Wednesday, September 28, 2022

New World's 1 Year Anniversary and September Update

 New World is one year old as of today and the September developer update has been posted.  Feel free to watch the update and then read on for my thoughts.

Year One

The first year of New World has flown by.  It was an amazing launch and the popularity of the game lead to some great moments.  For me, it was easily the best MMO launch in the last decade, and I still play the game every single day a year later.  There were some ups and downs through the first year, but for the most part the team at Amazon Game Studios has knocked it out of the park as far as how they have addressed the issues that have popped up and the improvements made to the game.

My favorite release of the year was Tempest Heart.  I am not a huge expedition (New World's term for a PvE dungeon) player, but playing Tempest Heart converted me.  It is hands down the best MMORPG dungeon I've ever played.  The visuals and sound are amazing.  The fights were well done (albeit with some bugs early on) and the atmosphere as you go through the expedition is incredible (giant robot head shooting laser beams!).

My biggest disappointment of the year was 3v3 PvP arenas.  The combat in PvP can just be frustrating at
times and 3v3 hits the worst parts of it such as excessive crowd control where you spend the entire match on the ground unable to do anything or alternately if you don't have the right crowd control light armor players are nearly impossible to catch and kill.  Many of these elements are mitigated in other modes, but when condensed down to 3v3 in a small arena its all right there on display.  Mix in that there is no solo vs group queue and right now, as a mostly solo player, the 3v3 experience is not fun.  

Also its clear, to me at least, the community isn't excited about PvP arenas -- as evidenced by no one showing up for the first public tournament. It is unfortunate the team seems to be investing more into the mode so hopefully they see something I don't.  I'd rather that time be spent on other parts of the game.  The only thing 3v3 needs is solos vs group queue and a ranking; otherwise leave that mode alone.  It is not where the game wins over players.

Whats coming next?

In the update the team talked about focusing on more solo content.  I found this interesting because I think New World is easily the most solo friendly MMORPG on the market.  It sounds like they want to target harder solo content where you can get a sense of fighting a boss fight like a group would but just as yourself.  I am on board with that but I think the team is underselling the current content as it is all very friendly to solo players and offers solo players end game progression.

They also announced wanting to expand into hardcore raid content that is more challenging than expeditions and mutations currently.  No hard details were provided, but a focus on gear specific for PvE was mentioned so that rewards feel more useful in PvE instead of the current "best" being PvP gear.  While not what I am necessarily excited about it was the logical step to take for the PvE crowd.  Personally I think 5-man expeditions + mutations are perfectly good content and I'd be happy seeing a dozen more of those than any multi-group raid content.  But I will admit if the progression and rewards that go with it are done well then I am probably on board.

Also exciting was the mention of working on a gear management system.  Unfortunately seems it is still a ways off which is disappointing.  Adding gear management is the number one thing that could be done to make the game more enjoyable.  It is getting nightmarish to manage my gear sets currently and directly impacting my enjoyment level when playing.  I logged out the other night because I was too irritated to change my gear/attribute/weapon build because plans changed.

Mounts were also a topic of conversation.  I don't think the game needs them but it is a repeating topic in the community and now confirmed it is something the team is officially working on now.  My hope is the mounts are modest, mostly just horses, and don't turn everything into "mount up and alt tab while it runs in a straight line".  An idea I thought would fit perfectly with New World is the way the horse works in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.  In Witcher III your horse automatically locks into the paths and guides itself so if you are on established roads it just does its thing for you.  Then you can take it off the path/roads and free form it.

Some closer term changes in the upcoming October patch were covered in the video but I'll have more thoughts on those as they get closer to release.  Over all I am very happy with where New World is at and where it is headed.  The team has earned my trust and I foresee continued engagement with this game and it's community.  Everything isn't perfect but there is so much for me to do that is in a great spot that the areas that need improvement don't intersect my play time.  I love playing New World and play every day; my vote is cast.

What are your thoughts on New World's first year and future plans?

A neat infographic as well

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