Wednesday, March 13, 2024

New World New Low

 New World is hitting new lows in peak concurrent player counts.  The game that launched at 900,000+ peak concurrent users is now dipping to 6,000 with a peak just short of 15,000.  Here are some thoughts on what is going on.


An image of Steam charts for the game New World showing new low peak concurrent player counts

 I am writing this post a day after Season 4 was supposed to complete and Season 5 was supposed to launch, but as I posted previously that plan was delayed.  Also we still don't have the road map for 2024 and won't have it until June at the earliest. This is one of the drivers to the low numbers: there isn't anything new to do or to look forward to in the game.

 Content and the promise of new content continues to be king in the MMO genre and New World has slowed down in it's content creation and been unable to tell us whats next.  The most recent major content drop was the Rise of the Angry Earth back in October 2023 but it was more of an appetizer than an actual meal.  Most players moved through it within a week.  We got a new expedition with Season 4, but for many players there wasn't more than a couple hours of experience.  

 So Season 5 getting released will help right?  Not really from a content perspective.  Season 5 is bringing a new 10-man trial but that is going to be short form content. The Season pass itself  is not really content.  Some new artifacts will interest players, but are more reasons to do old content than new content.  There is nothing meaty in Season 5 to bring players back or for players to invest in.

 This doesn't mean the New World team isn't doing anything.  In Season 4 they launched cross-server expeditions with an improved group finder.  This is a key tech to ensure players can get into content more reliably; especially with the lower player population playing currently.

 Also with Season 5 they are launching a rewritten combat system which is a major overhaul to the combat code and offers a promise of better changes and faster bug fixes in the future.  This no doubt took a tremendous development effort and getting it right is a likely reason Season 5 has been delayed.

 Controller support is also part of Season 5 which is speculated as a precursor to June's road map update announcing a launch to consoles.  A console launch could also explain why not much other content has come out recently as the team is busy on the changes needed to support consoles. 

 There is a debate to have if a console release is about New World itself or about the underlying Azoth Engine and future games being console ready from day one. My honest opinion about a console launch is that it has to come with a massive content update. If all that the team brings forward is a console release of the current game it will affirm that the diversion to console support was about other games than New World.

 However, if we get a console launch + a big content expansion it will say a lot about New World's future.  I am hopeful this is where we are headed because personally I am finding myself playing New World less and less even though I really do enjoy the game. 

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