New World Lessons Learned
Let Me Help You Minimize Regret
The New World beta is underway and with it, Amazon Game Studios (AGS) has removed the NDA so I can finally give you my thoughts and lessons learned, as of the latest patch. Of course, features may change, but AGS has shown fewer wild whimsical mood swings in the past few patches, which leads me to believe they are narrowing focus on the game they want to deliver. With that, allow me to save you a ton of time, money, sweat, and tears.
decide whether you want to melee DPS or range DPS, but know that the entire game is designed to reward melee more than range. also, decide what type of armor you will use: heavy = best mitigation/protection, no dodge medium = meh mitigation/protection, meh dodge light = low mitigation/protection, best dodge I use heavy armor to level up (pve), and light armor for pvp.
I really feel sorry for healers in NW, but they are required for dungeons and territory wars. If you have a leveling buddy, one of you should spec healing (life staff, focus). Very difficult to level healers because they suuuuuck at soloing.
the rest of this guide focuses on melee DPS, specifically a hatchet with heavy armor.
level up hatchet, berserker skill tree, as soon as you can. the game starts you out with sword and board, which is great for tanking, so if you want to broaden your roles, keep the sword and board skills from the first 5 levels or so, you can re-spec those shield skill tree skills to tank for dungeons.
crafting and gathering is great in NW, very complex and rewarding. however, you won't be able to craft gear for your level, so save it for the professionals (many guilds have dedicated crafters that you can request items from). if you insist, first get to level 60 (current max), then go back and level up crafting. trust me you will save yourself a ton of time, gold, and angst.
cooking is the one crafting skill you should use as much as possible, for all the food buffs. save all the cooking materials so you can use the cooking station, or your camp to cook.
gathering skills are worth their weight in gold. since you're not crafting, raise up those gathering skills while you're out doing quests. logging, mining, harvesting, and tracking & skinning are the best. fishing is good too, just not as rewarding as the others, especially from a time/reward perspective. also, by the time you're 60, you should have above 100 in each gathering skill, which means you can gather higher tier materials that sell for more gold. since all craft skills require lower tier materials in higher tier gear, there will always be demand for all tiers of gathered materials. sell materials as soon as you can, don't waste inventory/bank space. ideally, you should have enough gold by the time you're 20 to buy a house.
buy a house as soon as you can. join a faction and guild where you want to buy your house, to decrease the price. this will give you an extra bind spot for instant travel at no cost.
level up by completing faction missions, town project missions, and corruption portals. they have the best time/reward ratio. the main story quest will have you craft an azoth staff to complete corruption portals, so you'll be around level 20 - 25 before you have the staff. a good corruption portal group is worth its weight in gold and experience.
buy corruption tinctures off the auction house or faction vendor. they are a life saver for portals. you can craft the entry-level 'common corruption tincture' at arcana level 0, all you need are the raw materials from gathering water nodes and mushrooms (fronded petalcaps in windsword) while you run around questing, and an arcane repository (all settlements start with one).
travel around to the other territories to do their quests too. a common trio is the central trio of everfall, windsword, and monarch's bluffs.
if a particular town project quest gives you trouble, e.g. can't find the target animal/hostile in less than a minute, go on to the next one, or abandon it. no harm in abandoning town/faction quests, just pick up a new one with you get back to town. the first few weeks of this game will be challenging for animal/hostile kill tasks, so don't waste your time. the available town and faction quests reset every 5 minutes, so feel free to abandon quests that are out of your league to make room for a quest you can complete in a minute.
some area kill quests require specific targets, so read the quest before doing it. recently, devs introduced an area indicator, with updated quest text to make it easier to read and know when you are in a target area.
PUGs are horrible, just like every other game. join a guild to increase your chances of getting a good group.
use musket or bow for pulling. I like the musket because it has a much flatter projectile parabola.
loot everything, don't sell refining reagents (the only way to get them is by looting chests)
for expeditions (dungeons) and raids, be sure to have plenty of extra food and healing potions in case things get dicey, or someone forgot to stock up.
keep an eye on your azoth capacity. around level 20 you will get several missions in a row that give you a crap ton of azoth, so feel free to azoth travel between towns to hand in town quests so you don't hit your azoth cap and flush excess azoth.
re-spec respect. of course you can re-spec your attribute points and weapon skills at any time. however, attribute points have diminishing returns after 200, which allows you to mix and match to get the build you want without sacrificing effectiveness too much. for example, there is no palidin class (or any class) in this game, but you can equip heavy armor, a life staff, sword and board, then dump points into constitution, strength, and focus to create a build that can tank and heal. you won't be the best tank or healer, but effective at both. also bear in mind that gear bonuses at higher levels will give you a lot of attribute points. that purple sword might be +2 con +1 str at level 10, but +30 con +18 str at level 60.
regarding weapon skills, you earn points for killing mobs with a weapon, but those points are only applicable to the skill tree of that weapon. that is, use a hatchet to kill a wolf and you will receive hatchet skill points. this means that you won't be able to move points between weapon skill trees, e.g. hatchet to musket. this means that it is really important to make your weapon choice early and stick to it. changing a weapon at level 30 means you'll basically have to kill the same number of mobs to skill up the new weapon. not impossible, but frustrating.