The leveling process in New World is separated into three parts: character level, trade skill levels, and your Gear Score. As important as character leveling is, Gear Score becomes much more important once you reach the level cap of 60.
Gear Score dictates the strength of your gear and overall power level in endgame content. Increasing your Gear Score is incredibly important if you want to experience everything New World has to offer. In this guide, we'll give a brief overview of what Gear Score is, how to increase it, what Expertise is, and some great strategies for increasing your Gear Score and Expertise.
What Is Gear Score?
Gear Score is a numerical value tied to every item in New World, determining the item's base stats and effectiveness in endgame content. As you obtain items during leveling, you'll find that your character's overall Gear Score will increase, allowing you to tackle tougher content.
These Gear Score increases start to slow down once you reach Gear Score 500, which occurs when you reach level 60. The Gear Score cap in New World is 625. Increasing this score is required for Legendary variants of Expedition and arena gear to drop.
How To Increase Your Gear Score
Any item you obtain in New World has a chance to drop at a higher Gear Score than what you currently own. The Gear Score jump you experience will vary on a multitude of factors, ranging from your level to the content you're farming. Gear Score jumps in the early game are fairly large, while Gear Score jumps post level 60 are quite slow. Elite enemies, elite chests found in endgame zones, and Expeditions give the largest Gear Score increases.
In New World, your overall Gear Score is calculated by your average Expertise. This is a value that determines your overall score by taking an average of your Expertise and the item's Gear Score. Expertise was formerly known as the "watermark" system, but has since been changed to be more transparent.
Expertise is the new watermark system in New World. This is a much clearer system than the watermark system of old, as all the details are shared with you, on your character screen. There are many, many ways to increase your item's Expertise level, and this doesn't just come from killing monsters, clearing out chests, and running dungeons.
Once you hit level 60, you can start to earn Gypsum. These can then be crafted at a Gypsum Kiln (located in level 60+ area Outposts in Shattered Mountain) which can be used to create item casts. These are a guaranteed Expertise increase for your items, including weapons, armor, and jewelry. Gypsum can be earned in a variety of different ways - we cover this in-depth in our New World returning player guide.
Here are the ways you can earn Gypsum:
- Obsidian Gyspum (3 a day) - Killing level 60+ named creatures.
- Ruby Gypsum (2 a day) - Completing two rounds of Outpost Rush.
- Emerald Gypsum (1 a day) - Getting an Aptitude level (your trade skills).
- Sapphire Gypsum (2 a day) - Defeating the final boss in the Genesis and Lazarus expeditions.
- Citrine Gypsum (1 a day) - You can earn one of these a day by completing an Arena.
- Amethyst Gypsum (7 a day) - You can earn up to seven of these a day by completing Corrupted portals.
- Diamond Gypsum (3 a day) - You can earn these by completing various special events (most recently it was the Summer Fair, but we expect a new event soon around the holidays).
- Topaz Gypsum (10 a day) - You can earn ten of these a day by defeating any level 55+ monster while you have the Topaz Attunement Potion buff.
Focus on Jewerly first! That's your Ring, Amulet, and Earring, because these typically drop less than weapons and armor. Craft these casts first.
Does Crafting Affect My Gear Score Expertise?
Yes! After significant changes, Expertise is now impacted by crafting new items. Hitting 600 will increase your Expertise each time, which means you do need to craft a legendary item.
The Fastest Ways To Increase Your Gear Score
We'll be giving a few methods for increasing your Gear Score average and Expertise. The first two strategies are focused more on increasing your slot watermarks to enhance the Gear Score of items you receive. If you just care about your average Gear Score to tackle endgame PvE Expeditions or PvP wars, consult the last two strategies.
Strategy #1: Elite Farming
Your best source of Gear Score increases is going to be level 60+ elite enemies. They can be found throughout the top three zones in Aeternum—Edengrove, Great Cleave, and Shattered Mountain. Some are also present in Reakwater and Ebonscale Reach. You're looking for zones that either have a ton of elites or one elite that repeatedly spawns. Here are a few level 60+ elite zones you can farm:
Out of every zone listed, Myrkgard is the best if you can get one or even two groups together. This zone is extremely hard, but it contains dozens of elites that are level 65. If you can't tackle Myrkgard, the other three options listed above are great alternatives. Regardless of the zone you choose to farm, you'll want to kill as many elites as possible. They each have a high chance of dropping items that will increase your average Gear Score and watermarks.
If these zones are populated, get everyone in the same group. Party members that tag enemies will count as you killing them, increasing your chances of getting a Gear Score upgrade. These are known as Chest Runs and we cover these in-depth in our Level 60 player guide. You can also earn Gypsum as you go by activating a Topaz potion (crafted with Tier 5 mote bugs, like Earthshells, etc).
Strategy #2: Expedition Farming
Another great source of Gear Score is endgame Expeditions. These missions contain tons of enemies—some of which are elites—and chests that can give you gear upgrades. There are two endgame Expeditions currently:
- Garden of Genesis: Located at Edengrove
- Lazarus Instrumentality: Located at Reekwater
- Tempest's Heart - Shattered Mountain
- Barnacles & Black Powder Expedition - Cutlass Keys
Both of these Expeditions are level 60 and have a ton of enemies for your party to kill. You can now use the updated Group Finder to find Expedition groups easily! You can also run 25 of these a day for no cost at all. At 600 Gear Score, you can begin to run Mutated version of these dungeons for better drops. The bosses of Genesis and Lazarus also drop daily Gypsum, so you want to run these at least once a day.
Strategy #3: Obtain Your Legendary Weapon And Faction Gear
If you need a Gear Score kickstart before you start farming elites or Expeditions, you'll want to purchase gear from your faction and complete your endgame weapon quest. At level 60, you'll be able to reach the maximum rank with your current faction, allowing you to purchase armor with a Gear Score around 520-540. More information about leveling factions can be found in our New World factions guide.
As for weapons, there is a guaranteed 580 Gear Score weapon of your choice that is obtained by completing a quest chain post level 60. The first quest in this chain is called "Shadows Cast By A Final Salute." The final quest in this chain is called "Madaki's Stratagem," where the reward is a 570 jewelry piece and the ability to create a 580 weapon of your choice. If you hear anyone in the community refer to a "Legendary weapon quest," this is what they're referring to. Despite the name, every weapon you can craft (excluding the Ice Gauntlet) is Epic rarity when you finish this quest chain.
Strategy #4: Buy Or Craft Your Items
When you first get started in New World's endgame, pick up some 580+ Gear Score items on the shop with at least two perks, and this will give you room to expand your Expertise and the kit needed to handle most of the early content.
Crafting is also an option here, although the effort required to make Gear Score 600 items is absurd. You'll need:
- All refining and crafting trade skills at 200.
- Three crafting Trophies.
- Armor and jewelry that enhances the Gear Score of items you craft.
- Food that enhances the Gear Score of items you craft.
- A settlement that has a crafting-related Improved Lifestyle active
- Read our Town Projects guide for more information.
- The necessary T4 and T5 items needed to craft these items.
Unless the game has been out for months or years, crafting likely isn't going to be your fastest way of obtaining items with a high Gear Score. But if you've spent most of your time leveling trade skills and can obtain these things easily, then this is a fairly straightforward way of making Gear Score 600 items.
If crafting endgame items sounds interesting to you, give our complete crafting guide a look where we cover the specifics of crafting in New World.