Should You Play New World? First Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of a September 28 release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? Who is this game for? Is it a MMORPG? The most crucial question is, “Is it worth my time?” Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!

This powerful survival instinct is successfully delivered to the frontier.

If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Finding the elusive saltpeter reserves in mines is fun. You can also make your own shells to build your vintage rifles. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. It’s amazing to put together your first set of gathering tools.

It feels fulfilling to dig up potatoes and carrots. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontierland, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. There are potential issues with this aspect later. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It is raw and feels new.

Fun Faction PVP is possible

Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. This means that you might see PoopyPants out and about, screaming at the town about silver ore prices. You chat will also be flooded with commentaries making Barrens’ chat appear downright intelligent. Even if players choose to not interact with each other verbally, this adds a social element to the gaming experience. You can make an investment in the tribe by dividing players into different factions. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction.

At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. This begs the question: How meaningful and interesting are faction wars in the final game? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice.

The combat is New World’s biggest weakness

In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here. 

As combat is the main focus of most other pursuits, it was hard for me to decide if this game could have other enjoyable aspects. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. The problem becomes more severe in PvP than in PvE groups, and is especially apparent in the former. With the lack of weaponry feedback, it is comical to be able to smuggle in your opponent’s sponges. This makes combat seem very limited.

All things can be the same

Without engaging in PvP, enemies, places, or activities could become a huge bowl of mush. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? Yes, picking taters is something I enjoy.

Travel can be rough

When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. It is difficult to travel the entire world on foot. Moving around the world on foot is a tedious chore without mounts and because of the limitations in resources and speed travel, it is a bore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map.

Moving forward

New World, based on beta data, is a unique addition to the existing MMORPGs. It seems that it will appeal to players who want to have small group play for faction skirmishes, and those that enjoy greater territory control with large guild politics. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling. 

While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. Faction wars and territorial control are the best antidote to the endless rock farm at various undead homes and shacks. Some of New World, like other emerging games (RIP Shadowbane), will depend on what the players make it.

#Play #World #Impressions @Frontier