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New World Hands-On Preview

new world

New World is Amazon’s ambitious first foray into game development. The open preview began August 25th, and let consumers try out the upcoming title before the game’s official launch next year.

Lauded as an open-world MMORPG, New World puts players in the role of new colonists exploring the world of Aeturnum; a new frontier in the setting. A map behind your character in character creation shows the real world fictionalized similar to Warhammer Fantasy.

Although the new world is uninhabited, a deadly and supernatural force prevents the colonists from fully developing the land. The Corrupted fight the colonists at every step.

These are men, women, and beasts who have succumbed to a mysterious ambient force that corrupts them into violent monsters. There are also the Ancients, the long forgotten reanimated bodies of those who had come to the new world before, or perhaps they lived there long ago.

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Players join mysterious masked man Captain Thorpe on a journey to the new world. In tow, a special box that only an artificer of Aeturnum can open safely, and within lies a mystery related to the land’s corruption.

The latest expedition of Captain Thorpe is ill-fated however, and the expedition crashes upon the shore. Captain Thorpe, now dying on the beach after the wreck, entrusts the box to the player and bids them to travel on, as the corruption consumes him.

Though this isn’t the last we see of Captain Thorpe, as he’s reintroduced as the game’s first boss fight. The corruption has consumed him and left him a shambling echo of the man he once was, albeit powerful and malevolent.

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From there, the game begins proper with players learning how crafting, exploration, and quests will work from here on out. This begins with exploring the shipwreck on the coast. Most PvE quests involve killing specific enemies and looting supply caches. The caches can be looted at any time for crafting materials, but on quests they’ll drop quest specific items.

These quests usually follow a formula of “Kill X Amount of Enemies” and “Loot X Amount of Supply Caches in a Specific Region.” Quests can be picked up from NPCs, and repeatable quests can be picked up at town boards. Repeatable quests can also include collecting and providing raw materials to the town.

Quests completed in a region will provide Regional Standing, which when leveled give personal buffs only in the region. Buffs include increases to XP, gathering speed, or increasing the amount of local storage. Items and materials can be stored in storage sheds, but the storage space is unique to that town. Items stored in a shed in Monarch’s Bluffs can only be retrieved in Monarch’s Bluffs.

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On the topic of regions, this is where New World tries to distinguish itself from other MMORPGs. Three factions constantly fight for control over regions in the new world, and whenever a faction controls a region, one guild within that faction claims governorship.

The guild that governs the region can set taxes; including a crafting tax for using the town’s facilities, a trading tax for selling items at the trading post, and a property tax for player housing. These taxes are directly collected and sent to the guild in charge, giving incentive to control and govern territory.

The economy in New World is also player run. There’s no incentive to pick up trash loot if no one wants to buy it. NPC merchants don’t buy or sell supplies, so if you end up with 2000 wood, you need to check the trading post and see if anyone’s placed a buy order for wood. Everything bought and sold in the game is found, crafted, or gathered by players.

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There are three factions that players can choose to join. The Marauders are vainglorious warriors who want to create a free society where the strong can rule. The Syndicate are scholars who want to explore and discover the ancient secrets of the new world. Finally, The Covenant are a religious order who want to focus on purging the corrupted and the ancients from the land.

When players select a faction, it can’t be changed and will affect what guilds they can join, and who they’ll PvP against. Joining a faction also introduces PvP quests, which are greater in variety than the PvE ones. While PvP quests may force players to go out and find quest objects, they’ll also involve patrol missions where you check areas for enemy faction members and try to survive.

Quests completed on behalf of your faction will increase your faction’s influence on a territory in an inevitable conflict to take the region under your control. Wars are scheduled ahead of time, and are a 50 vs. 50 PvP battle with siege engines. The defenders need only to hold out and protect their camps, while the assailants need to capture camps and break into the region’s castle.

The corrupted can also attack forts at specific times. This forces even powerful guilds to remain active and stay on their toes, lest the region fall into chaos and become anyone’s game.

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Combat takes place similar to Dark Souls and other action RPGs. Rather than right clicking and auto attacking while spamming abilities, fighting is a mix of clicking for light attacks, holding for heavy attacks, active blocking, and some special abilities.

Aiming with bows and muskets is also handled like a third person shooter rather than auto-attacking like other MMORPGs. Each time an enemy is killed, in addition to the XP earned, players earn mastery in their preferred weapons.

The weapon they used to deal the most damage to a slain enemy receives mastery points equal to the XP gained. Mastery levels allow players to specialize in a weapon, learning new skills and passive abilities when equipped with them.

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Finally, the crafting system. While the crafting system is in-depth, in its present state it’s disappointing. It’s nice to be able to create gear, and you can even use special materials to enhance the gear or increase the chance of an upgrade slot; but it’s still a grind. There’s no reason to specialize in anything, and everyone can become a master with enough resources at their disposal.

New World doesn’t encourage any variety in player characters. In combat, some players may use different weapons, some might heal, some might use bows, but outside of combat everyone’s the same.

For a game that takes so much pride and put so much effort in its crafting and gathering system, the inability to specialize makes crafting just another part of the game instead of something anyone can take pride in.

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Ultimately, New World is a fun MMORPG, with visceral combat and in-depth PvP and faction systems. The crafting leaves a lot to be desired and the inability to specialize in crafting undermines the emphasis that the game puts on crafting and gathering.

In its present state, the game runs just fine at lower qualities. At ultra quality, not much is noticeably different except the strain it puts on the CPU. The game crashed multiple times in ultra quality, and only once did the game even recognize it crashed and asked to submit a bug report. But at low qualities these issues were non-existent.

New World launches Spring 2021 for Windows PC (via Steam).

New World was previewed on Windows PC using a preview copy provided by Amazon Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

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Brandon Lyttle

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A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.