As you probably already know, there are no Classes in New World. Instead, each weapon type offers a different set of active and passive abilities that can be unlocked through gaining experience with the said weapon type. Also, each New World Weapon has its abilities split into two Weapon Mastery trees that offer different playstyles. Moreover, you can have two different weapons equipped and switch between them at will. All of the above results in almost unparalleled levels of freedom when it comes to building the fighting style of your character in New World. Despite this level of customization, there is a rather large disparity between weapons and their viability in combat, even if we consider what is "optimal" for each of them. This is why we have decided to share our experiences with you, and what's a better way of sharing experiences than a Tier List (right?). It is mainly focused on the PvE aspect of the game, but we might add a PvP section at a later date, so stay tuned.
New World Weapon Ranking
The S Tier
Cream of the crop, the best of the best; these Weapons excel at what they do. They leave the competition behind when it comes to sheer Damage, Utility, or a combination of the two. Using any of these, especially in the combination with a weapon from the "Good" or even the "Average" tier, should allow you to clear all types of New World's PvE content with ease.
Note: We've debated on including Life Staff and Sword & Shield in the S Tier, but ultimately decided against it. The reason for this decision is simple - those two don't have any real competition in their niches (Healing and Tanking, respectively), so ranking them as "The Best" would be like calling oxygen the best for breathing. After all, lack of other options does not automatically make a thing great (those two are still very good and we realize their great importance in PvE, mind you).
This mighty magic weapon deals the highest damage in the game. It has access to a combination of long-range and close-range attacks that burn its victims to a crisp. Moreover, it excels at both single-target and AoE damage dealing, which makes it very versatile in PvE encounters. It also offers the highest critical strikes out of all weapons and can create some nice damage over time AoEs, but is very mana-hungry. In PvP, Fire Staff gets the job done just fine, but its kit feels like it was designed with primary stationary targets in mind and you don't have as many options with it in PvP as you have in PvE. If you're after a pure DPS weapon, that excels in PvE and is still very powerful for PvP, look no further. For Fire Staff's active abilities, we recommend Fire Ball, Incinerate, and Burn Out, as these three synergize very well with each other and are generally the most versatile choices for the weapon.
Very slow to use, extremely unwieldy, and incredibly devastating - the War Hammer will allow you to wreak havoc on everything around you. It offers a great combination of slow yet powerful AoE attacks, AoE crowd control abilities (including AoE Stuns from Shockwave, and a knock-back from Clear Out), and debuffs that shred enemy armor, making them much more susceptible to physical attacks. War Hammer's left-click attacks are devastating to groups of enemies and most of its abilities have a rather large radius - These properties make it ideal for dealing with groups of mobs in PvE encounters. Because of its utility kit and high AoE, Warhammer is also a great secondary weapon for tanks. In PvP, the weapon is much harder to use because of its very slow nature. If you land a hit, however, enemy players will definitely feel it...
The Bow is a versatile ranged weapon that offers a great combination of Single Target and AoE Damage while also providing a nice boost to mobility (in the form of active abilities and passives), but uses projectiles that have to be re-stocked regularly. Moreover, some of the Bow's passives offer very strong crowd control effects that work wonders in PvE as well as PvP (and Knee Shot gets bonus points for reminding us about someone who used to be an adventurer just like us, but...). Depending on how you build your spec, Bow can devastate single targets or deal with multiple enemies at a time with ease. If you aim well and manage to land headshots, Bow becomes even better than it sounds. We recommend Poison Shot, Evade Shot, and Penetrating Shot - this combination offers solid AoE and single target damage while also ensuring that you have a nice mobility skill to rely on in back to the wall situations. In PvP, Bow is very solid, simply because it's a rapid-firing ranged weapon with access to mobility skills - you can deal damage from a distance and escape once enemies close the gap.
New World Weapons placed in this Tier perform very well and can potentially compete for the top spots on our list, especially if they were to receive some minor adjustments or some new powerful builds for them were devised. As it stands, the following Weapons are falling short of the "S" Tier but are still very powerful. Moreover, most of them are used in weapon combinations deemed to be the most powerful by the community.
We've decided to focus our list on the PvE, and healing is a very important part of it (even more so than in PvP, we'd argue, as any type of PvE group content requires you to have at least one healer). This is why Life Staff lands in the "Good" Tier (we've explained why it's not higher already). If you want to be a Healer, there is no other option. Luckily, the only option you have (this one), is very strong in both PvP and PvE. It gives you access to Healing and Protector skill trees. As their names suggest, the first one is focused on restoring Hit Points to allies, and the second is about healing as well as buffing them. As for skill build, we recommend Devine Embrace, Sacred Ground, and Beacon as these three skills allow you to be the most versatile and work extremely well in PvP and PvE.
Tip: Every type of New World's group content requires a Healer, so Life Staff is guaranteed to see wide use, and being a designated healer is a safe bet if you want to make yourself essential in a group.
|Sword and Shield
Sword is the only real tanking weapon in New World. Moreover, it's the only weapon that comes with a shield. This classic "sword and board" combination offers a great mix of offensive, defensive, crowd control, and utility abilities. Also, Shield is the only armament in the tame that can block incoming projectiles. With Sword and Shield, holding enemy aggro in PvE is much easier than with any other weapon, and thus it lands quite high on our list (reasoning is exactly the same as for the Life Staff. Also, the Sword and Shield combination is very strong, even without taking the tanking part into account). Sword and Shield scales from primarily Strength but also benefits from Dexterity, however, you'll be stacking Constitution if you want to tank. As for Skills, we recommend Whirling Blade, Shield Bash, and Defiant Stance. A combination of these three skills should allow you to keep mob aggro, control the situation, and withstand large amounts of damage if needed.
Spear has access to a range of very useful and fun-to-use skills. It offers a very high reach, especially for a melee weapon, and you can even throw it at enemies to finish them off. On top of that, it can knock enemies back, trip them over, or stun them, which makes it great if you like to control the encounter you're currently in. Because of its properties, Spear is quite difficult to master and requires a lot of practice, however (it has one of the highest skill ceilings in the entire game, that's for sure). This also means that it's one of the most rewarding weapons to use - it will be ideal if you enjoy skill-based gameplay and constantly want to improve. For active skills, we recommend Vault Kick which is a stunning attack that deals decent damage, Sweep which is a very solid AoE attack that knocks enemies down, and Perforate which can riddle your enemies with holes and severely debuff them.
Musket is a very powerful ranged weapon, however, if you want to maximize its damage output, you'll have to make some sacrifices. Yes, we're talking about the Sharpshooter's Stance that reduces your mobility to 0 but makes you reload in 1/4 of the standard reload time; as you can imagine, this is terrible for PvP and solo PvE but amazing for PvE group content. Musket has very high alpha damage and you get bonus damage from landing headshots, but the rate of fire is very low (so, you get punished more if you miss than you would be if you've missed with a bow). If you're looking to maximize your damage with it, but don't want to hinder your mobility, you should go with Powder Burn, Power Shot, and then focus on the offensive passives, like Sniper, Kick'em When Their Down, Hit Your Mark, and Chronic Trauma. Doing this will allow you to deal extremely high alpha damage and even sometimes 2-shot enemies with headshots.
|If the phrase "death by a thousand cuts" sounds like fun to you, you'll definitely like the Rapier. It has a very high crit chance and offers a range of very powerful bleed effects that will drain your enemy's health surprisingly quickly. As a Dexterity-focused weapon, Rapier is often used in a combination with the Spear, as these two work together very well - Spear's debuffs from the Impaler tree synergize with Rapier's Blood specialization. Moreover, it's often combined with a Bow to stack even more damage over time effects on targets - this works especially well in PvP. On its own, the Rapier is a powerful weapon that can take inexperienced enemies by surprise, as it does not deal its damage upfront but rather spreads it over time. As far as its active abilities go, we recommend Tondo - to apply nasty bleed stacks, Evade - to dodge enemy attacks and gain invulnerability frames, and Fleche - to quickly close the distance to your target or switch targets in PvP, together with all their upgrades.
This Tier on our List is dedicated to Weapons that are outshined by the other ones or simply lack something that would make them "optimal". Now, please note that the following Weapons are still perfectly viable* and they work incredibly well in combination with some weapons from the two above Tiers (Ice Gauntlet, especially). The thing is, they are just not that powerful on their own.
*In current days, many players mix up the word "viable" with the word "optimal" which makes them think that only the strongest Weapons/Builds are worth using. They are wrong. Every Weapon in New World is perfectly viable for the end-game content and brings a unique flavor and playstyle to the table.
Thanks to its self-healing property, Hatchet is an excellent weapon for solo content. With it, you can chain-farm mobs very easily with minimum downtime - it will keep regenerating your health and make you operational for much longer than most other weapons. However, this amazing property had to be balanced. Its skill trees don't synergize with each other at all, which can be a good or a bad thing (on one hand, you can focus on one tree. On the other, you are forced into one style of combat and can't fine-tune your build at all). Moreover, Hatchet requires a lot of stats and scaling (so - gear and points, basically) to compete with other melee weapons when it comes to raw DPS. On the other hand, it works quite well as a secondary weapon for dexterity-based builds (its secondary stat is dexterity), but you'd be much better off combining two weapons that have dexterity as their primary stat (so, Bow + Spear, Spear + Rapier, etc.). In small-scale PvP, Hatchet is very solid as its self-healing is relevant there. However, it falls off a bit in larger-scale battles. As for skills, we recommend a full Berserker build because of its high sustain and rather good burst damage.
When rated as a solo weapon, Ice Gauntlet does not impress. However, its Builder skill tree works wonders when paired with other caster weapons (so, Fire Staff or Life Staff). Thanks to its mana regen passives and the Entombed skill it fits with them perfectly. Extra mana regen greatly improves sustain of the staves (they burn through your mana alarmingly quickly) and Entombed offers a powerful defensive cooldown that also rapidly regenerates your mana. When it comes to the Ice Tempest skill tree, it works the best against stationary targets and falls behind the Fire Staff in terms of damage output. This means that it's difficult to use to its full potential in PvP (with a notable exception of holding a choke point - Ice Gauntlet is solid for that) and can't really compete with the Fire Staff in PvE as it simply lacks DPS. All in all, Ice Gauntlet is a solid support/secondary weapon that works well in combination with other "caster" armaments but currently gets outmatched by them as a primary.
This Tier is dedicated to New World Weapons that fall a bit behind the competition or simply weren't figured out yet by the community (mostly the former, as every weapon was tested thoroughly during the Beta). However, keep in mind that even an average weapon can still do very well in skilled hands - any weapon, even the best one, is just a tool, and using it to its full potential is up to the wielder.
Note: Yes, this is the lowest tier which means that there are no "bad" weapons in New World - the developers are doing a great job balancing them so far.
You might be surprised by this one as the Great Axe offers some of the best crowd control options in the game. However, this tier list is focused mainly on PvE, which means that damage output is the main determining factor for it. Sadly, Great Axe is simply lacking in terms of raw DPS which makes it much worse than the Warhammer, for example (as a pure DPS weapon, that is) - Execute is too situational to make up for this. Despite its below-average DPS, Great Axe is still an amazing secondary weapon for Tanks and its skills supplement tanking extremely well. Reap lets you group up scattered mobs, Charge allows you to quickly engage mobs that are out of range of your other attacks, Execute gives you some extra single-target damage against wounded foes, Whirlwind is a nice AoE that does not root you in place, and the Gravity Well offers solid cc. The same properties that make Great Axe solid as a secondary tanking weapon, also make it quite strong in PvP - its charge and grapple should allow you to initiate fights but may also lead you to a premature demise.
Remember that although we have tried to stay as neutral as possible when compiling this list, some biased opinions might still be involved. If your personal experience/opinion about certain New World Weapons varies from the one pictured on our list, don't hesitate to let us know. We will take another look into it and rethink our ranking, based on your suggestions.