Oh, New World

New World is on the ropes but I’m here to stay – for now. If things don’t get worse than they are today, I find enough that I enjoy, to stay the course. It’s such a tremendous shame that the quality control was so poorly managed on this title. Whether they were understaffed, rushed, clueless or all of the above, we’ll never really know. What we do know is the sad outcome of this debacle and clusterfuck of game issues.

No MMO releases bug-free but this – what we’re experiencing in New World is unprecedented in my 20+ years of MMO gaming.

Broken mechanics, which are more easily detected as not operating as intended. We see them, work around them and move on. However, the endless sea of attributes on gear, weapons, talents that mean fuck-all, is a whole other variant of REALLY AGS??? For those of you not playing, it’s a slog to get gear with the attributes appropriate for your role. Weapon leveling for some, such as the Life Staff is very slow until you’re in the upper levels. Crafting while beneficial costs more than you make because the economy is busted due to a different set of issues around poor design. It makes slogging through the wreckage to craft or acquire items, skill points, etc., to only find out it’s not working and never did, is a brutal kick in the head.

By the time I hit midway through the leveling curve, the missions started to wear on me due to the overly aggressive content re-use.

You return to the same locations over and over to find a different item from the boxes or as drops from NPCs. If it’s a zone that’s not to your liking or has other inherent issues like physics problems such as getting stuck on all the themed crap littering the ground or being trapped in cramped spaces trying to fight, returning repeatedly to experience these issues gets really old.

Reading the above sounds like a dumpster fire that I should be running from post-haste but I’m not. There’s still huge promise in the game, and I really do enjoy the fundamentals. There’s no inspirational lore shining through or infamous characters you’re excited about encountering. There isn’t a single mechanic that’s innovative or outshines what’s come before it. However, for me at least, what’s compelling is the stripped-down version of, go off and live in this fantasy world.

It’s the combination of all the little things I can do, as a single character in a beautifully rendered world with stunning sound design, that keeps me engaged.

When I get tired of the copy/paste missions, I do harvesting runs. When I get bored of running around collecting items, I bum rush lowbie mobs to skill up another weapon. When my storage is getting too full I spend time in town crafting items. When I don’t want to do any of the above, I sneak my way into higher-level zones to uncover the portals and cities I’ll need next. This rotation and variety mean I can always find something to do that’s enjoyable at that moment when I have time to play.

I just hit level 39. At 35, I was a bit bored and had 9K gold which is a good amount given the broken economy and my level. I decided that I wanted a second house in a northern city to help with harvesting runs. Those are higher-level zones meant for players 50 and above. I set myself a target of getting to one and figuring out how to earn enough standing to buy a house there given that I was too low to quest there.

I decided on Morningdale and inched my way up there building camps as I went in case I died. I almost died multiple times but escaped by the skin of my teeth. Once I arrived I found several harvesting and crafting missions on the town board. I crept around the exterior of the city to do the collection quests. I did the crafting back in Everfall where my first house and primary storage is located and used the Inn portal to get back to MD.

In effect, I sacrificed having fast travel to where I was actually questing at the time, to make returning to MD easier. It took me several gaming sessions of turning in town missions to earn enough standing to buy a house. I bought the 5K gold house right near the town board. I decorated the interior since I do carpentry and put some of my spare Cash Shop Halloween decorations outside. Happy as a lamb, being level 35 walking around in MD, made me smile.

So yes, New World is a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment but I have no plans at present to jump ship. There are too many things I like doing and am hopeful they can right the ship over time. If you’re minus an MMO at the moment and enjoy the older style MMOs such as EQ2 where you can do anything/everything and level by questing, harvesting, and crafting.

I would still recommend New World. It’s only 40 bucks and I’ve long since gotten my money’s worth.

Our server is quieting down. I don’t see any world PVP and people are starting to shrug off wars. Both of which are content I’m looking forward to doing when I hit level 60. If things get too quiet on Perloma, I might transfer to a high population server AFTER transfers have been perfected.


New World - Ding, Level 30

Last night, I hit level 30 in New World and am going strong. I’m definitely behind the leveling pace of those who started on release day which is fine by me. I’m not one to race to max level. Enjoyable MMOs don’t grow on trees so I prefer to savor the journey when I find one I like.

I don’t really have anything significant to complain about thus far. There are minor issues such as input lag during peak periods, slow spawning named mobs, and if you choose to quest continuously, you will feel the repetitiveness of the mechanics. For the latter, however, I have so many other things to do that it simply isn’t an issue for me. In fact, I sometimes need to remind myself that I might want to go level a bit. Harvesting while exploring feels so immersive, relaxing, and natural I spend more time at it than I intended some evenings.

Being halfway to the maximum level is more a by-product of having fun in a beautifully rendered world with an amazing soundscape.

Today, for example, I will focus on doing quests. In particular, I want to run through Faction Missions to purchase several Rune of Holding, an essential item for crafting bags and storage containers. Making money from crafting is a bit touch and go. Because players aren’t restricted to a set number of harvesting and production professions, many are choosing to do it all, making it difficult to make a profit on common items. What I’m able to sell consistently are the items that can’t be produced or harvested – the refining materials that come from looting caches. I’ve earned most of the gold by selling 50% of what I collect and reserving the rest for my own crafting needs.

For me, being halfway to max level this quickly after release is a credit to the level of addictiveness New World can trigger. Every single thing you do has value. Other than walking, every single activity generates XP, and even walking around the world does if you harvest along the way. At this point in the journey, I can say it’s my intention to play beyond the max level to end game activities such as participating in the territory wars and world PVP. The only thing that can upset the apple cart, will be what AGS does with the cash shop.


Amazon's New World Open Beta, I Had My Happy Ending

The New World Open Beta Testing (OBT) has come to a conclusion and it didn’t disappoint. Master Henry still has a shit spawn rate and not enough health for the number of players trying to kill him. He needs to scale. Abandoning the wait to complete this mission blocks you from what I found to be a fun quest series. New in the mix were audio bugs, the magnitude of which were very disorienting in multi combatant fights. You immediately realize how much we use audio cues during engagements. Other than that, I didn’t experience any issues.

Even with a couple of bugs I encountered, things went very well. It was definitely gaming-time well spent.

Doing It Again

Even rolling across the same levels as the Closed Beta Testing (CBT), I was excited to play and enjoyed myself. The adventuring went faster this time as there was no fumbling around with different weapons to create a preferred playstyle. I also refrained from trying to level up various trade professions since I’d sampled them all during the CBT.

Additionally, I know now that when you have to loot a certain number of items, it’s a count represented by exactly that many caches. Therefore, you can’t enter the zone and collect them willy-nilly. You must be methodical, tracking which areas you’ve checked or it can be a nightmare of retracing all your steps to get the last one.

Beware of quest objects where you must loot a certain number of caches. Be methodical or finding them all can be annoying.

I wasn’t a fan of only an exact number of caches being available when I experienced it during the CBT. However, knowing how it works now it’s fine. It can be much harder to account for everything a night. Yes, unlike most MMOs, New World does a night cycle that is DARK. Understanding how it worked the second time around removed the frustration I felt during my previous romp.

Battle Cleric

The role I’ve decided to build in New World is the Battle Cleric based around the War Hammer (WH) and Life Staff (LS). I use the LS to pull, fight ranged enemies, and its primary purpose, healing. I’ll be pumping all of my attribute points into Focus which buffs the LS. My DPS, which is secondary, will obtain stats from my armor. The WH is more crowd control than damage output. It applies stuns and debuffs so that I can beat down mobs that come into melee range. It also doesn’t require a lot of fancy footwork which isn’t my thing, especially in an active targeting game. 

If I know the targets are going to move into melee distance after the pull, the LS has a targeted skill that heals over time + weapon damage. If multiple are going to come, I’ll also put down another ground HOT and fight inside the healing circle.

For open-world PVE and PVP sieges, I wear heavy armor. I lose a fast-moving dodge in doing so but my build is designed to engage toe to toe. For open-world group PVP and dungeons, I’d wear light armor for the improved dodge. I do wish for more variety or control over the gear appearance. I always look like some mix-matched hobo even though I’m in nice greens. 

A transmog system would be a nice addition, even if it’s in the cache shop. I’d rather that than more odious methods of them generating revenue to sustain the game. Or for the cosmetic cash shop items, including an appearance system ala GW2 would work. I saw things I really liked the look of but they weren’t appropriate for my level or class.

Crafting

The jury is still out on which profession I’ll start with. You need to cook for yourself to some degree for the various stacking buffs, and the meat is easily obtained via skinning. I’ve never been one to enjoy crafting armor or weapons. It seems so mundane to me. The exception of course was when World of Warcraft introduced Bind on Pickup crafted items that were pretty mandatory for raiding. 

It’s hard to know where to start when you can do all of the professions. I want to be strategic enough to earn gold so that I can own multiple houses and try the largest the game has to offer.

I’m thinking of doing jewel crafting for the usefulness and revenue, with carpentry and fishing for the enjoyment and RP factor. Fishing in New World is the best I’ve seen of any MMO and there are so many scenic places to fish. I also enjoy the mini-game of trying to land in the fishing Hot Spots when you come across them.

Housing

I enjoy player housing. It adds to the immersiveness. The crafting is so EQ2-like, I’d hoped the player housing was as flexible. As of today, it’s not. More freedom in stacking items at will would go a long way to allowing players to create unique items out of standard elements which is what made EQ2’s housing customization so powerful. You were only limited by your imagination and time. For now, it can be used for bonuses and extra storage. OBT also added group ownership/access to the housing.

I suspect small groups can use the new group housing mechanic to share items ala a guild bank in case that feature isn’t added. We can’t mail each other times and it’s not always convenient to exchange in person.

My Happy Ending

As my Sunday evening of available game time came to a close, I realized that I had enough money to purchase the smallest house in Windsward. I had JUST enough gold. However, when I went to purchase it, I didn’t have enough reputation. I was 2K short. UGH. I raced to the Town Projects Board to see what tasks I could perform on the city’s behalf. Luckily, I had resources in my storage that completed two quests outright and another two where I needed to run around to collect a bit more and process the ore and food, which I did.

I purchased a little one-room house that’s available in every city for 2.5K gold. I raced back out into the nearby countryside to harvest materials to craft furnishings and decorations such as wood, reeds, stone, iron, etc. In the final 30 minutes, I had available, I used up all of my materials to craft a few items for the house and was pleased with the outcome. 

Unlike some MMOs, the chairs and beds have distinct animations. Done at the last minute, it was sparse but let me try out the system before the clock expired on my time in Aeternum. I spent my final moments relaxing on my porch watching others racing around the city.

The Future

I’m excited about the official release! I’m crossing my eyes, fingers, and toes that there are no further delays. As things stand today, this is the next MMO I’ll be playing long enough to hit max level, do all the dungeons, and then enjoy crafting as my end game. I can even see rolling a pure DPS class so that I’d have two characters as I had in GW2. 

From where I sit, NW has the early staying power of GW2. Only an onerous Cash Shop, dearth of new content, or severely broken mechanics can defeat the successful base game. Here’s hoping Amazon Games realizes the potential they have in their hands for long-term success versus short-term monetary returns.

Bring on New World, my gaming soul is ready!