Earlier today, a developer from Amazon Games working on New World posted a clarification on New World’s Watermark system. The system is also known as HWM and governs the power of gear drops for characters once they reach level 60. As we all know so far, the system asks you to keep on grinding to get to a higher watermark.
But, even if the High Watermark System is now revealed, players find it very hard to understand, considering how hard it is to loot a piece of item 600. Once you reach item level 591, you have the potential of looting anything between 592 and 600, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will. The developer also commented on the Outpost Rush and Wars chests and how the system evaluates if it would drop a watermark increase or not.
Not all enemies and containers (including Event Reward Containers from Outpost Rush, War, Invasions, etc.) are created equal in the case of the HWM system. While you always have a small chance to see a HWM increase when defeating a level 60+ creature or searching a container in a level 60+ landmark, each level beyond 60 has a soft upper limit on the likelihood of an HWM increase. Similarly, Event Reward Containers will respect your current HWM and also have a small chance of increasing it. What this means is that while you’ll reliably see HWM increases up to GS 530 when defeating Level 61 enemies, your chances of seeing something beyond GS 530 from a Level 61 enemy is significantly lower than it is from a Level 62 enemy. Level 64+ enemies are capable of reliably dropping gear up to GS 600.
He further evaluated that the system is not random either. Instead, each time you defeat a level 60+ enemy and don’t receive a gear item that increases your watermark, the next time you kill it, you have a higher chance of doing so.
The system isn’t fully random, either. Each time you defeat a level 60+ enemy and don’t receive a gear item that increases its HWM type, you’re slightly more likely to see an increase the next time. Additionally, some enemies, such as those found in Elite Landmarks and Expeditions, have a higher base chance of dropping items that increase your HWM. Level 60+ named enemies are even more likely to drop HWM-increasing items, and Expedition Bosses will always drop an item that increases your HWM.
Aside from the Watermark System, the developer has noted that tuning orbs will also be adjusted to take less time and player dedication to craft them. Right now, they are pretty demanding in terms of player input, as some of the elements are tied behind a daily task, while others are locked behind Major corrupted portals. For that reason the developer will minify the needed requirement, and players will be able to craft keys without spending a lot of time on it.
Overall, we’ll have a much easier life in New World once this implementation is done. Crafting keys seemed weird since the get-go, as players cannot correctly get good gear unless it’s crafted by hand.