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The best New World weapons for PvP and PvE

A tier list of the best weapons for PvP or PvE in New World

Looking for the best weapons in New World? Putting together a good collection of weapons is key to success in New World. Aeternum Island can be a dangerous place, with both environmental threats and other players keen to carve a chunk off your health bar. In this tier list, we've ranked each weapon according to our experiences, and also put together some pointers on choosing the best weapons for your play style.


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Best New World PvP weapons tier list

  • S-Tier: Life Staff, Great Axe, Hatchet
  • A-Tier: Fire Staff, Ice Gauntlet, Sword and Shield, War Hammer
  • B-Tier: Bow, Musket, Rapier, Spear

When choosing PvP weapons, it's important to strike a balance between the potential to cause your enemies damage and the risk that a weapon will slow you down. Weapons with a slow sweeping attack or a single shot can be powerful in the right hands, but unless you have a strong party with dedicated support roles behind you, you really want to have a weapon that allows you to immediately defend yourself from counter-attacks. The Great Axe and Hatchet are almost universally agreed to be the best choices here, though I'm also partial to the offensive/defensive mix offered by the Sword and Shield. You also can't overestimate how useful a Life Staff will be in PvP situations, since it pairs a decent damage-dealing potential with the ability to heal both the wielder and their party members.


Best New World PvE weapons tier list

  • S-Tier: Great Axe, Hatchet, Sword and Shield
  • A-Tier: Bow, Life Staff, Musket, Spear
  • B-Tier: Fire Staff, Ice Gauntlet, Rapier, War Hammer

Realistically it's much easier to pack for a PvE expedition than a PvP battle in New World, because of course the AI isn't going to be as savvy as your fellow players are to the meta. I like to view PvE as a good opportunity to practice with the weapons I want to get really good at, but even so there are some weapons that work in PvE better than others. Magical weaponry isn't quite as powerfully useful against wild boars as other players, for example, and it's hardly worth draining your mana for. Meanwhile, a well-placed ranged shot can take a decent chunk of health off an AI enemy, who's then more likely than a human opponent would be to give you some breathing space to reload before absolutely demolishing you in return. However, regardless of the situation, it's the Hatchet and the Great Axe that continue to reign supreme in New World.


Best one-handed melee weapons in New World

Hatchet

Weapon Masteries: Berserker and Throwing

Our time with both the closed and open New World betas taught us that the Hatchet is way better than it sounds, or indeed has any right to be. Despite lacking the finesse of the other one-handed melee weapons, the Hatchet is an absolute beast of a damage-dealer, making it a desirable PvP weapon even if it's a bit more indifferent in PvE scenarios. Going down the Berserker Mastery route also adds the ability to heal your character while its key skill is active, which is obviously very desirable. Paired with the Life Staff, the Hatchet can quickly turn you into a one-stop shop for both damage and healing at high levels (which incidentally is just about the only way to play New World solo for any length of time).

Sword and Shield

Weapon Masteries: Defender and Swordmaster

The Sword and Shield technically class as a one-handed melee weapon, since even though they're always paired together you only actually wield the sword part with one hand. While not quite as unexpectedly spectacular as the Hatchet this duo is classically tanky, allowing you to deal a decent amount of damage while protecting yourself and without overly compromising on attack speed. PvP adversaries may know how to get around it, but any threats you meet in PvE will struggle to outclass you when you're wielding this combo.

Rapier

Weapon Masteries: Blood and Grace

The Rapier is undeniably very fast and deals some decent damage, but the fact that it's nigh-on impossible to deal with multiple enemies at a time using this weapon limits its usefulness, particularly in PvP. It's pretty good one-on-one, giving you a lot of defensive options as you wait for the perfect opportunity to strike back offensively, but unfortunately these abilities don't extend to crowd control.

A New World character equipped with sword and shield faces off against an armoured skeleton carrying a greatsword.

Best two-handed melee weapons in New World

Great Axe

Weapon Masteries: Mauler and Reaper

Hands-down (pun intended) the winner of this category is the Great Axe. The fastest of the two-handed melee weapons, it has some of the best potential to balance speed and damage of any weapon in the game. It's still not quite as smooth to work with as a one-handed melee weapon, but with practice and some investment in the Mauler Mastery tree to increase attack range and AoE, it could well end up being your go-to in a tight situation.

War Hammer

Weapon Masteries: Crowd Crusher and Juggernaut

The War Hammer isn't quite in the same league as the Great Axe, but as part of the right build it can be extremely formidable. Due to its very slow attack speed you can't rely on the War Hammer alone, but pairing it with a good defensive secondary weapon like the Ice Gauntlet can offset its drawbacks, allowing you to take advantage of its very high damage potential.

Spear

Weapon Masteries: Impaler and Zoner

The Spear has the misfortune of being the runner-up in a strong category. It deals decent damage and has a truly enviable ability to stun enemies with a sweeping knock-back, but unfortunately this doesn't tend to fool the real people you'll be playing against in PvP very often.

Two heavily-armoured New World characters fight a skeleton enemy. One carries a bow and arrow, the other has a battleaxe.

Best ranged weapons in New World

Bow

Weapon Masteries: Hunter and Skirmisher

Not all New World weapons are equal, and to be brutally honest, ranged weapons tend to be the least useful category overall. For our money, though, the bow is the better choice, particularly for PvE and exploration purposes. Furthermore, with patience and an investment of upgrade points, the Skirmisher Mastery tree allows you to add AoE effects to your arrow shots, making this a much less fiddly and more satisfying weapon to use.

Musket

Weapon Masteries: Sharpshooter and Trapper

Slow reload times and the necessity of good aim to do consistent damage means that the Musket in particular is secondary to a good melee weapon in almost every situation. On the other hand, no weapon in New World is without its uses. If you and your allies are throwing yourselves into one of New World's large-scale PvP battles, the musket makes a strong choice of secondary weapon thanks to its comparatively large damage dealt per shot, but it's important to wield a primary melee weapon to perform crowd-control. (Trust us: don't bother with the musket's own secondary melee attack.)

Two New World characters hunting a deer using a bow and a musket.

Best magical weapons in New World

Life Staff

Weapon Masteries: Healing and Protector

The best weapon in this category is undoubtedly the Life Staff. This is the only weapon in New World which has the capacity to heal teammates, and even though it's much better to have a dedicated support character to wield it, it has offensive damage-dealing capabilities as well. It may be the most practical magical weapon in the game, but it's by no means boring, and you won't want to go into any of the game's boss fights without a Life Staff somewhere in your party.

Fire Staff

Weapon Masteries: Fire Mage and Pyromancer

Of the more offensive magical weapons, the Fire Staff is the premier choice for pure damage (and, at least in my opinion, wins this category on style points as well). If you're planning to build your magical character along a classic Mage archetype rather than playing support, this might be your number-one weapon choice, as it's more purely aggressive than the Life Staff.

Ice Gauntlet

Weapon Masteries: Builder and Ice Tempest

For all the Fire Staff's flair (not sorry), the Ice Gauntlet makes for a solid secondary weapon, since it has the unique ability to regerenate mana to support other magical primary weapons, or can be a great defensive back-up if you're carrying a two-handed melee weapon as your primary damage-dealer.

A New World character carrying a Fire Staff faces off against a supernatural enemy, against the backdrop of an eerily glowing tower fortress.

New World weapons: how to choose your weapons

There are no character classes in New World, so there are no limitations on which weapons your character can equip. Instead, we advise you try out every weapon you can to get a feel for the ones you like the best, then incorporate your preferred play style into your character build by by pursuing Weapon Mastery of your favourites. Every weapon has two paths for you to master, with a skill tree for each.

In New World you can carry and equip two weapons at a time. Even though it's tempting just to take along your two favourites, it's a better idea to choose two weapons which complement each other, rather than sticking to a single category.

Different weapons are more useful in different situations. In a PvP battle, you'll want to be able to move quickly, which means ideally you should favour lighter weapons without compromising on damage. In PvE you can afford to sacrifice some of that speed for tankier damage-dealing potential.

Weapon rarity

One final factor to take into account when choosing your weapons is rarity. Despite the opinions we've laid out in this list, there aren't any weapon types in New World that are completely objectively rarer or better than any of the others. However, there are five colour-coded levels of rarity that can apply to any weapon, and no matter which you find you prefer, you'll want to carry the best one possible with you:

  • Common: Grey background. No slots or sockets. These are the only weapons that can be equipped by players at Level 1, with higher rarities becoming equippable as you level up.
  • Uncommon: Green background. 1 Perk slot.
  • Rare: Blue background. 2 Perk slots + Gem Socket.
  • Epic: Purple background. 3 Perk slots + Gem Socket.
  • Legendary: Gold background. 3 Perks slots + Gem Socket. These weapons have unique names (although they are of a type with more ordinary weapons, e.g. the Soulforged Blight is the Legendary War Hammer); and, unlike other New World weaponry, can only be obtained by completing certain quests.

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In New World, having the right teammates can be just as important as equipping the right weapons and armor. Find out how to team up with friends in this MMO in our guide to inviting other players to join your New World party. Or if you're eager to get stuck in but aren't sure where to start, check out our New World Tips & Tricks Beginners' Guide.

About the Author

Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones

Guides Writer

Rebecca can usually be found working through her latest fiction-induced anguish by recreating all those lovely doomed characters in The Sims. Despite being hilariously desensitised when it comes to "scary" books and films, she's frequently reduced to a panicky mess by horror games... but loves them anyway.

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