Sorry for being absent from the thread for the last three days, I've been busy.
Oh boy, this title. So... the game looks very interesting. However, I'm not sure if I should get it or not. My history with Monster Hunter goes back to Monster Hunter Freedom 2 on the PSP. I liked the game and I put something like 10-20 hours into it. But after a while it got boring and I stopped playing. I also played Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on 3DS: A friend of mine and myself preordered the game and planned to play it together. And we did - at least for a while. But I again stopped playing after roughly 20 hours.
I think what bugs me with Monster Hunter is the gameplay loop: You hunt the same Monsters multiple times to craft new weapons and armor... which rather quickly become too weak for more difficult missions, so you have to grind again... or at least that's how I remember it. I can get behind a bit of grinding in RPGs (even though I prefer RPGs with fast-forward functions like the PS1 Final Fantasy games on Switch or Dragon Quest XI) as you grind to overcome an obstacle so you can move the story forward. However, in Monster Hunter it felt to me like the gameplay loop was to do grinding so you can do more grinding right afterwards. Fighting a Monster for a prolonged period of time, multiple times, then farming stuff like honey just so I could fight that monster once again just wasn't a lot of fun. I realize that some people dig this style of gameplay loop a lot: A friend of mine is majorly into World of Warcraft and he always talks about doing raids and killing the same bosses over and over again to get an item with a 3% drop rate. I'm happy he's so into the game, but I'm not sure if I can enjoy something like this.
Also, (from the perspective of a relative newcomer) when I played the Rise demo it felt like someone had thrown a pair of dice to determine which button on the controller does what. But I played Dark Souls right before that, so maybe I just got confused.
Bottom line: I want to get into this series, but I'm not sure if I can. Did Monster Hunter get more newcomer friendly since the days of Ultimate 4? Or is it still baby steps? Because I remember reading with each new entry that they changed something to make the game more streamlined, but it was always just a few little things.
Edit: The fact that Curl mentioned you'll need less materials to craft armor this time to speed up the process gives me hope.
I do think it's worth mentioning that a lot of the idea of "necessary grind" in Monster Hunter might be misplaced (I say might be because I'd have to replay the pre-World games an extensive amount and also would have to know where you felt grinding was necessary which is obviously pretty much impossible and inefficient). A lot of people who don't like the gameplay loop of the games also find the control scheme alienating and the game challenging. Which is fine, that's how EVERYONE feels when they start out, but I do think that may get misinterpreted into a grinding issue. Even pretty late into Monster Hunter you'll be learning new enemy patterns and how to best use the environment and items around you. Grinding for new armor and weapons is definitely part of the gameplay loop though, but it's not always necessary to begin with and when it is I think the extent of the grinding was the problem for most people (I really can't imagine getting bored of a monster after one fight, lol). Personally though I will admit that the extent to which the older games went about it was kind of annoying, even if I don't want them to over-correct in the newer titles.
The best I can do is explain the appeal of Monster Hunter to me. When I was a kid I really loved wildlife and animals, and especially loved learning about how they interact with their ecosystem. Stuff like being the apex predator or the food chain of an ecosystem was fascinating to me. But when I got older I became more interested in fictitious work overall and being able to see and express creativity. To me, what's great about Monster Hunter is that it combines those two passions. It keeps the love of creatures alive while also showcasing a totally unique world with it's own vibe, and I think it did that much more so for me than something like say, Pokemon, particularly because of how lively it all feels. You really feel like this is an actual world that you, and most importantly these monsters, could live in. The fact that I felt this way before World (where they introduced a more complex ecosystem mechanic as well as things like large monsters fighting other large monsters) is really a testament to the power of the art design behind the various map settings and monsters that inhabit them. The grind, to me, is just an excuse to spend more time with the monsters and the beautiful scenery. Though the amazing armor and weapon designs also help!
By the way, something I forgot to mention in my reply to @burninmylight that should be mentioned in your case as well is that gathering as a form of grinding has effectively been killed. World created "fast gathering", so for instance you can run AND gather herbs at the same time, you can mine materials much more quickly, AND you don't need to make new grindstones (to sharpen weapons with) or bugnets or pickaxes anymore - they all have a "default" form that is infinite (unlike in the past where they had item durability) and aren't replaced by better variants you need to gather items to create now. This probably removes a good 33%-50% of the grind of the previous games (especially if you're bad at the game and need to restock on items a lot). And this is ON TOP of the fact that Rise is making the requirements for materials a lot smaller for weapons and gear now, which before was up in the air because the interview had different quotes for the Japanese and American IGN websites, but has since been confirmed.
So yeah, the games focus A LOT more on just monster hunting now. It's really not small changes. But """grinding""" is always going to be in the games to some extent, as basically any game that's somewhat non-linear in quest structure and has you fighting the same enemy for rewards could be considered "grinding".