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Monster Hunter World Multiplayer: how to play with friends, set up parties and invite others for co-op online quests

One of Monster Hunter: World's biggest selling points is drop-in, drop-out online multiplayer co-op action with friends. Most of the battles in the New World can be tackled solo, but with a dynamically adjusting difficulty Monster Hunter World is really keen for you to play online with your friends - and frankly, the game is better that way. That's how it was meant to be experienced - which makes it a bit frustrating that Monster Hunter World's multiplayer is a bit complicated to actually get going.

In the early stages of Monster Hunter World you should probably focus on doing a few quests solo. The first few hours are a great time for learning and also for getting to grips with which armor suits you and which are the best weapons for you to use. Once you're feeling more confident about your skills as a hunter, it's time to consider heading into multiplayer - but wrapping your head around that can be initially as perplexing as getting to grips with the combat, something shown by how many of you all have been asking us about how to play online with your friends. That sounds like it'd be obvious, but, er... well, let's explain why it's a little more complicated than just firing an invite...

Don't be a burden to your online squad - brush up on your Monster Hunting skills with our help...

Monster Hunter World Multiplayer: Sessions, Quests and Inviting Friends to Join You

So, here's the deal: Monster Hunter World essentially has two 'layers' of multiplayer that you need to navigate in order to invite your friends. There are Sessions and there are Quests - and you can't join the latter without first joining the former.

Think of Sessions as Servers. With so many people playing Monster Hunter World, it'd be impossible for Capcom to throw everybody into one enormous server and one huge game - so when you boot up a save file you're asked to find a session, which is ultimately a group of players living together in one shared world. 

You can just use matchmaking to find a session, filter matchmaking or you can join a specific session by quoting its 'session ID'. You can also start your own session, and settings allow you to toggle it to be public or private. If you want a server with only you and your friends, the way to do it is to create your own server with the privacy settings cranked all the way up and then either give your friends the session ID or manually invite them to join through your platform of choice's interface - more on that in a moment. 

You're not locked to a session in the way you might be locked to a server in an MMO, so you can hop between servers on-the-fly within Monster Hunter World by matchmaking or accepting invites from friends, and you'll be prompted to pick a server or matchmake for one every time you boot the game.

Quests are, well, quests - but quests live inside Sessions. What this means is that within any one Session there might be multiple quests being undertaken at once by different players in different size groups - solo, pairs, right up to a full squad of four hunters. Once you're on the same server, you can join the quests of other players as they post them or can respond to their SOS flare calls - but more on that in a moment.

How to invite friends to assist you in a quest in Monster Hunter World's co-op online multiplayer, and how to join friends yourself

Once Monster Hunter World has connected to a session either of your own making or via matchmaking, you'll be ready to invite your friends. When in Astera, simply open up the menu with the Options / Start button and use the shoulder buttons on your controller to scroll across to the Communication tab. Here you'll have a few options, ane one of those options lets you Invite a Friend. Hit this and you'll be presented with the familiar PS4 or Xbox One (and later this year, Steam for PC) interface to allow you to invite a friend.

This will get your friend onto the same session (which remember, is like a server) as you. Once that's the case, all you have to do is post a quest and have them join your squad. 

To do this, simply head to a Bulletin Board or the Handler as you usually would and take a quest. Your friends should do the same - except while you Post a Quest, they search to Join a Quest. The quest list will be composed of anybody in your current session looking for group - and this is where you party up and get ready to head out into the wider world and hunt some beasts. Once your party is how you want it, head out to the mission. 

You can only join quests where you've already unlocked that quest - and if it's a story quest with cutscenes there'll be a few more caveats which we'll touch on in just a moment.

If you want to play Assigned Quests or Expeditions in multiplayer these get a little more complicated - so much so that we've broken that out into its own separate page. Hit up this link to learn How to play Multiplayer Expeditions in Monster Hunter World. This can be especially worthwhile, as it lets you play, experiment and have fun with friends without the pressure of a mission.

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