Home  >  Games  >  New World | All Content

New World: Best Dexterity Build and Weapons Guide

As someone who greatly enjoys the classic sneaky rogue archetype and build, I can say that New World does a pretty good job representing its dexterity based heroes. There are plenty of good weapon options and several playstyles available for those who want to showcase their finesse instead of relying on brute strength or arcane knowledge. And that’s what this guide will be covering today!

We’ll get into the basics about the various dexterity based weapons and playstyles in New World, so you can build the cunning dashing rogue you were always wanted to be. Let’s dive in, shall we?

What Does Dexterity Do & Milestones in New World

Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

Since this is a guide for an attribute, let’s start by going over the basic benefits you get from having a high dexterity. In addition to upgrading the damage of certain weapons, each attribute will offer milestone bonuses. These are passive buffs you get for having an attribute at a certain level. Here is the list of dexterity milestones:

  • 50 = +5% critical hit chance and +10% skinning speed.
  • 100 = +5% thrust damage and +20% haste for 3s after skinning.
  • 150 = dodging costs 10% less stamina and the weight of skinned items is reduced by 10%.
  • 200 = +10% backstab and headshot damage and +10% skinning speed.
  • 250 = +10% critical hit damage against slowed, stunned, or rooted enemies, as well as a +10% yield increase when skinning.
  • 300 = guaranteed critical hit after a successful dodge roll once every 10s and a 15% chance to return ammo once used.

Which Weapons Scale with Dexterity?

Which weapons
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

The following weapons scale with dexterity as their primary attribute in New World:

  • Bow
  • Musket
  • Spear
  • Rapier

Both the Hatchet and the Sword and Shield pair use dexterity as their secondary scaling attribute. Due to that, I won’t include them on the above bullet point list or go into detailed descriptions about them later on. However, if you wanted, you could include them in a dexterity based build for New World.

Basics of a Dexterity Based Build in New World

Looking at the dexterity milestones, you can easily see a trend. In addition to getting lots of bonuses to the skinning skill, you get bonuses to critical hits, move speed, dodging, headshots, and backstabs. This all evokes that classic rogue playstyle.

Even the skinning bonuses are in line with the idea of using lighter armors. Fitting, given that these lighter armors require higher quantities of hides and leathers – all of which are obtained through skinning primarily.

Let’s compare the dexterity milestones with the list of weapons that scale with dexterity as their primary attribute. Each of these weapons focus mainly on DPS and achieve this through outright damage or DOTs. This gives us a good idea of the fundamentals of a dexterity build in New World.

We want high mobility and high damage. However, in some cases we want to take a slower, more methodical approach, bleeding our enemies dry (quite literally in the case of the rapier). Alternatively, in rarer instances, we’re going for a stealthy approach to take out our foes.

The Best Dexterity Build for DPS

Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

I have already written a whole guide focusing on what the community considers to be the best build in New World for pure DPS, which incidentally is dexterity focused. However, I will briefly go over the basics again here for brevity’s sake.

To be clear, what we’re discussing her is a single-minded focus on maximizing your damage at the expense of everything else. This means dumping all your points into dexterity, only acknowledging the other attributes as an afterthought once the game won’t allow you to put more points into dexterity.

This means that the build ends up being quite risky, as you will die very easily. With that fact in mind, you might have mixed success if you’re using this build for solo play. Without a friendly tank, enemies will fixate solely on you and your squishy body. But if you happen to have allies with you who can draw the enemies’ attention, you’ll find yourself leaving a wake of corpses in your path.

The Equipment

Normally, I start these more detailed guides with attributes… but I obviously don’t need to do that here, so let’s look at the equipment. The key here is to maximize your dodge.

As most players who traverse New World know, your dodge is broken up into light, medium, and heavy, based on the total weight of the armor you wear. You will get a more effective dodge animation the lower that weight is. Obviously, we’ll want to keep our dodge at light.

The optimal way to do this is to wear all light armor, except for your chest slot, where you can equip a piece of medium armor. This way, you get to maximize your armor rating while maintaining a light dodge. Naturally, we’ll also want to prioritize armor pieces that boost our dexterity score even higher.

The Weapons

For this dexterity build we want to pair the musket and the rapier. This build focuses primarily on the musket as a means to pile on damage from a distance. Ideally, the enemies will never get into close range. However, when they do, we can get in some quick damage/DOTs with the rapier before dashing out to long range again. But how specifically do we make that happen?

The Musket

The Musket - new world dexterity build
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

For the musket we want to focus on the active skills Powder Burn, Shooter’s Stance, and Sticky Bomb.

When you use Powder Burn, you overcharge your musket, dealing 110% weapon damage on a hit and inflicting a burn effect that does 20% weapon damage each second for 9s. This skill has a 14.7s cooldown. As you can see, this is a solid source of damage. The base damage is only a little higher than a normal attack, but the burn really piles it on.

When you use Shooter’s Stance, you enter a crouched aiming stance. The stance does not increase your weapon damage, but it does reduce weapon reload time by 75%. This lasts for three shots and has a 17.7 second cooldown. However, you cannot move until the stance ends. This may not seem as big as something like Powder Burn at first, but anyone who uses the musket knows the most annoying part about the weapon (as well as its best balancing factor) is its reload time. This decrease to reload time is huge and really lets you pile in the hits. After you use this active skill once, you will know why it’s on this list.

When you use Sticky Bomb, you throw a bomb that explodes three seconds after it hits an enemy. The bomb does 210% weapon damage and staggers all enemies within 3m. This comes at an 11.8s cooldown. While this active skill can be a bit tricky to time properly, the damage more than makes up for it. 

Add Sniper to these three active skills to improve your headshots and truly ramp up your damage.

The Rapier

The Rapier - new world dexterity build
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

If everything goes as planned, you won’t need your rapier. But you can’t realistically expect to keep all your enemies at a distance in every fight, so a backup melee weapon is essentially a must have. For this build specifically, we want to focus on the active skills Tondo and Evade. Your third slot can be much more of a personal choice, as it’s the two aforementioned main skills that we need.

When you use Tondo you attack up to 5m away for 50% weapon damage. On a hit, you inflict a bleed status effect that does 10% weapon damage per second for 12s. You can stack this effect up to three times. This comes at a 5.9s cooldown. This active skill is perfect for us because it not only hits really quickly, but does DOTs as well. This means we can lash out with Tondo before retreating to a safe distance to continue our musketeering, all while piling on some bonus damage.

When you use Evade you perform a sidestep that gives you momentary invulnerability. If you do light attacks during the sidestep, they are performed much quicker than normal. This all comes at an 11.8 second cooldown. Remember that part in the above paragraph about retreating to a safe distance? This how you do it. It can even let you do more bonus damage as you withdraw.

Alternative Weapons

While the musket/rapier combo is your go to choice for a dexterity build in New World, there are moments where the other weapons shine. That, or you just want to have a silly and fun time.

The Bow

The Bow - new world dexterity build
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

The musket/rapier combo may be considered the best pure DPS weapon combo in New World (and for good reason), but it doesn’t mean the other weapons aren’t worth their weight as well. It would be a mistake to think, for example, that the bow is simply an inferior version of the musket. The bow specifically has some unique build options that make it stand out (or in the case of one option, the exact opposite).

Stealth Archer Build

My personal favorite way to play the bow is the stealth archer approach. No, it is not as effective as it is in Skyrim, but it is a solid New World build nonetheless. As you’ve probably guessed, this build is all about sneaking around in the over world and sniping your enemies before they even know you are there. What’s interesting about this build is that it cares more about passive skills than active skills.

If you want to be a stealth archer, you want to maximize the damage of your heavy attack and make it viable from a distance. To start with, you want both Long Range and Aim True from the Hunter skill tree’s first row. These respectively boost your damage from range and your damage with heavy attacks.

You want to follow these up with Finishing Shot from the second row, which gives a 20% damage boost to enemies at 50% or less health. From there we move on to the third row and pick up Opening Strike, getting an additional 20% boost to heavy attack damage if the foe is at 100% health. Then at the fourth row we pick up Surprise Attack to get us 20% additional damage against foes we haven’t damage within 10s, and Arrow Range for a 100% range increase with our arrows before gravity effects them. This all leads nicely into Concussion, our capstone that gives a 20% increase in headshot damage, as well as a 50% chance to recover the arrow on a successful headshot.

Shoot-and-Run Build

While my favorite way to build the bow is this sniper route, the shoot-and-run style is also a viable option. If you want to skirmish until your heart gives out, you’ll want the active skills Evade Shot and Poison Shot. The third skill is up to your personal choice.

When you use Evade Shot you leap back 5m and deal 125% weapon damage. This comes at a 14s cooldown. Obviously the benefit here is that Evade Shot helps you stay out of melee range. The bit of additional damage is nice too.

When you use Poison Shot you deal 50% weapon damage. On a hit, it’ll create a 3m radius poison cloud that lasts for 6s. Foes entering the cloud are poisoned and take 10% weapon damage per second for 20s. This ability cannot headshot and comes at a 28s cooldown. Having solid DOTs like this is great for a kiting build. You can run around your enemies, keep your distance, and slowly pick away at their health.

Pair those active skills with passives from the Skirmisher skill tree to increase your mobility and decrease your opponents’. This will make you a very slippery target.

The Spear

The Spear - new world dexterity build
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

Finally, we’ve come to the spear. This can be a very fun weapon, even if it does get outshone by the musket/rapier combo.

The Mean Build

First, I want to talk about a build I have affectionately dubbed the mean build. I called it such because it goes exclusively for the Zoner skill tree’s active skills. These are all about hitting your enemies while they’re down, and keeping them knocked down so you can do the aforementioned hitting. These skills are Javelin, Sweep, and Cyclone.

When you use Javelin, you throw your spear, dealing 125% weapon damage and staggering the target on a hit. This comes at a 14s cooldown. While fun in its own right, if you upgrade the skill you’ll knock down your foes rather than stagger them.

When you use Sweep, you sweep the target’s legs for 75% weapon damage, knocking them down on a hit. This comes at a 9.3s cooldown. This plays nicely into our theme of knock ‘em down and hit ‘em.

When you use Cyclone you deal 130% weapon damage to targets in a 3m radius and apply a 50% slow for 3s. This ability has grit and comes at an 11.2s cooldown. It slows instead of knocking targets down, but it goes well with the overall strategy of hampering their movement as you strike.

Run and Jab Build

My other recommendation for a spear build is the run and jab as I call it. It uses Cyclone from the Zoner skill tree, as well as Skewer and Perforate from the Impaler skill tree.

When you use Skewer, you rush forward and hit your target for 125% weapon damage and inflict the bleed debuff. Bleed deals 20% weapon damage a second for 10s. This comes at a 14s cooldown. This is your main source of damage.

When you use Perforate, you make three rapid-fire attacks that each deal 80% weapon damage and inflict Rend, reducing the target’s damage absorption by 5% for 10s. This comes at an 11.2s cooldown. You rend ‘em, then skewer ‘em, and they’ll really be hurting. Combine that with the slow from Cyclone and you can really give your enemies the run around, stabbing them every step of the way.

Join the High Ground

You can play around with different weapon combos of course, but these are my recommendations for a dexterity build in New World. But whatever weapons you choose for a high dexterity build, they will keep in line with the core dexterity tenants of mobility, dodge, damage and stealth.

Let us know what you think about these builds in the comments below! And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more New World and other gaming content.

Happy DPSing explorer!


Continue the Adventure!

Sign up for an account at High Ground Gaming, and access all these amazing perks:

  • Custom profile page
  • Save articles to favorites
  • Rate articles
  • Post comments & engage with the community
  • Access the HGG Discord
  • Enter giveaways
This is a pre-registration form. Fill in the following details to verify your email address first. You will be able to access the full registration form and register for an account after the verification.

Join the Discussion

Give feedback on the article, share additional tips & tricks, talk strategy with other members, and make your opinions known. High Ground Gaming is a place for all voices, and we'd love to hear yours!


Forgot Password?

Join Us