) and draining its stamina with blunt damage. Follow up with sword combos (using Triangle or Y) to deal more powerful cutting damage. This weapon is the only one that lets you use healing items while the weapon is still drawn.
The hammer is a close second regarding ease of use for beginners. The slower attacks, shorter range and lack of a shield cut down some of the safety nets that the sword and shield can provide to new players. However, the hammer isn't overly slow and, as with the sword and shield, the only extra system you have to to keep in mind is the sharpness meter. Why do you have to sharpen a hammer? Don't worry about it.
The goal of hammer users is to knock monsters out by attacking the head. If you're not smacking them in the head, you're not doing the most damage you could be. This encourages a very aggressive but uncomplicated role in combat. Aside from pressing Triangle or Y to do standard attacks, look for an opening to do either a charge attack (R2 or RT, then Circle or B) or a chain attack on stunned enemies (repeatedly pressing Circle or B).
The light bowgun is a good choice if you're looking for something very different, or if the melee combat in Monster Hunter: World just isn't clicking with you. Controls for this class are like any other shooter where the left shoulder button aims and the right shoulder button fires. There's no sharpness meter to worry about; instead, the light bowgun uses multiple types of ammo that you'll have to craft or purchase before getting into a fight. Keeping track of your supplies and switching to the appropriate ammo type is more work, but you won't need to memorize any attack combos, and the fast roll speed will keep you safe.
Light bowgun users keep their distance, using different ammo for different situations. The exact light bowgun you have will determine what ammo can be loaded and its effectiveness. Depending on what ammo you have loaded, you'll be able to deal damage from near and far. You'll also be able to dole out various elemental damage, stun monsters or even heal teammates. Pressing Circle or B plants a mine that can be triggered multiple times by player or enemy attacks.
The heavy bowgun might seem redundant at first, but it fills a very different role than the light bowgun. Using all of the same controls and ammo types, heavy bowguns greatly decreaseyour mobility and the speed of your dodge roll, but increase your power-per-shot and rate of fire. You'll need to be quite good at predicting incoming attacks when using the heavy bowgun.
During a fight, the heavy bowgun often plays the role of a stationary turret, which makes it ideal for use in multiplayer. Ammo types that have a slow rate of fire and high recoil with the light bowgun can be fired far faster and more accurately with the heavy bowgun. Pressing Circle or B loads a round that lets you perform one of two special attacks depending on your weapon: a single-fire explosive round or a sustained rapid-fire.
The switch axe is a transforming weapon that gives players access to two different movesets in one. You start with the long-reaching axe that has weaker, slow attacks. Attacks with the axe build up your switch meter that lets you press R2 or RT to transform into the faster, stronger sword. Sword attacks drain this switch meter, so you'll have to move back to the axe form eventually. The switch axe can also be equipped with different phials at give the sword form special properties, like elemental damage.
Switch-axe users are damage-dealers that rely on getting in close and dodging attacks to stay safe. The trick comes in balancing out the different forms of the weapon so that you're always dealing the most damage possible. While in sword form, you also build a separate amp meter that, when full, further boosts your attack damage. Pressing Circle or B in sword form expends the rest of your switch meter to perform a slow but strong elemental discharge attack, which is even stronger if used when the amp meter is full.
The charge blade is a top pick among veterans of the series, and hands-down the most complex melee weapon in the game.
The charge blade is another transforming weapon, going from a large sword and shield into a double-headed axe. The aim of this weapon is to build up a charge meter with your sword attacks, then discharge the sword's energy into your shield's phials by pressing R2 and Circle (RT and B). The shield becomes the axe head once transformed, and is then enhanced with the charges from the sword. The phials are used up in axe form during powerful discharge attacks, transformation combos and a super-attack that expends all five charged phials at once.
The charge blade is a potent weapon. It gives you the ability to deliver a ton of damage while retaining fast movement and defensive options all at the cost of strict combo timings, a complex phial-management system and the risk of overcharging your phials to get a lengthy cool-down penalty.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Andrew Melcon is a freelance writer who specializes in covering games and gaming hardware. He's tackled everything from PC game controllers to Pokémon and PUBG and his work has appeared on sites including Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, Laptop Mag, and more.