New World info (rumour)

Massively OP have reported on a preview news item (possible accidentally released early) on New World, the MMORPG in development by Amazon (yes, Amazon are making games now too). Reading through the outline of features for the game, I have mixed feelings:

  • No classes, pure skill-based character development
  • “Massive” world with dangerous wild creatures
  • Deep crafting

These all sound ok, the game is styled as a ‘sandbox’ game so classless progression is almost a given. I do like classes in MMOs, it’s nice to have that framework to base characters around, but I have played more freeform games as well (e.g. the Elder Scrolls series and Path of Exile).

Having a massive world to explore is great, presuming that they mean ‘open’ world here and not ‘highly instanced’ but large. Travel and exploration could be key gameplay elements in such a game.

I enjoy crafting in MMOs, although it is rarely that absorbing and often lacks internal consistency in terms of effort vs reward. In a sandbox style game I would expect crafting to be that much more important as the player-run economy will be paramount over NPC sold items or dropped loot.

However, then there are the two aspects that are much more negative to my eyes:

  • PvP at the “heart of the game”
  • Action combat … manual aiming

I guess I’m just a bit tired of action combat games at the moment. ESO’s hybrid style is ok; although even there I often want more abilities available. The constant mouse button mashing to attack gets tiring and boring to be honest – sometimes I want to play something slower and more thoughtful. Manual aiming in particular sounds like a pain, I doubt I’d be playing an archer in this game.

PVP at the heart of the game isn’t that unexpected for a sandbox title, but the description sounds like all the many indie MMOs and survival games currently flooding the genre (e.g. Camelot Unchained, Conan Exiles). The full loot descriptor is particularly unwelcome. As Sekkerhund commented on the linked article:

Seriously, these modern developers need to let go of their UO “glory days” memories and think beyond the Box of Innovation. “Outside” just isn’t going to cut it, anymore.

..and please, for the love of Gygax, stop hopping on the “latest trend” bandwagon.

I kind of regret bashing on developers for trying to do battle with Blizzard and “WoW cloning”, because at least those were enjoyable games and not badly bugged, wallet traps.

This game sounds like it’s going to be yet another PVP-centric gankbox style title – we have plenty of indy games heading in this direction now: some with big names attached from yesteryear. The MMO sub-genre of the industry needs to stop slavishly copying trends, because with the development lead times inherent in these games the games are always out of date and passée by the time they reach beta even. It would be nice to think a studio with this much funding and resources could actually try and push the genre in new directions, rather than hopping on an already full bandwagon. If the recent MOBA genre developments are anything to go by then the market cannot sustain that many successful titles – just being a bit more polished or bigger isn’t a guarantee for success any more.

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6 Responses to New World info (rumour)

  1. Bhagpuss says:

    Yesterday’s leaked information – assuming it’s accurate – put the nail in the coffin of any interest I had in New World. I was never very keen on the setting but once you factor in action controls, survival mechanics, full loot PvP and enforced socializing it begins to sound more like some arcane form of punishment than a pleasurable leisure activity.

    I’m with you on action controls. I can use them and I will if the game is interesting and otherwise enjoyable but I get tired of using them much, much faster than I tire of tab target and hotbars. And by “tired” I mean both physically and mentally. The mouse-mashing gives me cramps and the limited options are boring.

    Being ganked doesn’t particularly bother me but full loot isn’t going to fly. If it’s genuinely full loot then no-one will carry anything valuable. If there’s no way to avoid carrying anything valuable then most people won’t play at all and those who do will be fighting each other naked. I’m more put off by the forced socializing to be honest.

    Anyway, whatever Amazon say New World is going to be now, it will be unrecognizeable as the same game by the time it goes Live. And if it isn’t it will be within weeks of launch. When did the last game with this feature set ever turn out to be as described?

    (Second time to make WP happy).

  2. I don’t know if they are necessarily following any trend, slavishly or otherwise, as that alleged trend doesn’t exactly have any huge stand-out successes to emulate. People copied WoW because it was making more than a billion dollars a year in revenue. What is the PvP version of that?

    Open world, full loot, PvP titles tend to eat their own player base and fade into the background in fairly short order. There is always a some level of ongoing fan base… every game seems to be able to attract something like that… but we have not seen anything WoW-like in sustainability in the West at least. Things like Black Desert Online carry on, but they peak pretty quickly.

    EVE Online seems to be the long term survivor in that corner of the genre, though even at its peak back in 2012 or so it could only compare with EverQuest at its peak for players. That is a substantial number for any non-WoW MMORPG, but it still isn’t even a tithe of WoW at its peak.

    One of the reasons I think that EVE persists is that the people who get into it figure out fairly quickly that ships are disposable. Aside from a few rare modules, almost everything is immediately replaceable on the market. If you lose your ship you can just buy a new one. That is unlike how things tend to fare in the Fantasy realm, where replacing gear tends to require considerable effort so players would rather not lose that sword that took multiple dungeon runs to get than chance losing it out in the field. And if you can’t play with your best toys, then playing at all starts to be less fun.

    But even in EVE making that transition from “ships are gear, so losing my ship is a disaster and I want to quit the game it happens” to “ships are like ammo, I just need to reload” can be a very difficult one and most people simply cannot get there. Even though I think I am there, it took a long time and every ship loss still stings more than it should.

    So unless New World has a plan to make gear less or an obsession than it tends to be in fantasy, I think it will just run the usual course.

  3. SDWeasel says:

    PvP with full loot? Yeah, no thanks. It wasn’t my thing back then, not my thing now If I wanted PvP I’d go play Fortnite or Paladins or something like that.

    • Telwyn says:

      That’s a point I should probably have stressed SDWeasel, the entire online gaming landscape has changed a lot since the WoW-clone era. Now there are sub/parallel genres devoted to competitive PVP, MMOs based on them may well be less popular than ever given the long ramp-up to “the real game” the genre requires. It’s level for a couple of weeks in PVE content, or go play Overwatch matches after a 15 minute tutorial…

      • SDWeasel says:

        Eh, there’s potential there. I’d be totally down for some RvR content, provided enough friends played the same game long enough. It’s also easy to forget that games like SWG had PvP as a central component. Every time I see this type of game I wonder if that’s the market they’re after. Then I realize that if they knew the playing field well enough to know people want SWG back they should also be aware how off-putting this type of announcement is.

        We’ll see. I haven’t written it off yet, it’s in the “observe from a distance” category until they have something solid.

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