So you just got Monster Hunter World and you're looking to build out the most powerful character possible. Welcome to the club.
Your first big decision to make is what weapon type you want to specialize in. Like previous games in the franchise, it's very important that you pick a weapon type in Monster Hunter World and stick to it. While deviating to try out one or two other options to mix things up isn't necessarily going to ruin you, the game is challenging enough that becoming an expert at a single weapon type is the best way for you to avoid costly deaths.
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Before we get started, note that most of the weapon types in Monster Hunter World are viable. However, there are a few that simply have a higher capacity for effectiveness in the current metagame, and until new bosses and weapon balance patches are added, this is unlikely to change.
Below is the tier list, ranked from A to F.
Bow: I never thought I'd say this but the Bow in this game is remarkably powerful. You will need some patience to use the kit to its fullest, but the big game changer here is Dragon Piercer. No longer do you need to invest dozens of hours into maximizing your Bow to near its potential. You can pick a Bow up early on and immediately start destroying enemies. The mobility of the Bow is something that makes it more flexible, and for most players less frustrating. Enjoy pelting enemies consistently from afar and if you get good enough you can avoid damage quite easily.
Great Sword: This favorite among Monster Hunter fans is once again an absolute monster. While the Great Sword takes a while to get used to its slow, big hitting attacks, the new Shoulder Bash manages to offer some safety that'll keep you alive. This is a combo oriented weapon now, which may upset fans that enjoyed the charging style of previous games, but it's incredibly satisfying to pull off multi-hits.
Charge Blade: For tech style players, this is still an outstanding pick as in previous games. Your damage output is the sort of thing that will intimidate foes, and when you get into the swing of things, you'll slay enemies faster than players using most other weapon types. The only problem is it's a higher skillcap weapon that newer players usually have a lot of trouble with. In this case, it's an example of practice makes perfect. If you feel like putting up with a few challenging first hours, over time you will become a god.
Dual Blades: Although it struggles against flying enemies, the mobility and damage throughput of Dual Blades is notable. This is a fast-paced weapon type that fits well with player who enjoy Rogue/Thief style archetypes. Just be sure to take advantage of elemental effects.
Lance: If you're the kind of gamer that is always looking for weak points, the Lance is for you. This weapon is all about piercing enemies where they hate it most in the most precise way possible. That means you'll need quite a bit of hand dexterity to pull off what you're trying to do, but in the end you will piss off so many enemies it's worth it. The plystyle of the Lance is very defensive, so expect to hunker down and waiting for opportunities to strike, kind of like when playing a Strength build in Dark Souls.
Heavy Bowgun: You can now shoot and move with this gun, so it's not as much of a pain as it used to be. It can now fit well into most situations, provided you're good at identifying enemy patterns so you can lay down some heavy gun fire whenever an opportunity presents itself. Still, in the context of other options this is a slow weapon type that can be outmatched when played at lower skill levels. But if you like playing from range and seeing big numbers, it's a fantastic choice.
Insect Glaive: While not exactly capable of putting out big numbers, the Insect Glaive is fantastic for aerial attacks. It's unique in how it fits into the meta. While that means it's a great support weapon, it also means that it's far more situational than other options.
Sword & Shield: Great at applying status effects, capable of using a new launcher ability, and great at mounting, this support weapon type is arguably the most balanced of anything in the game. It won't put out big numbers or necessarily save your group from imminent danger, but it fits into every situation without being a burden.
Gunlance: This is kind of a bizarre weapon that hasn't necessarily ever been popular with fans. It is effective, partially because of its Lance-like attributes (that weapon type is amazing), while providing some ranged options. This is only recommended for player who like the idea of the weapon, as it's clearly outmatched by other similar options.
Hammer:This is one of the most situational weapon types in the game. Yeah, you'll put out huge combo numbers, butif an enemy can't be hit in the head consistently, good luck beating it in a timely manner.
Long Sword: The attack patterns of the Long Sword make it decent against certain enemy types, but the bigger problem is its cleaves end up hitting teammates so often that it's a group killer in a lot of situations. Still, people are drawn to the cool looks of the weapon, so expect to see thousands of them online killing their teammates.
Light Bowgun: Just pick the Heavy Bowgun. It's better in just about every way.
Switch Axe: Just pick the Charge Blade. It's better in just about every way.