New World review in progress a flawed, but promising MMO – PCGamesN

Posted: October 3, 2021 at 2:22 am

After a few dozen hours in New World I still feel like a stranded traveller, newly washed up on the beaches of Aeternum. Ive managed to skirt the mammoth queue times for long enough now to get a feel for Amazon Games foray into the massively multiplayer genre, and that feeling can pretty much be summed up with a shrug and a yeah, its alright. Will New World scratch that itch youve got in the back of your brain for a new MMO in a pretty world filled with life and stuff to do? Definitely. Will you be gasping in awe wondering how Amazon managed to reinvigorate the genre? Probably not.

Friends have asked me about New Worlds mechanics during my playtime and Ive found myself giving a disclaimer every time. The combat feels good for an MMO. The crafting is rewarding for an MMO. The world is gorgeous for an MMO. Sure, the more grounded combat is definitely a nice addition, but on the whole there doesnt seem to be much setting New World apart from its contemporaries other than its admittedly very pretty setting and aesthetic.

I havent had much opportunity to experience PvP combat so far other than a couple of duels not many players are flagged for open-world combat on my server so PvE is the only real chance Ive had to try out New Worlds action-combat system. Other than the odd bit of server lag, it feels pretty tight, and the experience varies dramatically depending on which weapon youre using. The greataxes swing is meaty and impactful, but somehow the greathammers size belies its range it feels like youve got to get close enough to touch your opponents eyelashes. The bow feels meek and lacklustre, but the rifle fires with a satisfying pop and little plume of gunsmoke that other players can see around you. My current favourite weapon is a high-level hatchet I found in a crate, which has a hefty strength bonus. I felt swift and nimble darting around flailing with my swings as my friend aimed headshots with his rifle. Each of New Worlds weapon types are leveled separately to your main level, so youre encouraged with your introductory loot drops to try out a few.

Unfortunately, the fighting is oftendented by wonky spawn rates. Ive stood in a forest surrounded by players desperately trying to tag a deer or wolf before it dies to progress their quest, ten minutes before being ganked by dozens of rapidly respawning skeletons that appear in a flash of blue beside or behind me as I try to slash my way to a box of loot. Amplifying these frustrations is the fact that other players can ninja in and harvest the body of skinnable mobs like bison, boar, or lynx before you get there, leading to a frustrating clickfest as you hope to be the first to press E on a slain animal. General loot drops are instanced, so its a little baffling that skins arent.

Those animal carcasses are vital for crafting, which seems to be a pretty big pull among New Worlds playerbase. The most generous way I can describe this part of the game is that it feels like a modern take on Runescape. I laughed out loud when a player in my town was derided in global chat for their attempt to max smelting as fast as possible, with youll all see when they get their 99 Skillcape. Skills are separated into three categories gathering, refining, and crafting and theyre the fundamental forces behind New Worlds player-driven economy.

fighting is often dented by wonky spawn rates

Resource nodes can be found all over Aeternum, some rarer than others, and theres something tantalising about seeing a sparkly higher-level resource that you cant gather from yet. The sound design is fantastic for woodcutting and mining, producing a satisfying thunk or clink that echoes around the immediate area. Its even more impressive when you hear it walking around the wilderness, followed by the fall of a tree in the distance. Being surrounded by players is what makes the best MMOs so special, and the noise of industry filling the forest is a nice reminder of that.

Like many others, my introductory experience has been marred by queues and bugs. Ive become intimately familiar with New Worlds early game in my first fifteen hours or so of play, though not for the right reasons. On launch night I managed to log a couple of hours before encountering a seemingly uncommon but not all that rare (thats a loot gag folks) bug, which had me stuck in the floorboards of a building. Even with New Worlds unstick tool, I was only able to limply jiggle my character in place. I was forced to start from scratch. For my next character I managed to make it several hours in, way beyond the introductory quests, and Id begun to enjoy exploring the world. But that character is now lost on a server with waiting times that seemingly never drop below three hours.

Third times the charm, then, and luckily Ive managed to wrangle a couple of intrigued friends to test out a few more multiplayer features. Again, bizarre design choices hamper the experience. When I awake on the beaches of First Light, Im confused to see my friend a whole territory away in Windsward. See, in New World you spawn in one of four different starting regions, entirely at random. If your friend is elsewhere, one of you has no choice but to run for twenty minutes, praying not to get one-shotted by high-level monsters on the way.

This is complicated further if you accept more than the first couple of quests in the zone, youre locked into that region until around level 13 which the third in our group had accidentally done. I cant see a good reason for any of these choices, so Im hopeful theyll be patched out in the near future.

When finally reunited, I discovered that New World is far more fun with friends. I had an absolute blast leveling up alongside them, showing off our pirate chic and conquistador-looking loot drops, but it certainly feels daft hanging about waiting for a friend to complete unshareable quests in another region while you try not to outlevel them. Guess Ill go chop a few more logs in the meantime.

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New World review in progress a flawed, but promising MMO - PCGamesN

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