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Best New World armor: New World's armor types explained

How to obtain or craft armor in New World, and how to choose the best armor type for your character.

What is the best armor in New World, and how do you craft it? New World is a game all about war and conquest, so naturally armor plays a large role and should be one of your first considerations when choosing your character's loadout. Fortunately, armor is abundant on Aeternum. Unfortunately, that can make it very difficult to decide what pieces to equip, especially as the game doesn't waste a lot of time explaining it to you. But luckily, that's what this New World armor guide is for.

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New World armor types explained

In New World you equip armor pieces individually to your character's head, chest, hands, legs, and feet, but there are also full five-piece sets, with bonuses for equipping a set.

There are a number of factors influencing what makes up the best armor types in New World. Rarity and encumbrance are the main ones you need to take into account when determining your armor quality and choosing your loadouts.

Best New World armor by rarity

Just like the game's weapons, each armor piece in New World has a rarity level that affects the number of perk slots it has available:

  • Common: Grey background, no perk slots.
  • Uncommon: Green background, one perk slot.
  • Rare: Blue background, two perk slots.
  • Epic: Purple background, three perk slots.
  • Legendary: Gold background, pre-determined high-end perks.

Naturally, you want the highest-rarity armor you can get hold of, since this allows you to equip more perks that convey various benefits when worn. New World armor also features a concept closely linked to rarity called Gear Score — which simply means that the higher the number, the better protection the armor offers.

Best New World armor by encumbrance

New World places weight limits on your character's loadout — not just the contents of their inventory, either; their weapons and armor count towards it as well. Therefore, your choice of armor can be a balancing act between ensuring the best protection and the least encumbrance. Carrying too much weight affects your character's movement speed, which is obviously not ideal, especially in combat situations.

The three weight classes for armor in New World are as follows:

  • Light armor, including the Duelist and Sage sets. This armor type allows for the greatest movement speed, but offers the least protection against damage. This armor is mainly suitable for characters who won't be throwing themselves directly into the fray during battle, such as healers or mages.
  • Medium armor, including the Explorer and Trapper sets. As you'd expect, this armor type offers the most even balance between speed and protection. It's most suited to DPS builds, but I'd also recommend this one to solo players and anyone else playing a combination build based on their own play style preferences.
  • Heavy armor, including the Heavy and Soldier sets. This armor type gives your character a high level of protection against damage, but at the cost of movement speed and the ability to dodge attacks. Therefore, it's usually ideal for tanks to be the only party members equipping this armor.

How to obtain armor in New World

There are a number of ways to obtain new armor pieces in New World:

  • Completing quests and questlines.
  • Looting enemies in PvE.
  • Completing expeditions.

You can also craft armor at crafting stations, which are present in every settlement; although higher-tier armor requires both a dedicated upgrade station and a forge, and for your character to have some points in the Armoring and Refinement skills. Naturally you also need resources; exact requirements vary, but expect to need plenty of iron as a base for most armor crafting recipes.

You can also personalise armor with different skins if you have them. Simply right-click on a piece of equipped armor in your inventory to select and apply a skin. These don't impact the armor's quality in any way, but can be a nice way of showing off your individuality, your loyalty to your character's Faction, or just demonstrating that you've been following New World's Twitch Drops.

That's all for now on New World armor types, but if you're looking for more general advice on how to put together a character who suits your play style, why not check out our best New World character builds page next? Or if, like the rest of us, you're only just beginning to scratch the surface of what New World has to offer, have a look at our New World tips and tricks guide to ensure you're making the most of your time in Aeternum.

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Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones

Former Guides Writer

Rebecca is now geeking out about multi-platform games on VG247, but rumour has it that if you chant "Indiescovery podcast" three times in front of your PC monitor, she'll reappear in the RPS comments section.