Ever since Legolas, the archer has been a staple of the fantasy genre, and it’s rare to find a fantasy MMO that does not have a bowslinger as a playable option. New World is no exception, offering a variety of powerful skills and interesting builds to help you live out your archery dreams. In this guide, we will look at the best Bow & Arrow builds in New World, covering the two main playstyles for this iconic ranged weapon.
Let’s get started!
New World Bow & Arrow Active Skills
As usual, we’ll begin our guide to the best Bow & Arrow builds in New World by diving into the active skills in depth.
Evade Shot is the first-row active skill in the Skirmisher skill tree. It’s a great skill for shooting on the move, or moving on the shoot…not quite sure which.
This is a pretty simple skills. You leap back 5m and deal 125% weapon damage. This comes at a 14s cooldown. It’s a solid move to help you get out of melee range, and deals above-average damage as a nice little bonus. The range is a little lower than I’d like, but it’s otherwise worth picking up.
Rain of Arrows
Rain of Arrows is the second-row active skill in the Skirmisher skill tree. Want to shoot a bunch of arrows at once? Who doesn’t? AOEs are always good.
With this skill, you shoot a rain of arrows on a 3m radius for 150% weapon damage (none of the arrows can headshot). This comes with a 23.3s cooldown. The AOE damage here is great, though it does take some time to set up, which can be a problem if you’re under pressure. Overall, though, it’s a great damage-dealing move that I highly recommend.
Poison Shot is the third-row active skill in the Skirmisher skill tree. Normal arrows are boring — have some trick arrows. After all, how can you live out your Green Arrow fantasies without some trick arrows?
Deal 50% weapon damage. On a hit, create a 3m radius poison cloud that lasts for 6s. Foes entering the cloud are poisoned and take 10% weapon damage per second for 20s. This ability cannot headshot. This comes at a 28s cooldown.
This skill has great DOTs that really rack up the damage. It cannot headshot, but that’s a minor downside. Also, the cooldown is quite long, but justified.
Penetrating Shot is the first-row active skill in the Hunter skill tree. The name says it all — deal 150% weapon damage and pass through targets. This skill has a 100m range and a 16.8s cooldown.
The damage is decent and the range is one of the best in the game. To fully utilize this skill, you need enemies to line up for you (quite literally), which isn’t as consistant a scenario as I would like. It can definitely be good in the right situation, but not one of my favorite skills.
Next up is Explosive Arrow, the second-row active skill in the Hunter skill tree. Want more trick arrows?
You hit an enemy for 50% weapon damage, and on impact explode for 135% weapon damage to all enemies in a 2.5m radius. This comes at a 20.5s cooldown. It’s another solid AOE, and though the cooldown is steep, it’s understandable given the damage output.
Rapid Shot is the third-row active skill in the Hunter skill tree. You’ve fired a bunch of arrows at once, now how about firing a bunch of arrows in quick succession?
You fire three consecutive arrows, the first two dealing 100% weapon damage and the third dealing 125% weapon damage and staggering the target. This comes at a 13s cooldown.
Stagger is a nice effect, especially when you want to keep your distance from enemies. It is difficult, however, to line up all three shots. Plenty of enemies move erratically, making it difficult to maximize the effectiveness of the skill. I was personally underwhelmed with it.
Best Bow & Arrow Builds in New World
With these active skills in mind, let’s get into the details of the two best Bow & Arrow builds in New World.
The first build I want to discuss for the Bow is the skirmisher build, which you could also call the kiting build. Honestly, the Skirmisher skill tree nailed the name, as you want to be doing exactly that. This build is all about running and gunning (or bowing, as the case may be).
This build cares about the Dexterity, the whole Dexterity, and nothing but the Dexterity.
Okay, so that last one isn’t strictly true. After all, Constitution is good for pretty much any build, but you can do this one as a pure Dexterity build if you wish, and that’s honestly not a bad idea.
Go for the standard light armor package of all light and a medium coat if you want to maximize your defense while also having the best dodge. The real key here is to keep your equipment load in the light category, as this is probably the most high-mobility build in the game.
You largely want to stick with the Skirmisher skills for this build. The first-row skill Evade Shot is great for getting you out of those tricky situations where you find yourself in melee (shudder).
Poison Shot is a snap pick for this build. You’ll be running around your enemies, keeping your distance as you slowly weaken them and pick them off. Poison Shot is perfect for this playstyle, as it is one of the best DOTs effects in the game.
The third active skill you want for this build is, in my opinion, a toss up between Rain of Arrows and Explosive Arrow. Both have their positives and negatives. Rain of Arrows has more raw damage potential, but requires setting a template, which is harder to do on the run. Meanwhile, Explosive Arrow does a bit less damage but is easier to fire, so the choice is really up to which one you prefer.
As is usually the case, upgrading the active skills for your build is a good thing to do, but what you really want to focus on are the passive skills that up your mobility and decrease your opponent’s mobility.
Catch Me If You Can is another good get-out-of-melee ability, giving you 20% haste if you have three enemies within 3m of you. Impale inflicts a 10% slow for 2s to hit enemies at 100% health. Dodge and Weave gives you a 10% haste for 2s after you dodge. You get the idea. When you build this right, you will be running circles around your enemies.
It should not surprise anyone that Knee Shot is the capstone pick here. Adding another slow effect is just too good to pass up.
This next build I want to discuss is an interesting one. I call it the Sniper build because, while the previous build goes for the legs to proc Knee Shot, this build does Thanos proud and goes for the head. In this build, you want to make use of that handy crouch button you have. You can headshot your enemies from far away, either killing them outright, or taking out most of their HP before the fight even starts.
The attributes for this build are the same as the previous one. You can go full Dexterity if you so choose, but some Constitution never hurts.
Again, same as above with keeping your equipment load light for maximum dodging. Even though you are not going full mobility, you still want to prioritize it over tankiness.
An important thing to note here his that the passive skills are the main focus of this build. Prioritize them first. But when you start grabbing active skills, I’d recommend going with the Skirmisher skill tree from the previous build. Ideally, you’ll be taking out most enemies with one to two quick shots before they even get near you.
That’s obviously not a realistic expectation for every opponent, especially the tougher elites and bosses. So when your initial assault doesn’t kill them right away and you actually have to have a fight, your strategy will be the same as in the Skirmisher build. As such, picking up Evade Shot and Poison Shot are good choices. I also still recommend either Rain of Arrows or Explosive Arrow as the final pick.
What makes this build a bit different from most is that the passive skills are the real bread and butter. After all, the goal here is to maximize the effectiveness of your heavy attack so you can pick off your foes from a distance. For this build, you want pretty much all the passive skills from the Hunter skill tree.
Both Long Range and Aim True from the first row are must haves for this build, as Long Range boosts damage from a distance, and Aim True boosts damage from heavy attacks.
Finishing Shot from the second row does what its name suggests, by giving you a 20% damage boost to enemies at 50% or less health. It gives you a nice one-two punch to finish off those pesky foes who didn’t have the decency to die to your first hit.
In the third row, we get Opening Strike, which gives you a further 20% damage boost to heavy attacks made against foes at 100% health. Follow that up with the fourth row skills Surprise Attack, which adds another 20% damage to foes you haven’t damaged in the last 10s, and Arrow Range, which gives you a 100% boost to your arrows range before gravity begins to affect them. With this, the Sniper build is really coming together.
Bullseye at the fifth row further ups your damage by increasing your crit chance, and Hawkeye gives you a nice bit of healing when you land a headshot.
Of course we’re picking Concussion as the capstone ability here. The 20% damage boost to headshots is sweet, and the 50% chance to recover arrow ups your ammunition a lot more than you would think. If you keep up on you arrow crafting, you shouldn’t run out of them ever, but it is still a nice perk.
Join the High Ground
And there you have some of the best builds for Bow & Arrow in New World. Whether your muse is Legolas, Robin Hood, Green Arrow, or even Hawkeye, we hope you’ve found a build that works for you. Be sure to check out our other New World guides, and sign up for our site newsletter to stay up to date on the gaming scene.
Happy shooting, explorer!
Related Reading: New World Build Guides