New World if you don't know started out as a full loot, base building, hardcore survival PvP game. It had a Dark Souls like combat system, with stagger mechanics and counters to just about ever attack. It had many flaws though, such as full drop loot mechanics and other features that do not make for "LARGE" successes. Amazon wanted a larger audience. So they swapped gears.
However, it marketed itself as an MMO and the title of an MMO immediately threw people into a tizzy, when there was no "grind". Why this is an aspect of an MMO that people hold onto and fall on their sword for is beyond me, but hey to each their own.
New World devs looked at feedback, impact to player count, and decided, it would be more profitable to shift to a more PvE friendly game that felt more like a Theme Park game than a sandbox. This would have been all well and good, IF they had done one MAJOR thing different, REMOVED or CHANGED the CORE PVP hardcore survival PVP game that was the foundation for this new PvE / PvP direction.
But alas, the identity crisis began.
After the first Alpha we got this post:
Last month, we premiered our “Aeternum Awaits” cinematic trailer at the Game Awards and opened up Pre-orders.
At first glance this actually looks like a great change to the systems that allowed for griefing and gave more breathing room to players.
Here is the most important piece:
“There has been speculation that we have moved away from PvP, this isn’t the case at all. PvP is important to us and we are committed to ensuring it plays a significant role in our game. To be specific, by PvP we mean, fair fights that are organized, skill based, and opted into by all participants. Not PKing (Player Killing), which is a predatory behavior that relies on exploiting another player’s lack of experience, progress, readiness, or willingness. So for those folks who desire that harsh PVP environment, New World may not be your favorite game, however, we do hope you enjoy the PVP we will offer.”
But they didn't hold to this.
Even before Closed Beta, they removed a mechanic called "stagger". For those who have played Dark Souls, you understand what this is, for those who didn't, it works the following way:
Closed beta had removed stagger, but kept scaling. PvE was copy pastes of "quests", mob types, and entire cities. But the combat still had a good sense of progression and was fun. It was a grind. Players complained but the main topic of discussion was PvP because, honestly this was STILL AT THE CORE OF NEW WORLD, the most prominent, fleshed out, gameplay. The world itself, beautiful, the sound design, enthralling. The Questiing and Mobs? Still based on Stagger mechanics, so while they all had it, as players we didn't so we just had to soak up the damage and stuns and it made PvE fighting bland and stale. But still, many looked over the short comings. But the changes from their core values didn't stop there. And we were about to see the entire PvP aspect of the game go from something unique to a generic MMO clone. But they still lied to us and said this was a skill-based, action oriented combat system:
Want a better explanation than I can ever do of the timeline? https://forums.newworld.com/t/our-vision-for-combat-what-happened-v20/428133
Enter OPEN BETA:
After Closed Beta, where they went hard on the "Next Great MMO" marketing, New World was no longer about equal footing. It was about "The Grind". Making it so level gaps are more important in PvP which goes directly against the above and removes skill as the deciding factor in PvP. PvP scaling was removed, COMPLETELY.
I am no a casual. I love PvP since Ultima Online. But an MMO doesn’t stand for “max level before you can do anything fun”. I hear so many people saying “a level 1 shouldn’t be able to kill a level 60” correct, a level 60 should be better, which is then followed by, then play fortnite, to which I say, the one thing that stood out in this game over other MMO’s for longevity was PvP scaling and a feeling that PvP was even on all ends at any level.(minus a few perks here and there)
Ya know what people I dislike, people who think you HAVE to be max level / grinding to be playing an MMO
How has the worst part of the MMO the societal norm for it? It stands for Massive Multiplayer Online, not “suck your life away doing shit more boring than RL”
That is what PvP scaling in Open Beta was HORRIBLE and this “we tweaked it” doesn’t feel far from it, if anything this feels like to me, a validation of this archaic “can’t think out of the box, MY OLD MMO has to be THE SAME AS MY NEW MMO, even though in a week I will be BORED because it is just like my OLD MMO” attitude.
It kinda feels like this game is just catering to the really loud, “influencer” type voices versus being innovative. A healthy MMO has an influx of young, new players, coming in at all times. And that new influx of players can engage with the older players too! PvP scaling allows that type of interaction and positive experience that keeps new players around.
An unhealthy MMO puts in PvP toggles and then punishes you for turning them on before you hit max level… I really really hope I am wrong… but the wording just feels like this is where it is going.
I had so many encounters of 1v1ing/dueling and just fighting different level players from beta. Got my cousin to turn on his PvP flag when he normally is PvE only. HE LOVED IT. It was the highlight of my experience, honestly.
It also made it REALLY easy to level up a ta rapid pace like I do and still go back and level with him without feeling like I was just his “body guard”. I dislike killing lowbies, but ya know what, when I see a red name, I will swing, and this is a terrible experience for new players.
I loved the idea of being able to play the game how I want to and level scaling prevented me from getting griefed by max level players coming back to lower level towns. This is actually kinda depressing - people spamming to max level as quickly as possible, running out of content to do, and coming back and griefing new players to killing low level pvp.
But was this even a PvP Game anymore?
This was the most prominent issue that was going to further push the identity crisis in Aeternum.
PvP scaling and Toggling PvP on and Off became the hottest button topics I have seen in a long time, with probably a 50/50 split if not slightly 60/40 toward no scaling and the "don't flag til 60 or git gud" argument. An argument I never understood, because those who use that argument are indirectly advocating for an even PvP fight through level, don't realize that is what scaling is asking for just at all levels.
It changes a CORE value of this game as did removing Stagger. But this one just feels wrong and like it rips out the last living bit of what this game could have been and now it is a game that we already have in other titles. I am upset because it made me and my interactions with this game so much more fun when it scaled and now it is hard to even wanna flag.
This was a discussion I had with someone who believed scaling killed games. He has since quit because there was "nothing to do".
I truly want Amazon to learn from this moment: If new players cannot PLAY with FRIENDS until a month of time later and there is NO incentive to flag for PvP in the world, there will be NONE.
“Run” is not a fun game mechanic. “Get Gud” is not relevant. People can be bad and still feel they had a fighting chance, lose, and walk away ready to do it again versus deflated and ready to give it up. I run a major company and 90% avoid PvP at all costs. With scaling you can get them out of their shell, without, forget it without a zerg.
New players keep games alive. I worked at Blizzard, we did more work and focus groups on how to make the leveling and new player experience better than we did on end game content. If not the same.
This idea of “you have to do it this way” is flat out wrong. For you, this may work, for others it may not. An MMO is massive multiplayer online, meaning it caters to MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PEOPLE ONLINE. Which means, many play styles and can benefit from giving them all a great experience from level 1 to 60.
So we shall see how this plays out. So far, it sucks. Even for me who levels fast and loves PvP, because I am killing low players myself, due to A: the rewards and B: the fact that if I don’t they can gain town influence.
This is what the current GAME MECHANICS REWARD you with for killing low level players because they were supposed to be SCALED, but the CORE mechanic of rewards was never changed, so if you don't kill the low level players, you are actually going against the CORE GAME MECHANICS...
And before we even tackle the PvE aspects of this identity crisis let's talk about this push and pull between PvP and PvE that is REQUIRED due to the core mechanics of the game, that clash so hard, it is nearly impossible not to burn out or feel as if you are fighting this never-ending, unrewarding, upward battle to no where:
Town Ownership, Wars, Faction Imbalance, and Invasions.
These are the three most conflicting issues in the PvP today in New World. World PvP is dead as a doorknob right now, so we turn to the instanced combat. First, a company can take a town for their faction, granting bonuses to everyone who is part of the company or faction, from cheaper travel, linked storage(which is so dumb in the first place, but made sense in the "CORE SURVIVAL GAME"), and other benefits. However, the costs of upkeep are not just to upgrade your towns crafting stations and making a better place for people to come, it is to pay for your fort, I.E. the PvP hub that will be under attack in Invasions and Wars that will do a few things:
If you lose your Fort in a War, you lose your town. Your money, your upgrades, your work, your faction benefits, GONE. So when putting together a roster, don't expect to make the cut, unless you are very skilled, or your faction is lacking players. In which case, you will likely lose to the more organized players. And there is NO scaling, so those who have gotten their end game gear, well... tough luck. An instanced War Zone for PvP with zero scaling. ugh... Not to mention 90% of the server can't even participate in these, no overflow wars, practice wars, nothing. Just THE REAL THING.
First it only allows you to pick 10 players out of the 50 from your roster. 40 ARE COMPLETELY RANDOM. The rewards are pretty damn good too, so what you end up with is a lot of AFK players or an abuse of "kicking" members of the opposite faction that you do not know, in order to stack to protect your town as you have put in tons of money (that often the taxes DO NOT pay for, specially if not a main hub) into. So can't blame people for not wanting to lose to this. But aside from that there are also tons of bugs and defeating these invasions is near impossible to get ready to have your pockets hit if you own the town with all the downgrades. Then getting players ,as there are no alts, to come to your non main town to work on board quests after hitting max level.... laughable at best. ALSO: There is NO reason a fort should become locked to the ENEMY when we have an INVASION.
Due to the benefits of owning a town, you have stacked factions. They don't want to pay crazy taxes. The control players have to make the gameplay HORRIBLE for others through the tax system is insanely powerful. This mimics real life balance of wealth hard. It is like Bezos was like, yes I want people to feel like me in the video game! People who are on the losing faction often lose so badly they jump ship fast and hard. My company did this with Cov on my server when we owned 1 territory for a month. Still to this day they own 1 - 2 territories because of "alliances" that don't really hold. And a lot of people not declaring war due to burn out. Another tactic for the bigger faction is to throw 3 territories + into war at the EXACT SAME TIME. So the smaller factions are spread so thin they have to choose one territory to hold onto and let the rest just get taken, making the imbalance even worse.
So you have invested in your territory, tried to upgrade stations to make it a welcoming town, and all of the above happens at least once a day or more. Sometimes as much as 4-5 times a week PER territory. You can imagine town owners are just throwing their hands in the air and no maintaining their properties. Or they are going broke from their own pockets to even try. On our server, getting people to sign up to wars is now so difficult, specially because of the lack of server merges and players doing wars, not because it is fun anymore, but because the game is forcing them to. It is a chore, not a game anymore. So players drop completely.
One could argue this is fun, but again gear factors in and food and buffs you have to farm for in the game, so before you even start you have to go farm PvE items in the game. One could also argue, this becomes rough when it is SERVER based on Region or World Queues. So same players, over and over, and LONG queues for one of the only consistent PvP experiences in the game with the best gold and azoth given. Or maybe the fact that if you spend time dedicated to fixing towns and building them up doesn't actually contribute to your end score anymore, making it so you get worse rewards for helping the long game.
Ok now... PvE.
The first thing I wanna address is that all the above effects DIRECTLY the fun the PvE players are having via Azoth, Travel Costs, Crafting, Town Upgrades, and all the rest. Leaving them in a very troubled spot if PvP stops. Again a PVP core base game with PvE placed on top without considering balance of both living together in a healthy way. I like both PvE and PvP equally before that topic comes up. But they have to live in a harmonious way, not a "omg they get this, we want that" kinda way. Specially since you need both to support one another through the games CORE MECHANICS. The PVP aspects of this game are the #1 reason the PvE sucks so much with things being erroneous, time gated, or travel gated, to encourage PvP which would make sense if it was a PvP game still. But it isn't sooo you get this identity crisis.
They are literally using their Amazon Prime support staff to support this game. Half of them have no idea what the game even is.
What lore/story? You mean the 500000 books you find laying around the world? Or the horrible interaction with a drunk fisherman for 90% of your leveling? Ugh. Their twitter videos are WAY better than the in game lore.
Sound Design and World Design:
Best thing about the game, TRULY AMAZING. But when you see the monsters in it and the lack of diversity to fill the space you realize it is a facade.
Minus the ability to toggle combat music off. I have not heard half the music in this game because I am constantly interrupted by INTENSE COMBAT MUSIC. Can't deal.
Same mobs, same quests, copy pasted areas. It is a grind. And you quickly realize there is no reason to be anything BUT 60. And at 60 You hit the SAME grind. YUCK.
New World's crafting system GREAT until level 100. The crafting is based on luck so every item you make is a stats gamble, which I'm assuming is supposed to feed off of people's addictive personalities, but I personally found it irritating and insulting, especially after fighting a thousand other players for a single resource node. You can add special resources to add perks as well as azoth, an in game currency, to increase the chances of attributes, perks, and gem slots. And when you hit 100, it becomes a GRIND AND THAT IS IT. It's basic, boring, grindy in a bad way, and requires no thought or planning to do well. AND you will out gear yourself 9 times out of 10 before you hit the level to MAKE an item for yourself from drops.
Beautiful. Empty in terms of difficulty or mechanics. Oh and drops are completely random and cannot be traded with groups, actually you can't trade ANYTHING in dungeons, not even FOOD or a Potion... And don't get me started on the bugs that disconnect you and send you back to a 20 minute run town away. Not enough dungeons and good luck doing it more than once if you are not a tank or healer as you need "orbs" to enter and to craft said "orbs" I hope you have been playing the broken trading post and have hours to farm MATS just to enjoy content. OH and their FIX is to make it easier to craft these, but NOW you can only make ONE per WEEK. WHAT IN THE HOLY F!
An absolutely useless currency used for crafting and travel. If you are not doing a million other things to farm this you are going to be running a LOT. Which made sense in a PVP game where you couldn't unflag.. but.. yeah same old issue again, CORE PVP GAME.
End Game / Watermark:
Farm in groups of 10+ people the same 3 zones over and over once a day to get a metaphorical "Gear Score" per slot in your inventory so you can get the BEST gear the game has to offer to tackle the harder aspects of the game that don't actually exist yet. Actually the only benefit of this grind is PvP and being able to out gear someone else because you put 500000 hours in and they put in 500. "Skill Based"... There is really no solo-able end game which sucks if you wanna login and just play. Right now this game is a town sitting simulator with water mark running diablo loot dropping (with worse RNG) log in, then log out simulator.
IN NO WORLD is this fun. NO WORLD. NOT EVEN NEW WORLD.
Since there are no alts... low level story and dungeons become empty. No one to run with. Joining this game even a few weeks in as we are at now, would be a NIGHTMARE. You will be gated at every turn without the help of a higher level, and there are actually parts of your story where you can't even get a higher level to help you as they are gated from going back and helping. The bosses are so hard and poorly designed in these gated areas as well that soloing it or even 10 manning it when you could get groups was a MAJOR task.
Left click spam. Truly. And endless knockdowns and backs from the NPCs without any way to return the favor. The mechanic made sense when players and NPCs followed the same rules. You could smack them around and they could smack you around. It created engaging combat and forced players to develop their combat skills. The pathing as well is so hard to hit when using any ranged. Combat in PvP feels OK depending on the situation and bugs, but in PvE it is just very monotonous.
The Archers and Duel blade wielding mobs in Eden Grove are the only challenges. They do some cool animations and attacks.
You wanna store items for crafting? Better get ready to run a lot. You will need multiple territories to hold all your junk because your storage is not global in each town. And the size is laughable at best. Even with a house your storage is not good. No alts either so nope. And the taxes on houses... worst gold sync in the game.
Even transferring items via storage that is linked in towns that are owned by the same faction will cost MORE than buying new items off the auction house lawl.
Dupes and exploits aside, there is TOO MUCH LOOT. I mean 100's and 100's of items too much. With Random Stats and Identifiers that don't make sense at all. A true RNG system that makes a Life staff that needs focus, have STR and perks for the Great Axe. WHAT?! This is HORRIBLE design. No one gets excited from junk. Unless this was created to make junk for the "salvage system" that you use to repair your items, then obviously either there is too much loot or there is too much loot AND the salvage system is not a good system. It makes trading an items on the trading post nearly useless and makes crafting useless as well when you can buy items off the trading post for pennies.
In PvP if you do NOT do PvE you will RUN out of salvage parts as well, so you cannot repair your gear if you just PvP. And don't get me started on the prices of Faction gear. They had an idea of what the economy would be when setting it and have not adjusted it to the reality of the economy.
Talk about a mess. Having to have 75 outfits for different objectives, LUCK suits, Crafting Suits PER profession, Gathering suits. It all sounds kinda cool in theory, but combine a messy UI, inventory system, weight system, storage in town system, and you get a mess of items that mix in a bag that you cannot organize and it just gets in the way. For what? A 2% increase MAYBE? Why not just remove it and let people wear the gear they got and utilize the awesome perks on their weapons and armor and just remove luck or find a different way to use it, like foods (which already exist) but buff them or something simpler. This 75 outfits without having gear setups is just a mess.
Holy crap.. too many to list, from graphical glitches that can cost you territory, unwinnable invasions, multiple invasions in a day, tooltips not doing what they say, tooltips breaking things, UI issues, QoL being non existent with the UI. You name it this game has it. It wears ya down FAST.
Not a huge deal, but items from the cash shop for your home should not count toward your house ranking. Hard end there. That is pay to win.
There’s just some flat out bad math/malicious advertising like the pricing in the cash shop. (Why is it cheaper to buy 10k twice than it is to buy 20k once?)
Otherwise, it is overpriced crap that will make them a ton more money for no reason because people need shiny stuff. Give me the Guild Wars 2 system of gold to cash shop currency and I will buy items. It was a great system and their items were not way overpriced, like one axe skin for 15$ get out of here. Worse than fortnite.
This game has the best of the best when it comes to entitled toxic people. Between PvP players who prefer PvPing outside of the game to the PvE players who feel entitled to EVERY aspect of this game and screw any PvP aspect. It is a terrible mix.
-Towns are copy pasted.
-Most crafting can't be done until you're over level 100 in most trade skills.
-There are only a handful of enemies.
-Quests are boring and repetitive.
-No balance to how wars are waged. players can just keep harassing your territories with nonstop wars every single day.
-Factions are unbalanced, no reason to join losing factions.
-Player house layouts are stupid
-Economy is solely based on player market. No set standards = everybody undermining each other's prices into the dirt.
-Multiple invincibility, Infinite Gold/EXP and Item Dup exploits.
-Players can glitch through forts and control points before wars even begin.
- Riddled with low quality & time consuming fetch and "go meet this guy on the other side of the region" quests.
- No alts or shared friends list across servers (you can make a SINGLE alt in a different region, yay)
- Buggy as hell. You'll get stuck in rocks, chat will just stop working, etc.
- Quests in general are simplistic have very little variety. By level 10 I'd been in the same house 10x at separate quest locations, the asset reusing is brutal.
- Crafting is time consuming with little pay off. You'll often get the same results spending 30 gold at the trading post. However, a large % of the quests in the game are these repeatable crafting quests.
- No dungeons until level 25. PvE content is *lacking*, this game is worst in-class here.
- It's hard to play with friends due to the server restrictions and the fact you can't share quests. You have to have overlapping quests and some quests are tied to specific settlements. Starting locations are also random across 3 different areas, so if you and your friends start at different ones, coordinating can be extra work.
- No PvP battlegrounds, for big / consistent PvP you need to join large guilds, then get picked by their leadership like a school yard game.
- Embarrassingly unfinished in parts. E.g.: there are no swimming animations in this game, you literally walk across the bottom of the sea.
- Various quality of life stuff in the MMO genre for decades have been ignored
- Male and female characters having the same animation sets that are janky as hell.
- Doesn't matter if it is equipped or not, you die your ENTIRE inventory takes damage. HORRIBLE.
The world is immersive, the sound is second to none (minus combat music), and the design of the environments are just beautiful, until you see a re-skinned mob pathing like a chicken without ahead through said beautiful world. It breaks ya right out of that awe. The setting is great. There aren't enough games that take place during the colonial period (17th to 19th centuries). It's a nice break from the medieval fantasy setting these types of games usually take place in. However there is NO lore and the lore there is doesn't actually stay true to the period of time. Unless you follow their twitter, but even then it is not from that time period.
Gathering was a highlight of the game for me with your ability to mine, gather or chop down almost anything in the game world. Gathering levels come in quickly and gathering resources is satisfying and rewards exploration. However the crafting you do with said resources is way too grindy to be much fun, requiring inordinate amounts of materials to advance even small amounts. Also your ability to refine and craft is based on player upgraded crafting stations. I won't go too heavily into it but suffice to say, if your crafting or refining skill outpaces the level of the stations your stuck. Different cities might have different levels of crafting station but moving your resources around is pain.
A pain because the game's fast travel and item storage are bizarre and tedious. Fast travel is extremely inconvenient. Limited teleport ability means you'll do a ton of walking. Now that's not so bad if you gather resources on the way but even if you do it gets dull after a while especially if you're really focused on going somewhere specific. As for storage you don't have one central bank. Your storage is broken up city. City storage is only linked if your faction controls them and it still costs resources to pull items out of cities you're not in. It's a major pain and means running back and forth to different cities to manage your inventory. The whole fast travel and storage aspects of the game are just a burden that sap the game of fun over time.
As for PVP the system is interesting but impossible to balance as this game is neither PvP or PvE and both sides are getting screwed with each "patch". You can choose to flag yourself for pvp or not. Once a faction is chosen you'll join team green, yellow or purple. You can then opt to join a company (guild). Companies can declare wars and control cities, setting taxes and upgrading crafting stations. It all sounds interesting however there will always be one dominate faction and most new players will inevitably flock to the most powerful faction, compounding the issue. Faction 'Wars' are one off 30 minute fort battles that can flip a zone if won. Wars are only 50 v 50 so most players won't get to participate. Wars can also only trigger under specific conditions and a company needs to pay a fee to start the war. So really starting organized, meaningful pvp is out of the hands of most people who play the game and you'll be lucky if you get to take part. And when you do, you will completely wreck the efforts of others or feel like you wasted your own time.
Look I put a lot of time into the game. But I am burnt. Not because of the time but because as I watch Amazon try to fix these issues in upcoming patches I also see the writing on the wall: THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING. It is like a huge company acting like an indie company. They are already throwing balance changes out there before fixing the issues with the actual items. This is the danger of making significant balance changes around weapons that aren’t even fully working as intended and basing them on statistics with very little if there’s any at all regards to player skill. The game is 1 month old from release, most of whatever statistics they’re basing their balance from is not as accurate as it should because nearly all players still have l2p issues.
In instances where nerfing is necessary, nerfs should be small and few and far between. In instances where weapons are underperforming, buffs should in place to make them more desirable. After all, if after one rounds of nerfs and buffs a weapon is still over / under performing a second round is always welcomed. Wait a few weeks. See how balance is, and tune again.
But we are getting SWEEPING changes just like Closed Beta to Open Beta and then never going back to the middle ground. (A public Test Realm was created, but not to test, to showcase... https://forums.newworld.com/t/ptr-and-november-balance-changes/537755) So what you see is usually what you get. It is discouraging and makes logging in rough.
And the fact that the Great Axe has not been nerfed into the ground but buffed while other weaker weapons are getting hammered down... blows my mind
Not to mention the plethora of bugs, lack of QoL improvements, and their fix one bug, 4 more happen issue... it just get's tedious. And speaking of tedious, the many aspects of the game that are literally just a time sink or gate for content that truly isn't worth your effort or doesn't even exist is just a joke. This game is like Aeternum itself, it keeps you alive, even if you want to die.
So until Amazon figure out what New World is, it will forever in my opinion, just be the same as a game such as Fallout 76 or Cyberpunk 2077. A failed broken promise to players in order to appease those who "needed" a paycheck.