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 since launch, 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 several large 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:

  • Removal of Expertise / Watermark System – Progress is now gear based without the extra progression layer of the expertise system after reaching max level.
  • New Ultimate AbilitiesHeartrunes
  • Tuning Orbs removed – You no longer need Tuning Orbs to access expeditions. (You still need them for PvE arenas)
  • Inventory Management – All storage sheds are now linked across every territory. Players can easily move items from territory to territory using their storage.
  • Improved Search Functionality – You can now search for items with specific perks in your inventory and storage.
  • 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.
  • MountsMounts have been added to the game with the Rise of the Angry Earth Expansion.
  • 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.
  • Activity Finder – There is now a way to queue up to look for a group for any expedition or mutation. Simply open you menu and click on the “Activities” tab. You can click on your desired activity. For example, clicking on expeditions will allow you to be placed in a queue for that specific expedition. You can also choose to run a random expedition. This will give you a reward twice daily. You can also do this for mutated expeditions up to mutation level 2. You can not queue for a random group for mutation level 3.
  • 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.
  • Removal of Ward, Bane, & Resilience Perks – There were many necessary perks that made it difficult to participate in end game content. The need for various sets with different ward and bane perks has been removed from the game.
  • Loot Biasing – You now have a much higher chance to loot gear that matches your currently equipped gear.
  • Native Controller Support – Choose from two pre-set controller layouts to enhance your New World experience at the start of Season 5.
New world group finder

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.

Mutations are only available if you own the expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth. They are also now squished to 3 levels of expeditions versus the previous 10. In order to participate in mutations you will need the following:

Mutation level 1 – 650 Gear Score
Mutation level 2 – 6575 Gear Score
Mutation level 3 – 695 Gear Score

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 Dark Matter (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 7 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
  • Never Stop Learning – Increases XP gain for mining, logging, skinning, and harvesting

Influence Races

Capture new Influence Towers and strike down enemy Factions in open world combat for territorial supremacy. Each Faction will compete for Influence in specific zones during scheduled times. If an attacking Faction earns enough Influence through PvP Missions, Influence Towers, and Forts before the race ends, they’ll receive bonus rewards, plus the opportunity to declare War. If the defending Faction prevents the attackers from scoring enough Influence within the time limit, they’ll earn bonus rewards for both the Influence Race and the next War. Regardless of who wins, the attacking Faction with the most influence can escalate the conflict into War.

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.

The Flail

The Flail is a versatile one-handed weapon with the option for an offhand shield. Use arcane magic to enhance attacks and buff allies or debuff enemies for an easier victory. Through a combination of melee, arcane magic, and strong defenses, the wielder can bolster their group’s effectiveness without dropping the offensive.

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 of the Ennead 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.

The Savage Divide

Embark on a dangerous new Level 62+ Expedition to track down the primordial Beast Lords before pandemonium emerges from the depths of Aeternum. The elemental chaos of the Savage Divide awaits. This Expedition requires the New World expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth.

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.

Glacial Tarn

The Glacial Tarn is a new Level 65 Expedition set in the Great Cleave. Explore a cavernous frozen complex hidden beyond the Empyrean Forge in pursuit of the Varangian Knight Ser Loth. Locate and harness the primordial magic of the Empyrean Flame to overcome enemies and obstacles imbued with Ice Magic, and destroy Ser Loth before his power consumes all of Aeternum.

Players will need the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion to experience this Expedition.

Artifact Gear

With the introduction of the Expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth you can now obtain powerful items called Artifact items. These items can be farmed through various methods. Some artifacts are found in expeditions, elite chests, open world bosses, the PvP reward track, and more.

Once you obtain your desired artifact you will need to complete a series of quests and awaken the Artifact’s full potential by unlocking its six perks including one unique playstyle-defining perk to change your game.

Each artifact has an artifact specific perk that can only be acquired on that particular item. You can see a full list of every artifact in the game and how to obtain them by checking out our Artifact Guide.


Along with the New World Expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth, you’ll be able to travel through Aeternum faster by riding a customizable mount. There are 3 different variations of mounts in New World including horses, dire wolves, and lions. There’s also a new riding skill associated with mounts that players can level up in order to gain additional mount speed.

To learn all about mounts you can check out our complete mount guide.

New Zones

There have been 2 new zones added to the game since launch, Brimstone Sands and Elysian Wilds. You can access Brimstone sands with the base game. However, in order to gain access to the Elysian Wilds you must own the expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth.

Brimstone sands is a vast desert region. it is currently the largest zone in the game. Along with the introduction of Brimstone sands a few other features were added to the game, including the ancient glyph system, golden scarabs, and runeglass gems. Brimstone Sands is also the home to the Ennead Expedition, the Hatchery Trial, and the Trial of the Devourer.

The second zone that was added actually replaced and existing zone in the game, First Light. First Light was transformed into an end game zone that’s now known as the Elysian Wilds. It has been invaded by the powers of Artemis and the Angry Earth. Explore the raised structures of this magical new landscape and battle the ferocious beasts that have taken refuge in the verdant, unsettled terrain.

This zone is home to new high level elite enemies, and the Savage Divide expedition.


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.

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 65

The maximum level has been increased to level 65. However, in order progress to this level you must own the Rise of the Angry Earth Expansion.

Your first task in New World progression is getting to level 65. 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 65. 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. 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. 

For a complete walkthrough on getting from levels 1-65, 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.

Progression Post Level 65

Upon reaching level 65 you will then be shooting to reach gear score 700. To reach the maximum gear score of 700 you can simply start by completing the quests in the Elysian Wilds zone. This will bring your gear score up to roughly 640-650.

Once you reach gear score 650 you can then begin to participate in the first tier of mutated expeditions. Level 1 mutations can drop up to gear score 700 gear, which can help bump up your gear score even further in order to progress into higher level mutations and end game activities.

For more information on post level 65 activates you can check our How to Get to 700 Gear Score guide.


Gypsum is still in the game, however, it’s no longer utilized to increase expertise because that system has been removed from the game. However, 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. Gypsum orbs are also now utilized in a variety of crafting recipes.

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

Getting End Game Gear

A few good ways to obtain some solid gear is through the following:

  • Outpost Rush Caches
  • Elite Chest Runs
  • Expeditions
  • Crafting
  • Artifact Farming

Farming for artifacts with yield you with some of the most powerful gear in the game. This is instant 700 gear score. However, in order to obtain the final perk you must upgrade it at a gypsum kiln. This will require the use of dark matter.

Dark Matter

Dark matter is a new resource that was added with the Expansion. You need dark matter to upgrade gear at the gypsum kiln. Some of the named items that you will find can be upgraded to gear score 700 via the kiln. However, this will require dark matter and several other end game resources. You can get more information about dark matter here.

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!