High Water Mark System in New World

Last updated on Oct 18, 2021 at 16:34 by Bigbear 5 comments

Welcome to our quick guide to the High Water Mark System in New World. This guide explains how you can get higher Gear Score items from mobs, Expeditions, Boss Arenas, and chests.


Basics of the High Water Mark System in New World

The High Water Mark System (also known as HWM) is a system that decides the Gear Score of the drops you receive from endgame content, such as elite areas, Expeditions, Wars, Invasions, and Outpost Rush. The system activates once your character reaches level 60, and is unique to each item slot and weapon. For example, a Fire Staff and an Ice Gauntlet would have two different HWMs, as would as a Head slot and an Amulet slot item.

The maximum HWM for each slot is currently 590 Gear Score (GS), although this is expected to increase over time. Each HWM level has a floor and cap; the floor acts as a minimum GS you can expect from items, and the cap is the maximum you can get above it. At 590 HWM, the floor and cap are both 10 GS, meaning you will be able to find items with a GS ranging between 580 and 600.


How to Increase your High Water Mark Score

New World has several ways to increase your HWM score. These include:

  • killing level 60+ mobs in elite zones;
  • doing Expeditions or Boss Arenas;
  • completing corrupted breaches;
  • looting Elite Supply Chests;
  • completing Outpost Rush matches.

Your HWM will start out at 500 GS, and will slowly increase in increments of 5 to begin with, and then at higher Water Marks in increments of 3. There is only a small chance that your HWM will increase each time an event from the list above is triggered, and the higher your Water Mark, the less chance you have of increasing it. You only need the items to drop to increase your score, you do not need to equip (or even loot!) them.


Elite Mob Farming

The level of an enemy mob determines whether you will be able to increase your HWM beyond a certain point. For example, you will not be able to increase your HWM all the way to 590 on level 61 mobs alone. Instead, at greater HWMs you will need to do level 66+ zones and mobs.

To get your HWM up to 590 GS, you will need to kill level 65+ elite mobs in areas such as Upper Harrow in Myrkgard. Elite named mobs also have a much higher chance of dropping an item that can increase your HWM than a regular elite mob.

Downing elite mobs typically requires a group, so make sure to bring some friends, although bringing too many (more than 3 groups) will detrimentally impact the loot you receive from mobs. The ideal number for elite mob farming is 5 to 15, with all players being in a group.


Expeditions and Arenas

Expeditions and Arenas have the ability to increase your HWM all the way up to 590. Many of the expedition mobs and bosses in Lazarus Instrumentality and Garden of Genesis, as well as the Siren Queen and Spriggan Arenas have increased chances of dropping items, which can increase your HWM, and items in those dungeons can roll up to 600 GS. The main barrier to increase your HWM this way is that Expeditions and Boss Arenas are locked behind Tuning Orbs, which are not easily farmable, compared to some other open-world methods such as looting Elite Supply Chests or elite mob farming.


Elite Supply Chest Farming

Another way to increase your HWM score is to loot Elite Supply Chests in elite zones such as Myrkgard and Ambusti Mines in Shattered Mountain, as well as Forecastle Drift in Reekwater.

Elite Supply Chests have a 24-hour cooldown, so they will need to be farmed daily. These areas require a group, so make sure to bring some friends, although bringing too many (more than 3 groups) will detrimentally impact the loot you receive from mobs.


Corrupted Breaches Farming

Corrupted Breaches in Shattered Mountain are also a good way to increase your HWM. These can be done by larger groups of people, so can be done together as a Company. The caches received from doing Corrupted Breaches are treated as level 66+ mob drops, so they can increase your HWM all the way up to 590 GS, with a potential for dropping 600 GS items.


Outpost Rush

Outpost Rush matches last up to 40 minutes, although they are often around 15 to 20 minutes in length. Regardless of winning or losing the match, you will be given a cache, which you can loot for three endgame items. Each of these items has a chance at increasing your HWM for that respective item.


How Does Luck Gear Affect HWM?

You should be using as much Luck as possible when trying to improve your HWM scores. Higher Luck does not directly increase the chance of increasing your HWM, but it does improve the chances that you receive items which can improve your HWM. Luck improves your chances of getting named items, which can also improve your HWM score.


What Does Not Affect Your HWM Scores?

Anything that is obtained from any other source other than looting chests and mobs does not improve your HWM score. This includes things like crafting items, buying items off the trading post, or buying faction vendor gear.


What is Currently the Maximum HWM in New World?

Currently, 590 is the maximum HWM, but this number is expected to increase in the future.



If you want to increase your HWM score, gather a group of 9-14 friends, have everyone group up and farm Myrkgard named elites. You should also try and loot all the elite supply chests daily, as well as do the Lazarus Instrumentality and Garden of Genesis expeditions if you have keys.



  • 16 Oct. 2021: Guide added.
  • 18 Oct. 2021: Added reference to Arenas also being a source of increased High Water Mark.
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