What are the best character builds in New World? Unlike many MMOs of a similar type, New World doesn't have character classes. Instead, you build your character over time by allocating points into their Attributes and Weapon Masteries. This gives you the opportunity to experiment with gameplay a little before committing to a play style, allowing you to find the build that works best for you.
Below we've outlined our recommendations for the best PvP and PvE builds and the best builds for recreating your favourite MMORPG character classes, as well as the best build we've found for players who decide to flout MMO tradition and go it alone.
On this page:
- Best PvP build in New World
- Best PvE build in New World
- Best class builds in New World
- Best tank build in New World
- Best DPS build in New World
- Best healer/support build in New World
- Best mage build in New World
- Best solo build in New World
Best PvP build in New World
- Main Weapon: Sword and Shield
- Secondary Weapon: Hatchet
- Attributes: Strength, Constitution
For general PvP in New World, we recommend a build that combines our above recommendations for Solo and Tank builds (with maybe a little bit of Mage thrown in for good measure if you like). In other words, you want to focus on your potential to absorb and deal damage, but without over-specialising to the point where your speed and/or resilience is brought too low.
The Sword and Shield combo is a battlefield classic for a reason, and the same is true in New World. You can choose to invest your XP into either more defensive or more offensive skill trees for this weapon, making for a versatile build that can be tweaked to support your preferred playstyle over time. It may not be the flashiest weapon in the game, but from our point of view, it's definitely one of the most reliable.
As we've said elsewhere, New World's hatchets are practically indispensable for every player. If you want a lightweight yet high-damage weapon in your secondary slot when going into PvP battles — which is a pretty good idea — you can't really do better than to pack your hatchet.
Best PvE build in New World
- Main Weapon: Spear or Great Axe
- Secondary Weapon: Musket or Bow
- Attributes: Strength, Dexterity
If you're looking to experiment with a build of your own design, New World's PvE makes for a great testing ground: it's challenging (especially in later-game areas), but forgiving enough that you can play around without being immediately flattened if something doesn't work for you. In truth, there are no "bad" PvE builds in New World, but here we've given you some pointers to help get you started.
Ranged weapons really come into their own in PvE, and while I'm still reluctant to recommend having one as your main weapon, PvE is definitely your chance to play around with your musketry and/or archery skills. Frankly it's just easier to get the drop on AI enemies than human-controlled opponents, and it can be very satisfying to scramble for the high ground and rain down your ammo on a group of supernatural mooks. Hunting expeditions to gather resources are also a good opportunity to practice your ranged skills, as wild animals tend to be slower to react than hostile enemies, allowing you to better compensate for aiming and reload times. This all has the added benefit of grinding XP for your ranged weapon skills, which means you'll be better prepared to play a ranged character in PvP if that's your eventual aim.
The Spear is another weapon that has great potential in PvE, particularly when paired with a ranged weapon, since it allows you to clear some space and give yourself some breathing room (while still dealing a not inconsiderable amount of damage) if enemies manage to crowd you. However, if you really want to feel safe during target practice out there in the wild, the Great Axe is a compelling alternative choice: switch to it when you find yourself in a jam and you almost certainly won't be in trouble for too much longer.
Since PvE is relatively safe, this is one of the few builds where your Constitution — while still important — can afford to take a back seat to whichever Attributes support your chosen weapons.
Best class builds in New World
Even with no formal character classes in the game, you may be coming to New World with a pretty strong idea of how you like to play MMOs and RPGs. New World definitely has room for traditional character builds along the lines of tanks, healers, mages, DPS mains, etc. If you already know roughly how you want to play and are looking for areas to focus on, we've laid out some of the best builds we've found so far below.
Best tank build in New World
- Main weapon: Sword and Shield — Swordmaster or Defender Mastery
- Secondary weapon: Any two-handed weapon
- Key Attributes: Strength, Constitution
Arguably, New World parties don't need a tank, as you can pretty happily combine this with the DPS role, both of which are massively catered to in the game's generous choice of chunky weapons and tough attributes. However, if you're looking to make an extremely tanky character (perhaps to support a more graceful DPS main), the Sword and Shield is almost unbeatable as a main weapon, allowing a fine balance between crowd control, one-on-one attacks, and personal defence.
The tank's secondary weapon is almost a case of dealer's choice, since any of the game's two-handed weapons will do the job nicely. Even the Spear — generally considered the weakest of the three — has a sweeping knock-back attack that's incredibly useful for a tank to have. Both the Great Axe and the War Hammer can be taken along as a secondary tank weapon, since they have some of the highest damage ratings (offset by slower attack speeds) of any weapons on the game.
The most important Attributes for a tank are, unsurprisingly, Strength and Constitution. The ability to put your full force into an offensive attack — all while being able to take a few hits without drawing your party's healer away from less well-defended DPS or mage characters — are key to this build.
Best DPS build in New World
- Main weapon: Musket — Sharpshooter Mastery or Rapier — Blood Mastery
- Secondary weapon: Fire Staff — Pyromancer Mastery
- Key Attributes: Dexterity, Intelligence
If you've checked out our best New World weapons tier list, you'll know that we didn't rate either the Rapier or the Musket very highly at all. However, we also made the point that every New World weapon has its uses if deployed correctly; and if you're looking at a dedicated DPS build, with a strong party at your back to allow you to really drill down on massively damaging enemies one at a time, these weapons both really come into their own.
Thematically it might feel a bit weird, but the Fire Staff is actually just about the best secondary weapon a DPS character could ask for. It still deals high damage but crucially provides better crowd control than either the Musket or the Rapier (particularly along the Pyromancer Mastery tree), so even if your party has your back, being able to switch to it in a tight spot is extremely helpful.
Usually I'd recommend putting at least some attribute points into Constitution, but if your DPS has a party including a tank and a healer they can rely on, it's of secondary importance to Dexterity and Intelligence, which will combine to allow them to handle those finicky high-DPS weapons with greater ease.
Best healer/support build in New World
- Main weapon: Life Staff — Healing or Protector Mastery
- Secondary weapon: Hatchet — Berserker Mastery (or any other weapon tied to Dexterity)
- Key Attributes: Focus, Constitution or Dexterity
The healer's primary weapon should always be the Life Staff, as it's the only weapon in the game that can heal both its wielder and their other party members. The Life Staff has two paths of Mastery — one focused around healing damage, the other designed primarily to protect against damage in the first place — and either one is a great choice for the healer to pursue, depending on how your teammates like to approach combat.
The Hatchet is the best choice of secondary weapon for a healer, as it's relatively lightweight, has a high damage potential, and can provide healing buffs when upgraded through the Berserker Mastery (though, unlike the Life Staff, only the wielder themself can be healed by it). However, if you choose to put some Attribute points into Dexterity (see below), almost any lightweight weapon can be used as a self-defense back-up for the healer.
The most important Attribute for the healer is Focus, since this is what allows you to develop greater mastery over the all-important Life Staff. However, there's an argument to be made for drilling down on either Constitution or Dexterity for your secondary attribute (or trying to strike a balance between both). While you are able to heal yourself using the Life Staff, higher Constitution helps you to avoid a situation in which you're stuck healing yourself before you can help others or — even worse — dying and leaving the party without a healer in the support role. But a few points of Dexterity will give your healer a boost in handling most lightweight weapons, which leaves them with a secondary line of defense that could be crucial.
Best mage build in New World
- Main weapon: Fire Staff — Fire Mage or Pyromancer Mastery
- Secondary weapon: Ice Gauntlet — Ice Tempest or Builder Mastery
- Key Attributes: Intelligence, Constitution
There are plenty of people out there who just always want to play as a mage in an MMO, and I completely understand where they're coming from. New World doesn't offer a huge number of magical weapons when compared to non-magical ones, but there are enough to put together a solid mage build.
The Fire Staff is the top choice of magical weapon for dealing damage and knocking back enemies before they can overwhelm you, while the Ice Gauntlet returns Mana over time to allow you to keep your magical reserves flowing in a fight. Plus, it's just really satisfying wielding the powers of fire and ice in combination.
Unsurprisingly, Intelligence is the major attribute you want to put points into if you're planning on playing a Mage build. However, unless you want to turn into the fabled squishy wizard, I recommend putting some points into Constitution while you're at it. There's nothing wrong with a glass cannon but there's no need to be one as a New World mage, since your Intelligence alone should take care of both your offensive and defensive magical needs in combat.
Best solo build in New World
- Main weapon: Hatchet — Berserker Mastery
- Secondary weapon: Life Staff — Healing Mastery
- Key Attributes: Strength, Constitution
New World is an MMO, and as such we can't recommend strongly enough that you find yourself a group to play with. In PvP battles you'll be coming up against organised teams of other players, while in PvE the bosses have been deliberately designed to be taken on by multiple players working together. We can't guarantee that you can make it very far in Aeternum without some companions by your side.
However, there's a certain satisfaction in going it alone, at least some of the time, and we have seen one build that puts you in the decent position of being able to support yourself through some of the difficulties you'll experience in New World.
As many New World players are already aware, the Hatchet is a surprisingly overpowered weapon. Its performance does make a kind of sense, though: as a one-handed melee weapon it's light enough to wield quickly; but unlike, say, the rapier, it's not held back by a sharp yet fine point that limits you to taking on a single enemy at a time. Building up the Berserker skill tree for the Hatchet allows your character to self-heal when a rage buff is active, which is of obvious benefit to solo fighters in particular.
Bring along the Life Staff as your secondary weapon, since this can be used to heal yourself just as easily as your non-existent party members. Consider pursuing the Healing Mastery tree, as the Protector Mastery is less useful (though not completely without its benefits) when playing without a party.
You can't afford to be too fancy with your Attributes when going it alone. Make sure you have high Constitution to take the sting out of incoming damage long enough to allow you to heal yourself; and focus on Strength to ensure that you can dish out damage quickly and effectively when alone in a combat situation.
So there you have our recommendations for our favourite New World character builds! There's a lot to get familiar with in this complex MMO, so be sure to check out our New World tips & tricks guide to help you make a start on your adventure through Aeternum. And if you're looking for more ways to improve your character, see our New World leveling guide for advice on how to pick up XP as quickly and efficiently as possible.