- Developer: Double Helix Games
- Publisher: Amazon Games Studio
- Release Date: 28/09/2021
- Price: £34.99 / $39.99
I want to preface this review as since this is an MMO review, everything I discuss here is subject to change with future patch and content updates. Now then, let’s get started.
Introduction to the New World Review
Okay, so I absolutely love playing MMO’s. I basically grew up playing Runescape and have played many others over the years. They just sort of bring me back to better times and it is honestly fun to make friends on these games and work together to grow in them. I feel that MMO’s are typically some of the best community building games out there. Even after they end, there are still fans for them, often even bringing the games back online.
So, when I heard Amazon was bringing a new MMO to the market I was fairly intrigued. It has been a bit since I dug my hands into an MMO and I had just been itching to play one again. So, I decided to do this review of New World. To see if there was enough going for it to grab the interest of the community long-term or just another flop project in the sea of MMO attempts.
Journey to a New World
Yes, yes I know that header is cliche, as is the premise for New World in my opinion. The story simply places you on a boat traveling to a new and mysterious world. The boat crashes and you are now stranded on this new land. The main quest line of New World follows the player as they look into the reason “The Corruption,” is plaguing the land and learning to combat it. The premise is not new nor original. It does work as a good framework for the main parts of the game play. But I will be honest that from what I have played so far, the story didn’t grab me. And I am usually a big fan of fantasy and hero stories. Though an MMO is more than its story. So how does New World play?
Pick a Weapon, Any Weapon
The game play of New World is split into combat related content and skilling/crafting content. So I want to cover them in different sections, starting with the combat. There is no class system within New World. Instead you have stats that lean towards benefiting the different weapons. And a weapon mastery system, where you earn experience for fighting with different weapons. This experience turns into mastery points for that type of weapon and you spend those points to unlock skills and passive upgrades for that weapon type.
Now, how the combat plays out will depend on the Weapon you use. Bows and Muskets require some precise aiming and head shots are greatly rewarded. There are standard melee weapons like sword and shield, giant hammers, and war axes. And then you have magic weapons, such as a fire staff, life staff, or ice gauntlets. I mainly played with magic weapons which felt more crowd control oriented. That being said, they missed a big opportunity with the ice gauntlets where instead of another magic shooting weapon they could have been a melee focused magic weapon. The weapons work fine, however, and combat is mostly just clicking to use your weapon. Holding charges the attack, or using one of your skills. It just is not as involved as something like Black Desert.
Grind Your Fingers to the Bone
The other part of the game play for New World is the skilling and crafting systems. Just like with other MMO’s the gathering skills level up increasing your proficiency, gathering rate, and ability to gather new and rare items. Nothing really new on the skilling side of things.
The crafting system has a little more unique going for it. As the majority of it is directly interlinked with one another. Want to make new armour? Going to have to work on your leather-working, armouring, and smelting. Or you can even build your own furniture for your player-owned house.
That being said, you better be ready to grind the gathering skills to make all of that stuff. As the resources needed in most crafting recipes is rather steep when you compare the system to similar ones in other systems. I am not saying that I should be able to make a piece of armour for like one or two of each resource, but needing between 10-20 of each resource is just a little high. Though perhaps you don’t want to do all that grinding? Let’s take a look at how the community could help you there.
Don’t Bring Back Any Magic Beans
If you don’t care for gathering your own resources you could try to buy the resources you need. There is a full community driven training board, instead of normal NPC merchants. Which means the things that you are able to buy are limited by the community playing and what they are willing to sell.
Honestly, this system is not horrible. Most MMO’s have something like it, like the Auction House in World of Warcraft or the Grand Exchange in Runescape, but it doesn’t seem to work here. Perhaps it is the lack of NPC merchants selling basic materials, or the gold income ratio is not super high from combat. Just, the market board is typically really low on anything outside of low level items. So basically anything anyone can make themselves. I have found a few nice items on there, but mostly it is easier to get your levels up and make it yourself.
Faction Driven World
New World takes what I considered an interesting turn on how the world itself is run. There are three factions within the game; The Marauders, The Syndicate, and The Covenant. A player is required to join one of these factions as part of the game’s main story quest line. The world map itself is divided into different regions and the factions war with each other for control over these regions. Regions under your faction’s control will give you benefits like increased gathering rates and decreased fast travel costs.
Factions also decide what to build towards the town in their region. Every town has its own set of crafting stations and players have to complete essentially fetch and kill quests in order to maintain and upgrade these stations.
Which shows a major problem within New World. If a player is not interested in doing those types of quests, or doesn’t care for the chosen upgrade they might not contribute. Crafting stations can degrade if upkeep quests aren’t completed. And the only players that have a say over upgrades are the company, player guild, that is put in charge of the Faction controlled region. Which annoyed me because I had the gold to start one of these projects and was basically told, “No, you need to join this bigger company and work up the ranks there in order to do this.” Which makes the Factions completely mute if you are just going to put a smaller group of players within the Faction in charge of the region.
Fight Against the Corruption
I want to wrap back to something I enjoyed about New World now that I have blasted it for a lot it just doesn’t work well right now. While I chastised the idea of the big bad Corruption, because every bad force needs to be called “The” something. But really battles against the Corruption hives covering the map are really fun if you can get a group together.
They are basically just the kind of challenge a MMO needs in its open world. Basically, The Corruption will crop up randomly around the map and you can team up with players to clear it. That being said, I really disliked it when it spawned and grew to cover a fast travel station. Mainly because there are no mounts yet, so without those fast travel shrines it just makes traveling a real slog.
And there simply was nothing I could do about at the time. In order to fight The Corruption you have to acquire a special item from the main story quest line. So basically I got stuck waiting for other players to tackle it and trust me, people don’t line up to do that content. Despite the fact I enjoyed it I don’t feel that the rewards are too great to entice players to do that over other more rewarding content.
Which Model to Choose
So, as those who play MMO’s will tell you, MMO’s come within a few different models when it comes to monetization. It takes money to keep the lights on after all. Though I am happy to say that New World chose a more friendly monetization model. It took a page out of the Guild Wars series playbook when it decided that if you buy the game you get to play the game. That is probably one of the reasons I was so interested in New World to begin with, and why I continue to play.
Unlike games with subscription models, and we all sure have enough subscriptions already, New World has no innate pressure for me to play. If I don’t feel like playing that day or for three days, then I simply don’t. Yeah, I spent money to purchase the game, but because I don’t continue to pay I don’t feel the same pressure that other MMO’s, like Final Fantasy 14, have when I play them from time to time. It doesn’t feel like I am wasting my money if I don’t play.
Now, I will praise New World for this while stating that it does use a cosmetics shop system for money. And that honestly is completely okay. As I said, they need to make money to sustain the service long term, and yes while Amazon has literally won at capitalism, that doesn’t mean we should expect them to keep the game running for free after an initial $40. I would love to see New World stick to this model long term and simply charge for expansion packs down the line over switching to a subscription model.
Oh The Wait Times
Now, while I did not have this problem I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the shaky launch New World had. Well, shaky might be an understatement. New World suffered from way too few servers compared to demand, but most MMO’s suffered from this at launch. And the wait times to get in at launch were upwards of 5+ hours.
I am happy to report that they fixed most issues with getting into the New World. First, there are a good number of servers now and it is easy for new players to just join a low population server to get in right away. I only had to wait in a queue one time and it was for like two minutes. Second, they laid down the groundwork for the long requested world transfer feature, which will help those on overcrowded worlds migrate to one’s with more space. The speed at which they managed this just says good things for the future of the New World when it comes to being able to play the game.
Overall, New World in its current form is simply alright. It is a little too grindy for most people to get into. The community features need some fine tuning for sure. I simply can’t express what exactly I enjoy about New World, but I simply do. If you are looking for a decent MMO to spend some time on, then I can recommend New World to you.
- Interesting field encounters
- Non-subscription MMO
- Non-class based system, pick a Weapon and switch at any time
- Little grindy and resource heavy for most people
- Community and faction systems need work
- No Mounts, a lot of walking in-game