How Gear Score Works in New World

In this guide you will find the following:

Watermark Explanation
How the Watermark System Works
How to Increase Your Watermark / Gear Score
Solo/Small Group Options for Increasing Your Watermark / Gear Score
How Luck Effects Your Watermark
How to Track Your Watermark 

Watermark Explanation

New World has a system called the High Watermark System that affects your in game gear score. Watermark refers to your maximum gear score of a particular item. 

For example, if you have a helmet that is gear score 500, you kill a mob and that mob drops a helmet with a gear score of 510, the 510 is now your Watermark for your gear score for your helmet slot. So, moving forward as long as you're killing mobs that are capable of dropping items in that range, the range of items dropped for your helmet will now be in the 510 range. 

The same logic applies to all of your gear slots. It’s important to note that each weapon has an independent Watermark. 

How the Watermark System Works


The High Watermark System kicks in when your character reaches level 60 and it governs the power of gear drops you receive as you progress towards more powerful areas in New World. 

When an enemy or a container drops a piece of gear, a gear score for that item is rolled. As you level the gear score naturally progresses with your level, however once you reach the level cap the gear score mechanic changes. 

Once you hit level 60, your base gear score cap is adjusted to 500, and will gradually increase to a maximum of 600 as more powerful drops are obtained. It’s very important to keep in mind that this is per item type. Each piece of gear has an independent watermark associated with it. This applies to every weapon as well. 

Item drops affect your high watermark score the moment the item drops. This means you do not have to equip or even pick the item up for your watermark to increase. 

Very important to note that buying gear and equipping it does NOT increase your watermark. Crafting gear and equipping it also does NOT increase your watermark. 

Also very important to note that not all enemies and containers are created equal. Each level beyond level 60 enemies have a soft upper limit on the likelihood of receiving a high watermark increase. Similarly, event reward containers, such as outpost rush, will respect your current high watermark and will also have a small chance of increasing it. 

Therefore, in order to see a receive consistent high watermark increases you should reference the following:

500-530 - Level 61 Enemies
530-560 - Level 62 Enemies
560-590 - Level 63 Enemies
590-600 - Level 64+ Enemies

The system is not fully random. Each time you defeat a level 60+ enemy and do not receive a gear item that increases it’s high watermark for that particular item slot, you’re slightly more likely to see an increase the next time. 

Also, enemies found in elite landmarks and expeditions have a higher base chance of dropping items that increase your high watermark score. As do level 60+ named enemies and Expedition Bosses will ALWAYS drop an item that increases your high watermark.

How to Increase Your Watermark / Gear Score

The most optimal way to increase your Watermark is to farm Elite Zones and loot all of the Elite chests in the applicable areas for your level. However, this does require a group. It’s recommended that when farming these areas you take no more than 2 groups with a total of 10 people. This will ensure both groups get a drop from the bosses that are killed, as well as the elite chests that are looted. 

If 3 groups are taken, only the 2 groups that have done the most DPS to the boss will receive the drop, thus lowering your chances of receiving loot from the boss. 

The Elite Chests will drop a couple items per chest, each with an opportunity to increase your watermark as long as you’re in the appropriate level range for your current Watermark. 

Even though Expedition bosses for the late game dungeons do guarantee a watermark increase, the cost of making the tuning orbs makes running them consistently a less reliable way to increase your watermark. Once you reach the 591 watermark from farming Elites, you should then push into the late game expeditions to get from 591 to 600. 

The following are the areas that should be farmed according to your current watermark. 

500-525 (Elite 61+) 

Gear Score 525-549 (Elite 62+)

Gear Score 549-577 (Elite 63+)

Gear Score 577-591 (Elite 64+) 

Gear Score 591+ 
Dungeons or Arenas (save all your keys)

It’s very important to keep in mind that the Elite Chests are on a 24 hour cooldown. So, you can run your routes to farm the Elite zones, and then you can move into 60+ Portals to increase your gear score as well. You can also run Outpost Rush, but it has a very small chance of gear score increase, so it’s not an optimal way to increase your watermark. 

Solo/Small Group Options for Increasing Your Watermark / Gear Score

There are a few areas that are viable for increasing your gear score as a solo player or when in a small group. However, bear in mind these methods are significantly slower than grouping up and running the Elite Zones / Corrupted Portals. 

If you can’t find a group there are a few zones listed below that are decent areas for watermark increases. You can also use our interactive map to locate areas that are 60+ with normal mobs to farm your watermark increase. 

One of options is to farm a level 62 boss that has a very fast respawn timer, named Adjorjan. This mob can be found in Edengrove at the Grasping Summit


Once you have reached your maximum watermark with Adjorjan you can transition over to Sprlya Tower in Eastern Shattered Mountain. This area has level 63-64 Angry Earth mobs, so it can be used as a solo farming option to get some decent watermark increases. 

Again, bear in mind that these options are far from optimal, but are options nonetheless.

How Luck Effects Your Watermark

Higher Luck does not directly increase the chance of increasing your watermark score. However, luck does improve your chances of getting rarer drops when farming for a higher watermark.

How to Track Your Watermark

There is currently not an in-game system set up to track your current watermark. However, you can track your watermark by using our Gear Score Tracker. After each run you can enter your Gear score for each item into the tracker, press the update button at the bottom of the page to save, and the tracker will automatically recommend the ideal farming location for your watermark score. 


About the Author:
BDLG is 1 of the 3 founders of StudioLoot. You can find BDLG on Twitch every Tuesday - Friday from 8:00am CST to 1:00pm CST, and creating content on the StudioLoot YouTube channel.