Amazon Games’ New World has had quite a long journey in development, first being announced in September 2016 and set to release on September 28th for PC. With how difficult it can be to create an MMO, much less one that commands attention away from titles like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 14, what does a subscription-free New World have going for it? Let’s take a look at 15 things you should know before buying.
The setting for New World is Aeternum, a legendary island where magic exists and is capable of all kinds of miracles, creating strange plant and animal life, resurrecting the dead and much more. Players are essentially shipwrecked on the island and must find a way to survive against threats like the Corrupted, the Lost and Angry Earth. The Ancients are also a major factor, having created strange technologies and disappearing long ago. What caused this? This is just one of many mysteries that players will have to solve.
Trying to survive in such a strange place with little to no resources is daunting but as players work their way up the food chain, they’ll encounter three factions – the Marauders, the Syndicate and the Covenant. The Marauders are military and all about using strength. The Syndicate are a shadowy bunch and intrigued by the hunt for “forbidden knowledge to usher in a new age of enlightenment” as per the developer. The Covenant are a group of fanatics and seek to eliminate heretics in the name of allowing the island’s “true” nature to flourish. Each faction offers its own special equipment and is vying for control of the different territories. You can take on different PvE and PvP missions for a faction, ranging from slaying monsters or patrolling areas for players of other factions (which will flag you for PvP).
Companies can be considered guilds within a faction. Up to 100 players can join a Company and by acquiring a Territorial Fort, they can reside in and control a settlement. Each Company has to have a leader and that would be the Governor in this case. The Governor can start different Town Projects to upgrade their settlement, specializing in different perks and benefits. Along with the Governor, there can also be a Consul with the same powers that serves as a right-hand (though you can have more than one). Upkeep needs to be paid to the main faction and that means taxing the various residents in that settlement.
After completing faction missions, Town Projects and other tasks to raise their standing in a territory, players can purchase houses and furnish them with different items. You can store items, decorate them with Trophies to avail different bonuses, host up to five players and so on. Houses differ depending on the territory and have different upkeep costs depending on the tier. It’s also possible to have up to three houses in case you’re feeling particularly wealthy.
Territories and Declaring War
Aeternum is divided into several territories where settlements can be claimed but there are also Watchtowers where new characters can spawn. You also have Outpost Settlements which can’t be claimed and have different utilities like quest NPCs, crafting stations and more. All of the factions are at odds with each other and are vying for the control of more territories since this means more resources. A faction can declare war on another whose territory has become vulnerable (which is done by completing PvP missions, though the opposing faction can do the same and reinforce their territory). When a territory is vulnerable and a War Declaration is made, various Companies can band together to participate in War Mode against the occupying faction’s fort.
Of course, you’ll also have to contend with Corruption in a territory, manifested through a Breach. This means that players in a fort must defend against waves of Corrupted enemies. Fail to do so and your territory may suffer upgrade losses and such, which could tip the balance in the war.
If nothing else, combat in New World is pretty unique for the genre. There are no auto attacks and players will have to block, dodge-roll and time their attacks to one-up foes while managing resources like mana and stamina. In terms of weapon types, there are swords, shields, hatchets, rapiers, spears, war hammers, bows, great axes and muskets along with magical staves for fire, ice and life. Weapons come in different rarities – Common items have no perks while Epic items offer three perks – and can also have sockets for gems that augment one’s attributes.
Of course, despite how interesting combat looks, it seems to be having some issues. Feedback from the recent closed beta has been less than positive, especially with sprinting being the default movement and the hatchet being the dominant weapon of choice. How this will be addressed remains to be seen.
Five attributes govern all builds in the game – Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Focus and Constitution. They’re all fairly straightforward with Strength increasing melee damage, Dexterity increasing ranged damage and so on. Different weapons scale off of attributes in different ways – the hatchet may gain an additional 1 percent damage increase from a point of Dexterity but 1.5 percent from Strength. Furthermore, upon investing in a particular attribute, you may unlock unique Threshold Bonuses like increased mining speed, reduced stamina costs for dodging, increased damage to full health targets and so on. One can respec freely up to level 20 but after this, you’ll need to spend Coin.
As noted before, there are several different weapon types. Use a weapon more and you’ll earn weapon mastery points which can be spent across two skill trees. So if you pick up the Sword and Shield, then there will be two Masteries – Swordmaster which unlocks more damage-oriented skills and Defender which focuses on weakening and slowing enemies along with increased defense. Though you can’t unlock everything, you can mix and match skills and passives from each tree.
Gathering resources is important but you also need to refine them into something worthwhile. Refining comes into play here and includes Stonecutting, Weaving, Woodworking, Smelting and Tanning. Leather can be obtained from animal hides, cut gemstones from raw gemstones and ingots from ores with Refining. The skill increases with further use and lets one obtain additional resources from Refining efforts. If you’re looking to get into crafting, then Refining is going to be a must.
Once you’ve located and refined enough materials, you can indulge in crafting to create your own gear and items. There are seven different types of crafting, including Jewelcrafting, Weaponsmithing, Armoring and Cooking. Crafting items in their respective categories – like creating meals and drinks for Cooking – will level them up and unlock better recipes, more yield per craft and higher gear score items. The likelihood of additional perks and gem sockets also increases at higher crafting levels. Different faction missions have crafting as their objectives and crafted items can also be used for paying upkeep in a settlement so it’s beneficial to get into.
In terms of currency, Coin may be your best friend in Aeternum. Capped at 500,000, it’s used for housing upkeep, attribute respects post-level 20, repairing items and purchasing items. You can also give it to other players in need. Faction Tokens are another form of currency – these are earned from PvE missions and can be traded for unique loot from the faction in question. There’s also Azoth, a magical material used in crafting, fast travel (which scales depending on Encumbrance and distance) and also respeccing weapon mastery points.
Along with PvP quests that can flag you for combat against nearby enemy faction players, you also have War Mode and Outpost Rush. The former is a massive battle over territory where two armies of 50 players battle, with one laying siege to a fort while the other defends (deploying ballistas, repeater turrets and whatnot). Outpost Rush is a PvEvP mode with two teams of 20 players gathering resources and capturing posts, fighting off other players while also dealing with AI enemies.
Expeditions and Endgame
As for PvE players in the end-game, several zones will open up to offer new challenges. These include Reekwater with ruins and all kinds of threats like monstrous soldiers and tentacles, and Ebonscale Reach whose various wetlands and imposing cliffs host a fleet of the Corrupted that an exiled empress is creating. There are also Expeditions for 5-player parties, which essentially serve as dungeons, and provide more mechanics to their encounters. Each has a unique story and puzzles along with different bosses and mini-bosses – they even have unique loot tables to farm. A few have been revealed thus far, including the end-game focused Lazarus Instrumentality.
As revealed over the past few months, there will be microtransactions for a range of different items. Much of these are cosmetic and range from new skins for armor and weapons, outfits, dyes and emotes to furnishings, company crests and house pets. None of these provide any advantages in terms of stats or territory control. Though the developer will look into items for mechanics like rested XP, the plan will be to offer these in-game along with the store. Interestingly, no other items aside from cosmetics will be sold through the store until at least 2022. This doesn’t indicate that better gear or XP boosters will be added but it’s possible that other quality of life features may be provided for a price somewhere down the line. Time will tell.
Many MMOs aren’t too heavy when it comes to system requirements and New World is no exception. At the minimum, it needs a Core i5-2400 or a quad-core AMD CPU running at 3 GHz, 8 GB RAM and either a GeForce GTX 670 2 GB or AMD Radeon R9 280. Recommended requirements include a Core i7-2600K or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 with 16 GB RAM and either a GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 390X (or better). Regardless of other hardware, 50 GB of installation space will be needed.