- Builds For Great Axe
- Optional Passive Skills
- Great Axe Active Skills
- Equipment Perks
- Weapons To Combine With
Great Axe is a two-handed melee weapon with enough defense, large damage output with area-of-effect attacks that cannot be ignored, and decent crowd control skill, as well as a gap-closing ability, but pretty slow with long cooldowns.
It deals Slash damage with its basic attacks and most skills and has the widest-hitting basic attacks in the game. While most other weapons can hit multiple foes with well-placed light or heavy attacks, the Great Axe easily hits multiple foes with its broad, side-to-side swings. The Great Axe also has several ways to heal from damage dealt, making it a good choice for solo content.
The Great Axe scales only with Strength. Once you reach the endgame and are able to have 300 Strength, you will have Grit during light and heavy attacks to avoid crowd control.
Constitution is a decent secondary Attribute, especially for PvP. 50 points will be enough to unlock 20% effectiveness to all health consumables, but you can get those 50 points with your gear or using +40 Consitution food.
Minmaxing your character for endgame PvP you can also reach 200 Constitution breakpoint for a 20% armor increase, but in this case, you’ll have 300 Strength only if you use buff food.
Builds For Great Axe
There are two main builds for PvP.
1. The first one is a build with Charge, Maelstrom, and Gravity Well. Maelstrom is getting more popular after Reap’s nerf. Blood Lust still fits better for PvP, but you have to take almost every passive skill in Reaper tree to get it
Lots of variabilities are possible in this build. You can take Executioner’s Speed instead of Frustration, Death’s Embrace or Unpredictable Strike in Reaper tree, same as Unyielding, Heavy Pull, Enduring Strike or Revenge instead of Crowded Protection in Mauler tree.
Mauler’s Fury elite is also an option if you want Heavy Pull, Gravity, Revenge, and Enduring Strike at the same time.
2. The second one used to be called a meta PvP build before Reap’s nerf, but it still has good PvE and PvP viability with some changes. With this build, you can effectively use Trenchant Strikes or Thwarting Strikes perks, using Gravity Well, and rely on heavy attacks (take something more useful instead of Greed for this).
Both Charge and Reap active skills don’t have really valuable upgrades so you can take more passives instead. Hunger became pretty arguable because Reap only does 70% weapon damage now, but you can take it instead of Frustration or Death’s Embrace.
3. The third build is a pure PvE DPS build to deal as much damage as possible with Execute, Maelstrom, and Gravity Well.
In this build, you have healing from Critical Gains and Feed, all damage increasing perks, and, at the same time, defense from Crowded Protection and Unyielding.
For Expeditions, since you can hit an enemy from the back, you don’t need Critical Conditions and Unstoppable Greed with Executioner and can get Death’s Embrace, Executioner’s Speed, Gravity or Enduring Strike to combine it with Trenchant Strikes or Thwarting Strikes perks and rely on heavy attacks.
Revenge and Frustration also remain unused since mobs in Expeditions don’t do much attack blocking and you’re not going to block mob attacks either. But for open-world PvE, these skills can be taken.
The main reason why this build doesn’t fit for PvP is that you don’t have Charge or Reap for gap closing and Execute is too slow.
While leveling this build, we start by taking Greed for the consistent damage and then continue with Critical Gains and Execute.
We also hop over to Mauler tree immediately, taking Maelstrom and upgrading it with Storm’s Reach to get Gravity Well and its upgrade before we head into any Expedition.
Then, back over to the Reaper Tree to grab Critical Condition and Keen Edge for fairly consistent DPS boosts and Feed for surviving.
If you’re playing only in a group, Critical Condition can be swapped for any other skill early on. As if you have someone tanking for you, you won’t need the extra critical chance when you can backstab.
Go back to Mauler tree and upgrade Maelstrom. Then grab Center of Attention, Crowded Protection, Unyielding, and Heavy Pull (or Enduring Strike) to get to Mauler’s Fury. To finish the build upgrade the Execute tree.
Those builds don’t have a rotation, as each skill has its own purpose and doesn’t really fit into a set rotation. In War or skirmishes, listen for your group leader’s call on what to do, as they’ll be determining the best time to use Gravity Well.
Optional Passive Skills
Most passive Great Axe skills are useful in almost every situation and give a constant boost, but some of them are pretty arguable.
1. Fatal Attraction:
While it adds a second hit that Hunger can heal from, it does make you a little less vulnerable as the standard recovery time gets moved to after this attack instead of after the pull.
This is a more PvP-oriented passive, but in PvE some enemies also do blocks.
There’s no way to extend the duration of Gravity Well, which makes this a very short-lived bonus.
4. Executioner’s Speed:
This is a pretty situational skill outside of PvE due to the requirement of hitting multiple enemies.
5. Mauler’s Resolve:
There’s an armor perk that does this and does it better. While you can still use this in PvP as it does have a lower and not shared cooldown with the armor perk, it’s generally not worth it. If you want to take it over Heavy Pull to reach Gravity Well, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do if you wish.
6. Heavy Pull:
This is a pretty niche passive and generally only works well with Gravity, also being taken. Without Gravity, this is pretty lackluster, in general. As a rule, Heavy Attacks will provide less overall damage, as you won’t stack your damage bonuses that require multiple hits nearly as fast. Even after the passives are stacked, they’re still easier to maintain with Light Attacks. This tends to be overrated, as it previously had a bug that made your heavy attacks hit twice.
Of course, this skill can be useful if you use Trenchant Strikes or Thwarting Strikes perks and rely on heavy attacks.
Great Axe Active Skills
1. Gravity Well:
Due to its strong area-of-effect crowd control, this ability is popular for both PvP and PvE. Foes who are pulled to the center of the vortex are rooted for 1 second. This can even stop charging foes such as Bison or Elk in their tracks, allowing you to kill them much more easily and quickly. Use Maelstrom on enemies caught in it for best results.
This sweeping attack gets an extra swing with Masteries and can destroy incoming projectiles. The fact that it can hit in a 360-degree arc around the player does feel good, and the two attacks are rather quick; however, it does not have the crowd control power of Gravity Well or the healing of Reap.
This Skill AoEs in a very wide area and hits twice when upgraded. It works best on Gravity Welled enemies, but you want to use it whenever it’s off cooldown when facing multiple enemies.
This ability allows you to pull one enemy out of a position quickly, isolating them or grouping several enemies together for easy follow-up from any number of other AoE skills in both PvE and PvP. Foes can Dodge Roll out of the pull, so in PvP scenarios, you will want to use this to either bait out a Dodge or movement skill or punish those who have neither ready.
This ability is used for closing gaps and for crossing through water and off cliffs. You can steer the charge throughout the animation, which allows you to turn corners and go exactly where you want to go. A charge will end when you run into a foe or friendly player, so be careful of bumping into other players accidentally.
If you play mostly small-scale PvP, then you’ll want to replace Maelstrom with this ability; but if you’re playing a large scale, then you’ll replace Reap with this one.
Execute is the Great Axe’s most vigorous attack, but also comes with the longest windup and a rather small hitbox. This skill is great for PvE due to the Masteries, which allow it to always crit versus enemies on less than 30% health.
Execute is significantly stronger, where you can get a guaranteed critical hit through the Backstab mechanic. Combine this with the other Masteries in the Reaper tree that provides healing for both crits and hitting foes on less than 30% health, and Execute is both a powerful damage dealer and healer.
In PvP, it can be tough to hit someone who can see the ability coming and move out of the way.
If you hit a foe, spin again for a maximum of 4 or 7 spins with Masteries. It cannot be interrupted by attacks but does not have the ability to backstab-crit. While this does have some potential in group PvE content, there are other more useful skills to pick up.
Light armor gives you a +20% damage bonus and the best movement with a quick roll.
Medium armor will give you more protection, +10% damage bonus, and +10% length of the crowd control debuffs, but you’ll not have a quick roll.
Heavy armor offers the best protection and +20% length of the crowd control debuffs for the price of lower mobility.
Also, you can combine different types of armor, light with medium, staying under 13 kg, or medium with heavy, staying under 23 kg. You can change your armor type by simply replacing 3 parts.
Maxed Medium Armor 22,9 lbs build (1L + 2M + 2H): Heavy Chest, Light Pants, 2 Medium and 1 Heavy piece.
Alternative Maxed Medium Armor 22,9 lbs build (2L + 1M + 2H): Heavy Chest, Heavy Pants, 1 Medium and 1 Light piece.
Maxed Light Armor 12,7 lbs build (4L + 1M): Light Head, Medium Chest, Light Gloves, Light Pants, Light Boots.
Maxed Light Armor 12,6 lbs build (3L + 2M): Light Chest, Medium Pants, 1 Medium and 2 Light pieces.
If you need more in-depth information, how tankier you would be wearing a certain kind of armor of a certain Gear Score, feel free to use the New World Calculator by Mixed Nuts.
|Head||1,5 lbs||2,6 lbs||4,7 lbs|
|Chest||3,5 lbs||6,2 lbs||11,0 lbs|
|Gloves||1,5 lbs||2,6 lbs||4,7 lbs|
|Pants||2,0 lbs||3,5 lbs||6,3 lbs|
|Boots||1,5 lbs||2,6 lbs||4,7 lbs|
|Shields||2,7 lbs (Round)||5,4 lbs (Kite)||11,0 lbs (Tower)|
Armor choosing depends only on your preferences. Look for Armor with Strength and Constitution or just Strength on it for the best results.
The best gems for your Great Axe are:
1. Cut Pristine Opal:
Fits more for PvP, where you’ll be dodging a lot.
2. Cut Pristine Diamond:
With all your self-healing, you are likely to be in full health while fighting, which will give you a constant 15 damage increase. It fits more for a group play.
3. Cut Pristine Emerald:
This will help finish off low health foes. Works great with Critical Condition.
If you’re mainly fighting against one enemy type, for example, farming something, you can use to convert your damage:
1. Cut Pristine Amethyst to fight against Ancients:
2. Cut Pristine Aquamarine against the Lost:
3. Cut Pristine Ruby against Angry Earth:
4. Cut Pristine Sapphire against Corrupted:
5. Cut pristine Topaz against Ancients:
Corrupted refers to enemies covered in a black and/or red glow. Corruption Breaches are the most common source of Corrupted enemies.
Angry Earth enemies are nature-themed enemies mutated with bark-like skin and similar nature-themed traits.
The Lost are glorified citizens and spectral enemies that inhabit most of Aeternum’s ruined towns, farms, and cemeteries.
Beast refers to any of the wild animals that roam around the New World’s various zones. Wolves, Bears, and Lynxes are just a few enemies that fall under this category.
For Armor gems, you can use Cut Pristine Emerald for PvP, while fighting mostly against Bow and Musket users:
If you’re already level 60 and farming chests or mobs for gear, you need a Lucky Gem:
For other situations to provide generic damage absorption:
1. Cut Pristine Onyx:
2. Cut Pristine Malachite:
3. Cut Pristine Diamond:
4. There is another option if you are going to farm the Expeditions and have problems with getting the aggro – the Cut Pristine Carnelian:
1. Great Axe Skill Perks
These perks can be found on armors and weapons, but often slotted on Armor as Weapons have access to better perks overall.
The full health requirement really does kill the usefulness of this perk. This is a much more reliable bonus to benefit from in PvE, where everything you engage in will have full Health unless someone else tags it. In PvP, the actual odds of fighting or hitting someone at full Health are pretty low outside the start of duels.
In PvP, this only boosts Great Axe’s already high catch power. Useless, in PvE, as the slow is very short, and you’re pulling enemies to you that will only run to you.
This is a pretty sizable heal that can amount to at least a thousand at the high end with a High CON build. Though, the trigger requirement absolutely kills its effectiveness for PvP. This would only help in 1vX situations where you’re fighting multiple people. The biggest problem is holding out to defeat someone with Execute also gives them time to heal or run. Execute also requires setup to land in PvP consistently.
Since Fortify is capped at 50%, a higher gear score just means you stack it faster. Despite the cap to the effect, this easily makes Whirlwind a ton more viable in both PvE and PvP, though it is still really a niche for PvP. It mitigates one of the biggest issues of Whirlwind, which is making you a sitting duck for a few seconds. While this still doesn’t stop it from being interrupted, it’s still a pretty strong effect overall.
This is a great utility upgrade for both PvP and PvE, which can help its viability in every situation you’d want to use it. Given you’d only run this skill for the potential AoE damage, this makes everything you pull in and land No Reprieve on also deal less damage to you, which helps to mitigate any return damage.
Insatiable Gravity Well:
This is one of the best perks for the Great Axe. You heal also heal from both vortexes and initial hits. When used correctly, it can actually just make Gravity Well a huge burst of health restoration.
2. Armor Perks
Refreshing with Resilient can be a universal choice depending on your secondary weapon:
Refreshing Evasion is useful if you’re dodging a lot:
Physical Aversion is useful for PvP against Musket and Bow users:
3. Weapon Perks
Rogue and Vicious increase your damage heavily, as you’ll almost always be dishing out backstabs in group play:
Refreshing Move helps a great deal with getting more skill rotations out, which make up a good chunk of your damage:
Alternatively, you can replace Refreshing Move with Enchanted or Keen and get plenty of damage that way as well:
Keenly Jagged is a nice choice since you’ll crit a lot:
Thwarting Strikes can add a lot of damage if you have 300 Strength or using Enduring Strikes and Unstoppable Greed and rely on heavy attacks:
Thwarting Counter can be advised only if melees using Grit are extra popular on your server and you meet them in PvP very often:
You can also go for Lifestealing, if you want to gain health back on hit:
For PvP against healers, you can use Plagued Crits or Plagued Strikes. The maximum amount of healing decreasing is 24% for GS 600 weapons.
Plagued Crits require lowering the target’s health to 50% first:
Plagued Strikes don’t require anything but a heavy attack, but in PvP, it can be easily dodged, so both options are pretty situational:
Plagued Strikes can be combined with Trenchant Crits or Trenchant Strikes for more damage. Of course, you can use them without Plagued Strikes in PvE:
Or Trenchant Recovery for surviving:
4. For Your Amulet
Slash Protection and Thrust Protection cover most PvE and PvP incoming damage:
Fortified Recovery can give you a nice fortify bonus if you start dipping into lower health:
Divine will give you more Healing and Health – more HP, everything is simple here:
The Infinity Crystal is a 570 amulet that has both perks and Strength as a main stat. This is probably going to be the best in the slot for a while. It comes from a quest in Shattered Mountain.
5. Earring Perks
Beloved and Evasive can both help you mitigate aggro, making you less likely to pull aggro in expeditions:
Purifying Toast and Refreshing Toast are both great utility options for open-world PvP, where health consumables tend to be used more. These all also help in PvE as well:
As well, you can also grab Refreshing here if you don’t manage to get it on your armor.
6. Ring Perks
Slash Damage and Keen Awareness are always great options thanks to the damage they provide:
Refreshing is also a decent Utility with the lowered cooldowns, but that’s also available on armor:
Thrust Protection can be helpful against Bow and Musket users:
Hearty will add you enough Stamina for one more additional dodge. If the player has 109.5 total stamina and each dodge takes 40 stamina (with 150 Dexterity attribute bonus), they can dodge twice (leaving the player at 39.5 stamina), wait a fraction of a second for stamina to regenerate to 41, then dodge twice more for a total of 4 dodges:
Blood Letting works great with Keenly Jagged on your weapon:
You can also go for Leeching if you want to gain health back on hit:
In this chapter, you can find information about endgame consumables because you don’t really need most of them on low levels. You can easily find the low leveled versions of them because the names only differ by one word, except food.
1. First of all, you need Health Regeneration Food:
And Regeneration Potions:
2. Attribute Food.
As a DPS player, you might want to increase your Strength. This food gives you an option to put 40 points from Strength to Constitution.
You can use food with both Strength and Constitution bonus to increase your health and damage at the same time:
Constitution / Strength combination with more Strength is also available:
Also, you can use Constitution food to maximize your health:
To find more food for hybrid builds, please visit our Cooking Guide.
3. Powerful Honing Stone will increase your damage. They can be bought or crafted at Smelter if you reach 170 Weaponsmithing level:
4. Powerful Gemstone Dust can be also bought or crafted at level 170 Jewelcrafting:
5. Powerful Oakflesh Balm can be bought or crafted at 170 Armoring level as well:
6. Powerful Incense requires 170 Furnishing levels to craft. Otherwise, it can be bought for cheap from the Trading Post:
7. Weapon Coatings give a 15% damage bonus against certain types of enemies. These coatings are usually used in dungeons, where you’re fighting mostly against enemies of the same type, for example:
8. Ward Potions increase your damage absorption against certain enemy types. They can help you mitigate heavy incoming damage:
9. Absorption Potions can help you not only in dungeons but also in PvP against mages. They increase absorption by 15% against a certain type of elemental damage, for example:
10. Corruption Tincture and Blight Tincture remove afflictions and give 97,5% resistance to these afflictions for 5 minutes:
11. Infused Encumbrance Potion will help you a bit with bringing your sack to the nearest warehouse. It lasts 3 minutes and increases the Encumbrance Limit by 100:
I know that feeling, bro, even one Flint or Green Wood must not be discarded.
For more Potions you can check our Arcana Guide.
Weapons To Combine With
- Hatchet provides more health sustain through Berserk, Feral Rush can root enemies. You can also make the Hatchet a throwing weapon, which adds a ranged option to your setup. One downside is that these weapons deal Slash damage and appear to be weak when fighting Ancient-type enemies.
- War Hammer also scales primarily with Strength and provides a lot of crowd control options. You can use the Great Axe to close the gap and then Stun and Knockdown your foes. It deals Impact damage and covers for the Great Axe’s weakness against Ancient-type foes. The main downside of this combo is that you will have two slower-attacking two-handed weapons that have limited ranged potential.
- Spear. Scaling primarily with Dexterity, the Spear scales damage with Strength as a secondary Attribute. This is a strong crowd control weapon whose primary weakness is closing the gap to its foes. Use the Great Axe’s Charge and Blood Lust to get on top of your foe, and then stun them with a Vault Kick and Sweep them to the ground. You could even pair this weapon with Execute to secure a hit in PvP. The main drawback of using a Spear is that it does not scale primarily with Strength, so your damage will be less than if you scaled Dexterity. Also, the Spear can only offer Javelin as a ranged ability so that you will be mainly melee.
- Life Staff. For this setup, you would scale Focus instead of Strength and then, use an Amber gem to change some of the damage scaling to Focus. The Life Staff is the healing weapon; it benefits from Great Axe’s mobility and crowd control from Gravity Well. While this combination does less damage than a pure Strength setup, it is incredibly difficult to kill.
- Void Gauntlet provides great utility, lots of buffs, and debuffs for you and your team. Single target build for solo play is also possible. Even more, it gives you the ability to cooldown your skills fast.
Great Axe has enough defense, area-of-effect attacks, and decent crowd control skill, as well as a gap-closing ability, but pretty slow with long cooldowns. It can be used for both PvP and PvE.
Strength for more damage and Constitution for surviving.
Whatever you need most, mobility or defense. You can mix different armor parts and find armor combinations that fit your own playstyle best.
Hatchet provides health regeneration and more solo target options. War Hammer gives a lot of crowd control.