Last Updated: Mon Jul 17 2023 Reading Time: 18 min

New World Returning Player Guide


New World has changed a lot since its release. In our New World Returning Player Guide, we’ve compiled a list of changes and new features the game received in the past year and give you the best tips to help you catch up to current endgame content.

Changes to New World Since Launch

New World has had almost monthly updates since its launch. These updates have added new game modes, weapons, expeditions, seasonal events, and tons of quality-of-life improvements. Below are some of the highlights that have been added to the game!

Quality of Life Improvements

Some of the best changes to New World are the quality of life improvements. Here are some of the most significant changes since launch:

  • In-game Expertise Tracker – keeps track of your Gear Score progression.
  • New Ultimate AbilitiesHeartrunes
  • Tuning Orbs removed – After the July update players no longer need Tuning Orbs to access expeditions.
  • Inventory Management – All storage sheds are now linked across every territory. Players can easily move items from territory to territory using their storage. Perk search features
  • Fast Travel Improvements – Several new Recall Shrines have been added throughout Aeternum. They have also greatly reduced Azoth costs. Azoth is no longer a bottleneck for travel.
  • Reduced Housing Taxes – The Housing Tax has been lowered to 0.1 to 1% (down from 1-20%).
  • PVP Reward Track – New World PVP is now more rewarding! You will gain XP as you complete activities such as open-world PVP, Arenas, OPR, and Wars. This XP will help you level up your PVP Reward Track which grants you tons of loot including amazing PVP gear.
  • Expedition Group Finder – There is now a way to queue up to look for a group for any expedition or mutation. Simply click on the expedition icon on the map for the group finder for that expedition. You can look for a premade group or start a group of your own.
  • Improved performance – The New World team has made great strides in the identification and resolution of bugs and performance issues.
  • Changes to Salvaging Gear – All gear can be salvaged for unique scraps that can be used to craft items of that type! For instance, if you salvage a legendary weapon, you have a chance to get a “Perfect Salvage” that might earn you Legendary weapons scraps. These scraps can be used to craft another weapon OR can be used to increase your weaponsmithing
  • Craftable Expedition Gear – Salvaging expedition-specific gear will give you Materia for that Expedition that can be used to craft a piece of gear that drops in that expedition! This can help you get that expedition drop you have been looking for!
  • Gear Sets – Players can now utilize gear sets in order to quickly swap gear. Items in gear sets are not a part of your inventory and do not contribute to your inventory storage a weight. Each gear set essentially acts as its own inventory.

New Game Modes

Mutated Expeditions

Mutated Expeditions are challenging end-game adaptations of the 5 man Expedition system in New World. Mutations are New World’s current version of endgame PVE and are one of the most rewarding activities in the game. Each week there are two Mutated Expeditions available to run.

There are tons of different types of Mutations making each week a new experience. When you complete a Mutated Expedition, You’ll earn a new currency called Umbral Shards (more on this later), and tons of Epic and Legendary drops!


New World Arenas is a 3v3 PVP game mode. Arenas are a “best of 5” format that rewards players with PVP experience and a new PVP currency: Azoth Salt. This format is best enjoyed in a group of 3, though you can queue solo if you want! You can start queuing for Arena at level 20.

In addition to open world PVP, Outpost Rush, and Wars, Arenas have added more diversity to the New World PVP. New World has also mentioned that Arenas have a ranked mode on the way.


Next, New World added a new Music Tradeskill. Music allows players to provide buffs to themselves and their allies! Music Sheets can be found all over Aeternum that will help you learn new songs. Players can use instruments such as guitar, drums, and more to perform.

There are currently 6 buffs that you can obtain from the Music system:

  • Decidedly Dexterous – Increased Gathering Speed
  • Territorial Triumph – Increased Territory Standing Bonus
  • Altogether Now – Increased Group XP Sharing Bonus
  • Song in Your Step – Reduced Player Encumbrance
  • Fortune’s Favor – Increases Yield When Gathering
  • Luck’s Labor – Increases Luck When Gathering

The Music system is an exciting and fun addition to New World with tons of potential for expansion.

Sandwurm Raid

Enter the Arena of Shah Neshen the Devourer, and defeat the massive sandwurm for elite rewards in a challenging new PvE game mode for 20 max-level players. 

new world sandwurm raid

This is the most challenging PvE content the game has added to date. The developers have stated they are using this Elite Trial as a way to test the boss fight mechanics for full featured raid content in the future.

New Weapons

Great Sword

The Greatsword is a 2 handed Sword that scales evenly with Strength and Dexterity, making it a good pair for many other martial weapons. It allows players to “stance dance” between an offensive stance called Onslaught and a defensive stance, Defiance.

Void Gauntlet

The Void Gauntlet is a new Intellect/Focus-based weapon that excels at supporting your group and dealing melee damage with the Void Blade. The Void Gauntlet pairs well with the Ice Gauntlet for damage dealing or supporting a group in PVP. It also goes well with the life staff!


A close-ranged, Shotgun-like weapon that scales with Strength/Intellect. The Blunderbuss is often used in Burst DPS builds. It also has a good selection of utilities to round out any Blunderbuss build. The Blunderbuss is most often paired with the Sword and Shield for an Assassin Build or with a Warhammer or Ice Gauntlet for a PVP Tank build.

New Expeditions

New World has added several new Expeditions since launch.

The Empyrean Forge

The Empyrean Forge is a level 60 Expedition located in the northern part of Great Cleave. This is an end-game expedition that will be in the weekly mutation rotation of expeditions. You can enter via the expedition entrance or by using the group finder function.

The Empyrean Forge is a legendary foundry where the ancients forged their devastating engines of war. Those who hunger for power yearn for the eldritch magics unleashed in the colossal ruins.

Once inside the expedition you will encounter mostly human enemy types.

Empyrean Forge

The Ennead

Delve into Ancient Ruins to face the vigilant Anubian Guardians and solve hieroglyphic puzzles to achieve new power. Players will explore ancient mysteries with Imhotep, battle powerful Sand Demons, and perhaps, if they persist, restore the rightful ruler who can finally bring order and hope to the region after centuries of chaos.

Tempest’s Heart

The final showdown against Isabella is upon you… Enter the Tempest’s Heart! Pursue the Tempest into a corrupted dimension of reality, through the twisted capital city of Myrkgard. Discover the secrets of her past while you dive deeper into her corrupted mind.

The Tempest Heart is an endgame Corrupted Expedition located in Shattered Mountain. It requires players to be at level 60 and have an average gear score of 550-570. The Tempest Heart has one of the best loot tables of any expedition for both End-game PVP and PVE.

Barnacles & Black Powder

A dark tide rises in Aeternum with the arrival of Admiral Blackpowder and his dastardly crew! Quest givers in the Cutlass Keys settlement and the new docks on the territory’s eastern shore will be looking to offer you loot and renown for defeating the despicable evil within the new Barnacles & Black Powder expedition.

Barnacles and Blackpowder is the most recent expedition added to New World. This Expedition is located in the southern part of Cutlass Keys and requires level 60 to complete.

Starstone Amrine Mashup Mutation

This new take on Starstone Barrows includes a special appearance. Players will revisit parts of the Amrine Expedition and face both the intrepid Simon Grey and Foreman Nakashima. This is a mutated version only that combines both expeditions to give players a repeatable option for the early game expeditions.


New World has adopted a seasonal model. Each season will last approximately 3 months. Along with each new season comes a season pass that players can progress to earn valuable in game rewards. There is both a free and premium version of the season pass.

The Season Pass gives players a variety of ways to earn new titles, gear, and more. The Free Track is available to all players, while the Premium Reward Track offers extra rewards for an additional purchase. The Season Pass also includes the introduction of the Season Journey, a series of tasks and challenges that send Adventurers around Aeternum, plus the Activity Card where players can earn Season XP through mini-objectives.

Seasonal Events

New World has adopted seasonal events that have their own currencies, vendors, and activities.

Nightveil Hallow

Nightveil Hallow is the New World Halloween event. It’s marked by a mysterious season of change when shades and ghouls gather in dark places. It is a time when people adorn their houses with jack-o-lanterns and wear frightful masks.

New World Halloween Event

Winter Convergence

The Winter Convergence is New World’s seasonal winter event. It is centered around collecting gifts for the Winter Wanderer and helping him fight off his “negative” spirit. There are also world events that cause a new gatherable – Gleamite – to rain from the sky.

For a complete guide on the Winter Convergence, check out our Winter Convergence Guide.

Summer Medleyfaire

New World’s latest seasonal event is the Summer Medleyfaire. The Medleyfaire is centered around fishing and music. As you rank up your Event reputation, you will unlock new rewards that you can purchase using Medleyfaire Tokens from the Master of Ceremonies at the Summer Medleyfaire Shop.

For a complete guide on the Medleyfaire, check out our Medlyfaire Event Guide.

Springtide Bloom

The Springtide Bloom New World event happens every spring in Aeternum. The Time of Awakening has arrived! Springtide Bloom calls its children to share an ancient secret capable of granting true freedom. Help the enigmatic Bloom Herald unravel the mysteries of the ethereal Wispybloom and collect Springtide’s fertile bounty of event-specific rewards. Harvest with caution, as swarms of vile Wispy Wasps guard the blooms with fury! Truth Seekers must be level 20 or higher to embark upon the quest for enlightenment.

New World Springtide Bloom

Getting to Level 60

Your first task in New World progression is getting to level 60. Since launch, New World has made a ton of changes and improvements that makes this experience quicker and more enjoyable. With the Updated New Player Experience, players simply need to follow the main quest line to hit level 60! Below are some tips to help you get there as efficiently as possible!

General Leveling Tips

  • Questing is your main source of experience. Make sure you grab all the side quests as you progress the main story. Typically the side quests are in the general vicinity as the main story, which makes it very efficient to complete them in “cycles” as you go. 
  • Complete all of the quests on the beach before heading into the settlement so you can continue the main story line. 
  • Pick up every lore page you see. These give a decent amount of experience when picked up for the first time. 
  • Town Boards XP yield has been nerfed (questing is “faster” and more effective experience gain). These are still a trade/gold resource for XP, so picking them along the way can still prove to be valuable. Do not go out of your way to complete them for XP however, as they are not worth it. 
  • Early leveling is very easy. Run light armor if you can to maximize your damage output in order to kill mobs more efficiently. (You can find a recommended leveling build here.) If you are playing melee you may want to consider switching to medium armor in the 30 to 40 level range, and potentially heavy armor in the 50+ range so you can do bigger AoE pulls of mobs. 
  • Make sure you do your 3 faction quests each day. You will receive 5x the rewards for the first 3 faction missions you complete every day. This will boost your experience gain by quite a lot. It’s recommended that you do the highest level PvP missions that you have access to in order to maximize the experience gain and other benefits. 
  • Ensure you check your faction quests prior to going out to complete your main story and side quests. If there are any faction missions in that general area make sure to accept them so you can complete them along the way as well. 
  • The main story quest will reward you with your Azoth staff. This is a vital part of the game and leveling in general. Make sure you get this.
  • Stick to the main story quest. You will hit points in the main story that will require you to level more before continuing. Just make sure to return to the main quests when available.  
  • The main story quest will reward you with your Azoth staff. This is a vital part of the game and leveling in general. Make sure you get this. 
  • Elite zones and PvP are both solid ways to gain weapon mastery quickly. 

For a complete walkthrough on getting from levels 1-60, check out our leveling guide!

Leveling Builds

Life Staff/Hatchet

The Life Staff/Hatchet build is great for beginners or people coming back to New World that need to shake of the rust. This build can solo anything in the open world and has decent kill speed due to the hatchet’s quick attack patterns and damage support in the Berserker Tree. This build works best in light armor and you will want to work towards a split stat of around 2 Focus to every 1 Constitution. You will need to use an Amber gem in your hatchet to scale the damage from focus.

For the life staff side, you’ll want to start with grabbing Divine Embrace and Sacred Ground. These are the two main abilities you’ll use to keep yourself going. When you get enough points, Grab Beacon and your set. The goal here is to lay down Beacon and Sacred Ground on your target, then switch to the Hatchet and go to work! You can use Divine Embrace to top you off if you get in trouble. If you feel like you don’t need Divine Embrace often, switch to Orb of Protection and make sure to shoot it at your feet before you switch to hatchet.

For this build, you’ll take the entire Berserker Tree for the hatchet. This build has amazing passives, with one of the best abilities in the game: Berserk. Once you switch over to the Hatchet, start with Heavy Attack, then use Berserk. You can now use your light attack chain and Ragging Torrent to finish your enemy. If you are facing a ranged enemy, use Feral Rush to close the gap as they try to run. You can also try swapping out Feral Rush to Rending Throw to reduce the mitigation of your targets.

Hatchet/Great Axe

Once you get comfortable with the Life Staff/Hatchet build and want to try another hatchet build that can kill things quicker, you can swap out the Life Staff for the Great Axe. You want to use a 2 STR to 1 CON stat distribution and take Gravity Well, Maelstrom, and Whirlwind for your active abilities. This build will allow you to deal large amounts of AOE damage, while still maintaining the utility of the hatchet and self healing of Berserk.

Spear/War Hammer

The Spear/War Hammer Build is a more advanced leveling build that allows you to apply max rend stacks to targets while dealing insane amounts of damage. This build also has Elite CC that can allow you to Stun Lock mobs.

For a full walkthrough on the Spear/War Hammer Build for leveling AND getting started in Expeditions/Mutations, check out our guide!

Expertise 500 – 600

Now that you have reached Level 60, it’s time to increase your expertise. In New World, expertise is how you progress your gear score. It affects both the gear score of the items that drop for you and the effectiveness of your gear. The best way to get your expertise up quickly is to do your daily Gypsum tasks and run the Garden of Genesis and Lazarus Instrumentality expeditions.

Note that while your expertise is below 600, items you buy on the trading post will be scaled down to the middle of your expertise and the item’s gear score. So buying a GS 600 item when your expertise for that slot is only 500 will result in that item’s power effectively being reduced to GS 550. It’s still worth it to buy high GS items if you can to get that initial boost in item power.

For a complete breakdown of how to increase your expertise, check out our New World Gear Score and Expertise guide!


Gypsum is a resource that is found by doing a variety of end-game activities. It can be crafted into Gypsum orbs which are then crafted into Gypsum Casts. A Gypsum cast is crafted for a specific type of gear, and when it’s opened it will guarantee an Expertise increase for that specific gear type, and you will receive an item of that type that will have the corresponding gear score.

Here is a break down on how to collect all your daily Gypsum:

Gypsum TypeDaily MaxObtained
Obsidian Gypsum3Defeating level 60+ open-world named bosses, typically found in Elite Landmarks
Sapphire Gypsum2Defeating the final bosses of end game expeditions
Ruby Gypsum2Awarded when completing an Outpost Rush match (must get at least 501 points in the match)
Emerald Gypsum1Found in Trade Skill Aptitude Reward Containers
Citrine Gypsum2Awarded for completing PvE arenas
Amethyst Gypsum7Awarded for closing corrupted breaches
Topaz Gypsum5Requires consuming a special Attunement Potion. This potion can be crafted at an Arcana Station or Tier 5 camp. Once consumed, you simply need to kill level 55+ mobs until the Topaz Drops.
Diamond Gypsum3You can obtain Diamond Gypsum by gathering any type of node in Aeternum. This usually changes during Seasonal Events such as the Winter Convergence.
Garnet Gypsum2Earned in 3v3 PVP Arenas
Faction Vendor2Purchased from the faction vendor


Recent changes have been made to the loot system in Expeditions that make running the endgame Expeditions one of the best ways to increase your Expertise. The best Expedition to farm time-wise is Lazarus Instrumentality. Most groups should have no problem clearing it in around 20-30 minutes. You should get several Expertise increases with each run!

Between your daily Gypsum grind and running some expeditions each day, you’ll be at 600 Expertise in no time! The Next Step is to get geared up and get to 625 Expertise!

Daily Expertise Activity Priority

It’s important to use your time effectively each day in New World as you increase your Expertise to 600. Here is an easy-to-use priority to increase your Gypsum if you only have 30 minutes or 3-4 hours to play each day.

First, craft a Topaz Gypsum Attunement Potion and head to Skysong Crypt. Here you can run between the bosses that spawn here until you get your daily number of Obsidian and Topaz Gypsum. You should also get your daily Diamond here by gathering random nodes along the way. This should only take you around 15-30 minutes tops. The bosses should also give you a chance to drop items that will increase your expertise as well.

Next, find a group to run Lazarus Instrumentality on Normal Mode x2. These should take around 20-25 minutes a piece and will help you earn your 2 Saphire of Gypsum for the day. Not only that, but you should continue to increase your expertise with all the drops you earn throughout the expedition!

If you can’t find a group for expeditions or don’t want to run them, you can also try to join a chest run.

These are advertised multiple times per day on global chat and happen in Shattered Mountain, Reekwater, Ebonscale Reach, and Brimstone Sands. Ask for an invite and try to meet up with the group before the run starts. Chest runs still grant a good amount of expertise and can get you valuable items.

Finally, if you prefer PVP, do your daily Arenas and OPRs to get your Ruby and Garnet Gypsum. If you don’t like PVP, Continue running the Garden of Genesis for more expertise increases through drops. You can also craft or obtain) two Siren Arena Orbs and complete the Arenas for your daily Citrine Gypsum. If you like to craft or gather you can obtain your Emerald Gypsum. It is not currently a good time investment to try to farm your Amethyst Gypsum each day, but that might change in the future!

This should put you at around 2 hours played in-game with TONS of expertise updates. Continue this cycle daily and you should be 600 Expertise in no time! For another guide that can help with what to do post-level 60, check out our What to do at level 60 guide.

Getting End Game Gear

PVP Gear

There are two quick ways to get geared up for PVP in New World. First, is the New PVP Reward Track. The PVP Reward track holds great 3-perk gear that can help you bridge the gap to BIS gear. You can also farm outpost rush. Doing this will reward you with an outpost rush cache, and within that cache some gear. The outpost rush gear (if 590+ gear score) can be upgraded to legendary and receive a 3rd perk.

Next, you can find some good PVP gear in some of the Expeditions! Items like the Smooth Bone Ring, Raiders Hat, and the Firevine Battlestaff all come from Expedition Drops! Make sure to use our database to find out where each item drops.

PVE Gear

As you get to expertise 600, keep an eye out for Ward gear for each enemy type. Ward gear can be obtained through corrupted breaches, drops in dungeons, the open world through Elite Supply Chests. You can also look on the trading post for gear with these perks on it. Here are the Ward perks you will be looking for as you build your sets

  • Ancient Ward
  • Angry Earth Ward
  • Corrupted Ward
  • Lost Ward

Save these sets as you will want to assemble a set for each Ward type for M10 farming later on.

Expertise 600 – 625

The fastest way to get from 600-625 is to run mutations, daily chest runs, and do your daily gypsum activities. Once at level 600, you can start converting your daily gypsum into Umbral Shards as well! For everything you need to know about Umbral Shards, check out our Umbral Shards Guide!


Expedition or Dungeon Mutators in New World are mutations of the normal Expeditions in the game. Mutators are a form of end-game content, and they change the familiar by augmenting the normal and named enemies found within the expeditions. This changes the way the encounters inside the dungeon function vs the normal/vanilla versions of the dungeon.

Once you are able to run M10s, you will start to accumulate Umbral Shards at an accelerated rate. At this point, upgrade each of your ward sets starting with your corrupted ward first. You will be able to use this in 3 of the mutated expeditions. Next, upgrade the rest of your Ward sets and you’re good to go!

New World Returning Player Guide Conclusion

That concludes our New World Returning Player Guide! If you’re interested in more New World Guides, check out our guide section!

About the Author

Redbyrd is one of the founders of StudioLoot and is writing guides for all games we cover. You can catch him on Twitch most days of the week.

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