This is a fully thorough, in-depth guide on looting and farming, explaining the mechanics of how loot and drops work. There are a lotof factors that play into your options for increasing rare drop chances, and some of these will be limited based on how far into the game you are. First, let’s give a quick overview of all the different ways you can get drops:
- Carving monsters. When you kill a monster, you’ll get to carve it three times (usually; some monsters, for example Plesioth and Gammoth, most elder dragons, give more than three carves). Each carve is an independent chance to get the item you want.
- Capturing monsters. When you capture a monster, you don’t get to carve it, but you’ll get 2 or 3 drops on the reward screen instead. This is not affected by the monster. Larger monsters will always still only give 2-3 drops from capturing.
- Carving tails. If a monster’s tail can be cut, you can carve it the same way you carve the body. Most tails get one carve. Some, like Deviljho and Alatreon for example, get two.
- Looting shinies. There are various ways to make a monster drop a shiny, and it varies from monster to monster. Some will drop shinies when you break certain parts, some drop them when you stagger them, some in less conventional ways (Brachydios, for example, has a chance to drop shinies every time one of his slime puddles explodes). Most of the time, a shiny is going to be a wyvern tear or similar useless item, or maybe one of the monster’s common items, but some monsters have a small chance to drop their rare item from shinies.
- Breaking parts. Dealing enough damage to a particular hitzone of a monster will stagger the monster and the part will become visibly damaged. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be given one more drop on your reward screen. Keep in mind that a few particular parts, Tetsucabra’s tusks for example, actually have two break thresholds, but you’ll only get a drop for hitting both! This is different, however, from Rathalos having two wings that can be broken independently. You’ll get one drop for either of those.
- Quest rewards. Some quests, especially late game ones, have a chance to drop rare items related to the monster(s) in the quest on the reward screen, even if you have done none of the above! I’ll go over how this works more in depth later.
- Other unconventional means. Certain monsters have occasional chances to loot items during the hunt. If you have a bug net, you can gather from Zinogre’s back while it’s knocked down. If you have a pickaxe, you can mine from Uragaan’s back while it’s knocked down.
- Veggie Elder Tickets! As you hunt with players whom you’ve traded guild cards with, your Unity level will slowly increase. Once you hit certain Unity thresholds, you’ll be rewarded a VE Ticket, of the Bronze, Silver, or Golden variety. Giving these to the Veggie Elder will give you a fixed (!) item in return, no RNG required! Bear in mind, the item you receive varies by the type of ticket and the map in which you trade it.
Next, let’s discuss loot tables. Thanks to the work of some very diligent, dedicated hunters, sites like kiranico give us information on every single loot table for every single monster and every single quest. With all of the above in mind, it’s important to note that each of those actions have independent loot tables! You’ll get different items from carving, than you will from capturing, than you will from carving a tail, etc., and all of the loot tables change again once you move from low rank to high rank. (In the case of deviants, there will usually be three or four different loot tables based on the level of the quest, i.e. Lv1-4, Lv5-8, Lv9-10; the ranges of each loot table varies by monster.)
Let’s take a look at Zinogre. It’s got eight different loot tables for each rank. You can carve or capture it, carve it’s tail, gather shinies, gather from its back, and break its horns, back, and claws. Some of the items overlap, but the chances for any individual item will be different for each table. For example, you can get a Shockfur from carving, capturing, tail carving, back gathering, and wounding its back, but your best chances for getting one are from carving.
When you’re farming for that one specific drop, you want to be aware of all the possible ways you can get an item. If you need a Zinogre Jasper, then every single hunt, you need to make sure you’re breaking the head, carving the tail, looting every shiny (and trying to get as many shinies as possible), and carving the body. The chances in each instance may be small (2-3%), but they’ll all add up to a more reasonable chance over the course of the hunt.
Capturing vs. Carving
For most monsters, the decision on whether to kill or capture will be easy, because the rare drop will only show up on one of those tables. The interesting thing to note about Zinogre is that you can get a Jasper from both carving and capturing. In that case, should you kill or capture? It’s easy to look at the loot tables and say “well there’s a 3% chance per carve, and only 2% per capture slot, so I should carve it, right?” Eh, not quite. In Zinogre’s case, that is true, but the reasoning behind it is a little bit more complicated.
Look instead at Brachydios. It’s got the same 2% chance for a Gem in both carving and capturing. So it doesn’t matter which you do, right? Well, it does matter, and you should carve it. Here’s why.
Earlier I said you get 2 or 3 drops from capturing a monster. How does that work? You’ll get 2 drops from capturing, every time, guaranteed. After those 2, there is a 22/32 chance (that’s roughly 69%) to get a third drop. So, on average, you’ll be getting as many drops from capturing as you would from carving, but if you ever don’t get that third slot, you’re hindering your chances to get the item you want. To make things even more complicated, there are two skills that will augment your chances…
Carving: At +15, you’ll activate Carving Celebrity, which gives you +1 chances to carve (also works on tails!!!) and prevents knockback while carving. You can unlock Carving Pro pretty early on, with the Bath Set, but that set will only get you to +11. Until we get the DLC to unlock the EX S.Rathalos Tickets, the only way you’ll get +15 is with gems, and the earliest you can make Carver gems is once you have access to Bloodrun Jewels and Deviljho Hides.
Capturer: At +10, you’ll activate Capture Expert, which guarantees you a third drop from capturing, and at +15 you’ll activate Capture Master, which gives you 3 drops, plus a 22/32 chance for a fourth. This set is a little bit easier to make, but it will still be mid to late high rank before you can get it up to +15.
So now it’s time to do some maths. In order to calculate the chances of getting at least one drop, you figure out the chances of notgetting the item, then subtract from one. In the case of Brachydios, there is a 0.98 chance of getting anything other than a Gem, so
1 – 0.98^3 = 0.0588
You have a 5.9% chance of getting a Gem for each hunt you carve it.
When calculating for capturing, you have to account for the chance to not get the third slot, by multiplying the chance to get the item by 22/32 and subtracting that from one.
1 – ( 0.98^2 * ( 1 – ( 0.02 * ( 22/32 )))) = 0.0528
Only a 5.3% chance for a Gem. It’s a slight difference, but it might be just enough edge to make you miss the drop.
The general formulas are, for carving:
1 – ( [chance of not getting the item] ^ [number of carves] ) = [final chance for at least one of the item]
1 – ( ( [chance of not getting the item] ^ [number of guaranteed drops] ) * ( 1 – ( [chance to get the item] * ( 22/32 )))) = [final chance for at least one of the item]
With that in mind, we can augment the formula to account for having either Carving Celebrity or Capture Expert:
1 – 0.98^4 = 0.776 with Carving Celebrity
1 – ( 0.98^3 * ( 1 – ( 0.02 * ( 22/32 )))) = 0.0717 with Capture Expert
The chances of getting an item from capturing with Capture Pro will be the same as carving without Carving Celebrity.
So ultimately, your best chances for getting a Brach Gem will be carving with Carving Celebrity. But that 7.8% is just the chance of getting one from carving it; using the same idea we can factor in the chances of getting a gem from other sources. If you have Carving Celebrity and carve the body (2%) 4 times, the tail (3%) twice, and you loot the maximum of three shiny drops (1%) during the fight, then…
1 – ( 0.98^4 * 0.97^2 * 0.99^3 ) = 0.1579
This is why it’s important to know the monster you are hunting inside and out. By going in with Carving Celebrity and taking every possible opportunity to find a Gem, we’ve given ourselves a 15.8% chance to get one per hunt, almost triple the 5.9% chance if we had just slaughtered it thoughtlessly.
Hopefully all of this information hasn’t exhausted you too much yet, because there’s still one last thing to cover… the rewards screen! Just like anything else, every single quest has its own independent loot table for the rewards screen.
The first row of the rewards screen is referred to as Main Reward A. You’ll get a minimum of 4 items on this row, and a maximum of 8. It usually contains items related to the monster(s) in the quest.
The second row of the rewards screen is referred to as Main Reward B. You’ll get a minimum of 2 items on this row, and a maximum of 8. In single or multi-monster quests, this will usually contain miscellaneous items such as bones or charms. In two-monster quests, Row B will often act more like a second Row A, containing items pertaining to the second monster.
The third row is used for guaranteed items, like Commendations/Accolades or Hyper Extracts. In some rare cases a quest might have a bonus guaranteed item that you’ll find on the third row.
The next section will contain rewards for each of your break parts, followed by your capture rewards. The amount of these (other than the final capture drop) is not affected by RNG, only by how many (and which) parts you break, and whether or not you capture.
The Sub Quest rewards line, of course, drops loot if you complete the subquest. The minimum and maximum number of drops here seems to vary by quest.
Similar to getting that third item from your capture rewards, after you get your guaranteed items, there is a 22/32 chance to get more items. The game will keep rolling for slots, one at a time, until you fail a roll. So on Row A, you’ll get four drops, then there is a 22/32 chance to get a fifth. If you get the fifth, there is a 22/32 chance to get a sixth, and so on. But if you fail the first roll and don’t get a fifth item, it won’t even roll the next three times. Same for Row B, you start with a roll for a third item and keep going from there as long as the RNG is in your favor.
The Fate skill will change the odds of those rolls. At +10, it becomes 25/32; at +15, 28/32; at +20, 31/32; at -10, 16/32; at -15, 8/32.
If you want to minmax your chances of getting the drop you want as much as possible, you’ll want to check kiranico’s individual item pages to see which quest gives you the highest odds of getting your item from the rewards screen. In the case of the Brach Gem, you’d want to be farming on the HR7 quest Steam and Smoke, as it is the easiest quest with the highest chance to drop a gem.
There’s a lot to consider on this point. Harder quests are going to have higher chances to drop the item, but if being harder makes them take longer to clear, then it’s not worth doing. If you don’t have the DPS to handle Hyper Brachydios in a timely manner, you shouldn’t be farming that quest for a gem. On the other hand, if you decide to farm an easier quest but your DPS is so high that you’re killing the thing without getting all three shiny drops or if you miss the tail, you’re also hurting your chances. In the end, weigh all of your options and choose the most efficient one.
Also, on that note, Ivalia made the following point:
It’s also worth noting that sometimes the most efficient way might not be finishing the quest at all. You can either cut the tail and/or make them drop shinies then abandon if you don’t get what you want, or do subquest runs (especially for things like Alatreon/akantor). If you just need something specific those are sometimes good options
In other words, while it’s true that there is a higher chance of getting what you want from a full run (in terms of raw statistics), it may sometimes be more time-effective for longer fights to focus on a specific drop chance and reset the fight if you don’t get what you want. Just remember not to abandon after you get what you want; your item pack will reset.
And that’s it! Now you know everything you need to know about farming for items in Monster Hunter. You can use the same knowledge to maximize your chances of getting common items as well, of course. And most of it will apply to other games than Gen, with some minute differences, such as 4U having higher tiers of the carving/capturing/fate skills.