I love MMOs. There’s something about the gameplay loop that I still love, from questing, gathering, crafting, and taking on dungeons with my friends.
We had a lot of high hopes about New World, because it felt like it could be a breath of fresh air into a genre that had long grown stale, as evidenced by how boring World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was on release.
Unfortunately, New World has not delivered on its promise, and has instead been an unmitigated disaster, in my book. Let me list out the key reasons that are really grinding my gears.
Promised free worldwide server transfers have turned out to be bullshit
Well, since launch, New World has done nothing but continue to be plagued by problems. First, there were the ludicrous server queues that happened on launch day, as the staggered launch meant that European servers went up first, causing everyone from Asia to North America to queue along with the Europeans to simply save their character names (because names are reserved game-wide instead of on a per-server basis).
Then, when people actually tried to play, it became apparent that server population limits were 2000 players. Some of the larger servers have seen that increased to roughly 2250 players these days, but that seemed extremely low. Yes, maps are small, but in an MMO where the endgame revolves heavily around PVP, clearly people wanted to group up and play in the same servers with their friends and guilds.
The low server caps and queues made that an extremely difficult proposition, and simply adding more servers didn’t address the core issue. Neither did them preventing new characters to be created on worlds that were deemed “full”. To placate the playerbase, Amazon Games then promised free server transfers, and on their official Twitter account said that people would be able to transfer anywhere in the world.
Well, the promise turned out to be bullshit, and transfers will only be available in the same region. To add insult to injury, Amazon Games also delayed the transfers, and it looks like there’s no actual date in sight.
You can bet that a ton of people who moved to low population servers on other regions just to level up, with the belief that they’d eventually be able to play with their friends, are now pissed off. My group and I are among them.
The way PVP is implemented sucks, especially because people can grief opponents through auto-bans
The main PVP function of the game is the War system. Here, the three factions vie for control of regions by attacking and taking ownership of settlements and outpost. Wars are a 50v50 affair, which means that a single war can have a maximum of 100 players involved, or 5% of the original 2000 player cap.
You know what that means? Unless you’re in one of the larger guilds, are ready to no-life the game and grind to 60, and are in the good graces of whoever is leading the war, there’s almost no shot of you taking part in an organised war.
To make things worse, it looks like there’s an auto-ban system implemented in New World, which Amazon Games vehemently denies. When people try to share posts showing their experiences on the New World forums, many of them get removed as misinformation. However, there has been consistent feedback that it’s possible to grief an opposing side by mass-reporting people involved in an upcoming war, which seems to become a 24-hour ban.
Funnily enough, some players on Reddit and other forums have shown screenshots of conversations with customer service reps that have said that 24-hour auto-bans are a thing, while the official Amazon stance is that it doesn’t exist and that all bans are reviewed by a human before being enacted.
This is another case where I’m calling bullshit on Amazon.
It’s evident that PVE content was added very late into the development cycle
The game, at least in the early stages, was fun. Exploration, crafting, and some of the story quests were entertaining. However, the game was originally built as a PVP-heavy game. In its earlier iterations, New World was a full-loot kind of PVP MMO. The emphasis was on all-out war and constant danger. They eventually moved away from that, but it was clear that PVE content wasn’t part of the original vision.
I’m level 42 now, out of a maximum of 60, and I’ve played in a bunch of the zones. They’ve basically re-used character models in most of them, and the same zombies I was fighting in the starter zones are simply re-skinned, with the occasional new model thrown in. The alligators in earlier zones compared to mid-game zones look like recoloured versions of themselves, and I swear to god that it’s the same thing for wolves, boars, and other flora and fauna that make up the game’s loot.
Hell, I’ve played two of the dungeons so far, and the creature models are the same as the ones you find in the main overworld. That, to me, is a clear sign that PVE was rushed. I don’t mind PVP, but because of the limitations of the system, there’s got to at least be an entertaining PVE element to the game.
Doing PVE content in groups is also a nightmare, as outside of repeatable dungeon quests, there’s no quest sharing system, so if you’re doing those random town board missions in a territory, there’s no way to do the same ones as your friends. If you’re doing quest lines, you have to make sure that you and your friends are on the exact same steps at the same time, or you just have to keep backtracking til someone catches up. Even if you’re on the very first quest of a chain, you can’t share that with your friend, so they have to slog their way through to a town to pick it up.
It’s 2021, these shitty systems shouldn’t still be in place in an MMO.
I really wanted to give New World a chance, but two weeks in, I’m already pissed off and burnt out enough to have drastically lowered my playtime. Now, it seems clear that my mixed group of gaming friends and I probably won’t get a chance to all play together, unless we all decide to create new characters on a low population server, but it’s hard to justify doing so. It’s not like there are different classes to try out. We’d have to level our weapons, our gathering, our crafting and everything else again just to play together.
Thankfully, New World is a buy-to-play game, so I don’t have to worry about wasting money by not playing while a subscription is active. I can put the game away for a while and let it get more polish, but I’m not sure how long the game will last if it doesn’t fix its core problems. Yes, I’m a former hardcore MMO player, so I have high expectations, but I’m willing to bet that a significant number of MMO veterans feel the same way.
At the two-week mark, New World does not get a passing grade. It needs a whole lot more time to marinate, but Amazon Games may not have the luxury. Considering how quickly they cancelled Crucible, I don’t have my hopes up.