New World Preview First Impressions

New World is a new MMO from Amazon Game Studios and I got my hands on the preview that ran from August 25th until September 4th 2020. This one isn’t coming out until Spring 2021, however, this game got its claws into me during my short time with the alpha.

New World is the first big PC release to come from Amazon Game Studios and it was originally slated for 2020 however, it’s been pushed back to next year based on some early feedback from players. That’s probably a good thing since Crucible released and then quickly went back into a closed beta phase. I would imagine Amazon want to make sure they get this one right.

We start out the game washed up on Aeternum, this is an which is full of a magical mineral that empowers and corrupts all that surrounds it. Dotted all over the map are ancient ruins left behind by civilization long past. Rather than full one fantasy, New World takes place on Earth and all the characters are human. There are all kinds of weapons in the game from swords, bows, throwing axes and even guns.

The game features an active combat system too, so you’re going in there with weapons to attack, dodging, whacking and rolling if you get in trouble. The full game promises a big territory capture systems too where masses of players (50vs50) can battle against each other in huge fights. I didn’t get to experience this in the preview, but it’s definitely something I am looking forward to. As well as PVP, you can also roam around, explore, gather materials and find creatures out there in the wild.

There’s a huge social element to the game and you can get involved by joining a company. Companies are 50 player groups, which essentially act as guilds and you can roam around and take over territories in the game. New World’s island is split into different territories which contain a settlement and a fort. During the alpha, I had a glimpse at the first settlement, where you are taken through a tutorial of many of the games mechanics and systems like fighting, gathering resources, trading and questing.

  • Settlements are the main hub of the territory and here you’ll find places to craft items and housing.
  • Forts are what you need to capture if you want to take over a territory
  • When a company controls territory, you can set the tax rate and organise public projects like local improvements to the fort or settlement. It would be wise to invest in the settlement’s crafting stations so players can create better gear and also invest in the fort’s defences
  • Other companies can declare war on a settlement and a battle is scheduled according to the time set by the defenders
  • Both attacking and defending armies then recruit armies of 50 to fight for them. During the battle, the attackers have to capture control points around the fort and then capture a central point. All manner of attacking weapons come into play like Seige Weapons, turrets and explosive barrels.
  • If the attackers win, they then take control of the territory – although it will be damaged after the battle and the new owners will have a job on their hands to repair and upgrade it

The territory control system certainly sounds a lot of fun, although I didn’t manage to level up to reach this level of play during the alpha preview. Once you get past level 20 you can buy a house and the houses act as fast travel points. Ideally, you want to have a fast travel point into a settlement with good crafting so you can get better gear. If you like the look of a place you could form a company and try and take the territory over or you could support a company who’s making promises to improve a settlement, the choice is up to you. As well as the PVP aspect of the game, you maybe recruit to help save a settlement from a PVE threat as monsters do invade settlements also. There’s a range of play available in New World that should suit all kinds of players.

The combat in New World is active, so you’re going to have to learn when and how to attack with timing and skill. As you beat enemies you collect items and XP to help you level up as in other MMOs. As you progress levels in New World you can add points to base stats. As well as levelling up stats like strength, agility etc you can master weapons. The more you use weapons, the more proficient you are going to be with the weapons and there’s a range to choose from. You’ll start out with your bog-standard sword but as you quickly progress and level up there are bigger swords, throwing axes and bows to master too. You can also trade weapons at your local settlement. There are skill trees for the weapons too and you can gain weapon mastery the more you use a weapon. There are active and passive skills when it comes to weapons and different attack styles open up as you level up the mastery.

As well as weapon mastery there’s crafting mastery. You’re going to have to learn how to gather wood (and there was a lot of gathering wood in the alpha, that’s for sureā€¦) I spent a lot of my time chopping down trees and hammering into rocks. It’s fairly easy to gather simple materials outside a settlement, as long as you have the right tools. Rarer materials will be found in more dangerous parts of the island, and you’ll need these to craft high-tier items. The crafting system felt pretty good, not too in-depth or confusing. As with weapons, you can trade materials too in settlements, putting materials up for sale in your local trading post.

That’s a very brief overview of the game and only some of the systems. In terms of the Alpha, I had a really great time with it. I’m new to MMOs, having missed out on World Of Warcraft in my younger days. This is the first MMO I’ve been interested in and it’s definitely grabbed my attention.

I started out washed up on a beach, and immediately I’m attacked and taken through a battle tutorial. Poor old Captain Thorpe lays dying in front of me. He tells me I have to find a settlement and make allies before he dies with a gurgle and a moan. I’m taken through a series of tutorials related to food, fighting and my inventory before I head off in search for my first settlement. Surrounded by washed-up ships and the Drowned, one of the main PVE enemies in New World, I learn how to fight, eat and stay alive.

There’s a fantastic moment, which is very Breath of the Wild, where I run-up to the top of a hill and I can see my new home in front of me. I’m pretty impressed by the graphics at times with this game, then other times it does look fairly basic. I guess it’s still in alpha and there’s plenty of time to polish and improve the fidelity.

Unfortunately, the Corruption has taken over poor old dead Captain Thorpe and he’s back in the form of my first boss battle. He’s a tough old boot with a flaming sword, but I manage to hack and slash my way to victory dodging and rolling out the way of his flaming sword who like a combination of Berek Dondarrion and the Terminator.

Once you get past this moment it’s time to meet Watcher Linch and he happily guides you through a few fetch quests, teaching you how to gather food and materials. After a few quests of looting and killing the Drowned together with upgrading some of my skills, it’s time to head off to my first settlement.

The map is absolutely huge and going from my little introduction output to the huge bustling streets of the settlement is a bit of a shock to the system. There are other people everywhere, with Amazon saying over 1000 people can be on a server at any one time. As this was only an alpha, I’m sure more could be here, but it felt full to me, but then again I’m more used to a game like Destiny where the max player cap in social spaces is 16. I think I still have much to learn.

Over the next few hours, I experienced trading, gathering materials for quests and exploring the huge settlement. The game may feel a little rough around the edges, but from the short time I had with New World, I have to say I really enjoyed myself. I don’t know if this is because I am new to MMOs and THIS is what it feels like to experience one. The world felt vibrate and full of life, there was plenty to do and weapons, battles and crafting were really fun. I didn’t level up to the point where I could take part in a war or capture another settlement, that will have to wait for later. However, what I did experience certainly got its hooks into me and I can’t wait to play more.

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