Bowgunning for Beginners, a Bowgunning Guide (In Progress) by a Sir Tristen
My first monster hunter game was Tri. I had never heard of the series before, and it was through a friend (bless him) that I came to know about the series, and picked up a demo of Tri, which I promptly preordered. I played Tri for over 400 hours, focusing mostly on Blademaster setups. Near the end of my time on Tri (RIP 4/30/13), I decided to pick up and start learning bowgun. On my first attempts (earlier in my Tri hours) I had felt the bowgun controls clunky and underpowered and left it alone. After reading a few guides, watching some videos, and playing exclusively as bowgun in TriU (at least until the point I am writing this) I have learned to thoroughly enjoy bowgunning, and I feel that it is every bit as powerful as using a blade. It just takes more work/planning and not to mention $$$$.
This guide will cover the skills, armors, and bowguns I find useful as you progress through the game. If I feel so inclined, and people seem to care enough, I might include a bit on each monster and other tidbits. I am open to comments/criticisms/corrections as long as they are of a nature to improve the guide and thus help people become better bowgunners, as that is the true purpose of the guide. I am happy to include information that I have left out, as the community has a lot more to offer than the individual.
Disclaimer: I make no claims to being the best bowgunner in the game. In fact, I make no claims to being better than average, but as there is nothing currently out there for bowgunners, and as I am trying to compile the information for my own purposes, I figured I might as well share what I am learning with the community. Given this, I am not liable for any reputational damage caused by tripple-kitty-carting due to information in this guide, and I will ignore any demands for recompense or any inflammatory PM's sent :P
Tips from a semi-noob:
Skip this section if you feel like a pro, cuz I am not, so I probably don't have much to offer you.
When it comes to clip size, bigger is ALWAYS better. A larger clip = more damage, because you are able to keep the shots going longer with less reloading time in between. It also leaves you less vulnerable to monster retribution, which I might add can be VERY painful for a gunner.
Recoil sucks. It reduces your damage and creates more vulnerability much like small clip sizes. If you want to fire truly damaging shots quickly, seriously consider getting some recoil reduction. You will notice a big difference.
Use your scope (tap R) when needed to see where you are firing, but go back to normal view when you have aimed your shot. Too many bad things can happen when you are focused in that small viewing window, especially on multi-monster hunts. Holding R and using the D pad (not the left analog) will allow you to choose your target almost as well, and lets you view what's around you. I recommend this option as often as possible.
Be very selective about what you buy, at least at first. Bowgunning costs a lot of money. Constantly buying ammo takes its toll. I don't recommend gathering for your ammo either. It's just not worth the time. Buy full loads of ammo when it is on sale if you can, and bring extra combines for more ammo on quests when you need more of that type rather than wasting combines on what you can simply buy in the store. I guess I'm saying use all your resources wisely as a gunner, because you need them more.
DON'T BE HASTY! As a bowgunner, greed is especially dangerous due to your low heath, and it is not needed. You can put out damage from almost anywhere when you play your cards right, so you don't need to take risky hits. Carting is ALWAYS a significant damage reduction. Sure, you may have had a nice DPS for a few seconds, but the few MINUTES you are out due to carting nullifies that, not to mention angers companions, lowers the money reward you need so much as a bowgunner, and increases the risk of losing the quest.
Shields can be your friend and your enemy. One thing that you will learn in all monster hunter is that learning how to evade a monster's move is ALWAYS better than taking it with a shield; however, blocking with a shield is ALWAYS better than carting. I recommend shields for the first few fights against a monster as you learn its moves, because it might just save your life, but I also recommend getting rid of that crutch as soon as possible and learning to really fight the thing. Your life and damage will be at its best when you know how to evade the monster's attacks and reposition quickly for the kill.
Friends are nice. You are a gunner. You have weak armor. Getting hit really hurts. Having the monster constantly on top of you makes it hard to make ideal shots (at times). Truly great gunners (which I am not) can find those shots easily, but for the rest of us, having a shakalaka or two and/or a few friends can help distract the monster while you line up for that perfect pierce shot.
Be wary of rapid fire. It is an awesome skill when used right, but a quest-failer when used wrong. You need to connect with all your rapid fire shots to really increase damage over a non rapid fire equivalent. This requires a good knowledge of the monster's patterns and the limits of your shot. Also, it sucks to be stuck in rapid fire mode when a monster is charging your face, cuz you are stuck like the proverbial deer in the headlights that is about to be splattered on barroth's front grill. Learn to use it. Learn to love it, but always respect it.
Be a team player. As a bowgun user you are not technically a second citizen, but most shots from bladmasters will do more damage than one of your shots. Do not interrupt them with nasty pellet shots or cluster shots if it can be helped, especially when something like a super pound or triple charge is about to land. You hurt the whole team (including yourself) when you do that. Don't be afraid to hold a shot. Your time will come while they are running across the screen to get close enough to the monster to hit it again, and you are just lolzing while pumping it full of lead.
Also, seriously consider status gunning on a team. Seriously. Bowgunners do damage on par with blademasters because they can put on constant damage. If the monster is holding still, a blademaster will outdamage you by a fair margin. Don't worry that your damage isn't as high, you are still the MVP for the 3 stuns 2 sleeps and 2 fatigues you put on the monster, allowing your team to put on the serious pain.
Switch things up. You have a lot of different shots to try out and a lot of different strategies to try. Try them all not only to see what works best for you, but also to keep things fresh. Sometimes it is fun to just try and land the perfect pierce shots, and sometimes it is fun to explode monster face with a well placed crag shot (come on, KO from a gun! Awesome!). You know what else. You might want to go back to the dark side and use a blade or two now and again. Monster hunter has a lot to offer, and I recommend exploring it all.
Whether you be new to the game, or a grizzled veteran, I highly recommend starting out in Moga Village, especially as a gunner. Maximizing the farm and the fishing fleet should be your moga priorities, with obtaining your shakalakas and getting a nice array of masks coming second to that. Having a good farm and fishing fleet will allow you to cultivate the items you need to produce the best bowgun ammo and supplies as well as make you some money. Once the farm is maxed, and the Shakalakas are at least obtained with their initial masks, feel free to go online.
Honestly, your goal here should just be to get through low rank. Good stuff doesn't really come till the higher ranks. I would forge 1 armor along the way mostly for an attack based skill, as you start out with a decent amount of innate armor (I did most of low rank with the standard leather armor) and get a couple decent bowguns. If you are solo, you can get the Tropeco HBG, upgrade it to the Flambogun, and call it good. Pellet shot will be your best friend, and the Tropeco gun has good pellet clips and can Turret pellet lvl 1 and flaming shot. For LBG offline the Cross Blitz or the Barro Barrel can get you through a lot with rapid fire pellet lvl 1 (this is really fun, by the way). If you are playing with friends, buy a LBG gun that has rapid fire normal shot 2 and maybe paralysis, exhaust, and/or sleep. For HBG with friends, I might recommend the Lagia Blitz, the Type 46 Gunflage, or maybe even the Bone Buster.
Start out by getting yourself some new armor. The Volvidon + armor is a fairly simple armor to get, and it offers some nice abilities with Attack up M, Evade +1, and Tremor resist. If you can keep pellot shotting, the Carbalite cannon is a simple and great upgrade (just requires mining) or you can fight the crimson Peco and get his bowgun (don't upgrade, just farm crimson for his first level gun). Good solo LGBs are the Hunter's Rifle, and upgraded Barroth (especially Jade) guns. For team work, get the Kettleblower, cuz it is the coolest gun in the game, or any of a wide array of normal/pierce rapid fire guns with maybe a status rapid fire as well (gobul gun upgrades anyone?). Again ,the goal it to push through. You just need to be a bit more careful in high rank. The monsters start to actually pose a threat, and you need decent damage and defense. You really want to get to G rank, though, where you can get the real gear. So pick one armor you want and a bowgun or two and blow through it.
Aww the true meat. The well done steak of MHTU (SOOOO TASTEY!) . . . unfortunately, I have yet to experience it. I will write some when I get there. I can say that I will be aiming for Zinogre Z armor and a complete collection of MHTU bowguns. Until then, anticipate it.
As with anything bowgun, the skills you chose to use rely heavily on what you intend to do. Do you want to support a team? Do you want to play solo? Do you want to play as a team but dish out some serious pain? Keep in mind, a lot of the following list is theorycrafting on my part, as I have no hard numbers for damage at this time. That being said, these are the abilities I feel are useful as a bowgunner.
Top Tier (Almost Always Significantly Useful):
Loading – An extra bullet in each clip! Heck yes! One of the best if not the best gunner skills in the game.
AUX – Attack damage increase always welcome, especially as this applies to almost all shots.
Expert X – Same AUX, though generally thought to produce overall less damage.
Steady Hand – Normal, pierce, and pellet shot damage increase in one ability. NICE!
Element Atk – The brady guide says it increases all elements by 20%. If that is true, it makes the specific element attack abilities second class. For an elemental bowgunner, this be your bread and butter.
Rapid Fire - Adds an extra shot to shots you already rapid fire. Be careful with this one. It locks you in place even longer than the normal rapid fire. Great potential damage increase, but somewhat difficult to pull off.
High Tier (Often Significantly Useful):
Recoil (only if your bowgun does not already have enough) - Situationaly awesome. For example, pierce lvl2 has significant recoil. Even in turret mode, you will fire more slowly if you do not have ample reduction. A highly potential damage increase/life saving skill. If you are only using weak shots, then disregard (but consider how much more fun you could be having blowing things up :P).
(Ammo)Up – Increases the damage of the specific ammo type. Good if you focus on a specific ammo. Might be outclassed by general damage abilities.
Destroyer – Decrease monster part durability 30% faster. Could be useful for flinchlock/breaking (maybe make cutting tails w/ a gunner possible . . .)
Constitution – Stamina consumption when evading/blocking decreased. Depending on your playstyle, could be very useful. When HBG, I roll a lot for position.
Hearing/Wind Resist/Tremor Resist/Current Resist – Of these hearing is the most useful as more monsters have roar effects than any other, but all will give you more time to act in the right hunts. Especially useful in multi-monster hunts when you can be pummeled by the second monster when vulnerable to the first. Gunners just can't afford that.
Evasion – Increased invulnerability time when evading? Some may call you a noob for needing this. Others will say you have a life outside of monster hunter. I personally like this skill.
Evade Distance – I reposition myself via evade all the time, so definitely a useful skill.
(Element) Atk – Nice damage increase for specific element shots. Good when used right.
Precision - Recommended if you have a high deviation. With low deviation guns, you can plan for your deviation better and still make the shot.
Artillery - If you are going for crag, then this is your buddy.
Bomb Boost - Sleep bombers and slime gunners love this.
Unscathed - Better damage when at full health (can anybody confirm how much?). As a gunner you have the potential to make more use out of this ability than any other class. I really want to give this one a good try. The better you become at the game, the better this ability will get. I think it could be top tier in the right hands.
Unshakeable – Windproof, Earplugs, and Current resist (all low) as well as a reduction in knockdown effects seems pretty good. It is still very situational as many monsters fall outside these bounds.
Guts (Valkyrie Profile anybody?) - No single hit will kill you if you start at over 64 health (only works once unless you faint). I kind of like the idea of this ability, but I don't like the limitation. But, you are a gunner, so you can make more use out of this than others due to your low health. Fury is better if you can get it.
TeamPlayer - Increases your Shakalakas' damage and defense by 10% and their stamina recovery by 50%. Good for the solo hunter.
Fury – Guts + Potential (Adrenalin +2) = pretty dang good.
Ammo) + - This skill does not increase current clip sizes, it just allows you to fire the shot type in your gun. Good for strong ammo that has small clips anyways, bad for normal/pierce/pellet. I recommend just choosing the right gun for the ammo you want to use.
Reload Speed – Almost always useful, seldom necessary.
Sheathing – Potentially useful for HBG, but don't focus hard on this. A nice extra ability.
Stamina Recovery – A substitute for constitution, but I recommend Constitution, especially for HBG.
Sense – Others will have to chime in on this, but a potentially good team skill. Have a lancer put on taunt as well, and fire away.
Guard – Decrease stamina/life depletion and knockback when guarding (HBG only). I don't focus on guarding as much as evading, so not my thing, but it could be useful in the right hands.
Status - Even as a status bowgunner this is not essential, because status shots already put out a lot of status damage quickly, but it can give a small boost, and maybe save you a shot or two.
Combo Plus – Seriously consider this if you need a lot of shots of a specific type, as it ensures maximum combination results from each combine. Great for element gunners AFTER other, more essential abilities. Do NOT grab the combo rate ability though. Just carry your combo books with you on quests where you will need to do a lot of combining.
Speed Setup – Speeds up bomb and trap setup and increases combo rate of items in quests. A good ability. Can anybody confirm if it increases the combo rate of all items? If so, a GREAT ability.
Potential - Increased defense and damage (at Adrenalin +2) when under 40% life. Please be careful how you use this in a team environment. Your team will not be impressed by your damage increase if you cart and can no longer do damage for several minutes and come closer to failing the quest.
Gloves Off - You are a gunner. You have weak armor. You should really avoid taking damage. I only recommend this ability to experts and rarely in a team environment.
Spirit – Against bruit wyverns that seem to rage all the time, this could be useful, as it increases your damage against a raged monster; however, other abilities give you a boost ALL THE TIME, so I recommend them first.
Meh, just pass this up ASAP. Grab one that increases damage (AUX, or the shot type you want to use) and move on.
Again, just grab a set or two to get you through. You will probably need an early set like Jaggi, Wroggi, or Volvidon to get you through to the higher sets. I personally used Volvidon.
Jaggi S – Attack up M, Negate Stun, and Gourmand. Really not a bad set.
Wroggi S – Normal S up, Speed Eating, Shakalaka ralley and negate poison. Easy to get, and a decent set.
Volvidon S - A great set to start with, and can carry you through. AUM, Evasion+1 and Tremor resist
Barroth – Attack, Defense, and Precison. Not bad either.
Mutsu (or the female counterpart) – Pierce up, recoil reduction and defense up. Great . . . if you want to farm for it.
Lagi S – Recoil reduction, Normal Up, and weakness exploit. Quite good as well.
Rath Soul – Normal Up, Earplugs, and Critical Eye. Awesome.
Ingot S – Pellet S Up (for solo), Recoil down +1, and Thunder Attack +1. Good if you want to pellet or need recoil reduction.
Diablos S – Great for pierce damage. Higher defense. A good step into G rank. Gem out the precision -1.
Diablos V – A great all-around gunner set.
Nargacuga – Both evade skills and sneak. Great for the ninja gunner.
2) Thre are A LOT of good sets.
Two that I think are really powerful are the Zinoger Z (my personal goal) and Rath Soul Z.
If you want to be a team player, both Peco sets are pretty good, and you will look awesome IMHO.
Other notable sets are:
Artian X: Recoil down, bonus shot, a point in load up and a point in tenderizer, all with a helm and leg armor slot to spare. Both Agnaktor sets (Z for LBG with Bonus shot). Ingot X is good for solo. Pellet shot is bad for the team. Excadora X for evade extender, peak performance, high bowgun defense, and elemental attack up. Gobul X has a surprising skill set, not the most powerful skills, but a lot of useful ones together (some skills will need additional points). Both uragann sets are awesome for different reasons. Silver sol is awesome. Selene/Helios Z, Damascus, Both Diablose (I like X), Silhouette looks pretty good, NIbelsnarf isn't bad, Vangis looks pretty good. Rath X for LBG.
I may expand this section as I get into G rank. Maybe it would be best just to do an armor section including all ranks and a bowgun section including all ranks. Any thoughts from the experts?
Any other thoughts in general? What is missing? Too much focus in some areas? Etc.