Overall - 80%
While New World isn't a World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV killer, it does prove that a new MMO can succeed. We'll have to wait to see how they capitalize on their momentum.
After countless delays and betas, the world of Amazon Game Studios and Double Helix Games’ New World has finally launched. Is this MMO a train wreck like Amazon’s previous attempts, or was it worth the wait? Check out our review and find out.
New World Review
New World begins with you finding yourself shipwrecked, waking up in a place called Aeternum. You quickly find out that some sort of corruption has overrun this place, and you have to help fight it. To do this, you must join up with a local faction. Three factions are fighting for control over Aeternum: the Marauders, the Syndicate, and the Covenant. They each have their own flavor and armor sets, but this is mostly for which side you will fight on during a war. After you choose, you are sent out to fight more corruption. At about this point, you will probably stop reading the story and just accept the quests anyways, so let me tell you my story of the game.
Day 1 began very well. I got in a little after the servers went up and only got kicked one time the entire day; it was one of the smoothest MMO launches I’ve ever been a part of. Day 2 had people learning stuff, asking where iron is, how to fast travel, and how World of Warcraft is so much better. Day 3 is when factions started really forming and murmurs of war began. On day 4, the Syndicate struck first and claimed the very first settlement on the server. When I woke up, I saw the purple symbol and knew that they had succeeded.
That day things started to heat up for all factions. Everyone was quickly scrambling for funds and figuring out which faction area they would take first. While my faction bickered and tried to figure out the fine details, the Marauders swooped in underneath us and stole the settlement we wanted. So we went elsewhere to claim our first settlement, and now, one week later, about 75% of the map is taken by one faction or another. War is constant, and forts and settlements often change hands. It seems balanced so far, but I wonder for how long.
On the subject of PvP, you don’t have to take part if you don’t want to. There is world PvP and instanced PvP – the wars being instanced – so the player numbers are always the same. The downside to that is that only 50 players can play in the war. If a guild leader doesn’t choose you to fight in the war, you can’t fight. That is concerning long-term, because new players will have a hard time wedging themselves into the battles when leaders choose who they want. We’ll see if and how that is changed down the line, but be wary you might not get into a war for a while if you join now.
New World doesn’t have classes. Instead, you pick a weapon and all your skills come from that. You can switch when you want and level them up as you see fit. This means you don’t need to make a ton of characters to try out everything. As for the weapons themselves, you can pick between swords, two-handed axes and hammers, rifles and bows, and a few magic options as well. It works for the most part, but the tanking and healing in dungeons could use some work. At this point, it is simply too hard for tanks to hold the boss targets.
The combat itself can be both fantastic and irritating. Unlike typical MMOs, New World features real-time combat, complete with a dodge and a block. All of that is great, and the hits feel good. The problem is how strong the enemies are and how fast they currently spawn. The trash mobs in this game can stun, interrupt, knock you over, and slow you down. Even when you are double the enemies level, they can somehow interrupt you with a swing of their club. I get it; you need to learn the dodge and block, but sometimes I just want to crack a skull uninterrupted. Timing is critical in this game, and you will need to both dodge and block.
Let’s talk about the questing system in New World. Questing in this game is long; I mean very long. There are no mounts, and fast traveling is not cheap and is very limited. You will often have to travel 5-10 minutes to get to a quest spot, complete a few quests, then return only to go back out. New World is not a game that respects your time, and you will feel it. The other thing is the town board quests. These include turning in 50 iron or cooking ten meals. You and your party members don’t share these, so you won’t be on the same quests all the time if you are grouped together.
The purpose of all of this became clear to me quickly. Crafting in New World is number one. You are supposed to travel to these quests while mining, harvesting, hunting, fishing, and collecting veggies. What New World attempts to do is make a well-oiled MMO machine. The ideal player for this machine will go to town to get quests, head out and do those quests while gathering materials, finish quests, gather more materials while returning to town, craft and sell, and then repeat. It is a simple system and one that I am completely hooked on. Even as I write this, I am thinking about what materials I need to farm later.
My biggest concern will be the end game. Currently, there are dungeons, PvP, world events, and expeditions. The dedicated PvPers will always be there, but your other players will need more. After you max your crafting, buy a house, and get good gear, what else is there? In my opinion, that’ll be the next step for New World.
While New World isn’t a World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV killer, it does prove that a new MMO can succeed. We’ll have to wait to see how they capitalize on their momentum.
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