The tankiness of the sword and shield paired with passives that improve light and heavy attack damage like Leadership (13) or Final Blow (15), and abilities that can help a player fight elite enemies like Shield Bash (7), the sword makes for a great tool for leveling. Along with excelling at solo leveling, sword users can expect an easy transition into tanking if they so desire, making finding groups for expeditions much easier.
Sword Leveling Guide
Whirling Blade (4) is a fantastic ability for leveling because of its relatively high damage scaling (145% weapon damage), and forgiving AoE attack pattern. Whirling Blade (4) will be most effective after a sword user has pulled multiple monsters, dealing damage to all enemies at once. Passives Opportunity (12) and Tactical Strike (19) add some additional value to the attack and can make subsequent attacks a bit stronger.
- Whirling Blade causes a 5% rend for 10 seconds.
- Tactical Strike
- Whirling Blade reduces cooldown on the ability by 10% for each enemy hit.
Both Opportunity (12) and Tactical Strike (19) offer decent value, however, the added bonuses are weak relative to other passives in the sword tree. For that reason, both are taken much later in progression. After Opportunity (12) is taken, sword players should look to use Whirling Blade (4) soon after combat starts to take advantage of the additional 5% damage that the rend provides.
Leaping Strike (5) is a very powerful ability that serves as both a damage dealer (especially after taking Final Strike (10), and gap-closer. Sword players should use this ability to animation cancel light and heavy attacks and should look to use the ability when an enemy is under 30% health to take advantage of Final Strike (10).
- Final Strike
- If you hit a foe below 30% health, deal 50% more damage.
Final Strike (10) is viable because of the amount of damage amplification it provides to Leaping Strike (5). An additional 50% damage on top of an already high weapon damage scaling ability (135%) makes Final Strike (10) a go-to passive half-way through weapon progression.
Leveling in New World can get difficult at times, especially when a sword player is faced with taking down elite monsters. To combat more aggressive and grueling monsters, Shield Bash (7) is taken in this build. When used properly, Shield Bash (7) can be used to create space, giving the sword player some time to regenerate health through consumables or swap to a different weapon. Shield Bash (7) can also function as a way to score some serious backstab damage on a monster by stunning and simply moving or dodging behind the monster and performing a heavy attack to their backside. With passive Intimidating Bash (14), Shield Bash (7) becomes more than just a piece of utility, and deals a significant amount of damage.
Intimidating Bash (14) is a great passive to increase the overall damage of the sword and shield. However, it is not crucial to the build and for that reason it is taken a bit later in weapon progression.
The sword and shield stands out from other weapons in terms of leveling due to its aptitude for damage mitigation. To efficiently journey through Aeternum, a leveling player should look to limit the amount of time spent waiting for health to regenerate and abilities to come off of cooldown by blocking a majority of incoming monster attacks. With passives like Sturdy Shield (6), Fortitude (16), and Recuperation (17), sword players will find themselves questing for much longer without the need to stop and rest. Sword players will also find that Leadership (13) impacts leveling speed a bit more than meets the eye and will give accompanying players the same benefit.
When engaging monsters, sword users should look to block as many attacks as they possibly can. To deal the most damage possible outside of blocking windows, a sword player should use a moveset similar to this:
Heavy Attack (Backstab) → Whirling Blade → Block (Counter Attack) → Light Attack x3 → Leaping Strike → Shield Bash → Repeat
The first attack a sword player should use is a heavy attack that will empower subsequent attacks with 30% extra damage from Empowered Stab (1). Following the heavy attack with a Whirling Blade (4) will deal significant damage and apply a 5% rend, further amplifying the damage of the next attacks. Generally, a monster will begin its first attack on the player at this time. A sword user should block the attack, activating Counter Attack (3) giving subsequent attacks an additional 10% damage. A full light attack chain (3 attacks) should follow the block, amplified by the previous attacks and benefiting from Achilles Heel (8) and Final Blow (15). Leaping Strike (5) will follow the light attack chain, canceling the recovery animation of the 3rd and final light attack. If the monsters are more difficult than normal, the sword user can perform a Shield Bash (7), stunning the enemy and giving the player an opportunity to move to the back side of the enemy for another heavy attack.
The sword scales with the Strength attribute at 0.9X and secondarily scales with Dexterity at 0.65X. This means that for every point that a player puts into Strength, the sword will gain 0.9 weapon damage and for every point that a player puts into Dexterity, the sword will gain 0.65 weapon damage. Both Strength and Constitution are vital to a sword player’s success while leveling. The most significant Attribute Threshold Bonuses are listed below:
- 50 Strength
- +5% damage to melee weapon light attacks
- 100 Strength
- +10% damage to melee weapon heavy attacks
- 50 Constitution
- All consumables are +20% stronger
- 100 Constitution
- Increase max health by 10% of physical armor
- 150 Constitution
- 10% reduction to crit damage taken
- 200 Constitution
- +20% increase to armor
Getting to both 50 Strength and 50 Constitution as quickly as possible is important for getting off to a good start with almost any Strength-based melee weapon. 50 Constitution is valuable early on because it reduces the amount of consumables that a player will need to use by a significant amount. Light and heavy attacks serve to provide a majority of the damage that this build dishes out, so 50 Strength will give players a small boost in leveling speed and performance.
Weapon Ability Perks
Weapon Ability Perks are generated perks that can be found or applied to:
These weapon ability perks augment the power level of a weapon ability in a positive way. Currently, each weapon has 6 ability perks available to players, one for each active ability. Below are all of the weapon ability perks currently available to the sword and pertain to this build.
Base damage is increased by X% while performing a Whirling Blade attack if 3 or more enemies are within the radius of the attack.
Deal X% additional damage to targets slowed by Leaping Strike’s Cowardly Punishment upgrade.
Shield Bash knocks back targets an additional X%.
Empowering Whirling Blade is the only viable weapon ability perk that could be used in this build. Both Empowering Leaping Strike and Repulsing Shield Bash could be great additions in other builds, however, passive Cowardly Punishment is not taken in this build to take advantage of Empowering Leaping Strike and Repulsing Shield Bash doesn’t offer much value when fighting monsters in the open-world.