We got our first “hands on” look at Amazon’s New World from Tech Advisor UK, and it doesn’t look pretty. (I mean, it looks pretty, sure, but I am referring to the gameplay.)
Here’s what I’ve previously written about New World:
- Amazon’s New World Reveal
- Hopes and Predictions for New World
- Amazon’s New World, Part Two
- Week End - EQ Royale, New World
I’ve had a rather cynical take, to put it mildly. When I read between the lines of the almost non-existent information previously disclosed about New World, I predicted that the game isn’t going to be anything close to the traditional MMORPG we might wish for, and more just a vehicle to promote to Twitch.
Now suddenly, out of the blue, we have a New World Preview article in Tech Advisor UK (an IDG product, in case you were wondering, because I too, had never heard of them). Tech Advisor UK apparently does not have an editor or a spellchecker. But I digress. I didn’t want to be right, but it doesn’t take a deep dive to see that this game isn’t likely to satisfy our collective MMORPG itch.
The game described in that article sounds so offensive to traditional MMORPG players that I scrambled to find a rational explanation for it:
I get the feeling Amazon is trying to put out information about New World that will generate such overwhelmingly negative feedback that they'll have a justification for cancelling it
— Endgame Viable (@endgameviable) August 21, 2018
The idea of marketing this game as the Next Big MMORPG, while devoting 75% of the text of the article to PvP, is just insane. Still, there were some things that I thought were interesting:
New World is a sandbox MMORPG set around the 17th century in an alternate historical timeline in which an another continent was found by the settlers traveling from Europe across the Atlantic ocean. This particular continent is one of magic, danger, mystery and riches and will feel broadly familiar as an MMO setting.
On the one hand, that sounds pretty cool. It gives them latitude to do anything they want, from magical elves to giant mechanical Steampunk spiders. On the other hand, I thought it would have been really cool to tell historical fiction-style stories in a Jamestown-like setting, a period of history I find fascinating. Now it sounds like they won’t even need to open a history book to build the game.
First of all, there are no classes. The game supports a wide array of skills and specialisations that you are free to persue and work towards as you wish.
A skill-based progression system would be very, very cool. I greatly prefer those to class-based systems.
The gear system is also equally varied, and so between this and the open ended progression system, you will be offered a large amount of customisation for your character.
The interesting part to me here is “open ended progression system.” That sounds like “no max level,” which is very cool. That, along with the skill-based system, hearkens back to an Asheron’s Call-style of a game, which is pretty nice. (AC technically had a max level of 255 I think, but when I played it was so far out of reach as to be effectively infinite.)
Unfortunately the game description falls off a cliff at this point, and by the end, it sounds less like an MMORPG and more like a typical PvP survival gankbox, a dog-eat-dog world where you fight and compete with your fellow players at every turn, and it’s not worth even showing up unless you have friends to play with every night. There wasn’t a single word about story or questing. I can’t find much of anything in this article that would appeal to traditional EverQuest/WoW-style MMORPG players craving the next big AAA title.
I thought I was being overly critical in the beginning, but it seems I was setting my expectations exactly right.