New World Beta IMPRESSIONS
New World is a new MMORPG from Amazon Games that recently held a closed beta. Originally developed to be a PvP focused MMO, New World’s recent beta showed off the developmental progress they made in the past year or so. While this was my first experience with the game, the results were quite addictive.
New World is a melee focused third person action RPG. As the most interesting aspect of the gameplay, the combat feels very fresh. Rather than relying on equipment and stats, the combat system (with regards to PvP) really depends on blocks, interrupts, and utilizing the hit box to do damage and come out victorious. The result is if you ambush or surprise someone that is willing to do battle, your advantage will often bring victory as long as you don’t miss and their defense is poor regardless of their level and equipment. On the flip side, this will aggravate less skilled players who subscribe to the theory that higher level players should always win a battle.
New World also spices up the combat by allowing you to play and master a variety of weapons. There are swords, great axes, bows, hammers, magic staffs, magic gauntlets, muskets, and more. Since there are no classes, the weapons you use all have proficiency levels (Skyrim style) that unlock better attacks as well as improve the damage you deal. The more you use it, the better you get. To further enhance your ability, the physical attributes of your character also contribute to how much damage you deal with specific weapons. In general, strength enhances melee weapons and agility enhances ranged. Since there is magic though there are attributes that enhance staves and gauntlets as well.
Utilizing all of this in combat versus the environment or against players is a ton more fun than simply clicking on your enemy to attack and occasionally activating a skill or power to do damage. There is a sense of skill in this combat system that rewards dodging, blocking, using certain attacks to stun or interrupt, and so forth. Even so, popular Twitch streamers like Asmongold have criticized the combat. The AI for the NPCs and bosses are pretty simplistic and don’t force you to change up your attack style or block much. New World could certainly use a bit more variety in the enemy types and attacks.
The same format of ‘proficiency’ is applied to both crafting skills and resource gathering skills. In a way, New World’s addictive-ness is tied to how well this system is developed. Cutting lumber, mining, picking herbs, and fishing are all tied to skills that determine whether you are able to see and gather rare resources. The more you do so, the better you become. Thanks to the beautifully detailed environment, various size and types of resources all over the magical island make searching for and gathering resources easy and fun. Not only that, once you gather at a resource point, the amount you receive is slightly randomized too so that its not as simple as “I need to cut down 10 trees to gather 10 wood”. Depending on your level and the size of the resource you cut down, it may take considerably less to reach the amounts you desire to gather.
New World certainly has the framework for becoming a popular MMO. The crafting and various ways you can ‘improve’ your character will certainly be the basis for a lot of early adopters. Still, the PvP and PvE plan seems to need a bit of work if it is going to provide a healthy dose of appeal for high level players.
The various factions in the game seem to provide the PvP conflict in a mediocre way. While you can dedicate yourself to one of three factions for a minimum of 120 days, the choice seemingly doesn’t affect much for the player. Instead, the choice means more with regards to how well the faction is performing in taking over regions. Once a region is held, they can set taxes on various actions performed in the town. They also are expected to defend against PvE invasions or PvP wars from other factions. Each of these events are held in 50 player battles.
The PvE invasions are against NPC’s called the corrupted. The forts are then upgraded by the region’s governor. Then the battle result either upgrades or downgrades the fort’s defenses.The participants then gain XP, loot, and currency.
The PvP wars are against a rival faction. The same format is held except a loss means the rival faction gains control over the region.
The factions initially don’t seem to provide much variety in gameplay outside of the different lore regarding what each faction’s ’goal’ is. There should be a greater visual variety in faction gear or controlled forts or towns or something to provide something.
While the idea seems intense, this format could easily become old quick. Hopefully there will be a bit more variety either in the fort types, locations, or something to spice up this aspect. Also, the whole criticism of more difficult enemies and enemy types apply as well.
New World seems to hold a lot of promise. There is a lot that will bring players in, but it will be interesting to see what plans Amazon Games has to improve the experience beyond what was provided in the beta.