How do New World Classes Work?

There are no classes in New World, allowing you to define your own style with various weapons and armor types.

New World Classes
New World has no classes, so why not design your own archetype? Image via Amazon Games.

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Table of Contents

One of the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) genre’s most common features is the class system. It’s one that allows players to assume one or more combat archetypes (DPS, support, etc) that tend to be common across all games. Unfortunately, New World has no class customization. Instead, character progression occurs through levelling up weapons, allowing players to opt for whatever build they want on a whim. Here is all you need to know about New World classes and how they work.


Before going any further, do know there are no playable races other than Humans in New World. The game is set in the European Age of Exploration, aka the 1500s. You essentially play as a sailor heading to the Americas on the back of Columbus’ recent discovery. However, you crash land on the island of Aeternum and get stuck there. You’ll find a number of different races on the island, such as wildlife, nature, the undead, and the corrupted. There is a narrative at work on Aeternum, but you’ll only be able to explore through the lens of a Human. The character does offer many different skin colors, though, representing the many different races found on Earth.


Players will find several weapons types across Aeternum, which can be levelled up to unlock new passive abilities and skills. Linking progression to weapons means your character isn’t locked into a given role and can always find a new weapon type to level up. Eventually, you’ll find the weapons you enjoy using, which you can create a full build around using specific legendary weapons, character attributes and armor sets to bolster your martial prowess.

While there is room for creative freedom when it comes to your weapon build, New World does rely on a familiar tank, healer, and DPS system. There are dungeons known as Expeditions throughout the game, each with their own difficulty that require the three roles to work together. As for end game PvP, having defensive characters, healers, and damage dealers will be important for conquering and defending your faction’s zones across the “New World”.

So what roles can the weapons help you to fulfil? Here are all the weapons in New World and how they fit common combat roles.

Tank Melee DPS Ranged DPS Healer
One-Handed Sword and Shield X X
Hatchet X X X
Spear X X X
Warhammer X X
Great Axe X X
Rapier X X
Bow X
Musket X
Fire Staff X
Ice Gauntlet X
Healing Staff X

Check out our New World weapons guide if you want to know more about New World’s weapons and what they can do. You can use it as a basis for some of the New World classes we suggest below.

Class Ideas

If you want a few ideas on potential builds that might be worth trying out, here are some familiar class types that you can play using the weapons currently in-game.

Barbarian / Marauder

  • Warhammer
  • Great Axe


Both Great Axe specs have some form of crowd control, with one spec featuring a mighty powerful execute ability, while the other has an AOE spin. Use the might of either mega two-handed weapon to control the engagement and smash or chop down your opponents, whether they are made of meat and bone or stone and wood. Combined with the ground and pound, charge and leap style skills, and heavy-hitting powers, you should feel like the ultimate New World barbarian.

For this Strength-focused playstyle, we recommend investing in Heavy armor to become an ultimate monster on the battlefield; taking heavy damage and giving it back. Heavy armor also grants a bonus 20% to the duration of your crowd control skills – and this playstyle certainly has plenty of CC. Don’t forget to bulk out your Constitution; otherwise, you won’t make it to the enemy lines before.



  • Sword and Shield
  • Two-Handed Sword


At the time of writing, two-handed swords are not in the game. We do know that they will be, so we presume they will appear sometime after New World’s release. When they do, you’ll be donning heavy armor and putting your attribute points into Strength and Constitution. Or just pick up the Sword and Shield, and you have your average medieval knight, capable of decent DPS and tanking foes.


Cleric / Paladin

  • Sword and Shield
  • Life Staff


The role of a cleric is one of the most unique New World classes that are currently viable. Their primary role is to support allies on the frontline with a mixture of tanking, damage and healing capabilities. We recommend equipping the Life Staff and going down the Protector specialization tree, as it will provide some damage, healing and the Fortify (damage absorption) buff to allies. Combined with the Sword and Shield’s defensive spec, you can become unkillable. The attributes you’ll want to focus on as a cleric-type build are Constitution and Focus primarily, with spare points going into Strength for the Sword and Shield. Heavy armor is great friend here as it offers the best incoming damage reduction of all armor types, which you’ll need as a frontline healer.


Battle Mage

  • Fire Staff or Ice Gauntlet
  • Optional Two-handed Melee Weapon


The battle mage is one of those hybrid classes we’ve adapted for New World that prefers a suit of Heavy armor, along with any two-handed weapon of choice and a DPS-orientated magical weapon. The Fire Staff’s Pyrmonancer specialization is all about using fire to propel oneself forward, leaving fire in your wake. Meanwhile, the Ice Gauntler’s Builder spec is primarily a CC build, with the ability to form a defensive wall around your character. The Ice Gauntlet is one way to keep enemies engaged with you for longer, especially when they’re unable to dodge heavy swings from your mighty Warhammer.


Skirmisher / Berserker

  • Spear
  • Hatchet


The skirmisher is traditionally a class that uses a mixture of ranged and melee abilities, designed for one-on-one battles at speed. Typically, they thrive in scenarios where organized tactics go out of the window, preferring the thrill of thinking and fighting on their feet through shattered battle lines. You’ll want to run Medium armor for this build, as you are an agile frontliner that needs to move freely. As for the weapon specs, you’ll need to play the Zoner spec on the Spear so you can perform Leg Sweep, Cyclones and Javelin Toss to offer CC and deal with multiple enemies. In addition, you’ll play the Berserking Hatchet build, with your two axes able to hack away your opposition with haste.


Assassin / Duelist

  • Rapier
  • Spear


The assassin is one of two possible New World classes that are Dexterity-focused melee DPS characters. The assassin works best with a  build that shreds an opponent’s armour, combined with bleeds to place pressure on the wearer. At the build’s core is the Rapier’s Blood specialization, along with the Spear’s Impaler playstyle, using  Skewer’s Charge’s stun, and bleed combination to get into combat. The extra CC from Vault Kick is also a welcome addition that stops enemies from getting hits on your fragile build.

If you prefer a more duelist style, your Rapier can spec into the Grace tree. This allows access to more dodges and Riposte, with which you’re capable of deflecting blows from melee opponents, stunning them in the process. Medium armor should be your preference (for the CC and damage bonuses), but you could potentially go light for the kiting and damage bonuses, but it is a high-risk, high-reward playstyle.


Ranger / Hunter

  • Musket
  • Bow


The Ranger / Hunter is the most woodsmen-like of all the possible New World classes. You can opt for any of the Bow builds as it doesn’t matter all too much. However, taking the Trapper specialization in the Musket allows you to knock back enemies with your rifle, as well as place traps down. You’ll be primarily assigning points to Dexterity for this build, along with some  Intellect for the Musket’s Intellect secondary scalings. Finally, go for Medium armor for the extra damage and CC trapping.



  • Musket
  • Optional


Unlike the ranger archetype, the sniper is all about standing as far back as possible. The Musket’s Sharpshooter specialization is all about empowering your light attacks, along with entering a sharpshooter stance for bonus damage and accuracy increases. Like the hunter build, you’ll  want to use Medium armor for the slight damage bonus and CC duration it gives. Be aware that the Sharpshooter stance reduces your movement speed and peripheral vision. Therefore, we recommend arming some sort of Dexterity-based weapon for escaping any incoming combat. You could use a Rapier’s Grace build for extra dodge and Riposte, or the Hatchet’s throwing spec for extra damage and a movement slow? Perhaps even go for the Bow and take the Skirmisher Specialization, so you can make use of its Evade Shot, acting like World of Warcraft’s Disengage for the Hunter class. The choice is entirely yours.


Elementalist / Mage

  • Fire Staff
  • Ice Gauntlet


The elementalist is the only dedicated magical DPS caster among all the New World classes. Our version of the elementalist uses the Fire Mage spec under the Fire Staff to cast Fireballs, Meteors, and Ignites to deal powerful AOE and single-target damage. The Ice Gauntlet’s Tempest Spec allows the caster to employ Ice magic, casting ice spikes through the terrain to displace enemies. Therefore, Intellect will be your go-to attribute, but any extra points in Constitution will enhance your staying power. It all depends on how much of a glass cannon you want to be. Either way, you’ll be taking Light armor for increased damage output and extended dodge distance.


  • Healing Staff
  • Ice Gauntlet


The shaman is a master of the elements and of nature,  using their healing powers for good. Such players should equip  the Healing Staff, using whichever specialization they prefer while wielding an Ice Gauntlet’s Builder spec. The idea behind this is that the Shaman can summon a snowstorm to aid their allies in combat by debuffing the baddies with slowdowns and erecting an Ice Pylon for some supporting damage. Lastly, they can entomb themselves for mana regeneration and as a defensive cooldown if required. Either way, Focus is your main attribute, with Intellect a good secondary option to improve your Ice Gauntlet’s damage output. Light armor, obviously.



  • Healing Staff
  • Fire Staff


The priest is the most common form of healer in MMORPGs. They are the frail, cloth wearing support class, equipped with a healing staff to ensure their party remains in good condition. With New World working slightly differently, its version of the priest will need to equip a dangerous weapon to contribute to damage output of the party. The most obvious choice is a Fire Staff, opting for the Fire Mage spec. You’ll want to put most of your points into Focus for healing, but any spare can go into Intellect to boost your magical damage. Lastly, you’ll want Light armor as you shouldn’t need to take up any frontline positions. If you accidentally do, then you need to be quick enough to run away when you become the kill target.


This concludes our New World Classes guide. We hope you found these class archetypes useful, and you can find a playstyle you love. Do you have any of your own class archetypes that could work? Let us know in the comments below.

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