New World

One issue with any beta test is that no matter how many hours you put into progressing your character, it’s all going to be wiped before the game’s proper launch.

New World, Amazon’s upcoming action-MMORPG, is no exception. I’ve seen and heard about people who put in countless hours, exploring practically everything the game has to offer during this beta period. All of that progression will be wiped clean when the game launches proper on August 31, which forces me to ask myself: Why should I put in all of the effort, only to do it all over again in a month?

New World might be the latest MMO to show this much promise leading up to release, but it’s hardly the first. If I had enough time in a day, I could list countless other games in the genre that were exciting at launch but died off due to a lack of end-game content and support. This isn’t something that’s exclusive to just MMOs, either; if there’s no hook to keep me coming back, why should I bother returning at all?

New World

The lack of a roadmap for New World has me concerned about its future. Of course, without a monthly subscription, this may not be that big a deal compared to other MMOs; I can simply take my time and not worry about getting a return on my monthly investment.

Because of this, it’s definitely possible that this game is about the journey more than the destination. If that’s the case, the journey thus far has been pretty enjoyable. Action-based combat lends itself well to they game’s survival feel; in New World, I have to rely not just on my gear and stats, but also my skill at scavenging, gathering, and crafting my way through the island of Aeternum.

To add more tension, if I stray too far away from questing locations, I’ll encounter enemies that are more than double my level.

In one session, I was focused on setting up a campsite. I needed to craft some materials to restock ammunition, cook some food, and focus my thoughts. As a result, I ventured too far from the beaten path and found myself face to face with some big, angry enemies that were way higher level than me. I can only assume they wanted to eat my insides for dinner, so I ran as fast as I possibly could to escape harm’s way. 

What’s remarkable about this exchange is that normally in MMOs, I’m aware of whenever I’ve entered a new zone. The landscape drastically changes and the game’s UI lets you know you’ve entered a new area. Sometimes, the game will even tell you, “Hey, this area is too high level for you, so you should probably leave.” New World didn’t alert me; I had to rely on my eyes and ears to discover that I’m somewhere new and should probably turn around.

Maybe I’m just too easily impressed, but this more subtle approach to zone transitions is something I’m definitely a fan of. 

New World

There’s a lot I’ve yet to experience in New World. There are factions to side with, group content to conquer, PVP to check out, and much more story to see.

And speaking of story, I’d like to touch briefly on that. It’s, in a word, present? Yadda yadda, exploring new continent, something something magical corruption, badum badum, only I can save everyone. You know, pretty standard MMO stuff. When it comes to online games, my interest in story is marginal at best, so I didn’t pay a ton of attention to this particular aspect of New World. This does add to my concern about playing through the same content again once the game officially launches — if I was this checked out the first time, how engaged am I going to be on round 2?

With every MMO, I eventually come to a line in the sand. Once I cross that line, I’m just not having fun anymore. My biggest open question in regards to New World is: When am I going to cross that line? In a couple days? A week? A month or two? Like any reasonable human being, I don’t have a desire to keep grinding out content if I’m not having fun.

Suffice it to say, the crafting/scavenging/gathering system within New World is indeed a bit of a grind, and it’s already a bit frustrating to watch the 5-to-10-second animation of my character chopping down a tree. The more times I do this, the closer I get to that line in the sand I mentioned earlier.

New World

But having said all that, typing up these impressions has made me want to log back into the game. The game’s combat is satisfying, and that’s admittedly the biggest hook for me. I’m especially fond of upgrading and enhancing my weapon proficiencies — the more I use a sword, for example, the more skills I unlock for that particular weapon. This has resulted in me grinding away at wolves and boars more than I ever would in other MMOs. 

Ultimately, New World is a game I’ve enjoyed playing, but I still have some doubts about its long-term viability. Right now, my biggest concern is that the more I play through the game in beta, the less likely I’ll actually want to play through all the content again at launch.

Of course, I could always use this as a learning experience, perfecting my craft so I’m better prepared when New World launches on August 31. With that comes the risk of burning out sooner rather than later, but there’s also the possibility that the game sinks its teeth into me and I find something that will bring me back for good.

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