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New World armor - How to craft armor in New World and the Watermark system explained

Gird your loins

New World armor is one of the most important parts of your loadout, but the MMO does little to explain how the system works.

You can obtain plenty of armor just from completing quests, but you'll want to focus on crafting to get higher gear scores or items of rarer quality.

New World armor — How to get gear in New World

Aeternum might be a cursed and deserted island, but there’s no shortage of armor. You’ll earn some basic gear during introductory and other quests. Rarer items and more powerful armor comes from higher-level enemies and dungeons, though you’ll find some decent armor sets by completing certain quest chains as well.

What is gear score in New World

New World armor score is just a numerical way of conveying how strong your armor is. Higher scores indicate better armor, and you’re more likely to craft armor with higher scores the more you increase your crafting and forging skills.

New World armor rarity

An armor’s rarity refers to its perk slots.

  • Common — No perks
  • Uncommon — 1 perk
  • Rare — 2 perks
  • Epic — 3 perks

Legendary armor is a bit different. These pieces have predetermined perks and only drop from rare enemies, certain bosses, and expeditions. While Legendary is the highest rarity tier, it’s possible to obtain this kind of armor even early in the game. If you acquire an item needed in a Legendary armor recipe, it automatically unlocks the recipe and makes it available for crafting.

New World armor weights

Whatever the rarity, New World armor comes in three types, light, normal, and heavy. Which type works best for you largely depends on your style, build, and intended class.

New World light armor

Light armor offers less damage protection in exchange for better mobility, so your dodges get you further from enemies. It’s ideal for healers and ranged weapon users, such as musketeers or archers, who should never be on the front lines anyway.

New World medium armor

Medium armor is a good choice for most DPS builds. Your dodge is less effective, but you also take a fair bit less damage from enemies. It won’t keep you alive in the center of the fray, but it’s perfect for dashing in, pulling off some skills, and retreating to recover.

New World heavy armor

As you’d expect, heavy armor is useless for rolling away fast, but excellent at keeping you alive. Tank builds benefit the most from this kind of armor, as it lets you wade into enemy crowds and thin them out with AoE attacks without worrying as much over your health.

New World armor crafting

Armor crafting makes use of outfitting stations, forges, your Armoring skill, and at higher levels, higher Refinement skills. Armor, obviously, requires resources such as iron, so you’ll increase your gathering and other skills in the process.

Every settlement has crafting stations, but crafting higher-level armor requires upgraded stations. That means teamwork, to an extent. Upgrading your crafting areas requires company permission and only works in settlements your faction controls.

Once you meet those requirements, you can work toward crafting enhancements the same way you do for other settlement improvements.

Even if you don’t need better equipment, crafting armor with higher gear scores is a good way to earn extra money at the trading post.

Best New World armor sets for early and mid-game

These are some of the best sets you can find or craft early in your time on Aeternum.

New World Fisherman’s Set

  • How to get: Complete fishing quests. Higher-level fishing quests reward you with higher rarity tiers
  • Includes: Hat, trousers, gloves, smock, boots
  • Perks: Bonuses to dexterity, strength, and focus

New World Lumberjack Set

  • How to get: Craft or trade, tied with increasing your lumberjack skill
  • Includes: Hat, boots, trousers, smock, gloves
  • Perks: Increased constitution

New World Duelist Set

  • How to get: Craft or obtained through quests
  • Includes: Hat, boots, smock, gloves, trousers
  • Perks: Elemental defense

New World Soldier’s Set

  • How to get: Craft or trade (Tier 2 or higher)
  • Includes: Boots, vambraces, helm, greaves, breastplate
  • Perks: Enhances strength and defense

New World Watermark system explained

The Watermark system exists to help you continue progressing even after you hit level 60. The Gear Score system ensures monsters drop equipment in keeping with your current level and power until you reach the level cap at 60.

From then on, you have a max Gear Score limit, called your High Watermark, that determines how strong the equipment you find is likely to be. The Watermark increases when you find, or an enemy drops, weapons or armor with a higher Gear Score, even if you don't pick them up. The Watermark depends on item type. For example, if you find a helm with a Gear Score of 620, your helm Watermark increases, but remains the same for other armor types.

Enemies with higher levels and areas with higher exploration levels have a greater likelihood of dropping items with a Gear Score higher than 600. The chance of finding armor and weapons with higher Gear Scores also increases the longer you go without such drops.

How to equip New World armor skins

If you have a skin from your pre-order or Twitch drops, you can equip the skin by opening your inventory (press “tab” on your keyboard) equipping the armor, then right-clicking it and selecting the skin you want.

If you're still getting your land legs in New World, check out our guides for finding some of Aeternum's rarer items and animals, including Churro Sheep, Saltpeter, and Flawed Freshwater Pearl We've also put together some of the best New World builds to get you started in tougher expeditions and faction wars

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Josh Broadwell

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