Tuesday, September 20, 2022

New World: Why fresh start servers?

New World's community manager, Luxendra, recently indicated that fresh start servers were under discussion and that more information will be available soon.  Of course the community took this as 100% confirmation that fresh start servers were coming.  This has lead to an argument as to whether fresh start servers are warranted at this point or not.  At the same time there are also folks outside looking in asking "why now?".   I will attempt to make the case as to why fresh start servers make sense now.

The most obvious reason that fresh start servers make sense now is the revamped leveling experience from levels 1-25 that is included in the next major patch scheduled for October (and currently in testing on the public test realm).  Towns, zones, and quest lines have been replaced and/or overhauled.  Early reports from test realm is that the experience is a huge step forward for the game and does deliver "a brand new experience".  So it makes a lot of sense to offer players the chance to enjoy this new experience along with many other players on a set of fresh servers.

The next big reason for fresh start servers goes back to the experience that many players encountered during New World's original launch.  During that launch there was a plague of dupe exploits which many state as a reason they gave up playing the game.  There is an argument to be had about whether the duped gold and items ever actually made it to the market, but regardless the perception of the problem was enough to chase folks away.  Fresh start servers (with server transfers blocked) give players a confidence that they are on equal footing without the taint of dupes.

A smaller reason for fresh start servers is that it encourages players to try out New World for the first time at the same time a bunch of other players are starting from the ground up.  Just look at the popularity of things like World of Warcraft Classic as evidence on how much fresh starts are enjoyed by the MMO player community.  If you missed out on the launch window of an MMO you likely missed out on some of the most fun times for that game.  Fresh start servers give a chance to live (or re-live) that magical period.

Lastly, the buzz around fresh start servers combined with an advertising push (such as the data mined Twitch "Return to Aeternum" event) will bring back players to the game.  More players is always better for massive multiplayer games. Worst case there is another boom and bust cycle with server creation followed by server merges.

While the above points are good reasons for fresh start I do want to list a few of the reasons not to have fresh start.

  • There is valid concerns that exploits (not duping this time, but things like speedhacks) will plague the fresh start servers as companies race to take control of the major cities.  The main argument here is that new servers are a bad idea until Amazon Game Studios fixes territory control.
  • An argument can be made fresh start servers will divide the playerbase. New servers that just got stood up to deal with the current population boom could quickly crash and need a merge.
  • Players returning for fresh start may come back to the same problems they saw in the first game: overcrowded servers and long login queue times.  Since the main servers are jam packed and most have new character/character transfers locked these players looking for an alternate to fresh start may not find one.
  • The sweaty players want new players to dominate with their best in slot gear.  Not a real argument but I've heard it said enough lately.

What are your thoughts?

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