New World: First Impressions

So, I was able to get into this New World preview. I didn’t get in until 3 days to the end so I didn’t get to progress very far, however, I made it to level 17, got into factions, did some questing, some exploring, and some crafting. For context, getting to level 17 took 5.5 hours. This probably wasnt the most efficient 5.5 hours of my gaming time, but getting to max level will probably take a significant time investment. In this post, I’ll throw out my thoughts on the look and feel of the game, the combat, crafting, my overall thoughts and a review of the interview their developer did with Richwcampbell and Asmongold. Also, at the end, there’ll be a little story regarding Amazon’s customer service for their gaming division. Make sure to subscribe to the blog to get future updates for the game, including details about their November beta test and a bunch of already-created game resources.

Intro: The intro was expectedly intro-ish. The immediate starting zone was very linear, locked into specific areas, covered movement, attacking and abilities and I suppose did a good enough job to explain the very basics. The run to the first city was also maybe a bit long and uneventful. Perhaps a couple of side quests to do on the way or active event or something. Going forward, the next parts of the introduction to crafting, the factions, etc didn’t do as good of a job conveying what needed to be done. You choose a permanent faction for the game after doing just one quest for each. From a RPG standpoint, it didn’t give any real context as to why you’d join any of them. I chose the faction that was dominating the server (see the map screen shot at the end), and in live play would choose whatever my friends or guild were going to do. Also, for a game with massive importance on crafting, it didn’t do a great job introducing that importance.

Combat: Combat is a fairly simple style of action-combat. You left click to attack, right click to block, space to dodge, and have 3 active abilities you can press (all the ones I saw had cooldowns of varying lengths). While there are 3 weapon slots with unique abilities you can learn for each, the cooldown for the ability slot is shared, so you cannot switch weapons in combat (which you can do) and then use that ability. I rather like the pacing of combat, but I could see it wearing a little thin if I were to play this game for an extended period.

Crafting/Gathering: As a big fan of games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, the gathering in this game is very cool. There are gatherables everywhere. Nearly every tree and bush and rock can be harvested, along with every animal I killed. The plants aren’t -quite- as universally able to be harvested as Skyrim, but it’s great for an MMO. As I said before, the game doesn’t really explain the importance of the crafting system. I’m only aware that it’s the source of most of the best gear from watching youtube and streams about the game. Still, I got to the crafting kind of late and, if the preview wasn’t ending, would have a pretty big grind ahead of me to level up my crafting enough to use even at this point. The depth of the system seems really great, however. The ability to customize gear and make essentially anything is a really cool diversion from the MMO standard that I’m used to of raiding being nearly the only source for the best loot (not saying it’s better or worse, just different).

The absolute most impressive thing for the in their crafting is the ability to craft from storage. You can dump a ton of materials in there and go craft without being overburdened. I know other games have this as well, but I’m not sure I have played any that started with this feature.

Graphics: The game looks super good, but… maybe doesn’t have the “nextgen” kind of feel that I’d hope for from a game coming out in 2021. My computer was fairly decent, though not top of the line, over 2 years ago and can run New World on max settings at 60 fps. Still, they did a great job in building the world. The zones are interesting, varied, and full of stuff to look at and interact with.

Overall Feel: The game seems pretty decent. It seems like a game with a great starting point. There’s some little touches like being able to level up in rank for the region you’re in to be able to choose extra perks in that area. These perks aren’t power related, so it shouldn’t feel bad when leaving the area. New World has a good flow to combat and leveling and while, when I think about it, 5.5 hours to 16 levels seems a little slow, it didn’t feel slow when I was doing it. Another great touch I saw in this game that legit got me excited was when while watching a streamer cut down a tree, that tree feel and hit a nearby tree with decent looking collision before hitting the ground. Most game farmed trees either disappear or fall as something that is image only with no physics to it. Little things like this could elevate a game to something special.

Needs Improvement: Quest diversity is a bit weak. This is a common problem among MMORPGs in general, but New World has taken the “collect x, kill x, loot x” to the extreme. From watching streamers play it at “end game” or close, it seems like the game play loop will get repetitive and needs more of basically everything – which makes sense given what I saw of the leveling quest system. I would also like quests to be a little more dense, particularly when given story quests. Not 1 quest to the area, but 3 or 4.

Jumping. Let us jump. Maybe it’s not technically necessary, but… man it feels weird not being able to jump. Single space = jump, double tap space = dodge.

Rich & Asmongold Interview Mike with New World – World Development: Mikes department apparently covers all aspects of world building including crafting the world itself, the zones and look, question and more. There were a few takeaways I got from the interview despite it being fairly short

  • The world will likely get bigger before launch, but not much.
  • Weapon switching in combat might allow for use of the new weapons abilities, allowing for ability chains between weapon types.
  • They might not ever put any mounts in the game.
  • Party members should all share experience without each person needing to tag a mob.
  • Overall, there won’t likely be massive changes to the game from it’s current state, just tons of incremental changes that could result in something overall significant.

Amazon Customer Service: This isn’t about the game itself, but it seems worth noting and people tend to not describe these types of experiences.

I signed up for the beta a long time ago, maybe when it was first available, but definitely before the cut off to get into this beta. When the last day for invites came and went, I was concerned. I saw a post they made stating that all invites should have gone out and to contact them if you feel you should have gotten in, but didn’t. “Great”, I think, “I’ll get to email customer service and have them tell me in 4 days that they made a mistake or who knows and it be too late”. I click their link. I describe the problem. I get a chat queue for Amazon Gaming customer service. I’m in the chat nearly instantly… curious but a good start. I clarify the problem. The rep checks the account, says a beta should have been sent. I say I’ll check again… but, so, they just immediately send the invite again. Then they wait for me to confirm that it works in steam. It worked. Literally 10/10 customer service. And again, it might not be game related, but there’s always eventually going to be a thing that sends you to customer service, and to think that it might not be an annoying slog to get something done is a really good feeling.

Image Gallery: A few random screen shots.

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