If you're looking for a huge, slow, and powerful weapon to use in New World, you can't go wrong with the Great Axe. In terms of weapon damage, you literally can't find another weapon type that performs better. But there's a massive gulf between those who build around the great axe properly, and those who don't quite make the most of this daunting damage-dealer.
This guide will take you through the general direction you should take your late game great axe build. It'll cover which mastery tree focus on, the attributes you should aim for, and the gear and perks you should keep an eye out for. Following this build, you'll eventually be rewarded with a powerful single target DPS build that'll be sure to chop through anything in your way in both PvE and PvP.
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For what we're trying to do with this build and its single target focus, the Reaper tree makes the most sense. The active skills provided in this tree allow you to stick onto enemies you're fighting thanks to Charge and Reap, and dish out massive amounts of damage to low health enemies with Execute. Investing points into the many upgrades and passives in this tree only boosts the damage you deal further, through enhancing your three active abilities and your basic attacks.
Mauler has some great versatility in dealing with multiple enemies at the same time, as well as excelling at locking down enemies for long periods of time. It doesn't provide much to help with the single target damage focus of our build, but that doesn't mean mauler isn't a great specialization for Great Axe users.
When levelling, invest mastery points into all the Reaper skills, then invest any you have left into passives in the Mauler tree.
Attributes and Stat Focus
As the great axe only scales with strength, that attribute will be your main focus in terms of investing points as you level up. The attribute points you earn naturally, in addition to stats you gain from gear you equip, should build towards the ultimate goal of hitting 300 strength. Every attribute milestone in strength is useful for great axe users, and as the sole source of damage scaling, it's the only real choice if you want to get more damage out of this weapon. With any extra points you have left over, constitution is your second choice as survivability is key for a melee damage build such as this. Like strength, the milestones in constitution are handy for great axe users regardless of the situation.
Your focus should be:
- Strength: 300 (Max)
With gear, you want to be aiming for that sweet spot in a medium weight class. As a melee build, a light weight class loses its appeal due to it making you too much of a glass cannon. The added survivability added through being a little bit heavier and having that extra armour goes a long way by keeping you in a fight. The heavy weight class would also be a good option for the great axe, but the loss of the damage buff that medium and light armour provides disqualifies it as a pick for this build. The medium weight class provides a 10% damage boost, and a bonus to crowd control effects you dish out.
When it comes to the armour you want to collect, any pieces with the "Of The Barbarian" in their name are optimal choices, as they provide strength primarily (which you sorely need) and some extra constitution as an added bonus. However if you're looking to focus only on strength, maybe in the case where you're nearly at an attribute milestone, you should grab gear with "Of The Soldier" in the title. These pieces only provide strength stats, but more of them than the alternative, so they're great at pushing for that next big attribute bonus. Mixing gear from these two suffixes is the key to getting the most out of your equipment.
Gems and Perks
For the great axe, it's all about boosting the damage you get with each swing. As such, the following gems are good choices when looking to give your weapon that extra edge.
- Emeralds - Deal more damage while enemy is at less than 30% health
- Amber - A portion of your damage is converted to nature damage.
- Amethyst - A portion of your damage is converted to void damage.
- Aquamarine - A portion of your damage is converted to ice damage.
- Ruby - A portion of your damage is converted to fire damage.
- Saphire - A portion of your damage is converted to arcane damage.
- Topaz - A portion of your damage is converted to lightning damage.
Gems that provide elemental damage are situational depending on the enemies you're fighting against (as certain PvE mobs have resistances against particular damage types). For great axes though, emeralds are the star of the show. Thanks to the ridiculous amount of damage you already deal to enemies at low health, a high level emerald in your great axe will allow you to decimate anything you catch below 30% with Execute.
When it comes to great axe specific perks, Mending Execute is great in PvE and large PvP battles as it provides some handy self healing upon killing with Execute. Refreshing Charge is the best PvP weapon perk, as it allows you to engage onto a target and have your charge available to cast again quickly in case enemies manage to get away from you.
Other damaging perks you should keep an eye out for include:
- Enchanted: Light and heavy attacks deal additional damage. Found on both main-handed and two-handed weapons.
- Opportunist: Deals extra damage to enemies with less than 30%. Found on both main-handed and two-handed weapons.
- Crippling: Applied slows last slightly longer. Found on rings.
- Leaching: Gain a small amount of damage dealt back as health (this is unaffected by consistent damage like burns) Found on rings.
- Life Stealing: Gain a small percentage of damage done as health, this doesn't work with damage-over-time effects. Found on both main-handed and two-handed weapons.
- Refreshing Move: Light and heavy attacks that hit reduce weapon cooldowns. Found on both main-handed and two-handed weapons.
With that, we've reached the end of our New World great axe DPS build! This information should help you swing through anything in your way, be it NPC or player. If you're looking to see one of our other builds, we've got a Hatchet DPS build readable right now.