‘New World’ Finally Feels Like It Could be a Great Game

  • New World was originally revealed during TwitchCon 2016 and was one of three video games planned by Amazon Game Studios.
  • Both of the other titles announced have been canceled or put on hiatus, leading to worries that New World would see a similar fate.
  • Despite a somewhat tumultuous development, the latest beta for New World has showcased a fairly solid online experience, but there are still a few kinks left to work out.
Skeletons attacking player party in "New World"

Amazon

After multiple rough public tests, the latest beta for New World finally showcases the potential that Amazon Game Studios’ first massively multiplayer online (MMO) game has to offer, even if it isn’t completely there yet.

There’s no ignoring the fact that New World has had a somewhat storied past over the last four or five years of its development. As one of three games originally announced by Amazon in 2016, the title found itself the only one standing after the others on the list were put on hiatus or outright canceled. To make matters worse, the various public tests that Amazon Game Studios held showcased a rough experience, and one that suffered from a lot of balancing issues. 

Now, though, it looks like Amazon is finally starting to hone in on what makes New World enjoyable, though, with less than a month to its full release, it might not be the perfect MMO that many are holding out for. At least not yet.

Lines in the Sand

One of the key mechanics that makes New World stand out is its use of Factions to create a constantly warring world for players to explore. Of course, you can choose whether or not you want to partake in player versus player (PVP) combat, but you’ll still need to choose a Faction and start working towards helping your particular group establish its power in this, ahem, new world.

Screenshot from Amazon's MMO, "New World"

Amazon

The mechanic is very reminiscent of games like Planetside and Planetside 2, which both focus heavily on different factions gaining control of outposts and areas. Throughout the map in New World, Factions can take over cities and forts, allowing them to control the flow of taxes and other mechanics in the area. This additionally translates to player control of how crafting stations are upgraded, allowing for the different cities to thrive in different ways depending on their leadership.

"At its core, New World finally feels like it has a lot to offer."

The Faction system is a large part of the player-driven world that Amazon is seeking to push in New World. While there are some issues with balancing—my particular server ended up with one faction conquering most of the map over the weekend—overall it creates some intense moments that you just won’t find in a lot of other MMOs. Not only are the large player versus player battles impressive, but they can also lead to some juicy interfaction drama, like having a player usurp control of the Company (or guild) after gaining control of a territory, effectively removing all opposition for how they want to run things.

Getting Settled

For all the good, though, there are still some sketchy bit. Combat can be a little rough at times, especially as Amazon works to iron out connection problems with the server system. This is, of course, to be expected in a new game, especially in its pre-release beta when stress testing servers is a key point in development. 

Much like the rest of the game world, the economy is intended to be player-driven, with the Trading Post acting as the only way to offload unneeded items for some extra gold. The problem with such a system, though, is it often leads to many items being overpriced, as players simply dump anything they don’t want or need onto the market with the highest price they think that they can get. 

Archers atop a battlement in Amazon's MMO, "New World"

Amazon

Additionally, because it’s still in beta and many players are still testing things, the market itself doesn’t offer quite the spate of goods you’d expect a thriving trading post to have. This could very well change after release, but it is something I’ll be interested to see more of weeks or even months down the line after New World comes out.

The other problem that comes from making a big game, especially one that puts 1,000 players onto a server together, is overall game performance. This is one place that New World struggles immensely, with the game even bricking some higher-end graphics cards during the first week of the beta. Large player group battles can lead to low frames per second (FPS), which can cause the game to turn into a picture book even on more powerful hardware.

At its core, New World finally feels like it has a lot to offer. Sure, there are some surface-level problems, but those can always be ironed out along the way. For now, I’m excited to see what New World’s release brings, and I’m interested to see how Amazon Game Studios continues to hone in on what makes the experience so engaging.

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