In this review, we discuss our recent advances in modeling adhesive wear mechanisms using coarse-grained atomistic simulations. In particular, we present how a model pair potential reveals the transition from ductile shearing of an asperity to the formation of a debris particle. This transition occurs at a critical junction size, which determines the particle size at its birth. Atomistic simulations also reveal that for nearby asperities, crack shielding mechanisms result in a wear volume proportional to an effective area larger than the real contact area. As the density of microcontacts increases with load, we propose this crack shielding mechanism as a key to understand the transition from mild to severe wear. We conclude with open questions and a road map to incorporate these findings in mesoscale continuum models. Because these mesoscale models allow an accurate statistical representation of rough surfaces, they provide a simple means to interpret classical phenomenological wear models and wear coefficients from physics-based principles.