Times when MMORPGs were all about leveling journey, not the end-game, are long gone (with a few exceptions, but New World is not one of them). Nowadays, most of the content is designed for max-level characters, and players are encouraged to level up as fast as possible. Because of this, leveling has become a chore that simply has to be done before the player can fully experience the MMO's content. While New World offers quite a lot of content for leveling players and does not restrict them in any real way (there is no such thing as level-gated areas in New World and you can go to a high-level zone at level 1 if you wish to do so), most of the fun is to be had in the end-game. However, while the leveling content is quite abundant, it's also repetitive. After ~30 levels, you will notice that you're doing the same things over and over again, the only difference being the rewards that you get. Also, if you only follow the main quest, your level progress is going to be painfully slow. Because of this, chances are you'll feel burned out before ever reaching the end-game. This is why we have decided to make a New World Leveling Guide which will help you reach the max level in record time. In it, we will go over gear, leveling builds, techniques, tips, and tricks that will make your leveling journey as quick and as painless as possible.
New World Leveling Gear
Before you start leveling, you have to learn a thing or two about the game's equipment system so that you can make a conscious decision on which items to choose for your character. Appropriate gear can shave hours (if not days) from your leveling time.
In New World, you have a plethora of equippable items to choose from. These items start from the most basic common gear and range all the way to extremely rare and valuable Epics and Legendaries (the higher the rarity of gear the more stats and affixes it gains and thus the more powerful it is). Your character has 14 equipment slots, some of which have to be unlocked, divided into five categories: five armor slots (body, helm, legs, gloves, and feet), three trinket slots (earring, amulet, and ring), three bag slots, a shield slot, and two weapon slots. Here's a short gear category breakdown:
Right now you're probably wondering what's the "optimal" leveling gear. The answer to that is quite simple - In the case of bags - the bigger, the better. In the case of Trinkets, Armor, and Weapons, it depends on what build you're using. As a general rule, you should focus on your main weapon's primary attribute. For example, if you use Hatchet, you should choose gear that gives you a lot of Strength, however, Hatchet also scales with Dexterity, which means that this stat might also be of some use to you. Moreover, you should never fully skip on Constitution - ideally, you want to have ~25% of your attributes allocated into it for leveling purposes (going full glass cannon is not a good idea when you're leveling). Because of this, affixes like "Of the Barbarian" (Strength + Constitution) and "Of the Knight" (Constitution + Strength) are great for balancing your stat distribution.
New World Leveling Builds
Choosing an optimal leveling build is a difficult task as it requires you to consider a lot of variables; Do you want to do some PvP while leveling? If yes, are you going to seek PvP actively or will you just defend yourself from attackers? What playstyle do you prefer - are you an all-out offensive player, or a more cautious and methodical one? Are you going to level up solo, or do you prefer leveling in groups? Do you want to focus on grinding, or crafting and gathering? What we're trying to demonstrate here is that New World is a very diverse game and you should choose the leveling build based on your preferences, which won't stop us from recommending our three favorite builds for leveling:
Hatchet and Bow
This amazing combination of weapons offers unparalleled mobility and amazing sustainability that will allow you to level up with great speed - it's an amazing Power Leveling setup. The following build aims to deal as much damage as possible as quickly as possible while surviving the enemy retaliation, which enables you to farm mobs very efficiently. For Skills, we recommend the following:
With this build, you should aim for a 3:1 Dexterity to Constitution stat spread, as it will give you high damage output with a Bow while still benefiting your Hatchet (Dex is Hatchet's secondary stat), and allow you to survive quite a lot of damage.
Hatchet and Great Axe
This amazing build offers an unparalleled combination of solid DPS and amazing staying power; Hatchet's Berserker Tree makes it almost unstoppable in hand-to-hand combat, and the Great Axe gives it an incredible mix of damage and survivability. As a result, the following build excels when used for leveling solo as well as in groups. When it comes to passives, the mandatories are Against all Odds, Fortifying Strikes, Frenzied Purge, and Defy Death from Hatchet's mastery trees, and Greed, Critical Gains, Feed, Keen Edge, and Blood Lust from Great Axe's mastery trees. As for active weapon Skills, you should take the following:
As for attributes priority with this build, first and foremost you should get Strength (~75% of your total bonus attributes). As for the remaining 25%, you have two options: Get some Dexterity for increased Critical Chance, or get some Constitution. If you choose the first option, you'll become an ultimate (but a bit less resilient) war machine. If you choose the second, you'll lose on DPS but will gain some much-needed staying power. Thus, we recommend the latter option for solo leveling. When it comes to Armor, try sticking to the Medium Category.
Musket and Spear
This is a great option if you'd like to do some PvP while leveling or if you simply like ganking unsuspecting players, unfortunate enough to find themselves on your way. Thanks to a combination of a bursty Musket and control-heavy Spear, this build is great at debuffing targets, applying potent Damage over Time effects, and generally controlling the flow of the engagement. Also, it is well-suited for all types of content; it works well in PvE and can be used to a good effect in PvP - it's the most versatile of three builds we feature in this New World Leveling Guide. Core passives for the Spear are Refreshing Reach, Strong Conditioning, Finishing Blows, and Exploited Weakness, and for the Musket: Greater Accuracy, Empowering Weakness, Tactical Reload, and Lethal Combo. For Active abilities, we recommend:
Both of the build's weapons scale with Dexterity, which makes it your primary stat. Boosting Constitution by a bit is not a bad idea either - remember that, with this build, you are primarily a melee fighter.
New World Leveling Methods
Pretty much anything you do in New World earns you Experience. This means that you can, potentially, focus on things you enjoy the most and you'll eventually reach the max level. In practice, however, it's much better to stick to the activities that offer high exp/hour ratios. If you want to level up fast, you should do a combination of the following activities:
Town Project Board Quests
To take advantage of this method, you will have to meet some requirements, mainly:
In each Town, you're going to find a Town Project Board that offers town-specific tasks that will have you gather specific items, hunt animals, eliminate specific enemies, and so on - a large majority of the offered tasks are run-of-the-mill grind quests, however, completing them can be extremely beneficial. These tasks tend to be easy to complete and offer disproportionately high Experience rewards, which means that grinding them results in astonishing experience/hour numbers. While these were nerfed after the beta, they are still your best choice if you have power leveling in mind.
When you're in a settlement, check what Town Board Quests are currently available and pick ones that are easy to complete, during your regular playing routine, and award worthwhile experience. Easy-to-complete and worthwhile experience are keywords here - you should avoid tasks that require you to gather hard-to-get or end-game materials or don't award enough experience to warrant the effort. For the best efficiency, focus on:
Try to avoid:
Important Note: Town project Quests refresh every 30 minutes. This means that the more of them you can do within 30 minutes, the better.
To make completing these as fast as possible, you will have to invest your azoth - put all non-essential items into storage and burn your azoth to fast-travel between Towns to accept and complete tasks as fast as possible - once you complete tasks in one area, fast travel to another nearby area and repeat the whole process. When you run out of azoth, you're going to have to do some leg work. Also, you can speed up the whole process by stockpiling the relevant materials in each Town (these include Iron Ore, Iron Ingots, Steel ingots, Rugged Leather, Coarse Leather, Linen, Satin, Aged Wood, Lodestone Bricks, and so on) - doing so will allow you to save time by not having to buy/harvest these resources each time they are required.
This is the leveling method recommended by the game itself - it will allow you to learn the game's story, practice combat, and discover a variety of in-game systems. New World has the main story quest that will take you from region to region and a bunch of side quests that can usually be completed without going out of your way too much.
The questing experience in New World is quite streamlined and side quests often take place in areas where you do your main questline. This means that you can easily kill two birds with one stone - you can complete the main quest and a bunch of side quests simultaneously. Doing so will allow you to over level the content by a bit, which will make all subsequent quests much faster and easier to do. If you were to focus on Main Quest exclusively, you would quickly find yourself level gated - don't do that.
There's no need to explain this one any further - simply follow the main quest line and pick up any side quest you can, but only complete side quests that can be done on the occasion - don't go out of your way to complete every single one of them or your leveling efficiency will suffer.
Closing Corrupted Portals
Corrupted Portals are physical manifestations of Corruption that spawn in territories controlled by factions. The more developed the territory's settlement, the stronger and the more frequent the manifestations. You can see the portals on your minimap - minor breaches spawn every 30 minutes and major breaches every 60 minutes. There are four types of Corrupted Portals: Corrupted Hive, Corrupted Grove, Corrupted Portal, and Corrupted Monolith, but they don't differ mechanically - in order to close them, you simply have to clear them out of The Corrupted and seal them off with the Azoth Staff. Closing these Portals not only gives you experience, but also awards azoth, territory standing, and some loot.
If you have a well-coordinated group, running these can be one of the most effective ways to level up in New World. If your party is strong enough, Corrupted Portals will yield more experience per hour than Dungeons. To run them quickly and efficiently, you will need a group of 10 to 15 players, so you should find yourself a Company that likes to run these. Alternatively, you could ask in the chat.
As previously mentioned, pretty much everything you do in New World awards you with experience. This means that you can solely focus on leveling your gathering skills and you will still progress through levels. This is great news, especially for those of you who want to focus on "trade skills" right from the start. While gathering won't level you up quickly by itself, by combining it with refining and crafting skills, you can level up very cheaply and efficiently by taking advantage of the Market Board Quests (as mentioned in the "Town Project Board Quests section).
Please remember that Fun should always be the most important factor while playing - trying to play "perfectly" and always seeking to optimize everything will quickly kill your interest in the game. Don't let that happen, play for fun!
We hope that you have found this guide useful and informative. If you liked it and want us to add more guides such as this one, please let us know! Also, we will be happy to receive constructive criticism that will help us improve our future work so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.