Monster Hunter: World -- Ultimate Guide to High Rank
I don't think anyone would blame you if you thought the final struggle with Zorah Magdaros was the end of Monster Hunter: World, especially with the stronger emphasis on story in this installment. However, I'd argue that that's when the game truly begins.
As soon as you take down Zorah Magdaros, you enter a hard-mode stage of the game called High Rank. The monsters are much stronger and have all sorts of new materials for better armor and weapons. There are even a wide array of new monsters that weren't available in Low Rank.
So what are you to take away from this? Well, for starters, expect to get your butt kicked a lot harder than usual. Hunts are going to last a lot longer and be a lot scarier in general until you land on your feet with High Rank gear. Getting to that point, though, can feel like starting from scratch again.
Thankfully, however, the game has structured its introduction to High Rank in a way that makes grinding for new materials and gear a natural extension of the main story. That said, it's still a tad overwhelming if you don't know what you're in for, so we've compiled a bunch of solid tips to keep in mind while you're just starting out in High Rank. Let's dive in!
The Ultimate Guide to High Rank in Monster Hunter: World
While off on the expedition to fight a stronger-than-usual Pukei Pukei, you'll discover the tracks of a peculiar type of Rathian. This begins a huge quest to travel each map and search for tracks of the strange Rathian species. While this could easily come across as padding hours into the game, it's actually a brilliant way to force you into gathering High Rank materials so you can craft better gear.
You won't have many quests to start out with, however. You may have some extra Pukei Pukei hunts and maybe a Barroth, but that's about it. That's because you need to actually go out and discover the High Rank variants for each monster before their quest will even unlock. To do this, you can either discover them on a quest to fight another monster, or you could go on High Rank Expeditions.
Then, all you really need to do is complete a bunch of hunts and your Special Investigations bar for tracking the Rathian will gradually fill up, even if you don't encounter any tracks. In this stage, it's a good idea to grind towards new Armor and Weapon upgrades so that you actually stand a chance in the later stages of High Rank. Remember to gather the new ores, bones, and small monster carves, too, in order to have the right materials for crafting.
The New High Rank Armor System in Monster Hunter: World
High Rank Armor works completely different now than it ever has before. As soon as you hit High Rank, each new Armor set has an Alpha and a Beta version. They each cost the same amount of materials and give the same Defense, but there is a really key difference between their Armor Skills.
You'll quickly notice that Alpha sets have several more Armor Skills than the Beta sets. They often even have a few really high-level skills if you wear the whole set. However, there isn't a lot of customization to be had with Alpha sets.
Beta sets have far fewer Armor Skills than their Alpha counterparts. However, they actually have room for a fair amount of Skill customization, since they're the only sets in the game that come with Decoration slots.
Decorations and Armor Skills
Decorations unlock as soon as you reach High Rank. You can craft them at the Smithy, mine them from ore deposits, or earn them as quest rewards. If you place Decorations into a Beta set, they add new Armor Skills to it, allowing for a wide range of customization.
Decorations are scarce at the start of High Rank, so you may be better off sticking to Alpha gear in the beginning. However, once you've got your hands on the right Decorations, Beta sets are the best way to maximize your potential.
Melding, the Argosy Trade Ship, and Misc Unlocks
After High Rank revs up, you unlock a few new special NPCs in the Tradeyard of Astera.The first one is the Melder, who will trade your materials for hard-to-get items and rare materials that you may need. Later, the Melder will also offer to trade the Decorations going unused in your inventory for some that you may actually want, making crafting the Beta sets you desire that much easier.
The Argosy Trade Ship will eventually unlock after completing a few High Rank quests. It comes by once every four to six quests and tends to stick around for two to three more. Here you can trade Research Points for sets of rare items that you may need. You can also request for the Argosy to make certain stops on its voyage to ensure that they come back with the items you want.
The Provisions Stockpile -- the Item Shop, yeah -- even gets exciting new things, such as the Powercharm and Armorcharm items that boost your Attack and Defense stats respectively. Those can later even be upgraded by combining them with a material from a special High Rank monster.
Remember to check back with the Farm, Canteen, Item Shop, Melder, and Smithy frequently as High Rank progresses since new features will continue to be unlocked at each.
High Rank Scoutfly Upgrades
More Scoutfly upgrades unlock as soon as you land in High Rank. Monsters that existed in Low Rank go from having three Scoutfly upgrades to six in total. Any monsters found exclusively in High Rank have four total Scoutfly upgrades.
While the original Scoutfly upgrades made tracking monsters easier and easier at the start of each quest, High Rank upgrades let you start quests with your Scoutflies already out and tracking something.
The first new upgrade level allows Scoutflies to lock onto a monster track as soon as you load into an area, while the second High Rank upgrade level locks the Scoutflies onto the monster's location as soon as you enter the map. The third Scoutfly level, however, takes things a step further and straight up shows the monster's destination and status on the map.
It's obviously worth every effort to max out your Scoutflies on each monster -- or at least the ones you plan on fighting a lot. However, simply grinding hunts over and over again isn't the quickest way to level up your Scoutfly. The best way to research monsters is to interact with a ton of their tracks. It doesn't matter if you're already on their trail, if you interact with every monster track you come across in each quest, you'll gain Scoutfly levels dramatically quicker than any of your peers.
And that pretty much covers everything you need to know about High Rank. Best of luck against the powered up monsters! For more hunting help, be sure to check out the rest of our Monster Hunter: World guides.