Last Updated: June 24, 2022 Reading Time: 10 min

New World Bow Guide


The bow in New World is a versatile ranged weapon that provides both good AOE damage and great single-target damage. It excels at kiting enemies and keeping them at range while being able to pop off abilities to damage and hinder your target. We cover all this and more in our New World Bow Guide

General information for the Bow in New World

The Bow deals thrust damage with a short draw dealing 100% thrust damage and a long draw dealing 170% thrust damage. 

Every bow ability, along with all light and heavy attacks will consume Tier 2+ arrows on use. The bow can be used without having arrows equipped to your ammunition slot. Having no ammo will not provide you with any additional damage bonuses. You can obtain arrows for your bow by looting enemies and boxes, craft them yourself, or purchase them from the faction vendor or trading post. There are different tiers of arrows with each tier increasing the damage dealt. 

In this guide, we will go over the bow’s mastery trees, recommended abilities for different scenarios, and tips to optimize the use of the bow.  

Mastery Trees

The Bow mastery trees consist of the Skirmisher and the Hunter

Skirmisher Mastery Tree

The Skirmisher tree focuses around AOE damage and kiting your target. There are several slows in the tree that help aid you in kiting your target. This includes an ability that creates distance between yourself and your target. The three active abilities in this tree consist of Poison Shot, Evade Shot, and Rain of Arrows. The Key passive in this tree is called Knee Shot. 

Poison Shot is both an AOE and DoT. Upon hitting a target (or ground) with this ability, a poison cloud is created. Any enemy that walks into the cloud is poisoned and will take damage over time for a duration. As this ability is upgraded you will receive higher DoT damage and will do 150% more damage to your target if you hit it directly. 

The next ability in the tree is Evade Shot. This ability is very effective at helping you kite your target. This ability will allow you to leap back, away from your target, and shoot an arrow that will deal increased weapon damage. As you upgrade Evade shot, you will also be able to knock back your target. This will further enhance your kiting capabilities, and you will gain haste. Haste is a movement speed buff that will also enhance your kiting capabilities. 

The last ability in this tree is Rain of Arrows. Rain of Arrows is an AOE ability that shoots a barrage of arrows 7 meters wide that deal increased weapon damage. As you progress through the ability you will also enhance Rain of Arrows to deal DoT damage in the form of a bleed as well. The last upgrade to the ability also applies a slow for a short duration to anyone in the barrage of arrows. 


The remaining passives in the Skirmisher tree enhance your kiting capabilities by providing you with additional slows and additional movement speed bonuses, as well as, providing increased damage. 

It’s important to note here that slows are considered Debuffs in New World. So, a passive like Mark that deals 10% more damage to foes suffering from a Debuff means you will get 10% more damage for your enemies that are slowed. 

Key Passive

The Key passive in the Skirmisher tree is Knee Shot. This passive allows any leg shot to slow your target by 10%. 

Hunter Mastery Tree

The Hunter tree is focused more on precision shooting by rewarding you even further for landing headshots and landing shots a greater distance away. The three active abilities in this tree consist of Rapid Shot, Penetrating Shot, and Splinter Shot.

Rapid Shot allows you to shoot 3 quick arrows at your target. The first and second arrows will deal 100% weapon damage, and the final arrow deals increased weapon damage and knock back your target. As you upgrade this ability you will receive a large amount of cooldown reduction for the Rapid shot if you land all 3 arrows, and the 3rd shot of the ability will have even more increased damage, making this a strong single-target ability. 

The next ability in the tree is Penetrating Shot. Penetrating Shot deals an increased amount of weapon damage and passes through your target and travels an additional 100 meters. It will damage any other targets in a line behind the first target.  Upon upgrading the ability you will also get increased damage after each hit, and increased damage for targets 20 or more meters away. 

The last ability of the Hunter tree is Splinter Shot. Splinter shoots an arrow and once it reaches a distance of 10 meters it will splinter out into 3 arrows, dealing half damage. As you upgrade the ability it will enhance the number of arrows that splinter to 5 arrows and the cooldown on the ability will be reduced for each shot hit. 

They Key passive, Concussion, rewards you for landing headshots. You will deal increased damage and have a chance to get your arrow back. 

Recommended Bow Roles & Abilities

The recommended role when using the Bow in New World PVE is DPS.


Active Abilities

  • Poison Shot
  • Rain of Arrows
  • Rapid Shot

Passive Abilities

  • Evasive Tactics
  • Closing In
  • Long Range
  • Finishing Shot
  • Surprise Attack
  • Hawkeye
  • Aim True
  • Opening Strike
  • Bullseye

Key Passive

  • Concussion

Poison Shot when fully upgraded will allow you to do good single target damage as well as deploy the poison cloud on a group of enemies. The poison cloud is going to poison the enemies dealing DoT damage. 

The Poison Shot coupled with Rain of Arrows is going to allow you to do both decent AOE damage and good DoT damage. Rain of arrows when upgraded will do good AOE damage, apply a bleed to your targets, and slow them, helping out your healers and other DPS in the back line. 

The third active ability to take is rapid shot. This is taken to increase your single target DPS by a good amount. This will help burn down enemies much faster. 

The passives taken are going to increase your overall damage output by a significant amount. The slows and haste from the Skirmisher tree are not taken because as a DPS you are going to be focused on maximizing damage output with your AOE’s, DoT’s and high damage single target abilities and light and heavy bow shots. 

The Key passive that you are going to want to take for maximum DPS is Concussion. This will increase your DPS significantly when landing headshots on your enemies. 


The abilities you take in PvP are going to really depend on the other weapon you are going to have equipped. The abilities you take will depend on what type of PvP you are engaging in.

The below recommendation is just one example of how you could customize your build to suit your activity and playstyle. For more information about specific builds for specific situations and as the meta shifts and changes see our builds section

Active Abilities:

  • Poison Shot
  • Evade Shot
  • Rapid Shot

Passive Abilities:

  • Impale 
  • Dodge and Weave
  • Mark
  • Evasive Tactics
  • Closing In
  • Archer’s Speed
  • Long Range
  • Finishing Shot

Key Passive:

  • Knee Shot

This particular ability set will excel at kiting your enemy and keeping them at bay, applying pressure with your poison DoT, and landing hard-hitting shots with your Rapid Shot. 

Poison shot upgrades will add more single-target damage on top of applying the DoT to your target. 

Evade shot is a very effective ability to help you kite your target by applying a slow and increasing your movement speed. This will help you create space to land your Rapid Shot and do significant amounts of damage. 

The Key passive Knee shot is taken in order to further enhance your kiting capabilities so you can land more ranged shots on your target. 

The remaining passives are going to increase your kiting ability by giving you more options to slow your target and increase your movement speed. As mentioned earlier, slows are considered debuffs in New World, so the passive Mark will help increase your damage as you’re kiting your enemy around with the slows that you are applying. 

This ability set will allow you kite your enemy in the open world and deal good amounts of damage to your target. The idea is to keep them slowed and away so you can continue to land your bow shots.

Recommended Weapon Pairings with Bow

The bow scales primarily off of Dexterity. The following weapons are recommended pairings for the Bow in New World. 

  • Rapier – The rapier scales primarily off of Dexterity and secondarily off of Intelligence, making this a good pairing with the bow because both weapons will benefit from pushing your attributes points into the Dexterity attribute. The rapier does very high single target damage, can provide you with some mobility while using the bow, can provide some defensive options, and could apply bleed for some additional damage over time if you chose to go that route. 
  • Spear – The spear scales primarily off of Dexterity and secondarily off of Strength, making this a good pairing with the bow as well. The spear can provide you with quite a lot of crowd control options that can help you deal with foes that get too close, and can also provide you with some additional damage over time as well. 
  • Hatchet – The hatchet scales primarily off of Strength and secondarily on Dexterity. It will not benefit as much as the weapons mentioned above damage-wise when pumping points into dexterity, but can still be a great option to pair with the bow. The hatchet can provide some self-healing and mobility boosts, and will still do quite a lot of damage at close range even scaling with dexterity secondarily. 

You can reference our builds section for specific bow pairings and builds.

How to Level the Bow in New World

In order to effectively level the bow, it’s recommended to take abilities that do high Area of Effect Damage. This will allow you to group mobs together and quickly kill them for fast weapon experience.

It’s recommended that you start by putting a point into the Evasive Tactics passive. This will increase your damage by a significant amount after each dodge.  You’ll then want to take your 3 activity abilities with your next 3 bow level-ups in the following order: Rain of ArrowsPoison Shot, and then Penetrating Shot.

This will allow you to begin grouping the mobs into a group and AOEing them down effectively. You can fire off a penetrating shot immediately after a heavy attack for quite a lot of burst damage potential.

Next you’ll want to begin upgrading your activate abilities and begin putting additional points into your passive abilities. It’s recommended that you take:

  • Barbed Arrows
  • Infected Arrows
  • Hooked Arrows
  • Direct Hit
  • Dodge and Weave
  • Aim True
  • Long Range
  • Finishing Shot
  • Opening Strike
  • Arrow Range
  • Hawkeye
  • Bullseye
  • Surprise Attack
  • Blood Soaked Arrow
  • Concussion

The overall strategy is to group up mobs together and fire off rain of arrows to deal damage, apply a bleed and slow. Then a poison shot to deal additional AOE and Dot Damage. From there you’ll finish off remaining enemies with Penetrating shot and light and heavy attacks. With the passives Dodge and Weave and Archer’s Speed you will be able to kite the group around without taking much damage if you need to wait on cooldowns.

Bow Perks

Every Weapon Ability in New World has a corresponding Perk that can be found on armor and weapons. Most of the perks scale in power with the Gear Score of the item they are on. It’s important to note that you can only benefit from one instance of a weapon ability perk at a time. You can obtain the weapon perks randomly from drops or you can craft gear with the specific perk on it. You can enhance your chance at obtaining a specific perk by utilizing timeless shards.

It is recommended that you apply the specific weapon perks to your armor at this time. These perks can be applied to either the weapon the perks pertain to or any piece of armor. There are other perks, such as enchanted and vicious that can only be applied to weapons. So, your perk slots for your weapons should be reserved for the perks that can only be applied to weapons. 

The Ability perks for the Bow in New World are as follows:

| Ability Perk Name           | Crafting Mod Item               |
| Enfeebling Poison Shot      | Steel Bow Charm                 |
| Energizing Evade Shot       | Starmetal Bow Charm             |
| Fortifying Rain of Arrows   | Orichalcum Bow Charm            |
| Penetrating Rapid Shot      | Reinforced Steel Bow Charm      |
| Refreshing Penetrating Shot | Reinforced Starmetal Bow Charm  |
| Empowering Splinter Shot    | Reinforced Orichalcum Bow Charm |

Recommended Bow Gems

The Opal is the recommended choice for Gem in the bow. This is due to the uptime of the damage increase you’ll receive while dodging. As a bow user, you will be utilizing your dodge roll often so your stamina will likely rarely be full. 

The type of gem you will want to slot into your bow is heavily dependent upon your build. It’s also going to vary based on PvP vs PvE activities. You can check our quick reference guide for gems for a full list of gems and their effects.  

A few good overall recommendations for bow would include:

  • Opal: +X% damage while your stamina is not full
  • Emerald: +X% damage against targets with less than 30% health
  • Onyx : +X% damage against targets with full health

Enemy types the bow is strong/weak against

The bow deals thrust damage with both the light and heavy attacks. Thrust damage type is strong against the Corrupted and Beast enemy types. It’s weak against the Angry Earth and Lost enemy types.  You can check our Damage Type vs Mob Type Quick reference guide for more info.

New World Bow Guide Conclusion

That concludes our New World Bow Guide. For more on where to level your Bow, check out our Weapon Leveling Locations.

Stream Team