New World review in progress

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Amazon’s new world is finally available in our world (which is now technically the old world, I guess?) And its servers are so crowded on day one that I haven’t been able to access them yet. However, I spent the last week going through a finalized version of this Colonial-era MMO, albeit without almost the same number of players or the same wait times that many are currently experiencing. Note that, since I’m also responsible for much of the official IGN wiki guide, almost all of that time was spent running around as a preset level 60 character and stinging various corrupt bee hives to see this. that I could get out of them so you don’t have to. But it gave me a bit of time to understand the terrain and get a feel for how everything works, so here are my first impressions of this long-awaited MMORPG.

The premise of New World is quite simple: You are a member of a pirate ship crew who set out in search of a mystical island called Aeternum, which is said to be teeming with treasure. You land in the middle of a storm that has been imbued with the dark energy of the island, called Corruption, and then find yourself stranded on the shore with nothing but rags on your back and must face creatures and the rest of the humans on the island. inhabitants (survivors of past shipwrecks). Basically it’s kind of like a Pirates of the Caribbean MMO with some high fantasy elements. It’s perfectly fine as an original setting, and it’s great that Amazon Games seems to be taking expert advice to create the cultures and influences of the real world that it represents. At least, that’s what it claims on the start screen. However, I haven’t delved into its main story quests yet – meaning it’s too early to say if it’s compelling enough to lead me through what will sure be a long journey.

It’s worth noting from the start that this all looks downright gorgeous on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine (based on CryTek’s CryEngine), which does a great job of rendering real-time volumetric lighting and handling a lot of characters and effects at the same time. Not only are the drawing distances pretty impressive for an MMO, but the trees and grass all sway in the wind and cast precise shadows on maximum settings. In its favor, I get strong Witcher 3 vibes from New World’s overall appearance. Note that my machine is pretty bloated – I’m running an RTX 2080 Super on a Ryzen 3900X with 32GB of high speed RAM.

It all looks downright gorgeous on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine.

Like in other MMOs, you’ll start by creating your character – although New World has a relatively modest amount of different faces and hair styles – then choose your name and go. It doesn’t get any deeper or more complex than that, and there aren’t any additional races or classes to choose from at the start. If you like to keep it simple, that’s fine – but it certainly doesn’t offer the plethora of customization options that fans of Final Fantasy 14 or Black Desert Online might know.

As soon as you arrive on the island, you are introduced to combat and basic quests. Don’t expect anything revolutionary either way. When you talk to an NPC who has a quest for you, you get a dialogue page and a preview of the quest’s reward, which in practice feels as deep as any interaction you might have in World of Warcraft or Destiny 2. But at least these conversations are decently interpreted by the voice.

Screenshots of the New World Open Beta – One Night Live Gamescom 2021

I haven’t decided yet if I think the New World fight can hold up for the long haul. It’s not that different from other hack n ‘slash RPGs, although it often requires you to block, dodge, and smash your opponents’ defenses in order to be effective. The enemies, especially the Dryads that you’ll encounter later, are also a bit fiercer than standard enemies in other action MMOs – they’re smarter and don’t just sit there while you shoot them. They will dodge and sidestep your attacks, making fights more dynamic than usual. On our side, weapons are fun to swing – your stance and timing have a major impact on your combat effectiveness, even if you’re locked into an animation once you activate an ability. This can make the fight stiff if you don’t time your attacks, dodges, and blocks at the right time.

The enemies are a bit fiercer than the standard enemies in other action MMOs.

However, New World’s combat is not without its problems. For me, these started when a swarm of enemies rushed in and sent their attacks in unison, which made it difficult to get enough shots before they stunned me at dead. I take into consideration that I have played entirely solo so far and these encounters may be suitable for groups of players, but still these swarms are pockmarked all over the map, including in the middle of the roads that I needed to cross to get to the next area. That doesn’t bode well for anyone considering venturing out on their own.

The rest of my issues with New World combat stem directly from its lackluster character customization system. The classless approach is good enough – building your character is all about choosing what interests you and focusing on those specific skills, much like in The Elder Scrolls Online. On paper, there is a decent pool of weapon skills to choose from. But that progress stalled for me when I realized that you can’t significantly mix and match multiple skills at the same time. It makes sense that you can’t use Hatchet skills with a rapier, but it’s disappointing that there aren’t any interstitial skills or spells outside of these lines. You cannot have a weapon in one hand and a bomb or fireball spell in the other. It’s also not like there are passive skill trees or armor skill trees that help you in all situations – if you develop a weapon skill, you are playing exactly in that tree. skills without any interaction between this weapon and anything else.

It’s great, then, that you can quickly switch between two weapons in the middle of a fight. For example, if you want to lure your enemies at close range with a bow, then take them out with a giant ax, you can theoretically do that … but you can’t. want to To.

That’s because New World’s character customization – and subsequently, its combat – is held back by its limited attribute system. This forces you to only use a small group of carefully selected weapon types per build. For example, the Focus attribute is completely useless to anyone other than a Life Staff bearer – putting your points in Focus is a huge opportunity cost that keeps you away from putting points in Force, an attribute that would be useful if you wanted to use a War Hammer but, like Focus, is completely unnecessary for anyone with a bow or musket. But since you’re scrambling your build by trying to split your points between the two, your options are remarkably limited if you want to be efficient. It’s an irritating limitation on what appears to be a flexible system that would allow all kinds of builds. Fortunately, you can respec all of your attribute building whenever you want – even in the middle of dungeons – for just a few coins.

Fortunately, you can respecify your entire attribute build whenever you want.

Weapon skills and their associated abilities are an entirely separate issue. You still need to master these individual skills, like the Sword and Shield skill or the Bow skill, in order to develop them, and even then there are a small number of attacks you can queue up on your bar. shortcut. You’re stuck with only three special moves or spells on your hotbar at any given time (by comparison, The Elder Scrolls Online gives you six, and other MMOs have virtually no limits). And the ones you play with are directly related to the weapon you are holding, which means playing with a specific type of weapon almost always feels exactly the same, with the only variation being two separate skill lines that you can follow in each weapon skill tree.

But if you want to be the best tank, for example, you will always play with a sword and shield and you always dive into the exact same shield-focused skill line. My level 60 sword and shield bearer (again, a pre-made character I used before launch) didn’t feel that different from when I created a first level character.

The other major focus of New World is its player-based economy, which is heavily focused on its elements of crafting and survival. If you don’t like survival and creating things like Minecraft or Don’t Starve, you might be very quickly put off by New World’s absolute addiction to these things. Pretty much any item you need should be ripped from bushes or mined from rocks, then refined or crafted at trading skill stations around town.

The kicker is that there are no NPC vendors in the New World.

The kicker is that there are no NPC vendors in the New World. If you can’t find an item sold by another player at the local trading post, which is specific to the colony you are currently in, you will need to go out and craft it or find it yourself. It’s cool, if you like that stuff, because it gives you a tangible reason to develop your business skills. But then again, the New World economy isn’t a fun side activity where you just dip your toes between quests if you feel like it – it’s your cornerstone as you walk through this beautiful haunted island.

Going back to old MMOs, New World is also a much more difficult game to get through. There are currently no mounts, making it difficult to navigate through each area, especially when encounters on the road can absolutely kill you and send you back to your original starting point if no other colony is nearby. proximity. Fast travel does exist, but is severely limited by the scarce resource called Azoth, which is difficult to acquire (but not so unreasonably difficult that fast travel is unnecessary).

Anyway, as soon as the server queues allow, I’ll jump in to start playing New World with a new character from scratch. Make sure to stick around and follow my adventure as it unfolds, and let us know what you think of the New World so far in the comments.

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