Home  >  Games  >  New World

New World: Leveling Guide for Beginners

In the MMO New World, leveling up is not as simple as it is in other RPGs. There’s a lot more to level up than just your character, including your weapons, gathering skills, crafting and refining skills, and reputation. Even leveling up your character doesn’t necessarily work the way you’d expect it to. This may all seem pretty daunting at first glance, but no worries — we’ve created this New World leveling guide to help you out.

In this guide, we’ll cover leveling your character, weapons, skills, and reputation. We’ll also include a few tips to help you make the most of the leveling process.

Let’s get started!

Leveling Up Your Character

We’ll start our New World leveling guide with the basics of leveling your character. Leveling up your character functions largely like it does in other RPGs. You earn experience by completing quests and fighting enemies, and once you get enough, you level up.

It’s simple enough, but what do you get from leveling up?

Not much, it turns out. Your max HP increases and you get three points to invest in your five attributes as you so choose.

Character Attributes

The five attributes in New World are Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Focus, and Constitution.

Points in Constitution further increase your max HP, and points in the other four are tied to scaling your weapons, which we’ll get to in a minute. Every fifty points you put into an attribute unlocks a special attribute bonus, which can be anything from extra damage to increased harvesting speeds.

Leveling Weapons

Weapons are, unsurprisingly, at the heart of combat — sometimes literally, if you’re a good shot with your bow. They are also the closest thing to a class you have in New World.

The weapon types are broken down into four categories, as can be seen in the table below.

Swords and ShieldsSpearsBowsFire Staffs
HatchetsGreat AxesMusketsLife Staffs
RapiersWar HammersIce Gauntlets
Void Gauntlets
New World Weapon Types by Category

To level up your weapons, all you have to do is kill stuff with them. At any given time, you can have two different weapons equipped. You can freely switch between them during a fight, and it’s often tactically wise to do so. Naturally, the amount of EXP you gain is determined by how tough your enemy is, but if you use two weapons during that fight, you’ll divide the EXP between them.

Weapon Skills

Once you level up your weapon, you get one point you can spend to unlock a weapon skill. New World uses a fairly standard skill tree system — starting at the top, you can buy one of the listed skills, which then unlocks the next row down, and so on. Each weapon has two separate skill trees that focus on different specializations.

The bow, for example, has a tree for stealthy sniping and another for using a more skirmisher, shoot-on-the-run approach. Each weapon maxes out at Level 20, meaning you have to divide those twenty points between both of the weapon’s skill trees.

Finally, weapons skills are broken down into active and passive skills. When you have a weapon equipped, you can have a maximum of three active weapon skills equipped as well, which gives you a good range of options in combat. The passive skills are quite strong as well, of course. Choosing how to allocate your points with different weapons determines your combat build and fighting style.

Don’t worry if you’re unsure what to do — you can re-spec your weapons and attributes for free up to Character Level 20. Plus you can try any and all of the weapons, mixing and matching as you please, so you have plenty of flexibility to find out what playstyle works best for you.

New World Leveling Guide: Gathering, Refining, & Crafting

The Five Gathering Skills

Next we come to gathering skills. Many MMOs have you gather resources to craft items, but New World goes in depth, making this one of their core gameplay mechanics. You’ll find a wide variety of natural resources just by wandering the overworld. In fact, almost any terrain feature you find will be gatherable.

In order to gather a resource, you simply need the right gathering tool equipped. Then you can click on the resource to begin gathering. Doing so will give you EXP with that specific gathering skill.

  • Fishing requires a pole and is used to catch fish, unsurprisingly.
  • Harvesting requires a sickle and lets you gather plants and herbs and the like.
  • Logging requires an axe and lets you chop down trees for wood.
  • Mining requires a pickaxe and lets you get minerals like stone, iron, or gold.
  • Skinning requires a knife and lets you get hides/furs and meat from the animals you kill on your adventures.

Leveling up a gathering skill allows you to gather higher-level resources of that type. It also gives you the ability to see resources of that type listed on your compass map. This makes it easier to find that sweet, sweet iron.

The Five Refining Skills

Once you’ve gathered resources, you’ll use your refining and crafting skills to make everything from your arrows (yes, the game tracks your ammunition, and yes, it takes up a lot of your inventory weight) to your boots. The refining skills are what you use to turn raw materials into…well, refined materials, such as turning iron ore into iron ingots, or wood into charcoal.

  • Leatherworking is used to turn rawhides into leather you can use to craft armor and other items.
  • Stonecutting is used to turn gemstones into cut stones for jewelcrafting.
  • Smelting is used to turn raw ore into ingots.
  • Weaving is used to turn raw fibers into linen and other fabrics.

As with everything in New World, you level by doing. Leveling your refining skills you lets you refine higher tiers of resources.

The Seven Crafting Skills

The crafting skills are what you use to actually make the weapons and tools in New World. You don’t have vendors in New World, and while you can buy items directly from other players, they’re expensive and not always available, so get ready to craft a lot.

  • Weaponsmithing is used to craft all melee weapons except for the spear.
  • Armoring is used to craft all the armor in the game.
  • Woodworking is used to craft lumper, planks, timber, and sandpaper.
  • Engineering is used to craft the spear, ranged weapons, ammunition, and tools.
  • Jewelcrafting is used to craft jewels and gems.
  • Arcana is used to craft potion/tinctures and gauntlets/staffs.
  • Cooking is used to craft bait, meals, and rations.
  • Furnishing is used to craft all the furnishings for your home, if you buy one.

Leveling up the crafting skills unlock blueprints for crafting new items or higher-tier versions of old items, such as a wooden sword vs. an iron sword. However, what you can craft is also dependent on the tier of crafting station you are working at, so make sure the settlement you are in has the right crafting stations to meet your needs.

What Resources to Prioritize in New World

Next up in our New World leveling guide — now that you know the basics of gathering and crafting, there is the question of what to gather and what to craft.

This will depend on what sort of build you are going for and what your general playstyle is (do you prefer to have the best weapon, the fanciest house, or something else entirely?). However, a few resources will be generally more applicable than others.


Mining Iron New World
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

Iron is one of (if not the) most important resource in the game. It’s used in the creation of iron weapons and tools like iron swords, or iron pickaxes. Iron is also one of the ingredients in making steel, which is used to make better versions of all your iron weapons and tools. And if you use either the bow or musket, it will be invaluable, as it’s needed to craft the bulk of your ammunition.

Iron is not the most abundant resource and can be a bit hard to find. It usually shows up on cliffsides or mountainsides, but that doesn’t mean every rockface will have iron veins to mine. Luckily, if you get your mining skill to Level 25, iron ore veins will start showing up on your compass map, making them much easier to find and putting a lot more iron ore in your inventory. So leveling mining early on is very useful.


Wood is another resource that you can’t get enough of.

Archers love wood most of all because they need it to craft their bows and arrows, but even players who never plan to touch a bow will want a lot of it. Wood can be turned into charcoal at any smelting station, and charcoal is the third ingredient (along with iron ingots and flux) needed to create steel ingots.

Also, green wood is one of the resources needed to create campsites, so you’ll always want to have some on hand.

Logging Mature Tree- wood
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

Wood is much easier to come by than iron. You can barely take a step in the overworld without tripping over a tree or bush. However, unlike iron, there are primarily two types of wood gathered from two types of trees. Young trees give you green wood, which can be refined into timber. This is used for all your basic needs.

Mature trees give you aged wood, which is refined into lumber. Lumber is to timber what steel is to iron, so if you plan on doing a lot of woodworking, you will want a lot of lumber. Mature trees are just as easy to find as young trees. There aren’t as many in any given area, but you still won’t have trouble getting all the aged wood you could ever need. But in order to cut down mature trees, you need to reach Level 50 in logging. That may sound daunting, but just start chopping down young trees like you want to build a McDonalds and you’ll level your logging before you know it.


Hemp Gathering
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

Hemp is another resource almost everyone will need. Now, before you get too excited, New World uses hemp in the boring way, not the fun way. In other words, you’ll refine hemp fibers into cloth, which is needed anytime you craft clothing or armor (yes, armor requires cloth too, even if it’s steel armor; this game is going for the realism thing here).

Hemp can be a bit hard to find. It is somewhere between trees and iron ore veins in terms of rarity. However, just like with iron ore and mining, if you get your harvesting skill up to Level 25, you can track hemp on your compass map. So harvest as many plants as you can to get to Level 25 early, and you’ll be set.

Every time you harvest hemp, it gives you harvesting EXP, so you can keep leveling the skill even if you don’t specifically focus on it.


At the start of the game, flint is king. You will use it to craft all your basic weapons and tools. Pretty soon, though, it will fall off in favor of iron. However, flint is the second resource (along with green wood) needed to create campsites, so you will always need some of it, no matter how high level you are.

Flint is really an honorable mention on this list at best. Sure, it is necessary, but it requires no skill ranks to gather. Plus, it’s everywhere in the overworld. If you need some flint, just turn around and you’ll probably find a small brown rock on the ground to mine. It also litters the ground of any body of water. Wherever you are, there is flint for the taking.

Those are the main resources that every player will need at some point. Most others are more build or playstyle dependent.

What to Craft

When it comes to the crafting skills, most of them depend on your build. If you favor gauntlets/staffs, you’ll want to focus on leveling arcana. Going with ranged weapons or spears? You’ll want to focus on leveling engineering. If you go with a melee build, you’ll want to focus on leveling weaponsmithing. However, two crafting skills are more generally applicable than the others.


Woodworking is probably the most important crafting skill. You need woodworking to turn your wood into timber and lumber. As mentioned above, you will almost definitely need timber and lumber at some point, regardless of how you play.


Cooking is not strictly necessary. One can get buy on raw food. However, cooking is used to create better quality food. And since food is your primary source of healing in New World, everyone can get use out of the cooking skill.  

Your Reputation Proceeds You

Campsite - Reputation
Image: Amazon Games via HGG / Joel Stadler

The final thing we’re highlight in our New World leveling guide is your reputation.

Another fun aspect of New World is that the map is broken up into different territories. While you go about your daily business of resource management, questing, and murder in a given territory, you will gain reputation exp for that territory. And each time you level up your reputation in a territory, you get to choose a cool bonus to gain while in that territory. These are things like additional player EXP, faster reputation gain, lower taxes on trade within settlements.

New World Leveling Guide: Time to Play!

There you have the basics of leveling in New World. While you will dabble in a bit of everything as you play the game, New World is flexible. If you want to do it all, you can. If you only care about being the best swordsman you can be, you can focus on that. Or you can spend all day chopping down trees and collecting rare flowers. Whatever you want to do, you now have a better understanding of how to progress through the New World.  

Join the High Ground

Enjoy this guide? Have questions for our New World expert? Leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest on what’s going on here at HGG. We’ve got more New World content coming, so stick around.

Happy hunting and gathering!       


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