New World Tank Build 2023 - The Ultimate Guide for PvE
In this guide, you will find the best tank builds and all the key information for tanking in PvE, from explanations of weapon choices to skill trees for each load out, plus guidance on everything from necessary gems to playstyle tips to ideal armor and, if applicable, where to farm each piece.
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All information is based on the latest version of New World, and is accurate for the Brimstone Sands update.
If video guides are more up your street, then all the information can also be found in my YouTube video right below.
Baggins' video guide is up to date with Season 3. The written guide rework is a work in progress.
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Sword &Amp; Shield + War Hammer
This is the most standard Tank build, and is both popular and versatile. Due to the War Hammer’s high CC abilities, this is a great build for team play.
Sword &Amp; Shield + Hatchet
This is a more aggressive build. It is damage-orientated, with added survivability from the hatchet. Commonly used by solo tanks.
Greatsword + War Hammer
One of the new tank builds that has been introduced with the Brimstone update. It has good damage potential from the Greatsword, and again the War Hammer provides some important CC.
Greatsword + Hatchet
This is the build to choose if you just want to do mega damage. This build focuses on constant damage output with a nice amount of self-sustain.
Note: Sword & Shield + Greatsword could possibly work, but the weapons feel like they are both primary choices, as neither offers much as a secondary weapon due to the way their abilities and passives work.
300 Strength + 210 Constitution
This is an aggressive tanking build, and is ideal for those who want to be in their enemy's face. It gives GRIT on all Light/Heavy attacks, but as a build is best utilized alongside a good healer and team communication.
210 Strength + 300 Constitution
The more defensive tanking build, due to its greater means of survivability. This is an ideal build for solo tanks, and is also useful for when you are in an uncoordinated or group finder team.
Below are the most optimal skill builds to use. Use either the Aggressive or the Defensive versions for the weapon pair of your choice.
Sword &Amp; Shield
This loadout is for a more aggressive tanking build, focused slightly more on constant enemy assault than survivability.
Note: For your Sword & Shield tree, whether to choose the Freeing Justice or Confidence passive comes down to personal preference.
The ideal loadout for a more defensive build, focused on better survivability and self-sustainability.
The only loadout needed for the Greatsword skill tree, as it can be used for both defensive and aggressive tanking.
Compatible with either of the War Hammer loadouts and the Hatchet loadout.
The best loadout for a more aggressive playstyle, placing focus on relentless attacks.
The loadout best used in a defensive build, with a greater focus on crowd control.
Note: Choose Hardened Steel instead of Power Through Pain in the War Hammer tree if you are running a 210 Strength + 300 Constitution build, as you do not have GRIT on Light/Heavy Attacks.
The only loadout needed for the Hatchet skill tree, as it can be used for both defensive and aggressive tanking.
Pair with either of the Sword & Shield loadouts or the Greatsword loadout.
Heavy Equip Load is your standard build. It gives more block stability and increased duration on stuns, slows etc. To achieve this, every Armor Piece should be Heavy. Swords must be paired with a Tower Shield.
Light Equip Load is a speedrun build. It is not generally recommended for open world or classic tanking. To achieve this, every Armor Piece should be Light. Swords should be paired with a Round Shield.
Note: We will only be covering Heavy Armor tanking in this guide.
Perks to Aim For
Regardless of which build you are running, your War Hammer should have Sundering Shockwave as a must, as well as any combination of Keenly Empowered, Thwarting Strikes, any of the Bane Perks, Hated, Keen, or Vicious.
That said, if you are running a 300+ Strength build, your ideal War Hammer will have Sundering Shockwave and Thwarting Strikes as a must, as well as any combination of Keenly Empowered, any of the Bane Perks, Hated, Keen, or Vicious.
Regardless of which build you are running, you should aim to have a Hatchet with Refreshing Torrent as a must, as well as any combination of Refreshing Move, a relevant Ability perk, Hated, Keen, Vicious, Keenly Empowered.
Thwarting Strikes is also a great perk option, but should only be used if you are running a 300+ Strength build.
Tower Shield (Epic)
However, if you already have Sturdy Energy on your Chest, or find it easier to acquire a good Chest piece than a best-in-slot shield, you can swap out the last Tower Shield perk for Refreshing, Hated, or any of the Shield Ward Perks.
Note: Before the Brimstone patch, there was a bug that allowed players to craft Legendary shields, with 4 perks, using a Runestone Stopwatch. This is no longer possible, but you might be able to find one on the Trading Post.
It is a really good idea to eventually have an armor set for every enemy type. Every armor piece in each set should have the specific Enemy Type Ward Perk as standard, as well as any combination of Refreshing, Physical Aversion, Elemental Aversion, and a relevant Ability Perk. Sturdy Energy is also a great perk, but should only be used on the Chest piece, and is only needed if you do not have a Tower Shield with the perk.
It will help you as a tank to acquire certain Ability Perks on your Armor and Weapons. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to have your main weapon perk on your weapon. This is because perks on weapons get a huge power increase.
The recommended weapon ability perks were suggested above, with Tower Shields needing the Fortifying Shield Rush perk, Hatchets needing the Refreshing Torrent perk, and War Hammers needing to have the Sundering Shockwave perk.
Every other Sword, Shield, Greatsword, Hatchet and War Hammer perk is best to have on your armor. Some recommended armor ability perks to include on your armor as a tank are Penetrating Wrecking Ball, Contagious Reverse Stab, Accelerated Resolve, Leeching Crosscut, and Energizing Counter.
Best Drops to Farm
- Guardian's Resolve for any Corrupted Dungeons.
- Deeproot or Infernus due to their Lifestealing for some sustain.
- Darion's Spatha or Timekeeper's Hand are similar swords, both good for increased DPS.
- Grovewarden for Garden of Genesis runs.
- Blackguard's Longsword can be useful against enemies that are weak to Thrust Damage, as it rewards heavy attacks.
- Soulstep for use against Lost Enemies.
- Berserker's Sword is a good all-rounder for any expedition or fight.
- Unyielding Cleaver a strong DPS option but has the unusual perk of Sure Footing, so could also be useful for main Greatsword tanks.
- Entertainer's Maul has the Hated perk, which can be useful if you’re running low strength.
- End of Days is a more aggressive Warhammer.
- Batheqet's Cudgel for use against Ancient enemies.
- Blackguard's Warhammer, only viable for 300+ Strength builds.
- Beyond Reason is close to BiS for fighting Ancient Enemies.
- Dreadwake is a good all-rounder for any expedition or fight.
- Blackguard's Hatchet, only viable for 300+ Strength builds.
- Neishatun's Set is good as a starter set for non-mutated expeditions.
- Spectral Tempestuous Set (Soldier) is a great starter set for Corrupted mutations, but only a viable drop from boxes after you are 590+ Expertise.
- Expedition Captain's Set is the upgraded set for Corrupted mutations.
- Harbinger Set is good for Angry Earth mutations
- Corrupted Rage Set is good for Ancient mutations.
- Chardis Set is another good set for Ancient mutations.
- Brined Set is a great set for Lost mutations, but it only drops while you are in mutated Barnacles and Black Powder.
- Reinforced Tempestuous Amulet of the Soldier is a great starter piece, though it is only a viable drop from boxes after you are 590+ Expertise.
- Blessing of Forefathers has Health and Divine which are two staple tanking perks.
- Smooth Bone Ring for self-sustain.
- Forgotten Vow for extra weaken duration.
- Heart of Hepu, again for extra weaken duration.
- Heart of Maahebgal for max DPS.
- Doom's Chance Earring is well balanced for all types of tanking.
- Teardrop is used for Greatsword or Hatchet Tanking, due to the value of Refreshing Ward.
- Priestess Charm has Nimble and Refreshing Evasion, making it good for defensive, dodge-centric tanking.
- Brutal Heartrune of Grasping Vines can be used on large groups of enemies to lower incoming damage and increase how much damage they take through the 20% Weaken and Rend respectively.
Note: This Heartrune does lower your Stamina regeneration after activation, so make sure to have defiant stance - Path of Defiance - or a similar cooldown ready to go to lower your incoming damage, as blocking too much whilst it’s active will exhaust you.
- Brutal Heartrune of Dark Ascent is an alternative option, and whilst it provides less support to your team due to not offering any weaken, rend or root, it can be used to give you a large amount of health back when activated on groups of enemies.
- Stalwart Heartrune of Stoneform is a decent option for tanks using under 300 Strength, as it prevents you from being interrupted or staggered by enemies for the duration that it is active.
Important: In order to do any tanking in New World, you will need Carnelian Gems.
Most of the damage you will take will be Physical in Normal expeditions, so stacking Onyx Gems for their physical protection or Diamond Gems, which offers both Physical and Elemental protection (though at a reduced rate), will be beneficial for you.
Stacking Opal Gems will provide cover for all elements, but at a weaker % than specifically targeting each mutation.
A long-term goal is to find or craft multiple Amulets that have Health plus a specific Elemental Protection perk, and also a relevant gem for that protection. For example A Health and Frozen Protection amulet made with an Aquamarine would be excellent to swap to for Ice Mutations, and having a Fire, Nature and Void equivalent also sitting in your bag gives you plenty of versatility, making it less necessary to swap out gems in your armor, so you can permanently socket some Runeglass Gems into your armor pieces instead.
Runeglass gems should be added to your most used tanking gear. Avoid swapping them out for different weekly mutations as it will be very expensive to do so. If you do want to have Runeglass sockets in abundance, it is better to have a good armor set for each enemy and mutation type, and adding Runeglass gems to these, rather than swapping them out all the time.
Which Runeglass gems you put in your armor can be personal preference, but I recommend Runeglass of Energizing Diamond or Runeglass of Energizing Malachite to help maintain Stamina with Sword and Shield Tanking.
Runeglass of Punishing Diamond or Runeglass of Punishing Malachite is a good choice if you tank with Greatsword, as it will maximize your outgoing damage. Avoid Energizing Runeglass as a Greatsword tank, as the Greatsword already has great Stamina management thanks to its perks and talents.
You should use a Runeglass of Energizing Carnelian in your Weapons, but as mentioned at the start of the section, if you don’t have access to Runeglass, you must stick to a normal Cut Pristine Carnelian until you do. Carnelians are mandatory to activate taunts on your abilities, and so are essential to your role as a tank.
Tips for Tanking
When running Mutated expeditions, swapping 3 elemental resistance gems for different mutations is a good number to aim for. Keep the 2 other gems as Opal or Malachite to provide general elemental damage absorption.
Do not just taunt then raise your shield and stand there. Efficient tanking requires putting out good damage to hold the attention of enemies, and blocking when falling to lower health.
When tanking enemies, try to keep them faced towards you and away from your team. This will help your team do more damage due to critical backstabs, and also help them avoid getting cleaved by any attacks the enemy may be doing.
Look for any ranged enemies when clearing out rooms/areas, and try to cluster any melee enemies next to them. This will make it easier for both you and your damage dealers to kill everything at the same time, and save the healer from pulling threat on these ranged mobs.
Learn to feel the difference between a Heavy Attack (hold and release LMB after 1 second) and a Charged Heavy (hold down LMB for 2+ seconds). Charged heavy attacks with a Sword become Thrust Damage instead of Slashing.
It's good to keep Shockwave on cooldown - if in doubt, use it, as it provides a lot of support to your team.
If you are using Sword and Shield in your tank setup, it is recommended to be performing Light and Heavy attacks with the Sword instead of your other weapon, especially when your gear has Refreshing Move, as this will help you cycle into your defensive cooldowns more often.
Maintain as much rend as you can on bosses. It's important in many scenarios. For example, when running Genesis, using Armor Breaker against Alluvium Marl, the Caretaker can help you prevent party wipes during the Vine Wall phase of the fight.
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